After reviewing the whole website, please
if you have additional
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|Rio Vista Ferry & CalTrans
call the Caltrans ferry update line:
We suggest you print out our North Delta Map:
or click on the map to the right to see the full size that is printable
|DELTA FERRY HISTORY
February 21, 2013:
CalTrans really should be ashamed of itself. The original Real McCoy
Ferry was reliable and ran for 65 years before being sold to someone who
rents it out in the Mare Island area. The new Real McCoy Ferry II is
apparently not capable of handling the traffic like the older one, so it
constantly breaks down. Plus, the new ferry appears to be designed to
limit access by recreational vehicles due to the "v" built right into
the main deck of the ferry which can cause some long motorhomes to
scrape bumpers when getting on the ferry at the Rio Vista side. We
suggest you do not plan to use the ferry unless you call the
morning of the day you plan to travel on the ferry. Note the Rio
Vista ferry runs every 20 minutes starting on the hour. The J-Mac
ferry by Howard's Landing on Grand Island, which crosses Steamboat
Slough to Ryer Island, runs "on demand" or when needed. But the
larger motor homes can not easily drive onto the smaller J-Mac ferry, so
all large RVs should plan to use the BRIDGE route to come to Ryer Island
and Snug Harbor. We suggest you print out and use the map to
the upper right when driving around the North Delta because some cell
phone carriers and GPS services don't work well in the Delta.
November 2012: The Real McCoy II still breaks down once in a while, so
call the above number to find out the "today" status of the ferry as
things can change. Remember you can always drive to Snug Harbor using
the bridge onto Ryer Island and the north end of the Island, or use
State Route 220 at Ryde to cross Grand Island and use the J-Mac
Ferry-cars and small trucks pulling boats OK. RVs use the Miner's
Slough bridge route!
August/2012 CalTrans says the Isleton bridge was opened to car
traffic again, after being closed to vehicle traffice most of the summer
If one reviews the last several years or road closures in the Delta, it
is very, very obvious CalTrans has been intentionally limiting travel in
area perhaps to make it a bit harder for people to see how beautiful and
important this area of Californai really is! Afterall, if people
how important the environment is, they might complain if/when the state
starts siphoning off 15,000 cfs from the Sacramento River.
"new" Real McCoy Ferry continues to break down once in a while, but as
of August 2012, seems to be working more often than not. Ferry
runs every 20 minutes to take vehicles across between Rio Vista side and
Ryer Island. So time your arrival at the ferry landing for 5
minutes before the hour, like 8:55, to ride the ferry at 9:00 am.
Or get there by 9:15 to ride the ferry at 9:20 am etc Ferry
runs all day and all night long, every 20 minutes.
Life does slow down in the Delta, so take the time to enjoy the view, or
chat on the phone with a friend, or get out and stretch...or work on
your game! Photo to the right shows one Delta visitor who has the
right idea...while waiting for the ferry he pulled out his bucket of old
golf balls and practiced his swing, trying to hit the balls at least
halfway across Cache Slough!
Note that visitors to Ryer Island should NOT plan to use the Rio Vista
ferry if traveling in a large RV with low bumpers. Due to the
design of the ferry, the bumpers will scrape or catch the ramp of the
ferry. Trucks pulling boat trailers do fine though, that we've
seen and experienced.
July 2012 The "new" Real McCoy Ferry continues to break down
intermittently and CalTrans sends out email notices like the below, and
occasionally issues maps like the one received a few days ago.
Since the CalTrans map directs travelers to use the Isleton Bridge,
which is CLOSED to vehicle traffic because it is held in the upright
position for boating traffic, we suggest you not use the CalTrans map.
Plus, the CalTrans map ignores the fact there are roads all the way
around Ryer Island, an important fact for someone trying to reach us at
Snug Harbor, a peninsula off Ryer Island. Isn't it an odd
coincidence that right at the same time as some government agencies are
saying they want to promote and support Delta businesses, other
government agencies are making it very difficult for customers to even
find or reach the businesses?
CalTrans provided the summary of vehicle uses (click on table to the
left) and you can see much less use with the new ferry, in the green
area. Of course, there is no mention about how many times the new
ferry has "broken". In addition, any time a state route is closed,
its supposed to be posted on the CalTrans road closure list...but they
have not been doing that consistently, which further frustrates
travelers who rely on CalTrans to be accurate.
the CalTrans map that is supposed to show traffic and closures...
No mention on the Ferry sign of when the ferry does or does not take
vehicles across, which frustrates Delta travelers. One would think
CalTrans is INTENTIONALLY discouraging travelers to this area of the
6-20-2012: CalTrans sent out notice
that the Isleton Bridge will remain open afterall until
further notice. That is good news as that bridge is one of the
main ways to get to Snug Harbor and Ryer Island by car or if you are
from the Bay Area and are pulling an RV!
at the Isleton bridge says it will be closed
due to painting for the rest of June and all of July. Traffic is
diverted into Walnut Grove, where you cross a bridge to get to SR 160,
east side of the Sacramento River in Walnut Grove, drive north a few
hundred yards, then cross another bridge to get on the west side of the
Sacramento River to continue your drive to Snug Harbor, either using the
route crossing Grand Island at SR 220 or going up to Courtland Road and
coming down to the Ryer Island bridge across Miner's Slough, or else
going up to the Steamboat Slough bridge and turn left to go down Grand
Island Road to the J-Mac Ferry (i.e. follow the signs to Grand
Island Mansion and the ferry will be a few miles further down Steamboat
Slough from the mansion) Your GPS will not have the current bridge
maintenance schedules and detour routes, so please remember to pring out
a Delta Map.
6-16-2012. Caltrans plans to close the Isleton Bridge around
6-18-2012 AFTER the Cajun Festival,
so you can still use that bridge to get to Isleton.
Note that as of a few days ago, online the
CalTrans website says the bridge is already closed! Note
again....CalTrans changed its mind and is keeping the bridge open until
further notice-good plan!
PLEASE, please remember to print out our map of the Delta,Delta Map since
CalTrans has been opening and
closing roads and bridges, and placing
detour signs in such a way
that most travelers might get a bit confused regarding which way to go.
For example, note the
detour arrows located at a main intersection in
Walnut Grove, supposedly
directing travelers how to avoid whatever bridge or road is closed this
Which way would you turn?
images2012/caltrans/RMC Car Count.pdf
logs.pdf some stats from Caltrans
May 31, 2012 From about May 27 to June 2nd,
CALTRANS is intentionally limitting access to the North Delta area,
or especially Ryer Island. Click on the map to see the closed
bridges and roadways with limited access or delays, with printscreens
from the descriptions from the CalTrans website. May 30,31 and
June 1st there are supposed to be many politicians and influential
people in the Delta or a Discover the Delta event, and for some
on-the-ground Delta tours by Delta residents.
So why did CalTrans pick now to close bridges and repair roads?
Perhaps there will be some "unannounced" state and federal politicians
in the Delta to view SR 160 with all Delta traffic being diverted to 160
to further validate making it a "scenic highway"? Or is there a
very big Delta construction or conveyance project that will happen in
the next few days?
images2012/caltrans/Flyer for Posting v2.pdf
On top of it all, if you review the maps of the area from CalTrans, you
will see the many different ways CalTrans makes it
appear that there is no access to Ryer Island, or no road to reach Snug
Harbor. Yes, we do complain to CalTrans, but each time we do, yet
another misleading map
comes out, and another road gets scheduled for "repairs" which results
in limiting access or discouraging travel to Ryer Island.....WHY?
images2012/caltrans/SR12 Final Report.pdf
June 1st 2004 the Delta Cross Channel Gates were closed
even though it was supposed to stay open. (last page of the
references closing the Delta Cross Channel gates on June 1 due to Jones
Tract levee failure) There were other
closures of roads in the central/south Delta...and then the flooding
of Jones Tract was reported to have started on June 3rd.
In 2011 and 2012 we've seen
CalTrans maps that showed Ryer Island and/or Prospect Island
and/or Dead Horse Island and/or Staten Island and/or Bacon Island as
intentionally flooded new "In-Delta Storage". Perhaps
this Is why
CalTrans (and therefore the state) is trying to limit access to the
Delta? Links to the In-Delta Storage series of documents:
CALTRANS plans to do some work on Hwy 12 in the Delta starting June 1st.
Here's some info or click on the map to get a better idea of
what is plannedimages2012/caltrans/hwy12-mokelumne-canal.pdf
Note that work started on the Paintersville Bridge in Winter and it may
still not be open yet-check with CalTrans. We're also
told CalTrans plans to do work on the Isleton Bridge this
summer...painting it...about the time of the Cajun Festival. We'll
post info here as it becomes available.
The Rio Vista Ferry (aka Real McCoy II aka Cache Slough Ferry aka Ryer
Island Ferry) does seem to be working on schedule these days. Just
time your arrival
at the ferry landing for on the hour or every 20 minutes off the hour
24/7. For example, the ferry leaves from the Rio Vista side at
exactly 10:00 am. Goes across
to Ryer Island and picks up any waiting cars and returns to the Rio
Vista side. At exactly 10:20 am the ferry takes on cars again,
goes to the other side and brings back cars.
Same thing again 10:40 am...and so on 24/7. Large RVs need to use
the bridge route to Ryer Island because the ferry ramp and design of the
ferry itself can cause damage
to the bumper of the large RVs. Here's our
map of the North Delta
you should print out and take with you as some gps (like TomTom) get
drivers very confused in the Delta,
despite repeated notices of the correct routes to TomTom. Note,
also, that CALTRANS is planning some major work along HWY 12 near the
Tower Park bridge so if you
are coming up Hwy 5, you might want to use the Thorton/Walnut Grove exit
instead north of Hwy 12. Here's a map of the
|February 28, 2012
The Real McCoy II Ferry (Rio Vista to Ryer Island Ferry)
is up and running again!
Whoohoo! But note the scheduling changes...
2/29/2012 BDCP map (section of map) that shows a "barge landing" at a
new place on Ryer Island...interesting.
There's also a barge landing on Brannan or Grand Islands...that one is
not clear. Map also shows a barge landing at Walnut Grove,
depending on which pipe route is used.
|February 10, 2012. Thanks to
the good article in the River News Herold this week, some interesting
items have come to light. You see, the first Real McCoy Ferry was
and we were told it went to "scrap metal". Turns out it was
actually updated and repaired, and was put back into service and is
available for CALTRANS to lease until
the new ferry gets fixed. Common sense would say that the
company that built the not-working Real McCoy Ferry II would pay for the
lease costs incurred by CalTrans to lease
the Real McCoy 1 until such time as the new ferry is fixed. So
what is the holdup? Here's some photos and an email I
received when I asked if its available for lease to
CalTrans. The ferry is over by Mare island area and the owner says
it would take just 6 hours to get back up to the Delta and be put in
service! Maybe this is the reason
CALTRANS did not communicate with the River News Herald reporter?
Or maybe CALTRANS just doesn't want people in the Delta to see all the
going on right now? Or maybe CALTRANS will lease the
Real McCoy 1 for use between Rio Vista and Ryer Island, and the Real
McCoy Ferry II will be used at the location
it was designed for which could be up by Liberty Island given the
|12/29/2011 Still no news about
when/if the Rio Vista Ferry will start working again. Also note
that CALTRANS finished painting the Steamboat Slough bridge so that is
open to travel. The J-Mac ferry cable was replaced and is working
fine but people with large RV's still need to drive around to the bridge
onto Ryer Island to get to
Snug Harbor. Your telephone GPS may not work so well in the Delta
in some areas, and Google does not provide island names and smaller
roads of the Delta,
so please print .... our map
details on earlier problems with CalTrans limiting access to Ryer Island
and other parts of the Delta, please go to
2011 and 2012 wood debris fish studies
2011 see also
2010 (to be added)
2009 (to be added) see also
2008 (to be added)
2007 see also