Matthew is taking a photography class, so a couple of weeks ago, we decided to drive him up to the foothills to snap some pictures. We went to Jackson, had lunch, and drove around a bit so that he could get some scenic shots. We decided to take Highway 104 home, through Ione and the countryside, eventually connecting with Highway 99 about eight miles north of Lodi.
It was such a beautiful day. The hills looked like the photos you find on postcards. Look at this view of a vineyard. The clouds look like I Photoshopped them into the picture, but I didn’t. All of these photos are completely unretouched.
This shot is from across the road.
We took a left turn and headed south on a local road. This shot is looking back toward the highway.
Looking west, you see the entrance to Rancho Seco Park. Looks inviting, doesn’t it?
This is what you find across the road from those soft, rolling hills covered with vineyards. What a contrast!
Rancho Seco used to be a nuclear power generating plant. It was decommissioned by the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) in 1989 after Sacramento County voters became the first to approve taking a functioning nuclear power plant offline.
The park is really lovely. There is a lake, beach, picnic area, and seven-mile nature trail. They have fishing tournaments and other outdoor events there. Before the plant went off-line, we used to sail my friends’ Hobie Cat there … in the shade of the reactors.
The towers are empty. (I guess that’s why you can drive right up to them.) But they can be seen for miles and are a familiar part of the Northern California landscape.
Solar energy is generated on the site now. You can watch a video about it here.