Part Four: Suisan Bay, Benicia, Napa
This is the fourth part in a five-part series of a road trip taking us into Northern California from San Diego County. We visited San Francisco, Sausalito, Fairfield, Benicia, Suisan City, Suisan Bay, Napa, and the Delta. We went to Pier 39 in San Francisco, crossed the Golden Gate Bridge twice, saw the hundreds of houseboats in Sausalito, toured the Jelly Belly factory, fished on the delta, rode on two ferry boats, crossed over four large bridges, and many small draw bridges, saw autumn colors, saw the last of our naval ghost fleet, and viewed the gorgeous vineyards in Napa… all in five-and-a-half days.
Many years ago I saw a documentary about hundreds of military ships that had been decommissioned and were floating dormant in a big harbor somewhere in the U.S. I found out recently that Suisan Bay was that place. So while in this area we just had to see these old ships and possibly take a boat tour out in the bay to get a closer look at these relics.
Suisan Bay is a continuation of the larger San Francisco Bay and is filled with industry , refineries, and what looks like a home port for other ships as well as the yet to be seen old military ships.
As we arrived in town we saw the sign for a vista point and I took that exit to get a prime view of the bay and all of the ships. It was a gray morning and almost on the verge of raining so visibility wasn’t great. This part of the bay is where the ghost fleet, or moth ball fleet as it is sometimes called, is located. As we were presented the first view of the bay, I could see the ghost ships, all… four of them. Four? Where were the rest? We were going to have to investigate further.
While trying to get back to town we actually took an exit into the town of Benicia. While there, a local man told us that most of the ships were no longer in the harbor. For many years they have been scraped for the metal or sent to various other areas. As an example, the U.S. Iowa now acts as a museum and is on display near Long Beach Harbor for tours. Later I researched it, and sure enough the ships were gone save for a few. I am going to have to investigate my destinations a little more closely next time.
Since the ships had been long gone, we decided to stay in Benicia and check out that charming town.
The city of Benicia, is called the “jewel” of the Bay Area because it is a waterfront community filled with that small hometown charm. This was evidenced as we drove down a tree lined street filled on both sides with specialty shops, antique stores, and restaurants. The trees framing the road were rich in fall colors and beyond you could see the bay.