STOCKTON — I once had a college buddy stop by my place in Stockton.
Over the years, Neal Shearer had only driven through this part of the 209 but never quite to the Port City.
In particular, he was curious about the Delta and what it had to offered, especially since he lived in Fresno.
“We don’t have nearby waterways where I live,” said Shearer, noting that he thought we were fortunate to have waterways in every which direction of town.
We attended Fresno State many moons ago. Other than draining basins and perhaps the canal that slices between downtown and the Tower District, this part of the Central Valley is basically all dry land but without the luxury of the evening cool down otherwise known as the Delta breeze.
Having been raised in Stockton but spending a good chunk of adulthood in Fresno, I had missed those winds whipping through the Carquinez Strait.
The first thing we did was to a grab lunch. What better place than Bob’s at the Marina just west of Interstate 5 along Benjamin Holt Drive. This place at 6639 Embarcadero Dr. shares a parking lot with Garlic Brothers and In-Shape health club at the Marina.
Nestled along White Slough, Neal, who once sold boats for a living, marveled at the scenery while noshing on fish tacos. At Bob’s, this is a made-to-order beer-battered codfish atop a bed of shredded lettuce on a corn tortilla, covered with salsa and cheese with a slice of lime.
I opted for Bob’s Giant Hamburger with the works but minus the pickle.
We sat outside for lunch on this mild fall afternoon, observing the activity along this part of the Delta.
From there, we drove north on Interstate 5 to Eight Mile Road. Neal was interested in the house boats, including the various types and cost for rental.
Paradise Point Marina at 8095 Rio Blanco Rd. located five miles from Stockton is a full-service facility with not just house boat rentals but ski boats, patio boats and V-hull fishing boats.
This place also has a must-see ski tower not to mention the plush garden and manicured lawns at the point that’s along this stretch of White Slough.
I didn’t have a chance to take Neal along other parts of the Delta on this day. But I have with some of my other visitors.
The historic Waterfront Warehouse at 445 W. Weber Ave. was built in 1875 and was completely renovated years ago. It features a relaxed atmosphere, cozy outdoor dining (Nena’s Mexican Restaurant or Chitiva’s Bar & Grill) along the Deep Water Channel. From there, you can catch a glimpse of the Banner Island Ballpark home to the Class A Stockton Ports of Major League Baseball’s Oakland Athletics and the Stockton Arena.
Both facilities were built in the early 2000s and have been great additions to the Port City.
A visit to my hometown wouldn’t be complete without a drive down Pacific Avenue’s Miracle Mile and the University of the Pacific.
I’ve always made it a point to take a side trip through the quaint surrounding neighborhoods surrounding the picturesque campus, going along Dave Brubeck Way to North Kensington Way and meandering through West Monterey Avenue, Clarendon Avenue, Bristol Avenue and Oxford Way, to name a few.
No doubt Stockton gets a bad rap. But I take pride in this place I call home.