End-of-the-Year Trip: Sacramento & River Rafting

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Sunday, June 3, 2012
Students arrived on campus at 6:00 am for our 6:45 departure. Our route took us up 101 with our first educational stop being the San Luis Reservoir to visit the Visitors’ Center for an orientation to the role the reservoir plays in delivering water from northern California to southern California. Howard, the official State of California water resources interpreter, explained details of the entire California water system. Students saw a video overview of the California water delivery system, including reservoirs, canals, power stations, and pumping facilities. We also saw an historic film of President John F. Kennedy’s inspirational dedication of the dam in 1962. Our next stop was lunch and a swim in San Luis Reservoir. After lunch, we drove to the fourth-generation Sanders Family Dairy Farm to see firsthand how a dairy works. Mike Sanders showed us two newborn calves, explained the systems and techniques used to raise dairy cows, and showed us the milking of his cows and the storage system for the milk. Before we left, Mike’s son (Trevor) and Trevor’s girlfriend (Erin) spoke to the students and took questions about their agriculture majors in dairy farming at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Next, Grandfather Jerry Sanders met us at his nearby almond ranch and gave us a very informative talk about the growing and processing of almonds, including the role bees play in pollination and the “shaker machine” used for harvesting. After saying goodbye to Jerry, we drove to Sacramento and moved into the Victorian-era Williams Mansion, built in 1885, that is now the Sacramento International Hostel.

Monday, June 4, 2012
For our last Breakfast Club of the year, lobbyist Amy Brown gave an animated and very informative talk about what she does as a lobbyist for businesses such as Safeway stores. To illustrate the step-by-step processes needed to lobby for a new law, Amy asked the students to suggest a piece of new legislation. Douglas Throop suggested we try for a ban on junk food, and Amy took the students through the challenges a lawmaker would have to initiate such a controversial new law. Students were made aware of all of the steps along the way needed to pass new laws. Afterward, we walked to the Capitol and met our two tour guides for our scheduled Capitol tour. After the tour, we met Deputy Finance Director H.D. Palmer, who spoke on behalf of Finance Director Ana Matosantos, who could not speak to us because she was meeting with the Governor. H.D. provided a very detailed overview of the complexity of trying to balance the budget. He did not “speak down” to the students but kept the information at a high, but understandable level. He complimented the students for the Anacapa Budget booklet he had with him that had been produced for last year’s Synthesis Unit, saying it was done at a college level. He gave everyone a copy of the Governor’s May Revision of the Budget. After a quick lunch at the Hostel, we took off for the Heidrick Ag History Museum, which has the largest number of antique tractors in the world. We also visited the adjacent Hays Antique Truck Museum. Rusty Lucchesi, the grandson of Fred Heidrick, the museum founder, gave us a VIP tour of the museums. Rusty then led us on a tour of a nearby rice farm, after which we went to the Yolo County Farm Bureau for a presentation and dinner hosted by P.G. and E. We heard from different Farm Bureau directors about their work in agriculture, including hybrid tomato production and pesticide management. We also learned how Yolo County manages its water from Tim O’Halloran, Manager of the Yolo County Flood Control and Water Conservation District, whose prepared slide presentation was very informative.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012
We left the Hostel at 7:00 AM for our day of river rafting on the South Fork of the American River. The day was unseasonably cold with the passing of a cold front, so everyone wore wetsuits and splash jackets. Anacapa had eight rafts with highly experienced and fun guides provided by OARS, the rafting company Anacapa has used on past trips. The morning went very well with the Troublemaker Rapid being the highlight. Everyone chowed down with the big lunch provided by OARS at their Mother Lode River Camp. After lunch, we floated gently down the calm parts of the river on our way to the famous Gorge with big rapids like Scissors, Satin’s Cesspool, and the grand finale of Hospital Bar. After the rapids were over, most of the students and faculty went swimming before being towed down to Folsom Reservoir. Back at the Hostel, everyone enjoyed an easy pizza dinner, and after dinner the Italy Trip Travelers met for a last meeting before their upcoming July 5 departure. Then, we had our traditional Appreciations gathering in the main Parlor of the Williams Mansion, which connected everyone to our unique community. After dinner, brownies were served, and students enjoyed an extended curfew until midnight.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012
Students made their lunch, had breakfast, and packed up for the return to Santa Barbara. After taking a group photo at the Capitol, we headed to the apple and pear farm of Greene and Hemley. Sixth-generation farmer Virginia Hemley gave a very spirited and thorough description of her job of managing the packinghouses. She also gave some down-to-earth “mom” advice to the students. Our last stop was Hilmar Cheese Company, the largest cheese-manufacturing company in the United States. Students were grouped into five groups of 10 for a mock cheese-making activity. Afterward, the guide gave a brief explanation of the dairy industry and the cheese-making process at Hilmar. This information reinforced what we had already learned first-hand at the family dairy farm on Sunday. We arrived back on campus—safe and sound—at 8:00 PM.