Bill Paxson

Bill Paxson I am a native of Chicago, a graduate of California State University, Sacramento, a former Air Force navigator, and one-time technical writer. Now retired, I have lived in Sacramento since 1966.

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Outdoor Metalwork at Mather

Jul 18, 2014
Outdoor Metalwork at Mather

East of Sacramento, at Rancho Cordova, is a complex of buildings and runways that used to be an active military installation--Mather Air Force Base. The military left, and civilian aviation activities took over; the name hung around, and today the place is called Mather Airport, Mather Field or, simply, Mather.

On Mather's grounds are two...

Summer Fun on the American River Bike Trail

Jul 11, 2014
Summer Fun on the American River Bike Trail

You can be on the American River Bike Trail and not realize that you are in an urban area of more than a million people.  Actually, the number is more like two million, depending on how big a circle you draw and how you interpret tables of census data.  But a million will do...

Delta Protection Commission Says "Nuts" to the Governor, Works to Live Up to Its Name

Jun 27, 2014

Various individuals and groups are opposed to the governor's Twin Tunnels plan to divert water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, but only one state government agency has come out against it.That's the Delta Protection Commission, which is working ...

Dingville, California: No Joke

Jun 25, 2014
Dingville, California: No Joke

At first, I thought it was a joke.  Dingville, California.  Why would anyone give that name to a place?

And it doesn’t seem to be all that much of a place–one building, albeit an attractive one, set well back from the road and several farm buildings a little north.  It’s at one of the few...

The Parks Dam War: Northern California’s Own Little Water War

Jun 17, 2014
The Parks Dam War: Northern California’s Own Little Water War

Given the drought, a puny snowpack, depleted reservoirs, and contentious claims by water users, it’s no surprise that California media outlets are muttering about water wars.  Just Google “water war,” and you'll get a spate of recent articles, plus articles going back to when Los Angeles began stealing water from the Owens Valley.

The Owens...

Show: “Art of the Dumpster”

Jun 8, 2014
Show: “Art of the Dumpster”

My drives to the Sacramento River often take me by places that are worth a photograph and a few words.  Visits to these places become blog posts that have little or nothing to do with the river.  What this means is that I have been slowly expanding the content of this blog to go...

Look What I Found–A Teepee Burner!

Jun 4, 2014
Look What I Found–A Teepee Burner!

No, a teepee burner is not an arsonist who goes around torching the homes of Native Americans.

Instead, what a teepee burner is, is a conical metal structure once used to burn waste wood at a mill or lumber yard.  Wood burned inside the flared base, and smoke and embers poured out the top, which...

Feather River and Oroville Dam: A Geo-plumbing Lesson

May 14, 2014
Feather River and Oroville Dam:  A Geo-plumbing Lesson

First, the geography stuff.  The Feather River is the main tributary to the Sacramento River.  The Feather begins in the Sierra Nevada as four forks–South, Middle, North, and West Branch. Those forks come together in a canyon in the foothills east of the Sacramento Valley.  In that canyon, water is impounded behind Oroville Dam....

Where Do You Get Your Water Information?

May 5, 2014

What does "If it's yellow, let it mellow" mean?

The answer to that question concerns water, and water is much in the news these days.  On one hand is a controversial proposal to suck water out of the Sacramento River and send it south.  On the other hand a drought is prompting water conservation measures...

Trouble in River City; Or, Sacramento’s Rough Beginning

Apr 17, 2014
Trouble in River City; Or, Sacramento’s Rough Beginning

“Trouble, oh we got trouble, right here in River City!”–Meredith Willson, The Music Man.

In 1849 the name Sacramento was applied to the collection of tents and wood buildings that housed people come to get rich in the gold fields to the east.  It was a ramshackle town that was incorporated in 1850. 

That first year...

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