This is the Carquinez Strait, about 37 miles northeast of San Francisco. It's where the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers run into the San Francisco Bay. Carquinez comes from the Spanish word Carquines, which is for Karkin, the name of the Ohlone Indian tribe who once lived in the area.
This is the Carquinez Bridge, which stands at the west end of the strait. It's actually two parallel bridges, a cantilever bridge built in the 1950s and a suspension bridge built in 2003 to replace a 1920s bridge that engineers determined would not hold in a big earthquake.
These photos were taken a few years ago when the Husband and I, along with friend BB, took a trip to Napa for the day. On the way home, we stopped for dinner in Benicia, which sits on the north shore of the Carquinez Strait. It's a cute place with lots of art glass studios, boutiques, and restaurants. Also, the once-upon-a-time California capital made lots of interesting California and national history. For instance, in the late 1800s, the Central Pacific Railroad carried trains across the Carquinez Strait by ferries between Benicia and Port Costa.
Remember the Pony Express in the late 19th century. One of the alternative routes across the Carquinez Strait was a ferry from Benicia. There's a historic marker on the Benicia Waterfront Promenade that talks about one such incident. Here's what is inscribed on the marker (which was presented by the Benicia Parlor, No. 89, Native Sons of the Golden West and dedicated on July 29, 1960):
Dedicated to the Memory of Pony Express RidersA mochila is a knapsack, which can only mean the Pony Express rider's knapsack full of U.S. mail.
1880 The Knights of the Saddle 1881
William Hamilton, the first Pony Express Rider to reach Benicia on the final relay. Carrying the mail from St. Joseph, Missouri to California. Arrived in this city April 23rd, 1860, at 7 a.m. Thomas J. Bedford, a young Benician, took the mochila by ferry across Carquinez Straits to San Francisco via Martinez and Oakland.
Here's another look of the Carquinez Strait from Benicia.
I'm hanging out at Alphabe Thursday, which is hosted by the wonderful Jenny Matlock. Click here to check out what other participants are writing about the letter C.