irises at Ironstone winery

Twain Harte Ho

On Friday I flew to San Jose where I met up with Jim for the drive to Twain Harte to spend the weekend with friends Bob and Carolyn.

It was a lovely drive. Everything was still green from the winter rains, and as we got higher into the Sierra foothills, the profusion of wildflowers along the road was stunning.

On Saturday we took a nice day trip to Murphys, "a quaint and charming goldrush-era town replete with well-preserved historic buildings, a welcoming atmosphere and an abundance of recreational and cultural opportunities." There was a wine festival going on with tasting booths set up at many of the stores.

en route to Murphysstreet scene

tulips with dragonfly We also made a stop at Ironstone wineries where there was a spectacular display of tulips and other flowers. There is also a 44 pound nugget of gold on display. Somehow, I don't think the people panning for gold in the stream running through the winery would be finding any nuggets of similar size.

Ironstone has an outdoor stage in a terrific setting for summer concerts. Bob and Carolyn wanted to pick up tickets for the Chris Isaac concert, but they weren't selling the tickets at the winery, at the very place the concert would be held. Oh, no, those you must get from Ticketmaster. Go figure. There were also some weddings going on at the winery, each in its own little niche.

There was also a wedding party at the park in Murphys.

wedding by the stream
Having a wedding party by a babbling brook: Priceless
tan lines
Forgetting to cover up your tan lines: Very embarassing

poker JimOn Sunday we had a rousing game of poker, using Jim's new "casino-quality poker chips in foam-padded aluminum case." The betting was reckless and at times vicious. As poker players, it seems that perhaps our greatest skill may be bluffing.

self portrait
Self-portrait of the artist
at the ice cream store