The Winnie Wino Tour 2019!
Saturday, October 19, 2019, A Family Trip to Murphys, CA via CA88, CA12, CA49: 191 miles
The day finally arrived to load a few things onto the coach and take a few family members on our Winnie Wino Tour 2019 (so named because we used to go on these tours aboard our Winnebago). It would be a one day, and as it turned out, a one winery wine tasting adventure to the town of Murphys in the Sierra foothills. The plan was to meet at Craig’s home in Stockton, the oft mentioned Craig’s Castle, where most family gatherings seem to take place these days. (And having checked with Craig during our drive home from Murphys, the family will again have our Thanksgiving and Christmas gatherings there this year, too. Hooray!)
We were to depart Stockton at 1100 hours, but being on what I refer to as Walter’s Time, we left sometime closer to noon. I grumbled a bit as we waited for the stragglers to appear, and the good news was that all seven of us showed up for the trip. And when all were present, we headed toward the foothills and the town of Murphys for the day.
We drove through the valley and into the foothills to get to Murphys.
Craig captured the whole gang in this photo as we headed toward Murphys aboard Big Blue on the Winnie Wino Tour 2019! L-R that’s Craig, Lavonne, Stephanie and Sam (who will marry on November 10th!), Laura, Breanne, and the handsome Tom Selleck look-alike, Dale.
As we neared the Ironstone Winery in Murphys, the Garmin navigator turned us onto a small, one lane paved road named Six Mile Road. I assumed it would continue on as a well paved, single lane road, but it certainly did not. We wound up driving on a very poorly patched asphalt cow trail that eventually became a gravel road that was an awful ride as well as being very, very dusty. The sparkling clean Big Blue was coated in dust, especially on the rear end cap, and all my efforts the prior few days to have the coach looking her best were in vain. Vanity can be a lot of work!
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After nearly three miles of the awful road, we arrived at the Ironstone Winery. It was a beautiful winery with lovely flowering plants everywhere – and even a museum.
Click to enlarge these photos of the beautiful Ironstone Winery grounds:
I dropped off the wine tasters near the tasting room, then drove down about a quarter mile to a gravel parking area. I took my walk as I waited for the tasters to enjoy the winery, and even walked into the winery and chatted with them a bit as they were bellied up to the bar.
I shot this photo of our Winnie Winos at the bar. They were having a grand time and enjoying the lovely winery and its wines.
It was a very lovely place with a lot of visitors. I continued my walk ’til I was back to the coach. Breanne had brought along cookies and banana bread, and I enjoyed some of each as I waited.
I failed to notice the time when the tasting began, and again when I was called and told they were ready to depart for lunch. It was something over an hour, maybe near two hours. But when the call came, I drove Big Blue up closer to the tasting area, and the happy group climbed back aboard.
We headed to lunch, and our first choice was a Mexican restaurant in the town of Murphys. However the town was a certifiable zoo, and we could find nowhere to park the big coach as cars were jammed into every nook and cranny. The Witch’s Walk was the theme for the whole town, and it drew a capacity crowd. We drove right by the restaurant and decided to head somewhere away from the zoo. A ways down the highway we pulled up at the El Jardin restaurant. I was able to park the coach out front on the shoulder of the highway which afforded plenty of room for the coach. Craig went in and asked if parking there would be Ok, and we were welcomed. We all piled into a long booth in the restaurant for lunch.
The place served excellent food, and everyone seemed very pleased. I ordered their Chile Relleno, and it was perhaps the best I’d ever tasted. I also had too many chips and dip as I waited. After the big meal, I ordered the Mexican dessert, deep fried ice cream. It was superb, and there was entirely too much of it. I shared it with those who wanted a bite, but they took very little. I was stuffed. Everyone was stuffed. We waddled out of the place a happy bunch of over eaters, and resumed our adventure.
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