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May 1, 2014 – Ironstone Winery

IronstoneOur first Rally excursion was to Ironstone Winery located just outside of Murphys, California. The organizers of the Rally had organized a tour of the winery for us.TourThe tour guide met us at the front of the winery.Mining toolsWe saw an an area dedicated to the gold rush, filled with tools for extracting gold. Here is a water wheel and a tool used to crush rock that might contain gold.Elaine and AshleyWe were able to take our dogs with us on the tour. Here a Elaine and her pup, Ashley. Ashley had just been groomed and had cute little bows on.Entrance to CavesAfter visiting the gold mining area we visited the caves used to age the wine. The caves are man made and hold a constant temperature year round. The caves are also used for social events, dinner parties, wedding receptions and other events.Tour 3Here is our guide in the caves with us. He is holding a portable speaker system he used to on our tour.Waterfall at end of caveHere is a waterfall at the end of the cave. They set up tables here for social engagements.Pond in ParkAfter leaving the caves we walked around the ground, passing this charming pond. CoyoteThere are statues of coyotes scattered around the grounds to scare geese away. This one is very lifelike from a distance.Amphatheater2We next visited the Amphitheater where they host concerts. They bring in major talent, Lady Antebellum and ZZ Top are playing at the winery this year.GoldOne of the most impressive things we saw was Ironstone’s Crown Jewel, the world’s largest piece of crystalline gold. It weighs in at 44 pounds troy. It was unearthed at the Sonora Mining Co. mine in Jamestown, California on December 24, 1992. After acquiring the gold-bearing rock, John Kautz, proprietor of Ironstone Vineyards, had the sample etched with acid and most of the rock removed by tweezers. This process took over a year.Black IrisThe winery had beautiful flowers all over the grounds. Here is purple iris so dark it looks black.Happy HourWe always start the evening with a Happy Hour where we enjoy drinks and tasty treats while the rally organizer goes over tomorrow’s plans.

March 23, 2014 – Los Osos and points north

FogSunday morning Mark and I drove to visit Cindy in her parent’s vacation home in Los Osos, a small community near Morro Bay.  It was a very foggy morning when we left Paso Robles.  I thought that the fog would be with us until it burned off later in the morning. Out ot the fogBut I was  pleasantly surprised to be fog free several miles down the road.

After we toured the house we went with Cindy to a local restaurant for brunch.The restaurant has a dog friendly outdoor patio. Of course we chose to eat outdoors so Ace could be with us. Brunch - Dixie and CindyHere are Cindy, Ace and myself.Brunch - Mark and Cindy Mark and Cindy in the patio.

The restaurant shares the location with a very nice nursery. After we ate, we walked across the parking lot to wander around the nursery looking at the plants.Trumpet VinesTrumpet Vine, a vibrant red-pink, climbing a fence.fountainIn addition the the plants, there were also several fountains. I would love to have this one for our yard or patio.succulents There was an entire area dedicated to succulents.

Mark and Ace returned to Paso Robles after visiting the nursery.

OrchidsCindy and I visited an orchid nursery before going to Morro Bay.

Morro BayEntering Morro Bay with Morro Rock in the distance.

We visited a bead shop in Morro Bay that specialized in beads made from dichroic glass. Sorry no pictures – we were too busy buying beads.HangingWe then headed north on CA 1. We stopped at the small town of Harmony, where we visited a stained glass shop. Here is a wall hanging from there.Elephant seals2Elephant sealsOur next stop was the elephant seals near San Simeon. Mark and I have stopped here before, but the majesty of these huge beasts never fails to impress.


After viewing the Elephant Seals we went  to Cambria for lunch at Linn’s. If you are ever in Cambria and looking for a place to eat, I highly recommend Linn’s – great food.

We then returned to Paso Robles.