Highway 49 connects the historic towns of California's Gold Country. This artery of history tells the story of our modern state. Get off this road and you find even more, mysterious places. Many that time forgot, such as when we went to the almost-ghost town of Hornitos.
Today, we're making the circle around the upper hills of Amador county, from Jackson, to Volcano, down through Fiddletown, and ending up at the wineries of the area.
Not long after I turn off the highway, I see a bramble of blackberries on the side of the road. Luckily, there's a nice pull out where I can park and go over to see if I can find any to pick.
Wild blackberries abound on the sideroads throughout the state. You have to be very careful because they grow in big thickets, full of thorns. Also, poison oak is a close mimic of the blackberry plant so you need to be extra cautious to be sure that this painful plant is not growing within it.
Gingerly, I look through the thorns and find enough ripe blackberries to fill my bowl while also snacking on these tart but sweet fruits.
I give Letty and Tim a few to taste and we move on.
We come upon the town of Volcano where not much is open besides the bakery. It's a pretty little place with old building situated in a tree-filled glen. Letty and Tim are not wanting to go through the trouble to find a wheelchair accessible parking spot and then have to get him out and back in so we move on.
Fiddletown is even smaller, the one business we'd want to stop at, another dessert emporium, is closed because they've got a booth at the county fair this weekend.
The road eventually empties us back out in the Shenandoah Valley where we stop in to see the friendly folks at Sobon Winery. I give the lady at the counter a couple of my blackberries and she gives me a thank you and a small glass of wine.
A mixed case later, we're off to the other end of the valley to have a picnic at Story Winery. It's always nice to visit with the staff here and have another excellent meal under their shady oaks among the old vines.
The rest of the day is spent swimming in the pool at the hotel before eating some pizza from the local Pokerville Market.
In the morning, we check out and head down highway 49 for some more Motherlode car touring. From the almost empty New Melones Reservoir, we head through the famous frog jumping town of Angel's Camp, followed by Sonora, before coming down from the hills to highway 99 and home.
Copyright 2015 - Darryl Musick
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