Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Croquet and Sausages

I'm back from my latest vacation up to Gold Country to visit with friends and family for the 4th of July holiday. Steve, Brian, Kara and I flew to Sacramento last Thursday where we were picked up by Steve's parents, and his brother Russell and wife Angela. It was a tight squeeze with eight of us in a 7-seater SUV (and if you count Kara's fetus (Bean), it was really 8.05 of us!) Thus ensued a lovely weekend of gluttony, sloth, and heated croquet tournaments.

Although it had slipped my mind after living near the temperate coast for the last four years, I was quickly reminded that the central valley and it's environs are F'ING HOT in the summer! Oye. Russ and Angela headed down to the bay area to visit some friends, so Brian, Kara, Steve and I headed up to Boa Vista Orchards on Apple Hill for some fresh fruit.

This is a great farmers market area that is open all year round. A few pounds of cherries and apricots later and I was quite content. On the drive back down the hill we saw a wine tasting sign for the Boeger Winery so we stopped in for a swig. There was a moment's hesitation as we walked past a limo in our dirty play clothes but in the end they love your money, regardless of your attire. One bottle of petite syrah later we were back down the hill and off to escape the heat and see War of the Worlds. It's entertaining enough if you don't have any expectations beyond: aliens blow us up, we freak out. I guess it's a tribute to Tom Cruise's acting that you can watch the movie and not think "There's that freaky dude Tom Cruise". One interesting side note, there was a scene with a plane crash that we saw being assembled during a recent trip to Universal Studios. Cool.

A trip to the local hill-billy Walmart yielded the greatest treasure of our weekend adventure: a brand new croquet set. (We reluctantly bypassed the enormous titanium deer huntin' arrowheads.) There's just something great about getting a group of friends together, kicking back cold beers and whacking plastic balls with stubby mallets.


Kara and her Bean kicked back in the hammock while the rest of us navigated tree roots, deceivingly thick grass clumps, flower beds, and the treacherous vigilante opponent.


This was my most wicked shot of the weekend. How the hell was I supposed to hit my red ball in this four car pileup??


Brian entertained us with his seal tricks.


In between croquet games we did some more wine tasting at Madrona Vineyards (delicious port)and the Lava Cap Winery (tasty syrah). For the first time in my life I can say I've been tipsy before noon.

We capped the evening with a family BBQ that included more meat than you can possible imagine. Luckily we were up for the challenge. After the crowds departed the six of us kids went back for seconds, sitting around the table snacking on sausages and playing pinochle. Man, what a great day!

I should be getting my rafting pictures back tonight so stay tuned for more exciting tales from El Dorado!


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