Boojum Buddies Invade California Gold Country
Destination: Sutter Creek and the International Jug Band Festival
Driven by the desire to hear jug band music, a thirst for Amador wines, and inspired by reality television shows such as American Pickers and Pawn Stars, Boojum Ron and Boojum Bebo hit the backroads of California Gold Country in the Hummer H1. Their somewhat random itinerary was selected by signs to estate, yard, and garage sales, small town antique stores, wineries, and roads on the map that looked as though they would best be traversed by the Hummer. A few historical sites were thrown in to give the illusion that the trip might have some educational value.
Sutter’s Mill in Coloma was where gold was first discovered sparking the California Gold Rush. It’s quite fitting that the Boojums came here since an earlier trip was to the Black Rock Desert where we traced part of the arduous route that the 49ers took to get here. One of the rangers told us that the site was on the California State Park “hit list” and might possibly be closed due to state budget cuts. It’s hard to believe that California would get so desperate that it would close such an iconic site. (Side note: Why would state park rangers carry side arms? To protect the gold? Inquiring Boojums want to know.)
One of the wineries we visited was Tanis in Ione. It’s the epitome of a boutique winery in that all of its sales are onsite or via their mailing list. Boojum Bebo wanted to taste their Primitivo, the varietal that is alleged to be the ancestor of Zinfandel. It was remarkable if you like heavy-duty almost dessert-like big-time fruity wines and as far as Boojum Bebo is concerned, gets 4.5 boojums out of 5 (though it’s unlikely that endorsement will make it to Tanis’ publicity).
The jug band festival was great fun. The new location on the grounds of the Sutter Creek Inn is outstanding – far better than the playground where it had previously been held for many years. The music – just what you should expect for a shoestring-budget, free festival – some outstanding acts plus some that had no business being on stage (except for the stage leaving town – an old joke but one suitable for Gold Country). The Quake City Jug Band never fails to please!