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Friday, March 26, 2010

Old time diner

My recent trip to Orlando and back has given me several items to post about.  This post is about Kings Grill in Valdosta, Georgia.

On Tuesday March 16, around 11:00 a.m., Jeff & I came to the I75 & US 84 intersection on the west side of Valdosta, Georgia.  After filling up we decided to venture downtown and try to find a "local" place to eat lunch.  We did not see much and so we rode around the downtown area.  Jeff saw Kings Grill and so we parked and walked up the block and back to see if there was anything else.  A couple of other places did not seem like a good choice for leather clad bikers.
Downtown Valdosta
We decided to take a chance on Kings Grill.  As we were approaching Kings Grill a truck pulled up and one customer entered before we got there.  We were the 2nd & 3rd customers for lunch.  As we visited and ordered others began to come in.
Kings Grill on the NW corner of Patterson and Central
Our waitress was a friendly Southern lady with a beautiful accent and a great personality.  Come to find out she was the daughter of the owner.  Her mother had owned the store for MANY years and makes all the desserts.  The cook had been working for her mom since the early 80's and after eating lunch we understood why she has been the cook for all that time.  (The building was built in 1976)
Old fashion diner counter
It was a cool day and we were in the mood for something warm.  On tap was homemade vegetable beef soup with cornbread.  Both Jeff and I ordered a bowl (we were leaving room for dessert).  The large bowl arrived hot and with a appetizing aroma.  The soup included beans, corn, onions, tomatoes, other veggies, and lean ground beef.

I enjoy a good bowl of soup and order soup frequently.  This bowl was awesome!  The flavors blended together for a great flavor.  There was plenty of spice, but not so much to overpower the natural flavors of the individual ingredients.  The freshly baked cornbread complimented the soup.  It would have been very easy to order a second bowl, but I wanted dessert.  (I forgot to get a picture of the soup, but it looked great!)

Apple pie with or without ice cream, Sour Cream Pound Cake with fresh strawberries, Strawberry Pie, and something else I can't remember where the desserts offered to us.  Jeff choose the Strawberry Pie and I selected the Pound Cake with strawberries.

The Strawberry pie had a homemade crust with a cream cheese based filling with fresh sliced strawberries mixed in and topped with strawberries and whipped cream.  Jeff let me have a bite and it was great!   The filling was so smooth and flavorful.  I had never had or seen a pie like that.
Strawberry Pie
The Sour Cream Pound Cake was topped with fresh sliced strawberries and whipped cream.  The cake was very good, better than just plain pound cake.  The strawberries and whipped cream complimented the cake and make for a very good dessert; however, the Strawberry pie was the best and is what I will order the next time I eat there.
Sour Cream Pound Cake with fresh strawberries
If you are in Valdosta, Georgia around lunch time stop by Kings Grill and enjoy some great southern cooking.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Shuttle Launch Postponed!

At the first of February I posted that my brother-in-law, Jeff, was going to ride to Florida to see the March 18th shuttle launch.  Well, all this global warming made NASA postpone the March 18th launch till April.  The decision was prompted by unusual cold weather - wait, I thought it was global warming.  It is disappointing, but we just have to make the best of it.

My wife and son already have flights booked and the in-laws are anticipating our visit. Jeff and I discussed the situation and since he already has the days off we will still make the trip (unless really bad weather or something major changes our plans).

This will be a great chance for me to test two recently acquired items:  Icon Accelerant Waterproof Motorcycle Boots and AFX FX-3 Karbon Beanie Half Helmet.


The preliminary impressions on both have been good, but a 2,500+ road trip will allow ample usage for me to make a full evaluation.  I will be able to compare the Icon boots with my Harley Davidson FXRG-2 waterproof boots.

Both items came from Riders Discount.  This was my first experience with RD.  The shipment arrived in a timely manner and well packed.

More info on both items and other reviews will come from the trip to Florida.  We plan on staying off the Interstate highways as much as possible and I am sure we will eat in some local restaurants so, there should be plenty to review.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

"Look, it's Chimney Rock at Bat Cave!, Batman"

Yes, I know that if you google Chimney Rock you will find there are many Chimney Rocks in the world, but only one is near Bat Cave!  That is right - Bat Cave, North Carolina and it has nothing at all to do with Batman or Robin.

South east of Asheville, NC on beautiful US 74 you will find the little town of Bat Cave, the gateway to Chimney Rock Park.  Bat Cave is named after Bat Cave Mountain which has a cave with a lot of bats, imagine that.  Bat Cave has several shops and restaurants.  

My son and spent the night in Asheville, NC and headed towards Bat Cave and Chimney Rock after breakfast.  US 74 is a nice road.  There was not a lot of traffic once we were 3 miles out of Asheville.  The 10 mile stretch from Fairview to Bat Cave is really good.  Several tight curves a six hairpin curves about 4 miles out of Fairview.  We had ridden the Tail of the Dragon twice the day before and I thought this 10 miles was almost as fun and a lot less traveled, which made it less stressful and very enjoyable.
Look closely you can see some of the curves leading to Bat Cave
Less than a mile later there is another set of curves with elevation drop that does not have as tight of curves but some nice ones.  On the side of the road the pretty, but troublesome Kudzu grows unchecked up the trees and mountain side.
Main street US 74 in Bat Cave
Once we arrived in Bat Cave we decided to visit some shops and look for place to eat an early lunch before visiting Chimney Rock.  The small shops had a lot of character and were fun to look around.  There were numerous other bikers in town.  Seemed to be a popular destination.
Chimney Rock as seen from Bat Cave
On the recommendation of on the store owners we ate lunch at the Riverwatch Deli and Grill.  As the name suggest you can sit and watch the Rocky River from the back porch/deck.  We ordered and ate our deli sandwiches while watching the river and looking up to Chimney Rock.  Lunch was good, but I don't remember anything standing out enough to post about; however, I would eat there again.

We rode up to the park entrance, paid our entry fee, and headed up the mountain.  The ride up was nice and shaded with numerous pull offs with picnic tables.  We reached the parking lot and decided to hike to Hickory Nut Falls, a 485 foot waterfalls.  We descended a series of step to get to the actual trail.  
Some of the steps leading from parking lot to Hickory Nut Trail
The trail is .75 miles one way.  The trail is easy and shaded.  There were several places to stop and relax, view the surrounding mountains or Bat Cave below.   Toward the end of the trail we crossed a wooden bridge and walked to the base of the falls.  It was very pretty.  I am glad we took the time to hike the trail.
Hickory Nut Falls
After returning to the main parking lot we took the elevator up to the gift shop and bridge to the peak of Chimney rock.  Chimney Rock rises 315 from the base at the parking lot and has an elevation of 2,280 feet.  Once at the gift shop and snack bar we crossed the bridge and walked out on the top of Chimney Rock.  We could see all of Hickory Nut Gorge, Lake Lure, Bat Cave, and the surroundings.  
Lake Lure as seen from Chimney Rock
We also hiked up to the Opera Box (great place to relax) and up to view Devils Head, a rock that looks like the profile of what we think would be the devil.  It is an interesting formation.  
Devils Head
We really enjoyed the views.  The Chimney Rock Park website states that one can see 75 miles from the peak of Chimney Rock. I don't know about the distance, but it was a great day, awesome sites, and well worth the visit. 
Chimney Rock as seen from the Opera Box
Notice the steps leading from the gift shop area to the peak!
If I am in the area I will visit Chimney Rock again.  Drop by you will have fun and the ride to get there is great.