Saturday, September 22, 2007
Monday, September 17, 2007
Huntington Beach State Park
Donna and I visited Huntington Beach State Park while we were in the area to visit Brookgreen Gardens back in December, but due to time constraints it was a brief visit, so we returned to the area and enjoyed a more leisurely visit this time.
We left Columbia a little after noon on Friday the 14th. We had a late lunch at The Drive-In, a 50's style diner in Florence, where we had a pair of awesome BLTs, fries, and salads. We made it to the Myrtle Beach area around 5:00 and stopped at the outlet mall just outside of town, where we browsed until around 8:00. We left with a few small items and a bit of clothing and headed over to Ruby Tuesday for a light dinner of quiche/chicken pot pie and salad and then headed to our hotel in Surfside Beach.
Saturday morning we started off with a hearty breakfast at Denny's right across the street from the hotel, and we then headed over to the park for the day. This was the summer home of Anna and Archer Huntington, a sculptor and author/philanthropist, respectively, in the early to mid 1900's.
We saw lots of wildlife, including herons, gulls, and about half a dozen alligators!
The house reminds me a bit of a castle, with lots of hidden nooks and crannies.
After exploring the house and grounds for a while we wandered down to the beach and walked up and down it a ways.
After driving through Myrtle Beach proper and all its touristy stuff and throngs of people, we had dinner at a good Mexican restaurant called Fiesta del burro Loco (celebration of the crazy donkey) before heading home.
Great trip! The state park is a really nice place to visit, as is Brookgreen Gardens right across the street.
Wednesday, September 05, 2007
Labor Day in Northern Kentucky
This past weekend I rode my Ninja to Butler KY, just south of Cincinnati, for a Labor Day weekend cookout and get-together hosted by my friend Pat. I left Columbia around 8:00 and made it to his house around 6:00. I would have gotten there closer to 5:00 had it not been for a wreck that brought traffic to an absolute standstill right after I crossed into KY; after creeping along for quite a while and making hardly any progress, I u-turned through the median and went back to the previous exit and found a way around all the mess.
As I was poking along down his road, I was watching my odometer and the house numbers, but that turned out to be unnecessary because there were lots of people, cars and bikes to easily identify his house.
We had a great evening eating a lot of really good food (burgers, dogs, barbecue, and various sides and desserts) and socializing. A good deal of the folks headed home around dusk, leaving around six of us that stayed. We told lies around the fire pit for a couple more hours before calling it a night. Daryl & Sheila, Keith & Marie, and I camped out in the backyard, and Tim from MI slept indoors. It was perfect weather for camping - a bit nippy and with a slight breeze blowing.
Pat had organized a group ride for Sunday, so we headed over to the meeting spot around 10:00. We ended up with 13 folks on the ride; after getting to know each other and eating a bit and downing a bit of coffee, we embarked on a very twisty route on our way to Jane's Saddlebag, a biker hangout and restaurant. The route Pat chose was incredible; the roads were twisty and clean with little traffic, and the scenery was incredible.
We had a good time eating and socializing at Jane's. The food was pretty good, though it was far from what I expected; I ordered a barbecue plate, and it ended up being essentially chili! It was browned ground beef accented with vegetables and a tomato base. It was good, but it certainly wasn't barbecue.
Cornhole (stop chuckling, please.) a very popular game up that way; it's similar to horseshoes, except players through bags containing dried corn and try to land on the ramp or in the hole.
This T-shirt sums it up pretty nicely:
The ones not staying overnight with Pat headed homeward from there, and the rest of us headed back to Pat's. We drank beer and watched motorcycle DVDs in his garage; what a way to spend an afternoon! :-)
Pat working on his Ninja 250:
We later invaded the pile of leftovers and had another very satisfying supper. We followed that up with an evening of four motorcycle races that had been broadcast earlier in the day on Speed (gotta love those DVR thingamabobs): AMA Superbike (x2), AMA Superstock, and MotoGP.
Monday morning Pat's wife fixed us an incredible breakfast before we departed. Pat lead us on a few more good roads as we wound down toward the interstate to each head our separate ways. Traffic was pretty thick all day, being Labor Day. I circumvented Knoxville on Highway 25E that passes the Clinch Mountain overlook; it takes about the same amount of time, so it's a nice break from the interstate without adding time to the trip; plus, if you get caught in traffic around Knoxville, it can turn out to be a good time saver.
Clinch Moutain Overlook: