Saturday, April 30, 2011

International Motorcycle Show

On February 26 I attended the International Motorcycle Show at the convention center in Greenville, SC. It is an annual show that travels to around a dozen cities each winter. It's a good opportunity to check out all the current model year bikes, check out and purchase gear and accessories, join in on demo rides, see displays of vintage bikes and customized bikes, watch stunt shows, and attend educational seminars. This was about my fifth time to go, and it's always a great deal of fun, and I get a lot out of it. The southeast show used to be held in Atlanta, but they thankfully moved it to Greenville a couple of years ago.

The helmet is creepy, but the bike is pretty cool.

BMW GS used by the Henderson County NC Sheriff's Department; this is the bike that Ewan and Charley rode in Long Way Round.

Not your typical Harley. Made during the company's low point when it was owned by AMF, the bowling company.

The Honda CB-750 from the 70's. I'd love to get one of these one day!

Some more creepiness if you look closely, but pretty cool overall look.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Carolina Raptor Center

Donna and I recently visited the Carolina Raptor Center a bit northwest of Charlotte, NC. It is a rehabilitation center for injured birds of prey (eagles, hawks, owls, vultures, etc.) They release the ones that regain the ability to survive in the wild, and the ones they cannot release become permanent residents at the center, and those are the ones that are viewable by visitors. There is a mile-long trail that winds through exhibits showcasing nearly 30 species of birds; it was a real treat seeing them up close. It is a well-run facility and the birds seem well cared for.

All the birds were amazing, but I especially enjoyed being able to get this close to bald eagles.

We attended an educational talk and demonstration and learned a great deal about these magnificent birds. Their speed, agility, and eyesight are unbelievable! The docent pointed out that many of the injured birds they treat have been hit by cars. Litter thrown from cars attracts rodents to the side of the road, and the rodents attract the birds, resulting in collisions. So, that's another reason not to litter, even biodegradable items.

I love this owl; it reminds me of a geisha.

Before heading home we stopped and ate at Lancaster's Barbecue just down the road. It was some mighty fine food. We always enjoy hush puppies, and they are usually served with the meal, but there they brought out a basket as an appetizer, like tortilla chips at a Mexican restaurant; we really liked that.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Hopelands Gardens

One Sunday in January Donna and I headed to one of our favorite destinations, Hopelands Gardens in Aiken, SC. It is a 14-acre public garden filled with walking paths that meander amongst 100-year-old trees, all sorts of plants and flowers, and a good number of sculptures. It's really nice to visit at Christmas, when they fill the park with light displays. It'd be well worth paying an entrance fee, but there is none!

We walked in and out of their labyrinth. My pictures don't do it justice, but it's quite nice. Google Maps satellite view offers a good overhead view.

A few years back the city of Aiken had many artists decorate horse sculptures (Aiken is Thoroughbred country) that they then displayed around town. Hopelands now has a couple of them in their possession.

This little fellow seemed to be quite pleased that we came to visit his place.

He made sure to get his fair share of attention before we left. :-)