Tuesday, May 13, 2008


Large kickle; hold the tickle!

- Bender as he's being trained by Leela to fight Destructor in the Ultimate Robot Fighting League, from the "Raging Bender" episode of Futurama. I love that episode because Bender and Leela are great and Hermes gets a brain slug and speaks in monotone the whole episode.

This weekend was amazing! Friday was spent packing and straightening the house and then hanging out with Drs. Protege and Acura and their parents who were in town for graduation. Yes it kinda sucked celebrating something that I was also supposed to be partaking in but it will still happen. PERSEVERANCE! NEVER GIVE UP! It was cool seeing their parents again since the last time was their wedding last year. We're taking care of their cats while they're up in CT revisiting their folks after the 'rents were down here last week. Apparently lots of golf is on the schedule for Dr. Protege, I'm not sure what Dr. Acura will be doing but I'm sure she'll enjoy it.

Then woke up early Sat. and drove to Greenville to get J a haircut and I ate breakfast and walked around and realized that there isn't much open in the West End of G'ville before 10 am. I guess Starbucks but they can't scramble an egg and put it on a nice bagel for me, nor do I want them too. T'would be nice but more work for Barista Brat and her fellow baristas. (She runs a good blog and her archives are great but she doesn't update much) We'll revisit the breakfast theme later. Yes I LOVE breakfast and can eat it whenever, therefore I love any place that serves breakfast all the time, or at least past 11 am.

Enjoyed the Reedy River Park(Falls Park apparently) and learned some interesting facts about Greenville and the river thanks to some educational plaques scattered around the park. There were some walkers and joggers and kids but not many people at all. I can see why morning people like the mornings so much, all the night people are asleep and everything is so tranquil. As I sat on a bench, river adjacent, I got to see a robin root for a worm and then fed it to his lady bird who was sitting on the nest and presumably some eggs too.

Walked back to the car and listened to some tunes while I waited for J. Back in the car we made our way back to Clemson to load up the car and head off to Drift Atlanta! Well after eating lunch, we both took an impromptu nap and didn't leave at 1 like I wanted but 2:15 was good enough. We show up at 3:30 and there's tire smoke a-plenty. We drop off the car, grab the camera and go watch the slideways smokey action for awhile. Then we head down to the pits for some freebies, info and the spectacle. Also this is when you get a good chance to meet and talk to the drivers. After qualifying, all the cars came back to the pits to get some new rubber and get some food and liquid into the drivers. I finally got to meet Tanner Foust! Hooray! I've been a fan of his ever since I started following rally and got to watch him progress from the Production GT class where he battled Matt Johnson up to the big HP Open class cars and battle Matt again and take on the Subaru Rally Team's Ken Block and Travis Pastrana. Unfortunately Rally America doesn't have a rally in the SouthEast so Drift Atlanta is the closest they get to Clemson, so it's a great chance for me to meet some great rally drivers, Tanner Foust, Stephan Verdier and Rhys Millen, and then get to watch them drift like mad. Congrats to Rhys for winning the 2008 Drift Atlanta stop also! That Kiwi can drive!

Tanner told me he started ice driving and then moved on to rallying. Ice? Oh, right ice, on the roads and not just in the freezer. I need to experience a real winter one of these days and see what people are talking about with snow for months on end and freezing weather on a regular basis.

To save a bit of money, J and I decided to camp in front of Road Atlanta after all the drifting. It's such a clusterfuck leaving Road Atlanta with all those people. If you show up late you have to park far away and they let the lots closer to the gate out first and there's only one exit for all these cars. So instead of sitting in the car for no less than 30 minutes, we hung out by the car, snacked some and watched all the cars sit in traffic.

After all that we found a nice tree to park under and camp for the night. I put the tarp down and thanks to this event, I learned to fold the edges of the tarp UNDERNEATH the tent. Since this was car camping, we went all out. First went my sleeping pad, then a thick sleeping bag, then both our nice backpacking sleeping bags, then our 3 pillows and then a lovely purple fleece sleeping bag. It was very plush and comfy. We got ready for bed and were talking and then it started raining. Then there was lightening and thunder. I counted and it was roughly 5 miles away assuming my weather math was correct. It was nice sleeping in a tent in the rain and not waking up with a wet sleeping bag and wet pillow. The mud when we woke up was epic. And this was not regular mud. It was red Georgia clay mud that stains whatever it gets near. My flip flops were not up to the job of keeping my feet clean and after loading the car and luckily having enough plastic bags for all the nasty wet, muddy gear, I set off in search of a water faucet or spigot. I did not find one, so I proceeded to channel my inner hippie/homeless guy and washed my feet and flip flops in a relatively clean puddle. Then it was off to Atlanta!

Our first stop was the West Egg Cafe for brunch. It's next to a construction site so they offer free valet parking, which was really nice. So here J and I are in the clothes we wore yesterday and with fresh tent hair and head inside. It's full of bright colored walls and pipes and lovely works of art scattered around the space. I felt we actually fit in a little bit even if we were a tad stinky. The place was packed too! It was a 45 minute wait (closer to 30 min. probably) and we showed up at 11:15ish. We scoped out the dessert case, their cookies are big enough to feed a ravenous badger and only $1.75! We did not try their $2 Coca-Cola cupcakes which are award-winning I'm told. The host took our name and told us we could hang out in the garage around the corner. Wha? Garage? We walk past all the free ATL literature (Creative Loafing, etc...) and find ourselves in a garage complete with huge sliding bay door that has been converted into a waiting room with comfy chairs and stools. The only thing it needed was a small bookshelf with some books to read while you wait. The guy with the Falcons polo shirt and black Crocs complete with Atlanta Falcon and skull trinkets made me laugh.

Our table for two was ready and we sat down and ordered a chai latte for J and a cappuccino for me. Both were delicious and ready fairly quickly for how busy they were. I ordered the Peachtree Platter, two eggs any way (scrambled), cheddar monterey jack grits, a biscuit, fried green tomatoes and brown sugar bacon. J had the Westside Turkey Club, sweet tea basted turkey, swiss, bacon, cranberry dijon mustard on freshly baked white bread. Hers was very good and I will attempt to baste some turkey in tea in the future. Mine was good but the menu didn't state "roasted garlic grits" and my taste buds were quite offended at that surprise. I don't usually like garlic in my breakfast foods but they were good after I realized what I was eating. The tomatoes and eggs were very good, but let me tell you about the biscuit and the bacon. The biscuit was warm, light and sooooo good. I tossed some egg and bacon in there and had one of the best bacon, egg & cheese biscuits ever. I don't know how they make the brown sugar bacon (I'm guessing, and will attempt, they dredge the bacon in brown sugar before frying) but it was deliciously fatty and sweet and ooey gooey. It wasn't crisp so I used a fork and knife but the flavor more than made up for not being able to solidly pick it up. It was smokey and sweet and I want some more. NOW! Next time we go there, I might get the eggs again but biscuits and bacon will definitely be on my plate. A huge thanks to Jennifer Johnson and chef Patric Bell for the fun and funky atmosphere and delicious hearty breakfast! They open at 7 am on the weekdays, 8 am on the weekends and close at 4 pm, so don't be late!

With full sated bellies, we drove up Howell Mill Rd. to Atlanta Rocks! Intown. After a quick belay test and 2 daily passes, we were free to climb their 12,000 square feet of climbing awesomeness. A big main bouldering area was complemented by two hidden bouldering caves, and those were surrounded by over 50 ropes and auto-belayers covering the walls. Flat surfaces to faux rock outcroppings will keep any climber of any skill level entertained for a long time. If you need to give your fingers a rest, but still want to work out, they also have a nice gym with weights and treadmills and more (I just glanced over there but didn't go upstairs). After a few hours there, and realizing I'm a solid 5.8 climber and J is a solid 5.7 climber, we exchanged some pants at REI and then made our way home.

Thanks to Formula Drift, Mother Nature, the West Egg Cafe and Atlanta Rocks for a great weekend. Thanks to you for reading, and thanks to Ford and the gas companies for getting us there and back.

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