Wednesday, September 22, 2010

AND A RETURN TO THE N.C. HIGH COUNTRY…

The Navigator and I returned safely home to our Western North Carolina mountains on Sunday. We had a great time in the S.C. Low Country enjoying our “fun in the sun”, good friends, good riding, and good eating! We didn’t go through any temperature shock on this trip upon our return home. We left Hilton Head Island under sunny clear skies with pleasing temperatures in the mid-80’s only to return to our house under sunny, clear skies and pleasing temperatures in, yes, the mid-80’s. We aren’t yet seeing the changing of the leaf colors that herald the arrival of fall although we know that isn’t far behind.

The last ride…

The Wood-man and I took our last HHI ride on Saturday getting in another 20 miler around the island. This time we headed out in the opposite direction of our previous ride and found ourselves with more open space and longer lengths of uninterrupted pedaling.

We found a very nice run across the island along Marshland. Everywhere we went was on an integrated bike path. The paths along Marshland included wooden bridges over the marsh and were approximately 8’ wide in most places. We had clear sailing almost the entire length of Marshland. From Marshland, we explored out a spur to Spanish Wells and then back along Matthews to the William Hilton Parkway, which took us back to our abode at Palmetto Dunes Plantation.

We did enjoy our food while on the island. In the order of best meals, I would rank our experiences as follows: (best to worst)

  • San Miguel – Shelter Cove Marina – quickly seated, very good food, cold libations, best service of the bunch, reasonable prices, unfortunately a crying kid two tables down:
  • Home grilled burgers from the Fresh Market – Wood-man’s specialty – fixed at the condo and we enjoyed eating on an ironing board on the deck, great atmosphere, NO crying kids, live entertainment (Elvis, the gator), best prices!
  • Santa Fe Cafe: Very good food at reasonable rate as at San Miguel’s, excellent ambience, service was good. Didn’t call in time for reservations to sit on the outside cantina. It fills up quick even mid-week.
  • Alexander's at Palmetto Dunes: Easy walk from our rental unit, seated quickly even at the same table we had last year, food received mixed reviews from our group, service was acceptable but not personable (perhaps we were 4 too many tourists after a long season…), price was high for quality received.

So, there you have it… Zeke’s unsolicited, not-in-demand brief review of Hilton Head Island eateries.

Back home and riding again…

I was pleased to get to commute home on Monday after a long day of “dig your way out of having been gone for a few days” work duties. I tried very hard to really be away from work this past week, which meant the emails had piled up to the tune of about 100 a day. Top that off with the usual Monday morning network blues and it was a recipe for a no-fun Monday. Before the whining gets to you, I’ll say that the great weather was continuing in the mountains and I was privileged to enjoy it on a 23 mile spin home. I felt sluggish and heavy to get started but warmed up to the task within about 5 miles. When I finally came along the Pigeon River on Hyder Mountain Road, my spirits were lifted and the heaviness in my legs was gone.

If ribbons were the theme for my last ride along these roads, then “droppings” might have been the watchword for this ride. The road seemed to be littered with various types of droppings – chestnuts, acorns, horses. I was presented with the opportunity to dart around and over each of them. I briefly contemplated whether a chestnut hull could cause a flat. I was glad to find out it did not.

As I was traversing NC 110 from Canton to Bethel, I could tell that the sun was setting a little further in the southwest than it was a couple of weeks ago. My final couple of miles home were in the shade of the mountain as the sun had already dropped below the crest of Ratcliffe Mountain. I punched on my front Planet Bike 1/2 watt Blaze light for a little additional safety.

Bro Dave finds a gem…

According to the September 20th post on BikinginLA, my west coast based brother has been scouting out possibilities for a cycle powered washing machine. Link over to BikinginLA and check it out. You’ll find the link near the bottom of today’s posting. It was kind of nice seeing the reference to Bro Dave out there on the west coast!

As for me, I”m killing off the last few minutes before heading into our BicycleHaywoodNC meeting this evening. I’m hopeful we are on the cusp of getting some monies for a bike plan for Haywood County. We should be a step closer by 8:00 p.m. tonight!

Until later,

Zeke

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