I knew that the Virginia Creeper trail would be crowded over labor day weekend. Last year there were more bikes than cars in Damascus. So it was no surprise that inexperienced riders would be running into each other and posing for pictures in the middle of the trail.
These things are a given on a holiday weekend. Which, it is great that cycling is such a big thing in those mountains.
But it took every bit of restraint I could muster to keep from passing every gaping fool on clapped out rent-a-bike. I was towing a trailer with the sweetest cargo I have ever been responsible for, and there were moments that I was overcome with an uncontrollable need to pass everyone in sight. I might of even caught air a few times with the trailer riding shotgun, Erin gave looks that could kill. Macie was enjoying it all, and sleeping the most. The trail is beautiful and I want to go back on a less crowded weekend.
We made a run for some Ridgewood BBQ on the way home, but it was closed. Some say Pardners is just as good (so we gave it a try,) but those fools are wrong. Parders was good by many standards, but Ridgewood is beyond compare. They both smoke a ham, and legend has it, that the people of Pardners stole the recipe from their competition; but they are obviously missing something that Ridgewood does. I'm not sure what, but Ridgewood's BBQ reigns supreme in this showdown.
I have another recommendation for fellow BBQ connoisseurs, Chattanooga Smoke House. Its a no frills authentic experience on Martin Luther King Boulevard in Downtown Chattanooga. Charred smoked ribs and pulled pork that will set you free. I thought I had died and gone to heaven with a to-go box of ribs, which is how they serve it in their dining room. The atmosphere in this shotgun building is bare bones and the focus is on the smoked meat; the sides were acceptable but not notable. The owners are obviously passionate about what they do. After talking to them, and comprehending a small portion of what he said, partially due to a slight language barrier, its obvious they use techniques in smoking that were beyond my scope BBQ knowledge. One look at their product and its obvious that the have the real deal.
On the back porch on my own pad, the smoker is filling up the air with the captivating aroma of fired hickory. Its full-on football season, which means hanging on the porch with a cooler and a smoker just makes good sense. So I'll grab a beer while I send smoke signals to the homies, telling them 12 hours from now, I'll be pulling smoked pork buts off the grill. If you get this signal in time, about 4:00pm tomorrow we'll be hanging like Boss Hog at the Gaines house. You may be aware of the 4:00 kickoff here in Knoxville as well.
I enjoy a reason to party, any reason. And I have had a self-inflicted ban on mountain biking for the last couple weeks, due to a broken hand. But, Doc says I am 2/3 healed and in two weeks I'll be 100% ready to roll. See you at thee bike party on the trail. Around the corner is the Windrock Fall festival and the Hill of Truth Race. And I am planning a pilgrimage to Pisgah soon.............