Wednesday, March 29, 2017

One Day Weekend

A weekend has two days.  Sometimes I view them as separate but equal.  Hence the title.

Anyway, there were more adventures.  The road ride thingy we did was just part of it.  The day before, we crammed a whole bunch of shit into one day (which is par for the course around here.)  We started off with coffee at a local mom and pop shop, a big ass lunch (at another mom and pop), and a little shopping at a local market.  Once our lunch was digested, we started with our main task for the day...

Riding in the dirt.

The little lady and I headed over to Rocky Branch Park (just across the river from Charlotte) to hit some singletrack.  But first, we had to test out the new pump track.

Much fun was had, but we really wanted to be in the woods.  When I saw we, I meant "we."

It wasn't some Strava-fest (do you even know me?) but we had a blast.  We rode around having fun, just enjoying our time in the dirt.  I even caved in and asked the little lady to take a photo of me.

She wasn't happy taking just one though, so I had to ride through a vegetable tunnel so she could get the shot she wanted.

Since we were in a photo-taking mood, I made her go back and hit a feature that she initially declined to do.  Turns out she loved it.

Little Miss Sunshine is Enduro AF

We had so much fun, and even hung out with some of my friends that live close by.  We started talking about the local distillery, and they mentioned that the tour is pretty rad.  We realized that we still had time to make it to the last one for the day, so we bolted and got there right on time...

At the Muddy River Distillery.

The tour was cool.  Eight bucks for a small tour and the story of how they came to be.  They also give you a shot glass, and let you try eight different "spirits."  

Well shit.  We're always down for some day drinking.

Straight shots, no chaser.  We were happy.  You can only buy one bottle per year directly from the distillery (archaic NC booze laws), but you can get all you want from the local ABC stores.  We each got a bottle to go, and made plans to buy more later.  We left there feeling good for sure.

My day wasn't over yet though.  I had made plans to attend a social with pro mountain biker/badass Sue Haywood, and although I was beat ass tired I went anyway.  We drank beer and asked her questions, but I didn't really take any good photos.

Unless you think this creepy shot of me, her, and Dicky is a good one.

It was a long day, and it's difficult to pick my favorite part of it.  Oh wait, I know.  My favorite part was the graffiti in the men's bathroom I saw when I went to let out some beer.

I'm still laughing about that day, but mostly about that photo.

I am a juvenile. 

Monday, March 27, 2017

We Make Anything Fun

I took another week off from here for some reason.  Wait, I know the reason...

Who gives a shit.  I do this for fun (and mebbe entertaining you fine folks), so when I don't have a chance to post anything, I don't.  No stress for me.  Awesome.

I've actually been pretty busy.  Work has been crazy but I've also managed to have some fun.  And by fun I mean riding bikes.  Just like always, I'll start with the most recent and work backwards.  And yeah, it involves road bikes again.

I wanted an adventure that wouldn't kill me but more importantly, I wanted the little lady to join me.  I told her we would take a nice, leisurely stroll through the 'hood on skinny tires.  I wasn't completely honest though.  I had a plan, but I didn't want her to know that I'd planned on getting her to ride into the city. We started like most of my rides out of the house, with our new horse friends.

I really should take the time to learn their names.

We had a short visit since they were eating so we rolled out.  We took some nice, easy roads that had little to no traffic.  The little lady kept saying she didn't want to be out all day, so a six hour death march was out of the question.  I kept it fun though, and before we knew it we were in the city.  She was having fun still, so my plan was working.  We hopped on a local greenway to make this a much less serious ride.

Suddenly, we had to stop.  While rounding a corner we both noticed that her rear tire was flat.  We pulled over and I offered to help, but she was all, "I got this!"

A small sharp object was removed from her tire and the tube was replaced.  Moments later, we were on our way.  At this point we were just wandering around, kinda sorta thinking about heading back home.

She wasn't quite ready to go home yet though.  She wanted to hit a local brewery and knew there were a few close by.  She grabbed her phone to see which one was closest, while I looked on.

Across the street, I spotted something hilarious.  I rolled over there to investigate.

Hong Phat, you so funny.  

Just when I thought it couldn't get any funnier, I spotted a note on the door of this run-down restaurant...

"Wi'll see your soon!"

The little lady had enough of my picture taking.  She wanted beer.  We hauled ass outta there (all downhill too) and shortly we arrived at Blue Blaze Brewing. 

Beer was had...

We hung out for a while, but we had to get back home.  She didn't want to be out all day, but I "tricked" her into riding all the way into the city.  She retaliated by "tricking" me into going for beer.  

We both win.

The ride home was pleasant for the most part, until the skies opened up about three miles from the house.  It was raining hard and the temperature dropped about ten degrees...

But it was fun as hell.  

Another adventure in the books.  This riding for fun thing is definitely the way to go.

Friday, March 17, 2017

The Long Way Home

No Fun Friday today.  I know, Who Gives A Shit. I still haz stuff to talk about from my last Florida trip.  Anyway, after having lunch/dinner with our SC crew we hit the road for Saint Augustine.  We got in town a little later than we wanted to, but it didn't matter.  The little lady wanted to see one of her favorite lighthouses at night and I wanted another beer.

We accomplished our goal...

We also had dinner (not pictured) at the best restaurant in the Nation's Oldest City, Sunset Grille.  If you're ever in town I highly recommend it.  After another long day though, we were beat.  We turned in for the night and I hoped to sleep in a little.

That didn't happen though.  The little lady wanted to get up early and go to the beach.  I somehow got out of bed and within minutes we were there to watch the sun come up.

And the beach was very relaxing...

One more stop by the lighthouse and we decided to go somewhere fun.  We took a tour at the Saint Augustine Distillery.

And the tour included drinks, so that was nice.

Not drunk at all, but we somehow ended up at a nearby farmer's market playing with goats.

That was it for Saint Augustine.  We headed out of town and took the scenic route. The little lady once again requested that we stop at the beach, this time in Jacksonville.  And once again I obliged.  No beer this time, but I did feel welcome.

It was cold but that didn't matter.  The little lady was in heaven just walking around looking for shells and shark teeth.

It was getting late at this point and we needed to get home.  We decided to make one final stop at a local grocery store to stock up on Florida beer.  We really should have grabbed a bigger cart, but Little Miss Sunshine found one in her size.

What an awesome trip.  Part work, part vacation, and all fun.  We always manage to cram in a bunch of fun wherever we go and no matter what we're doing.  I wish I could do that with my "real" job.

Have a good weekend and all that.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Work Hard And Play When I Can

Day one of the Santos Fat Tire Festival was crazy.  I figured that day two would be just as busy, but maybe I would have a little down time here and there.  It wasn't much, but when there was time I grabbed my bike and took a lap on the skills course right across from the DeFeet booth.

I also brought my guitar...

I was actually really busy first thing in the morning.  I didn't think I would be at first since there was a huge ride going on (The Epic 50.)  It seemed like every time I picked up my guitar, someone showed up to look at (and buy) socks.  I didn't mind at all.  Once the riders started coming in though, the booth got busier.  Even some of the Jax crew showed up (and brought me a beer present.)

And that's when Punky took of photo of me actually working.

Or talking to Joe about his Wizard Staff.  Whatever.

Then later on a couple of the Jax boys got a tandem and rode by...

Day two was a blur.  Lots of friends stopped by and socks were flying off the table.  When the day was over, we had some beer and planned our night.  We all decided to head back out to Harry's Juicy Meats for some more steak.  We had a huge group so they had to seat us at two different tables.  We started playing pranks on each other, and somehow a round of non-alcoholic beer was brought to our table.

I drank mine.  It was nasty.  Who gives a shit.

Many real beers were consumed though, and lots of food as well.  I tried to get the crew to visit Ocala's Number One Strip Club (there's only one) but they declined.  Luckily, someone had a better idea.

Twistee Treat.  A Florida tradition.

As we hung out enjoying our ice cream, we were stuck in what seemed like a Fast and Furious movie.  We watched at those little cars (with their people) got kicked out of the parking lot next door.  Since they weren't there anymore to make asses out of themselves, we had to.

I don't even remember who took this photo.  Joel maybe?  Sorry.

Still unable to convince anyone to check out that car wreck of a strip club (I don't normally do such things) I headed off to bed to get ready for day three.  With Daylight Savings in full effect, I had a hard time dragging my ass outta bed (mebbe the beer did that too.)  After a quick breakfast I was ready to go though.  That might be because I avoided the Ocala Horse Sausage.


As soon as I got back to Santos, I setup and socks were going like crazy again.  My favorite part was the couple that stopped by to show off some DeFeet socks that they said were twenty years old.

They last almost forever.  Excellent.

Besides selling (and talking about) socks, I received many more beer presents.  I was happy.

A couple of rides on the skills course and the pump track was all I managed to get in, but I killed it for DeFeet out there.  Day three went by super fast and before I knew it, people were heading out.

We packed up and left too, but not before we had one last dinner in Ocala.

Nope, not there.  But I was intrigued.  I needed real food (and moar beer) so we hit up a good local spot that didn't have the potential of rape.

We said goodbye to our Charleston crew and Little Miss Sunshine and I headed north.  But not to North Carolina.  We had another stop to make first...

Yeah.  Tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Fat Tire Florida

Last week, I got the hell outta town and headed down to Florida for the Santos Fat Tire Festival.  No trip to Florida would be complete wihtout some alligators, so I came prepared...

We got into town and checked into our hotel for the weekend and immediately headed out to dinner with a whole mess of people (including indoor mountain bike park legend Ray.  I had one of the best steaks I've ever had in the sleepy little town of Ocala, but I didn't photograph it.  Hell, I didn't take any photos of the restaurant either.  Around the corner though, I found another restaurant that made me smile.

Lunchbox has his own restaurant down there I guess.  He is from the Sunshine State, you know.

Speaking of Lunchbox, I was down there in Florida this time for a reason.  I was working for DeFeet at the festival, selling the best socks in the world.  More important than just selling socks though, I was spreading the good word about them to anyone that would listen (it's called marketing, folks.)  That's right, I went down there to work.  It didn't feel like work though since I love doing it and I am pretty damn passionate about my favorite cycling company from the hills of North Carolina.

Anyway, Friday morning we headed out to the Santos Trail to setup, and I must say that I had my booth looking pretty damn good.

And since we were in Florida (and I already had an alligator with me) I did some "special" marketing specific to my location.

The festival didn't start until noon on Friday, but I was busting my ass selling socks and talking about DeFeet.  My favorite part was seeing the socks I'd sold getting put to good use.

That first day was crazy.  Since I was keeping track, I noticed that my sales on day one far surpassed my totals from day one of last year.  I guess they kind of sell themselves, but I'd like to think that I had something to do with it.  I worked really hard too, even though my friends were making ride plans:

I didn't mind.  I was having fun too.

The first day until ran from twelve until five, but I was worn out.  It's usually the slowest of the three day festival so if that was any indication then I had a long weekend ahead of me.  Once I packed away the merchandise a bunch of us headed out to the middle of nowhere to get some beer and fine Florida cuisine.

We ended up playing with alligators though.

Photo credit:  Punky

Well, somehow I also ended up with a new sippy cup.

I worked hard and um, played hard too.  I was worn out from day one, but I still had more to go.

So do you.  See y'all tomorrow.