Sunday, March 25, 2007

Highway 9 is nice!

This weekend I had the opportunity to go back and see Highway 9 again. If you've read my blog in the past, you know I went there last year and was disappointed by the horrible condition of the road surface. It had been "resurfaced" with a layer of dusty chat. Since then, it's had a year of time and traffic to pack down the layer of loose mess and it's returned to a fun road to drive. I would still highly caution motorcyclists to use extreme caution taking this road as there are spots of loose rock in some of the curves.

The change of seasons was noticeable and beautiful with the vast of hues of green, and with several overlook points you can see views that rival some of the best I've seen in the state. As it's a small, not heavily traveled stretch of road, there are no markers for the overlook spots, but if you watch for the wide shoulder areas on the right (heading north) you can stop for a moment to take it all in.

I did take advantage of a chance to get a picture of one of the most beautiful sights all day long. Those signs always make me smile.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Old Becomes New

Captain D's restaurants just recently opened a new location in our area and closed their old one. It's a good thing too. The old store was the type where you'd go through the drive-thru because you really just didn't want to see inside of the place. It had been there for many years and while it wasn't falling apart, it had such a coat of grease on everything and in every little nook about the only thing that could cleanse it would have been a dump truck of bleach. Maybe it was a candidate for that cleansing by a good coat of fire. I'm not sure what will happen to the old building, and while there's a little pang of nostalgia for the years I went there as a kid, I don't think it's disappearance would be a bad thing. But if someone else were to open a restaurant there, I'd recommend a sizable investment in cleaning solvents.

On to the new location. They've added a few grilled selections to their menu, which I ordered from this evening. The grilled Tilapia had a good flavor and the portion was more than adequate for me. It is served on a bed of rice, which while on the very mild side, was still flavorful enough to go well with the fish without overpowering it. As I'm trying to avoid the battered and deep fried world, I think it's a good alternative and will give me another choice on the list of fast food places I don't have to avoid.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

I forgot a restaurant!

I somehow managed to forget a restaurant on our trip to Atlanta. After our stop at the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum, we had dinner at Santa Fe Cattle Company in Moody, Alabama. It was a good family restaurant with a fairly varied menu. The cheddar soup was good, as was the salad and grilled shrimp. At least the shrimp was as good a quality as to be expected that far inland.
What really stood out was the ceiling fan. It was labeled by the company name "Big Ass Fans." It was pretty huge, and since the ceiling wasn't all that high, it was a little strange if you looked up. Somewhat distracting but definitely added to the character of the decor.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Weekend in Atlanta - Part Two

It's taken a few years, but I think I've found a hotel chain that I can feel pretty confident if I reserve a room, I won't be terribly disappointed upon arrival. We stayed at the Country Inns & Suites in Atlanta; this was the second location in the area we've visited. (I would provide a link to the exact location but their website is down at the moment.) The hotel is new, the staff there was exceptionally friendly, the rooms were quiet and the breakfast was good. The thing I like about this particular chain is that I have almost come to expect this level of service at all their locations. Amazingly enough, I've yet to be disappointed. The price is always moderate, the rooms quiet and spacious enough and all seem to be well maintained. This particular location had the best iteration I've seen of the hotel "night light." Usually they consist of a flickering orange light tied to a light sensor but this one didn't flicker and had an on/off switch. I also like hotels that have the curved shower curtain bar. It keeps the curtain from blowing in and sticking to you when you're showering. Maybe it's just my inner germ freak coming out, but the idea of a shower curtain that's been rubbing on several someone else's smelly bodies as they shower then blowing back on me just has no appeal whatsoever. The shower curtain isn't an item I would expect to be changed out or even cleaned top to bottom between every single guest. I really should never take one of those CSI type flashlights into a hotel room if I ever want to travel again.

While I was very pleased with the hotel, I'm struggling for positive words about the Georgia World Congress Center. The phrase "completely chaotic nightmare" immediately comes to mind, followed by "a vast monstrosity" and the notably inadequate signs for anything of consequence. I won't even go into the pain that is parking. There were numerous events at the facility, all going on at once and several were of similar interest areas, just adding to the confusion. I saw a lot of frustrated and utterly lost looks from others trying to find their way to an obscure location like "Building C, Rooms A through G." The bright spot in the locale was an unexpectedly good lunch. I had thought lunch that day would be an overpriced hot dog, chips and a bottled soda. Instead, we stumbled upon a food court of sorts with a nice variety of options available. I had a very good BBQ Brisket sandwich and bottled water (priced at the expected overcharged rate of $10 of course.) Avoid the Minestrone Soup though; my mom made the mistake of buying it first and I think someone who is on a low-salt diet might end up hospitalized after just one spoonful. Just around the corner was an Italian restaurant, with a full buffet for just under $20. It smelled good enough to make me wish I were still hungry.

The International Motorcycle Show, once we found it, was packed full of people and bikes of every flavor. Despite roaming through display after display and trying several to see how they fit, I've not found that elusive bike that says "take me home" yet. The Moto Guzzi did have a lot of appeal, but we'll see.

For dinner we went to Houck's Steak & Seafood Restaurant. I would highly recommend it! While I may be minding my girlish figure, I couldn't pass up sampling something called "The Best Shrimp in Georgia." It was really good shrimp, I'll give them that. The pork tenderloin was very good and the Red Velvet Cake made the entire trip worthwhile. What was most notable were the portions. Normally restaurants like to load plates with enough for three people, or they go the opposite extreme and provide about two bites, just to taunt your taste buds. The portions here didn't leave any of us hungry, they were sized just about right. It was a little out of the way to find but a sign just inside the door indicated they would be moving this spring to a new location. If you're in the area, I would suggest making a dinner reservation at Houck's anytime.