Let’s file this one under weird hiking finds. Admittedly, though I found this place a while ago, it’s still there, and still weird.
I was on a walk down a dirt road just outside of Carrboro NC when I noticed a path that went into the woods. It was pretty well defined and geographically I was confident it just went into a nearby park. Feeling froggy, I started down the path, over a creek, through some woods, and alongside some clearly marked “No Trespassing” signs that signaled to one side of the path was land belonging to some quarry company.
While stopping to take in the weird sparseness that exists under the canopy of a mature pine forest I noticed something off in the distance, off of the path. I couldn’t really tell what it was because of brush, but it almost looked like a structure.
As I got closer I saw what I figured must some kind of murder-hobo encampment, where surely the occupant(s) had heard my approach. I froze for a moment and took in my surroundings, looked at my options, and decided to just walk up like I owned the place.
Upon approaching I realized that this wasn’t a place of ill-will but a remarkably well put together party shack. It looked like the type of placea rag-tag group of kind of bad, but not actually bad protagonists in a young-adult adventure movie would call their home-base. There was even a sign with a phone number on it to call…weird.
I noticed a path out of the camp, so I followed that and found THIS scary ass old house, and cool old motorcycle.
This was a good hike.
Hey! Did you know that the Triathlon-A-Thon 2 is right around the corner? Check it out, we’ve almost hit our goal J Here’s the link:
Most of the time, if I’m writing about something on here, I don’t hate it. Today is an exception.
Remember all the fun we had with the Military Special Bourbon? Yeah, that was a good time. You know what’s not a good time? The Military Special Canadian Whiskey.
It is, to put it mildly, bad. It’s got a harsh nose, one single overly sweet note, and it burns like hell. The sweetness is off-putting, like someone at wherever this is made squeezed some Aunt Jemima syrup in at some point in the process because you know – Canada! Syrup! Dudley Do-Right! The label’s got a Mountie skiing – and that is the best part of this experience.
Even the kind soul that gave this to me said “this is bad.”
I’m not going to throw it out, but I’m also not going to finish it.
You know what I am going to finish? TRIATHLON-A-THON 2: THE FUNDRAISENING! Seriously, go donate, and make a difference in the lives of people who sometimes need a little help. Do it, and I’ll send you a shirt, and a koozie, AND you can come party with us on September 9th where there will be fabulous trophies.
I am pleased to announce the itinerary for the 2017 Triathlonathon! All establishments have been scouted for suitability, extensively play-tested, and given the Biscuits Whiskey & Beer stamp of approval. Drawing on suggestions from last year, the whole thing is walkable, and the times below account for that.
Without further delay, here’s the plan for Saturday September 9, 2017:
3:45 – Foosball at Bub O’ Malley’s (157 E Rosemary St, Chapel Hill, NC 27514)
5:00 – Skeeball and Prizes at Zog’s Art Bar (108 Henderson St, Chapel Hill, NC 27514)
As you can see, we end at Zog’s which is literally right next door to Time Out, home to fantastic biscuits!
1 – Make a tax-deductible donation to Residential Services pet relief fund HERE
2 – Come out on Saturday September 9 at 2:00pm, and have a blast, collect your goodie bag, and potentially win fabulous prizes. If you want to donate but can’t make it out, I will mail you your goodie bag!
3 – Feel excellent knowing you made a tangible difference in supporting an amazing cause.
Good Hops Brewing is not your typical brewery. Located in Carolina Beach, NC, Good Hops makes truly adventurous beers, and has more than just a tasting room, they provide a full-on experience for their customers. There’s a disc-golf course that winds through the pines next to the building, a spacious outdoor seating area with a stage for live music, fire-pits for chilly nights, and the indoor bar area is stocked with games and ample seating options. There’s the obligatory mug-club where locals can have their very own piece of the experience, a dedication to sustainability and charity outlined through company policies, and indicators throughout the place that Good Hops is a truly a part of it’s community. It is, without a doubt, one of the best brewery experiences I can recall.
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, lets move on to the beers. My first visit was a quick, single pour of their Kolsch. A light, crisp, slightly wheaty beer that cut through the muggy afternoon and invigorated my spirits. With only 4% ABV, this would have been an obvious choice for session consumption.
The fellow working the bar was nice, and encouraged further exploration of the offerings, but I had to keep it moving. I promised a return, and return I did.
A few days later, I dropped back by for a flight, and while all of their beers were good, holy hell that brown ale is fantastic! I also took fancy of what their website bills as “everyone’s favorite” – a golden ale with pineapple added in second fermentation. It was amazing. Not too sweet, with subtle pineapple notes, I got a growler for the return home.
Looking over their beer list, I am amazed at how adventurous their seasonal offerings get, and have no doubt that Good Hops has a bright future ahead of them. I really hope that they get some distro inland, because I would keep their beers in my fridge year round.
In other news – I got the art in for Triathlon-a-Thon 2: The Fundraisening goody bags. Looks great, is relevant to the cause of the event, and matches the style of last years t-shirt…get stoked! This years goody bag was set to be replacing the t-shirt from last year, but a few folks have asked if there would be a shirt…so once I finish the lettering and post the final art, let me know if you would want a shirt and if enough people are into it, I can look into the logistics of getting some made.
Want to learn more about Triathlon-a-Thon 2: The Fundraisening? Early details are live HERE!
On Thursday June 8, 2017 greatness was on display at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park. The feat did not take place on the field, but in the stands, in section 204, row R, seat 8. It was an unseasonably cool evening, with clear skies, and a light breeze. Under these most accommodating circumstances, a man pushed himself through physical pain, mental anguish, and against all odds turned back the clocks some fifteen years to compete with a record he set as a much younger man. This is the story of when Mike V. ate fifteen hot dogs on dollar dog night.
For those unaware, Mike V. is the 2016 Biscuits, Whiskey, and Beer Triathlon-A-Thon bowling champ, but let’s rewind even further to the early 2000’s when the Philadelphia Phillies had a dollar dog promotional night. Young Mike V. proceeded to consume 17 hot dogs, and in turn create a milestone achievement. During the 2016 Bull’s season, we discussed the possibility of his attempting to beat this record, but alas did not find the time to make it happen. With Triathlon-A-Thon 2: The Fundraisening just announced, we thought what better time to reignite the flames of competition, and have Mike make a new record attempt. I would wear a hot dog suit to act as a mascot of sorts, cheering him on, livestreaming our antics, and generally talking to anyone that would listen about the Triathlon-A-Thon, while Mike would slam dog after dog and chasing down fortune and glory in the process.
I got to Mike’s house around 5:30pm where he informed me that he had just had a slice of pizza and a garlic knot, in an effort to “get a good base”. I didn’t quite understand, but I do love pizza, so I had no judgement and took note. Before we got on the road, his loving wife looked at him and gave strong sincere encouragement, it was like something straight out of an inspirational film, it was wonderful. On the ride to the stadium we established his self-imposed ground rules:
-No beer as it would be too filling
-Must consume a minimum of 12 to maintain any semblance of self-respect
-12-15 would be deemed “a solid effort”
-18 would be the gold medal goal
So we got to the park, I put on the suit, and Mike went to work. Before the first pitch was thrown he had eaten 6 dogs, and put down a Dr. Pepper. At this point, I’m amping up the hype telling people higher and higher numbers when they ask how many he’ll eat. I figured this was acceptable as we were forging a new baseball legend, like Wade Boggs beer count on the cross country flight. In the second inning Mike’s “feeling good” and in the top of the third he goes for six more and a soda water.
Getting to an even dozen takes a toll, and the champ is hurting. He’s shaking hands, smiling, and giving kids thumbs-ups all over the place. The legend is starting take shape, but there’s a sadness in the champ’s eyes, a sadness that comes from knowing that the pain is not set to end any time soon. I’m trying to be encouraging, and eat two veggie dogs out of solidarity (it would be cannibalism for the dog to eat a regular dog). The livestreams are getting really dumb/dull, the Instagram posts are offering diminishing returns, and the time from 6th to the top of the 8th is basically the dark night of the soul for this adventure. Things aren’t looking good on any front.
Then that baseball magic happens, and our hero says “let’s go get three more, and see where that takes us.” We go, he inhales the first, starts in on the second and throws up in mouth. This is where the boys are separated from the men…Mike keeps it down, AND FINISHES THE DOG LIKE THE HERO WE NEED IN THIS MOMENT. He takes a drink, sets dog fifteen in the cup holder in front of him and says “I might be done.”
BUT HE WASN’T DONE! Despite sweating nitrates, feeling like total garbage, and almost losing dog 14, he ate number 15 on the way out of the stadium at the end of the game cold, and mushy. He didn’t have to, but he did it anyway because that’s what commitment looks like. For competing with a younger version of himself, throwing pizza and soda in the mix, I’m going to go ahead and say that Mike crushed it. Good job man.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t talk a little about the Bull Durham Beer Co. at this point. As reviewed last season, I really like their Lollygagger Kolsch (which is now available in cans!), but during this adventure I was drinking their amber. It’s a reddish looking medium bodied ale, pleasantly bitter with 5.5% ABV, and I could drink them all day. Love those guys!
So here’s my proposition to you biscuiteers, who wants to come at the champ and try to beat his record?
I’ve got a sponsor lined up for donations to Triathlon-A-Thon 2: The Fundraisening that will make donations per dog consumed…it’s a real easy way to punch your ticket to a glorious place in history, come out and give it a shot! Drop me a line if your game!
Triathlon-a-Thon 2: The Fundraisening will be coming to Chapel Hill at the end of the summer. Last year we bounced around Raleigh, had a great time, a great turnout, a great pizza sponsorship from realty expert Matt Szalecki (for all your triangle related real estate needs, check out the links below), and most importantly made a tangible contribution to supporting independent lifestyles of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
For those just tuning check out the full breakdown on the page link to the left, same great cause, awesome new events. More details on specifics to be posted here soon.
So what are we gonna do?! In response to suggestions from last year, this year’s event will be fully walkable and will include: FOOSBALL, SKEEBALL, and PINBALL. Like last year, there will be fabulous prizes in each category, and participants will receive tremendous gifts for their donations in the amount of $20 or more! Details to follow soon, but mark your calendars now for Saturday, September 9 2017! If you want to donate, but can’t make the event, that’s cool too! We will be using Crowdrise again to ensure RSI receives all donations directly, and sending out the thank you gifts to all donors of $20 or more, not just attendees.
Thanks for reading, let’s do some good and have some fun!
A month or so ago I was off on a walk down a rural route, and noticed an overgrown but accessible gravel driveway into what was once obviously a bustling center of country commerce. The driveway was overgrown enough that there was no way anyone driving by would notice, and it was far enough from any houses/neighborhoods, that no one really would have any business stumbling upon it. If it had been a week or two later when the trees were in full bloom, I might not even have noticed it. I love old country stores, gas stations, and eateries, so this well preserved discovery felt like I had uncovered Atlantis.
There was a general store, a service garage, a house where I assume the proprietors once lived, and a barn. The buildings were arranged in such a way that if you were pulling in off of the road the service buildings were all on the left, and the house was on the right. After listening for signs of life, I took to kicking some rocks around loudly to announce my presence to any creatures that might lurking inside before beginning my entry into the compound. I’ve played enough Resident Evil, read enough horror stories, and seen probably too many slasher films to be comfortable walking in alone to not pause for a couple minutes. The house was NOT getting explored alone, and the barn and garage were mostly empty, but the general store had an open, almost welcoming doorway.
Inside I found a dusty, dirty, but surprisingly preserved store, and the first thing I noticed was that there was no vandalism. There were odds and ends, an old homework assignment, some Halloween masks…wait what?!
That’s right, those old costumes with the detailed masks, and what were basically trash bags with a logo printed on them were here! I remember wearing one of these in the late 80’s before I was told Halloween was evil, and I was no longer allowed to participate. I was a “karate-man” that year, and it was siiiiick. That is until I hyper-ventilated in my mask while waiting in line for a haunted house in our neighborhood. An older kid in front of us in line had a REALLY good zombie getup, complete with blood capsules in his mouth. My dad was chatting with him, and as he showed the fake blood off, I freaked out. I was 6 or 7, and that was the last time I went trick or treating. Dammit young Charlie, why couldn’t you hang?! It was basically Stan from South Park throwing up when nervous – but real life! Maybe that’s the REAL reason I wasn’t allowed to go again…but I digress, trash-bag costumes were a part of the American Halloween experience for decades, and right here in front of me was a tiger, and a princess! So cool. I respectfully returned them to their boxes and left them to rest (rot) where I had found them.
Whilst poking about, I also found some old liquor and beer cases (empty), including some Old Crow Bourbon boxes! What a perfect segue way into talking about whiskey! Old Crow (or Dr. James Crow’s Old Crow if you want to get proper about it) is a storied, and significant member of the bourbon family tree. Billed as “the original sour mash”, it is recognized as one of Kentucky’s earliest bourbons, developed by Scottish immigrant James C. Crow. These days it is owned by Beam-Suntory, and shares the same mash bill and yeast as Jim Beam white label. The difference between the two comes from the aging and blending processes. It was favored by Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, WWII flying ace Bud Anderson, Mark Twain, Hunter S. Thompson (he loved WT, but wrote a lot about Old Crow too), Fat Mike of NOFX, the Beastie Boys, and the band Old Crow Medicine Show obviously owes their name to this venerable liquid. So knowing now that this budget bourbon is so obviously storied and revered, how is it?
Well, it’s got the color of a Werther’s Original (sp?), and it’s got a really sweet but alchololic, strong nose (seriously, this stuff smells quite loud). It’s loud and brash corn and sweetness up front, with an an afterburn worthy of its spot on the shelf. It comes in a little plastic bottle labeled as “lightweight traveler” which is a bit of a bummer, I do think it deserves the full glass bottle treatment on its history alone, but I guess that helps keep the cost down. There is also a “reserve” variety that I’d like to try at some point to see how it tastes when aged a bit longer.
So back to the store. I saw a little coffee tin, and immediately recognized the brand as something my grandparents kept around. Between the masks, and the coffee tin, I’d be willing to wager this place had sat since the late 80s. It was like a strange wormhole in time, like a museum of things you’d forgotten about from 1988. So, I’m looking around the floor, not wanting to accidentally step on anything, and spot a weird little metal bowl that’s discolored and forlorn, and decide its coming home as a souvenir. I get it home, and with a little Bar Keepers Friend and some elbow grease, it comes back to life! It now takes up a place on a bookshelf to hold knick-knacks.
So there you have it, another adventure, and another whiskey.
Til next time biscuiteers!
PS – Plans are beginning to take shape for this year’s Triathlon-A-Thon, Triathlon-A-Thon 2: The Fundraisening. In light of that, expect more content than usual to distract you at work through the summer.
I recently had the pleasure of visiting Biscuits and More in Marietta, Georgia. It’s an unassuming place, located in a strip mall, with friendly staff, and you get the sense that there is a real community of regulars. Additionally, beyond the regulars exchanging knowing glances at each other and the staff, there are newspaper articles and local sports memorabilia on the walls (including local high schools), that also give the sense that Biscuits and More is a part of the larger surrounding community as well.
I was accompanied by my grandfather for this visit, it’s his preferred spot, and we were in his neck of the woods. Having heard about it from him for some time, I was really excited, and was not let down. I stuck with what he said was a solid choice: I had a standard bacon, egg, and cheese biscuit with a small black coffee. There of course was more on the menu (it is Biscuits and More – no just capital ‘B’ Biscuits), but I kept it simple.
The biscuit itself was comparable in size to McDonalds, softer in texture, which was a surprise, but I have to say, it had a great buttery flavor, and the bacon was GREAT. Holy crap, that was a long sentence. Back to the bacon – it was crisp, but chewy, which is my preferred form of bacon. The eggs were folded over VERY neatly, and the American cheese was your standard slice. It was a solid, no frills, low-price flavor bomb, and I could’ve destroyed about half a dozen of these things.
There’s something magical about road-trip biscuits that can cause rose-tinted biscuit vision, but this wasn’t a travel-weary overhype, Biscuits and More is a legitimately great locally owned biscuit spot that means a lot to its clientele. The staff knows this, and the clientele in turn mean a lot to them.
It’s been about a year since we expanded our family unit with a brand new human, and man does it feel like I’ve discovered the secret to time travel. By adding the element of a baby into your everyday life, you too can careen through space and time! The rub here is that you can only speed things up, and go forward.
I saw my reflection in a store front window the other day, and realized that this form of time travel has had an unexpected, and rapid transformative process in my appearance. It seems that previously held notions of what was acceptable for every day casual wear have shifted from “that looks alright” to “what will hide stains, and support my back”.
Let’s take a look shall we:
Day Zero Outfit : A typical outfit worn out of the house for years prior, acceptable at the grocery store, to dinner, or to go see show (remember doing that?! You used to do that all the time!)
Black shirt featuring some kind of band related art
Black Chuck Taylor low-tops
Current Thoughts: too much black, every weird stain that comes from holding a baby is immediately obvious on this getup. Also, the jeans do not allow for holding baby-related accessories, and the shoes are fine for carrying a new-born, but not lugging a 30lb pre-toddler, and the related backpack full of supplies.
Six Month Outfit: This outfit is acceptable to wear to the store, running errands, or bopping about town. Still not all in for nights out, I was still making an effort when those would arise.
Grey Hoodie – (move up a size)
Grey shirt / plain – (move up a size)
Grey Cargo Shorts – (holding on to the same size…getting tight! Also, cargo shorts, bane of women everywhere and gift to dads from above are now my exclusive legwear)
Old Running Shoes – sorry Chucks, I’ll wear you the next time I go out (ha!), but I need some support, shoes I cut the grass in? You’re back in the rotation.
Current Thoughts: Learning to hide stains and prioritizing comfort, way to go! Getting a little bigger, but hey, its ok, you’re a dad! Those cargo shorts are killing it for holding pacifiers, bottles, and toys!
Year 1 Outfit: This outfit is not acceptable anywhere to those without kids, and is a mish-mash of whatever’s handy, but its comfy, I don’t care, and it’s getting worn EVERYWHERE
Black Shirt – (I’m still me! See! I’m wearing my old shirts…just bigger!)
Camo Cargo Shorts – (social rules be damned, the camo hides all stains and spills! Also, I’m tired of snug pants, moving up in size.)
Whatever socks are clean
Brand new Merrell’s – Old man shoes! They’re so comfy! How did I live without you?! I’m flying! I didn’t know what these were until a month ago, but now I wear them everywhere, even to work.
Current Thoughts: #Dadsohard, I am the pinnacle of dad-fashion, a doughy, sleepy, but happy guy.
This entry was a little text heavy, but if you made this far, you must’ve enjoyed it. Tune in next week for a road trip edition of Biscuits Whiskey & Beer!
I like finding weird old stuff. I like to look at it, I like to think of the adventures it may have gone through, and I like to collect it (when appropriate – I don’t go just TAKING things). One of the benefits of living where there’s big open fields like this:
Is that often times, not too far, on the edge of said fields, are weird things like this:
This particular item is, you guessed it, a fully functioning bell – that I rang. Loudly. Repeatedly.
It was made by the C.S. Bell Company in Hillsboro, OH. Fine purveyors of bells that they are (turns out they still exist! http://www.csbellco.com/), how did one wind up in woods? I did some digging and the owner of this fine parcel is a non-descriptly named LLC that had hoped to develop the plot into a subdivision called “Bellhaven Estate”. Since that obviously never happened – now there’s a giant bell in the woods. There’s no contact info on the company except for a residential address quite far from the bell’s location. I’m guessing this bell will remain in the woods until it rusts out, or is stolen by someone with such a vehicle that can transport a giant, bell that must weigh quite literally a ton.
It’s a shame really. Next time, I’ll post some more weird stuff I’ve found on hikes…ok, they’re just walks, but hikes sounds better.