This has been a very busy week consumed by work (my paying job) and budget and meeting planning for the Missions Committee that I co-chair (my volunteer job). As a new weekend begins, I am just getting around to posting about our fun but very busy Labor Day weekend. It was a long (5 day) weekend for me so the post involves, “Five Things, Plus Three!”
This weekend promises to be quiet so maybe I can catch up with several posts I have been intending to write! Hope you have a good weekend.
1) Ran Then Gave It Up, For the Near Future
As I mention in my last post, I am having issues with piriformis syndrome. I have been rolling and taking Advil, which seem to help but the problem has not gone away. I ran 3.1 miles on Thursday in a bit of discomfort. Then I foolishly ran another 3.1 miles Friday morning.
Each step hurt. I should have quit after 2 miles, but didn’t. When the run was complete, I couldn’t wait to get home. Ouch! Ouch! I am not running again for a few weeks. Not worth the risk of additional injury. I hate this because running keeps me on an even keel, both mentally and food-wise.
2) Drove to Abingdon, VA
Friday afternoon, John and I drove to Abingdon, VA to spend a few days away with some good friends. The drive, an easy 2 hours, flew by as I combed through the pages of Rick Steve’s Italy 2014 guide. Most of the time was spent reading about hotels, apartments and B&B in our destination cities. While no decisions were made, I found a number of good possibilities. Now the real work begins as I email for availability and lock down our lodging. The clock is ticking…
“Love, Virginia is for Lovers” is the state tag line (photo from a May 2014 trip)
3) Dinner at 128 Pecan
Will and Kim, our good friends from Knoxville, met us in Abingdon late in the afternoon. Early in the week, Will sent us a list of Abingdon restaurants that would meet his dietary preferences (vegetarian). We had agreed on Wildflour Restaurant and Bakery, which, by our experience, has a great farm to table menu and lots of fresh vegetable options.
As it turned out, Wildflour quit serving dinner the weekend before. Apparently the “restaurant traffic drops off with BTS, the bakery was doing too much business, hard to keep help…..” The bakery is still open, offering baked goods and serving breakfast, lunch and weekend brunch but it is too bad about dinner. Abingdon has few good restaurant choices without loosing one.
128 Pecan Restaurant (photo from a May 2014 trip)
Instead of making a restaurant plan at the hotel, we drove by about every restaurant in Abingdon (again, there are not that many), hoping to find one we could agree on. Will had his eye on Italian, we had our eye on anything but. We finally settled on 128 Pecan , a decidedly not Italian restaurant . John and I ate here in May and found it to be a very good fresh food option. We also remember that it is very pricey.
The food (and the bill ) did not disappoint. Kim and I had the daily special, trout with capers and lemon vinaigrette over an arugula-orzo salad. Yum! John had crab cakes. I think Will had the “safe” black bean burger. We shared an incredible bread pudding that used chocolate chips instead of raisins. Did I mention that until this point I did not like bread pudding?! After dinner, we headed to the Barter Theater.
4) Friday Night at the Barter Theater
One of the main reasons for traveling to Abingdon was to catch a performance of Ring of Fire: The Music of Johnny Cash at the Barter Theater. The Barter is a well-known regional theater that has its roots in the Great Depression.
“on June 10, 1933, Barter Theatre opened its doors, proclaiming “With vegetables you cannot sell, you can buy a good laugh.” The price of admission was 40 cents or equivalent amount of produce. Four out of five Depression-era theatregoers paid their way with vegetables, dairy products and livestock.” -from the history of the Barter Theater.
Playbill from the Barter Theater
Abingdon is a laid-back, causal town and the theater is no exception. A few ladies still wear dressy dresses or jackets/pants but not as many as in previous years. I had planned to be one of those ladies but Kim had on a jean skirt and t-shirt so I was easily convinced to wear jeans, a nice blouse and crop sweater (sorry, no photos). I was happy I had chosen to wear a nice blouse with my jeans for the drive to Abingdon because the only top I packed was an old black tee for the ride home (a reminder to pack for possible changes to a travel itinerary).
We thoroughly enjoyed the play. In the years we have traveled to see plays at the Barter, we have been disappointed only once (several years ago). The Ring of Fire story line was the life of Johnny Cash told through narration and his music. A very participatory audience (clapping, tapping feet, singing etc.) added to the play’s lively performance.
(photo from Barter Theater website)
5) Saturday Morning Virginia Creeper Ride, all 34 Miles
The second reason for this trip to Abingdon, to ride the Virginia Creeper , all 34 miles. Saturday morning we met Blue Blaze shuttle service at the Abingdon trail head and took the 45 minute shuttle the other end of the VA Creeper, White Top trail head. I plan to write a post on the Creeper so here are a few teaser photographs.
Happy Birthday John, you finally caught up to me (again)
6) Sunday Brunch, Another Celebration of John’s Birthday
By Sunday morning, back in Knoxville, we were a little exhausted. After a lazy morning of relaxing and coffee, we picked up John’s son, Lee and drove about 20 miles to far west Knoxville for Sunday brunch at Lakeside Tavern . Lakeside is a favorite destination for my family celebrations, Easter, Father’s Day and many birthdays.
The view of Concord Marina and the Tennessee River is lovely and the brunch buffet, amazing.
View from Lakeside Tavern’s outside patio (where we usually try to grab a table)
A plate full of goodness! My four favorite items on the buffet.
John and Me at Lakeside Tavern (picture from Easter 2014)
7) Sunday Night Dinner and UT Ball Game
Our friends Sonya and Mac had invited us to Sunday night dinner to visit and watch the University of TN game opener. Since we had cut off most fringe cable TV channels , we were happy to have the opportunity to watch the opening game, catch up with their son, Micah and view the many projects they have going on at their home (including a lovely infinity pool) .
Dinner, Mexican influenced gorditas, chips-salsa, guacamole and other such delights was delicious! Lots of conversation and laughs and UT won against Utah State 38-7. GO VOLS! Overall, a near perfect evening!!
8) Labor Day Ride on Old Walland Road, 26 Miles
By this time we were dragging a bit, our Labor Day weekend had been pretty jam packed! Probably too busy. Still, we had another bicycle ride to do, with Lee on Old Walland Road in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Old Walland Road is a favorite of bicyclists. On any given weekend day, the road is packed. It is a mostly safe and friendly road to ride with only a few anxious motorists to worry about.
Photo from the parking lot at the beginning of Old Walland Road, the parking lot was packed!
It was important to me to complete the ride without issue. I wanted to be sure my legs were strong enough to finish a 26-mile ride we have signed up for in mid-October (Smoky Mountain Wheelmen Fall Century). I know I rode the 34-mile Creeper Trail on Saturday but we stopped 1/2 way for an hour lunch and the 1st half of the trail is mostly a downhill cost so it wasn’t really a test.
The old Walland to Highway 321 bridge (below) has long since been replaced by a much larger, utilitarian bridge but the old bridge remains a favorite place to stroll and watch the Little River flow by.
John and Lee pedaling toward Townsend, TN
At 24, Lee is an incredibly strong bicyclist, much like his father was prior to John’s very serious bicycle accident in May 2013. These days John’s riding is limited and so is his bicycle strength. So when Lee decided to climb the Foothills Parkway, John and I continued on the mostly flat (as can be found in East Tennessee) road and on into Townsend. Interestingly enough, Lee climbed the Parkway, descended and still caught up with us in Townsend (about a 10 mile detour for him).
John on the Townsend greenway
My shadow on the white concrete of another new bridge over the Little River, taking the photos below.
The photos above and below are pictures of the old, one lane bridge used by motorists and bicyclists as the main entrance from Old Walland Road to Highway 321 at Townsend. I use to love crossing the bridge!
We made it into Townsend and back with no issues for a total of 26 miles (for John and me anyway). Hope to get out on the bikes over the next few weeks continue to prepare for our upcoming fall ride.
Hope you had a great Labor Day weekend. Thanks for reading!