Friday, July 25, 2008

Lost. And Found.

Dawn at the RV Resort. We were off to find a highly recommended, but hard to find, restaurant for breakfast. The directions I had copied seemed simple enough: "Take route 89 south from Galax to route 18 in North Carolina. Turn right, go two miles. Country Cupboard is behind Mountain _ur_." That last word, written on a napkin, had only what appeared to be the middle two letters. I thought I had abbreviated furniture, hence Mountain "Furn" when I wrote the directions.

Well, at the two-mile mark there was no furniture store. The only business was a seafood restaurant. Since we had not seen another restaurant since leaving Galax (about 11 miles back), we decided to press on.

When we arrived at the first gas station in Sparta, NC, we received a recommendation for The Pines Restaurant from a customer in answer to our question. A detailed Adler Report will follow in a couple of days--but this was a find.

After breakfast, we traveled to the Blue Ridge (Parkway) Music Center for the Friday jam session with Spencer Strickland and friends. We had met Spencer, who makes mandolins, and Gerald Anderson at their workshop, so this was an opportunity to hear Spencer play. "In 2004, he became on of the youngest contestants ever to take home the title of 'Best All-Around Performer' at the Galax Fiddlers Convention" (J. Lehman, Virginia Folklife Program). In addition, Anderson and Strickland Stringed Instruments are "greatly coveted by musicians throughout the region and the country."

Spencer (center) was joined by Scott Fore (left), an equally accomplished guitarist, for the later portion of the day's session.

Earlier in the day, Spencer had been joined by a banjo player (and his friendly beagle) and a guitarist, both of whom met Spencer for the first time and joined in. Spencer is a gifted and modest artist. He made those not on his level feel welcome to the session and brought out their best in tunes they played.

Kate was talking to a woman attending the jam session about restaurants in Sparta when the woman mentioned "a wonderful restaurant for breakfast on route 18 behind Mountain Surf." S-u-r-f. Mystery solved. What had been lost was found.


We learned that the Seattle Mariners have a rookie league team in Pulaski, so we caught one of their home games against a team in the Kansas City organization. On the way to the game, we stopped at the Draper Overlook to view this scene. It was relatively clear this afternoon.

When we arrived at the game, I noticed that the early arrivals had parked on hillsides, in a gulley, and at the most distant spots in the parking lot. There were plenty of spots near the entrance to Calfee Park. That could mean only one thing--those empty spots were prime foul ball targets. Watching the game produced many tense moments--all related to the direction of foul balls.

Since a net stretched from home plate down both foul lines, I could not take photographs during the game. I have an affinity for the grounds crew, so I included their work in this pre-game shot.

Unlike all the other organizations or businesses that purchased season box seats, this group did not identify themselves in any way other than to announce who was not welcome in their seats.

We left early with no reminders of foul ball damage.

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