Archive for January, 2011

50+129 Fix the A/C we are in Florida

Today was a day to rest up and and get ready for the weekend.

Hey, I got to hold the flashlight and pass dad his tools, so I helped!

First I had my A/C in the car failed and my dad helped me trouble shoot the problem and we found the wires going into the coil were fried. So off to the garage for a repair.

Brian took good care of my VW, Coolio and the Gang will like the A/C working

The good folks at Artic Auto Air had a used coil that they could install for $185. which is better than everyone else that would want to replace the compressor for hundreds more. Thanks Brian for the excellent service on my VW!

Steaks were the meal of the day for Dad and I and I have to say I finaly did a good grilling job on steaks, helps that Dad’s BBQ gets up to 700F

Friday off to Lakeland Florida for the PigFest BBQ Competition, meeting friends all week-end, should be a fun one!

50+124 So Glad to Meat y’all

During my trip to Florida I had the chance to meet some great BBQ peeps that I have had the pleasure to chat with over the past year or so.

My first stop on the way in to the fun in the sun was Salisbury North Carolina where I was so happy to meet a lady (and her fam) that has inspired me to become the BBQ writer that I am becoming. Cyndi Allison is a teacher that uses her BBQ and Cooking blogs more as a hobby rather than a full time gig but she is excellent at her craft.

Cyndi Allison & son Eli on Left, Eli's dad and myself on other side at Winks BBQ

Cyndi has two sons Caleb (who was away at school) and Eli pictured sharing a meal with us that is a local hero that savea young man from drowning at the Bull Hole a year and a half ago, Eli received many awards for his bravery, but beside that he is a great kid that never fails to make his momma proud.

This is the famous Bull run where Cyndi's son Eli saved a young boys life!

Here is Eli at the Bull Hole but the water is very low now compared to that day a year and a half ago.

Eli’s Dad Jimmy was kind enough to drive them and the smoker I won through Cyndi’s blog Barbecue Master to my room at the Days Inn (Salisbury NC) and then drive us around town for a tour of the great town and point out some places of interest including eateries and historic buildings.

The next day Cindy, Eli and myself met up with John Sherwood aka Sir PorkaLot on twitter along with Wayne Brown that uses the name BrownKW on twitter.

We met at what may well just be one of the most popular BBQ joints in the country Lexington #1 in North Carolina.

John Sherwood aka SirPorkaLot with his son

Wayne Brown and his Peach Cobler

The six of us enjoying 3 hours of good times at Lexington BBQ

We all had such a laghing good time, with lots of blog material for all.

A couple of days later I traveled to Fitzgerald Gerogia to spend an evening with Micheal and Steph Baxter of the Pemium Smoking Wood company Baxter’s Original and soon to be Competition BBQ team.

Michael and Stephanie Baxter of Baxter's Original, helping me drink the Carolina Blonde's that Cyndi passed my way.

Michael Baxter and I with the smoker built on a 1950 Ford Pick-up

Michael points out his buddy Glen that is the master welder that put together the 1950 smoker above

The Baxters were very kind to put me up for the night and we had a great time during my visit before I carried on to see my Parents in Fort Myers Florida. I have to say that I have not had so much fun as I had with these other BBQ folks. They made me laugh but I also repect them all for the people that they are, each having special qualities.

I have to say that the person that coined the phrase “Southern Hospitality” came up with something that describes all of these people to a tee!

I never felt so at home though before this day I never had met any of them in person before.

As any of my other friends that have in interst in BBQ already know the members of the BBQ community are an amazing group that will go to the wall for you, and I for them too.

50+123 Made it to Salisbury North Carolina

This is the first leg of my Trip to Florida, I made plans to pick up the Masterbuilt Electric smoker that I won on Cyndi Allison’s Barbecue Master Blog a few months back since Masterbuilt’s contest could only ship within the United States I had to make arrangements to have the smoker delivered in the USA.

I could have had it shipped to my parents in Florida directly but I thought it would be better promotion if we could get a picture of Cyndi presenting the smoker in person. (I will cover this in more detail in my Oshawa Ogre’s Views, News and BBQ’s Blog in the near future)

Being that Salisbury North Carolina is pretty much half way between Oshawa and Fort Myers Florida, this seemed like a no brainer.

Normally I fly down to visit my parents but since I now have a very fuel-efficient VW Jetta TDI Diesel I wanted to drive down this year anyways, I really enjoy driving and the fact that I was going alone did not bother me since I could enjoy listening to tunes on my new Freeway DVD Car stereo that I just got for Christmas.

Seeing that it is a 13 hour drive according to Google maps I wanted to hit Salisbury between 5 and 6 pm and in order to make that dead line (had dinner plans arranged with Cyndi and her family at a local BBQ Restaurant ( more on that later too) I needed to leave Oshawa at 3am on Friday morning Jan. 21st Argggggh that is my normal time for going to sleep!

Being a huge Toronto Maple Leafs fan I had to watch the Leafs Ducks game and that went til 10 pm  so I did not get to sleep til 11 pm and had my alarm set for a way to early 2am wake up alarm.

But I did get up and have a shower to wake myself up and was out the door at 3am, though I went to top up the fuel on my car and wouldn’t you know it I picked a station with a big line up at the pumps (mostly taxi’s) so I did not get on the highway til 3:20.

As you see above Coolio and the gang were fresh and ready for the drive, though I wonder why penguins would want to go down south, maybe they thought I was going to South Antarctica?

Why the penguins you may ask?, It is a bit of a long story that I will cover in a future post, so stay tuned for that one.

As you can also see from my pic above it was snowing when I left Oshawa but the worst of it came when I was in the Niagara Falls area and through New York State and Pennsylvania when I Drove through Blizzard conditions 4 different times and if not for the tail lights of the cars in front of me I think I would have drove right off the road like many others that I had seen do.

Further south you would expect it to get better right?…. Wrong!

Road conditions were terrible even though the snow stopped falling except for flurries the odd time through West Virgina, the amount of roads that were still snow covered would make your head (and my tires) spin.

It is a good thing I bought new Snow tires a couple of days before my trip my old all season tires would have put me in the ditch or worse for sure!

I did not stop seeing snow on the ground and still on the roads for that matter til I was well into Virginia! and to top it off I saw the remains of at least 4 tractor trailers that had jack knifed rolled over or was facing the wrong way on the Interstates.

I will say this, I normally drive I75 to go to Florida which is a very boring drive and a lot of big cities to drive through with traffic, but the trip from Oshawa to Salisbury NC was (except for the snow) a scenic drive and I enjoyed the landscapes that I had not seen before.

Remember I said I wanted to be in Salisbury for 5pm? well I pulled into the Days Inn at 5:15, and I would have been even earlier if I had not missed a couple of exits that my GPS was ordering me to take, But I must say that Garmina does have a nice British accent, If I would have listened to her!, I did say I like listening to my tunes while driving and the car was kind of rockin’ out!

After unpacking the car I called Cyndi and she along with Jimmy and her son Eli drove over to the hotel and dropped off the smoker and some very nice gifts from local NC  product producers, but before looking at those we went to have a great dinner (just as much the company as the food) at Winks BBQ not too far from the Days Inn here in Salisbury.

I will review them more on my BBQ Blog when I get a chance to write that but as you can see above we had some great BBQ (I found out that I liked Fried Ocra! (did not even know what it was) and I found out that Hush Puppies actually do taste great and I do like them! (after a bad first impression of them back in Oshawa) Helps when they are fresh and not reheated from frozen Buster Rhino’s North Oshawa!

I also had Chopped Pork with a vinegar based sauce which was very good, the sauce is different from what I am used to in Canada but still tasty, though if I am totally honest I think I like the pulled Pork with ironically the Carolina Sour sauce with Slaw on top from Rubbs Barbecue better.

Cyndi’s family is not huge on slaw so when they asked for no slaw I kind of got the same treatment. I will say this though the portions served were more than enough for us all and we ordered the small plates!

After dinner Cyndi pointed out to me at the back of Winks that they are stick burners which means they cook using chunks of wood for fuel not gas, electric or charcoal. It made for a great flavour in the pork.

Jimmy then drove us around for a tour of Salisbury and by their recommendations I have Breakfast planned at another BBQ Joint that has a fantastic biscuits and gravy I am told. I also was shown the Catawba College that Cyndi teaches at and it is a beautiful campus for sure.

Back to the Days Inn and we Took promotion photos for the Smoker and exchanged some gifts from our local areas mostly BBQ Items but also some other local items that both of us will enjoy including sauces and rubs that we can review for our own blogs in the near future.

Cyndi was able to write a blog post within an hour and a half of leaving here on her Barbecue Master Blog.

I started to write but I was preoccupied with a Carolina Blonde!

I had better explain that lol, Cyndi gave me a six pack of a locally bottled beer that is called Carolina Blonde as pictured below and I must say that beer has a wonderful taste, and this is being said by someone who does not like american beer, but this rivals anything I get in Canada.

Well been a very long day I need some rest, I have been awake for over 24 hours now and I will be going to meet more BBQ peeps tomorrow at Lexington 1 BBQ and may also do some sight-seeing around town.

I have more pics that I wanted to add in this post but working on this little netbook is proving difficult, I will try more later on.

50+110 I am sick, but others are even sicker

Here I am only 13 days away from leaving for my trip to Florida and I am fighting a terrible cold, started a couple of days ago with a slight stuffy nose and a bit of a cough but Thursday it hit me like a ton of bricks.

Hot & cold flashes headache and while taking the garbage to the curb I ended upchucking 5 times, not a pretty site (No pictures to share either as I would like my readers to read me in the future as well.)

I hope that by the time I am ready to leave on the 21st I will somewhat healthy but I know from previous experience that my colds tend to linger for up to 6 weeks, mostly my cough more than anything else.

But there is so much to do around the home before I go not to mention taking care of my business also.

But as sick as I am from my cold there are people in this world even sicker and they are people like the 21 year old goofball that decided to try and kill a Congresswoman in Arizona today. After shooting her in the head at pointblank range he turned the gun on others killing at least 5 and putting a few more in critical condition before he was tackled.

What in the world would cause a person to want to inflict pain like that on others?

Even if you dislike a person due to political/religious views or because you just do not get along, why not work out differences in a nicer way that does not include violence.

That is the news, now on to the weather…

Yesterday I had to drive to Belleville to pick up a load of paper and about half way there I drove through a blizzard for about 15 minutes and as you can see by the sign I passed “roads can be slippery” but the VW held it’s ground and there were no accidents in the sudden change in conditions.

 

And we will end this newscast turning to Sports with a quick note on my Toronto Maple Leafs.

After winning 6-5 over St Louis on Thursday night and having to fly down to Atlanta to play the very next night against a good team like the Thrashers, everyone was prediction that the Leafs would be on the losing end but low and behold the Toronto team played one of their best games in years and destroyed the Thrashers 9-3 and scoring 9 consecutive goals in the process, 4 of them power-play goals on a single 5 minute penalty to Ben Eager for punching Colby Armstrong with a glove on sucker punch closing his eye. Eager received a match penalty and afterward got an additional 4 games from the National Hockey League

 

50+105 Having a good mechanic you can trust is a good thing

I like to do a lot of my own car repairs and scheduled maintenance such as Oil changes, tune-ups, brake jobs and other minor work, however I also know that I can not do it all myself.  Today was one of those days.

On Friday the 31st of December we were working on one of our cars and I was replacing the rear brakes and we made the mistake of putting the jack under a suspension part rather than a solid part of the car causing a bend in the part, to make matters worse we put the jack stand under a tracking arm which is not as strong as it looks and the weight of the car distorted that part pretty badly.

We knew we needed to replace at least one of those parts but being New Years Eve there was no way I was getting parts til today at the earliest.

but in trying to remove the bent tracking arm we found that the bolts were not going to loosen with the tools I had on hand. so the car say til today.

I found my mechanic that use anytime that I need work done that I can not handle on my own, Terry over at Custom Brake & Exhaust on Simcoe Street in Oshawa, I brought it over to him and Terry brought in the part and replaced it for me, cost me a couple of hundred dollars but now the car is fine again.

Terry and the Owner Pat at Custom has always been very fair with me and I have complete faith in their work and that they do not over charge me for work that needs to be done.

I saved enough on doing the brakes all the way around the car that it covered the repair, but at least lesson was learned, we need to make sure to jack up a car in the correct fashion.

50+103 Happy New Year

2010 don’t let the door hit you on the way out. I am ready for the challenges that will be coming in 2011.

Was 2010 the best year ever?, no, there were some problems to over come and some are on going and I had to say good bye to a friend that was my accountant, Mark Hendrikx we miss you!

My Sports teams in Toronto are still having their share of problems  except for the Argos that had a good year though I am not much of a football fan.

But I also had a lot of fantastic things happened to me in 2010.

I ventured into writing again after a layoff of 6 months and also found social networking which has helped my business as I found some new customers through it, but more important I made some friends that are great people.

While some people do not agree with how social networking is taking over in the communication world. this past year has opened my eyes to it and I have made friends all over the world from North Carolina to New Jersey to Georgia to California  and far away places like the Netherlands and even some close by in Newcastle and Whitby.

Even though I will never meet most of them and some I will I hope, all of them are dear friends and will continue to be for years to come.

Happy New Year !!!