I met Greg this afternoon at 12:30 p.m. to head up to Atlanta to see the Braves’ home opener against the Washington Nationals. We took his car and headed up towards GA 300 taking the back roads through Calvary, Cairo and Camilla. Greg said he had a couple of places he wanted to stop on the way to the game but that we would make it in time to see the first pitch.
When he made it to Camilla we stopped in at Popeye’s Chicken for a quick lunch. I was starving as the only thing I had eaten was a bowl of mini-wheats. I grabbed a two piece chicken meal and a biscuit for $1.99 and a coke. Piping hot fried chicken is delicious and this inexpensive and tasty meal hit the spot.
We continued on our way and as we approached Lake Blackshear outside of Albany, Georgia we made our second stop at Bryce’s BBQ. Greg said that the boneless rib sandwich was great and I ordered one. The women behind the counter took a section of ribs, pulled the bones out and placed it on two slices of white bread along with some sauce. The sandwich was then wrapped in wax paper and handed over.
I had had Bryce’s chopped pork before and was curious to see how the rib sandwich compared. We ate our rib sandwiches outside at a picnic table and it was really good. The ribs were perfectly cooked and had a wonderful smoked flavor. It was as good as their chopped pork and next time I stop at Bryce’s it will be hard to pick which one to have.
Back on the road we made our way to I-75 and headed north through Perry, Macon and Forsyth. Just before we got to Locust Grove we exited and headed towards Jackson, Georgia. Greg said he wanted to pick up a couple pounds of chopped pork from Fresh Air Barbeque. When we got to the restaurant a sign said they had been in business since 1929. The only option on the menu was chopped pork. They also had some sides including Brunswick stew that Greg said was amazing. He ordered his two pounds of pork (for dinner tomorrow) and I ordered a chopped pork sandwich. The lady behind the counter mounded chopped pork on a piece of white bread, covered it with a Piedmont style bbq sauce.
I unwrapped my sandwich and took a bite. The pork was very good and the sauce added just the right amount of flavor. On the table was a another bottle of the sauce. I added a little more to my sandwich out of the “hot” bottle and noted that it was thin and made with vinegar and tomatoes. I took a bit and thought it had just the right amount of spice without being too hot. Overall, Fresh Air Barbeque Place did not disappoint.
Once we got back onto I-75 we hit some traffic that slowed our progress to Turner’s field. After snaking our way into the city we took Exit 246 and started to look for the green parking lot. The cars slowly crept under the Olympic torch and eventually we made our way to our lot. We parked in what used to be Atlanta Fulton County Stadium and quickly walked to the stadium. I could hear the National anthem being played and did not think we would see the first pitch. Luckily we found a short line of people entering the stadium and made it onto the concourse behind the terrace seats in time to see Derrick Lowe throw it.
Our seats were in Section 212 underneath the overhang and offered a great view of the action. Even with the threat of thunderstorms looming the stadium was almost full. The Nationals scored the first run of the game in the top of the 3rd inning but the Braves took the lead in the bottom of the 3rd when they scored 3 of their own. Rain began to fall in the 4th inning and the game was soon suspended.
For the next 2 hours and 2 minutes Greg and I sat in our seats watching the lightning, thunder and hail. It was some wild weather and we had decided that we would stick it out until play resumed. The Braves took the field a little before 10:45 p.m. and we stayed until the bottom of the 5th. We wanted to watch the entire game but with a 4 hour drive ahead of us we thought it best to depart.
On our way out I stopped to buy Becks a new Braves t-shirt. I grabbed a cool red one with the Braves tomahawk logo on the front. Even though I did not get to stay for the entire game it was still a lot of fun driving up to Atlanta, sampling some great bbq and seeing the Braves open the 2009 season.
Sweet Tea & Bourbon’s Rating:
Atmosphere: B+ (I love road side stands and screen porches)
Sweet Tea & Bourbon’s Rating: