Sunday, December 25, 2011

Waffle House (Bowling Green, KY)

Bike:  Buell XB9R
Route:  Google Maps

This probably isn't what the fine folks at GoPro had in mind for their cameras and it's not what I planned on doing for Christmas lunch, but my lovely wife got me a HD Hero2 for Christmas and I have to test it out. Immediately. It's warm enough to ride and the only place I know to be open for lunch on Christmas day is Waffle House. So, I'm going to Waffle House.

We're quite fortunate to have two Waffle Houses within a half mile of each other here -- one on each side of I-65 Exit 22. And with absolutely no traffic on the city streets, it was kinda cool to ride around town for a few minutes making noise with the Buell. I threw the original HD Hero in my pocket so I could compare pics of food...

[NOTE:  If you plan on going to Waffle House on Christmas Day for some weird reason, plan on waiting for a seat! Business is good when you're the only business open.]

Christmas Traffic I.
Christmas Traffic II.
'Crossing The Bridge' = 'Going To Town'
Christmas Traffic IV.
If every day was Christmas, I'd come to town a lot more often.
Christmas Traffic V.
Christmas Traffic VI.
Christmas Traffic VII.
Here's a Waffle House, but it's not my Waffle House.
Here's my Waffle House on the other side of the bridge.
America... **** yeah!
Steak & Eggs + Scattered, Smothered, & Covered.
[GoPro HD Hero2]
Steak & Eggs + Scattered, Smothered, & Covered.
[GoPro HD Hero]

VERDICT:  No matter where you are, Waffle House is Waffle House!

I'm more interested in the camera than the food. After looking at these pictures I'm not sure what to think. My initial impressions are that the new camera produces a higher quality picture, but the field of view seems narrower and the colors less vibrant. I'm gonna have to play with it some more...

Old Scottsville Road features the best six miles of twists, turns, hills, and fence rows in Warren County.
This the end of The Esses.
Christmas Traffic VIII.

The Mid-Ohio Complex.

The Double Dipper.

Rolling hills of Kentucky.
Real Christmas Traffic!!!

Headin' home...


UPDATE (12/26/11):  I played with the cameras some more to better compare the shots from the GoPro HD Hero and the HD Hero2. There are three sets of unedited pictures below. The camera housing was set on a mini-tripod and I just swapped the cameras out, so the location and angle is exactly the same for each set. The Hero2 images were all taken in the 11MP Wide setting -- 5MP Wide offered the exact same field of view, while the 8MP Medium & 5MP Medium settings provided a progressively smaller field of view.

Three things occur to me:
  1. The field of view is wider on the Original Hero images. ***I don't know why, but it seems like more is cut off the right side of each Hero2 image than the left?
  2. The colors are more vibrant on the Original Hero images.
  3. As expected, the 11 megapixel Hero2 images are more detailed than the Original Hero's 5MP photos.

For those who understand photography (I don't -- that's why I love the GoPro), I did notice some differences in the image details between the two cameras. These things might explain the differences I noted above. If so, feel free to explain it to me!
  • F-stop:  f/3.6 (Hero) vs. f/2.8 (Hero2)
  • Max Aperture:  3.7 vs. 2.8
  • Focal Length:  5mm vs. 2mm

I don't really care about the difference in colors, as I like to pump color into the images later anyway. But I'm disappointed in the narrower picture. There were plenty of pictures from this Buell ride that didn't even show the sky. It might be OK for the KTM since the riding position is more upright, so I guess that'll be the next test.

I know most people use these cameras for video, and I haven't tested that so I have no opinion. I can say the Hero2 is a lot easier to use -- the menu settings are much easier to navigate and understand. I'm looking forward to seeing how the battery life compares, but it might be a few months before I have a long enough ride to figure that out.

Hero on the left.
Hero2 on the right.
Hero on the left.
Hero2 on the right.
Original Hero on the left.
Hero2 on the right.

UPDATE (1/27/12):  It's been acting like Winter lately, so no riding lately. Meanwhile... GoPro says the Hero2 handles low light conditions better and I've seen some videos that seem to support that assertion, so I thought I'd do a few more comparison photos from the same tripod in various environments. Once again, the Original Hero image is on the left and the Hero2 is on the right. Obviously, the Hero2 does not handle the low light conditions very well in photo mode...

Home Cafe's Fried Gator Po' Boy.
Home Cafe's Kung Pao Pizza (to go).
In good light the differences aren't so pronounced.

UPDATE (1/30/12):  It warmed up and I finally got a chance to test both cameras while riding in the same conditions. While I remain disappointed with the reduced field of view, the Hero2 definitely produces a clearer image while on the move...

GoPro HD Hero vs. HD Hero2.
GoPro HD Hero vs. HD Hero2.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Smoke Shack BBQ (Scottsville, KY)

Bike:  KTM Super Duke R
Route:  Google Maps

68 degrees in December? No rain? Gotta ride!

Over the past few weeks I've had some people mention The Smoke Shack in Scottsville. Like Dunn's in Franklin, I haven't been able to find much information online. But I did find out they're open Wed-Sat, and today is Wednesday, and it's close enough to fit into a weekday lunch break. So I'm off for some BBQ...

All the leaves are down [All the leaves are brown]...
And the sky is grey [And the sky is grey]...
There were plenty of bikers out enjoying our best December day.
Hey, that looks like a perfectly good helmet!
I have to admit, I like the red and that sure does look comfortable...
Speaking of red, I've never ever seen this light turn green.
Scottsville, KY.
Here we are...
KTM Super Duke R. I love her.

The view from Table #1. If you visit during the lunch hour, expect to wait in line.
Table #2.
Dipped Pork Shoulder.
Sprinkled Ribs (minus the big one I already ate) & Vinegar Slaw.

VERDICT:  I smelled the BBQ when I was half a mile away. Love it. 

They have two tables and a total of five chairs, so this is a place where you come to pick up your food -- it's not a place where you bring the family for a sit-down meal! There's nothing wrong with that, and if you don't call ahead you can expect to wait in line when you get here. While I occupied one of those tables for lunch there was a constant stream of carry-out customers and I was never alone in there.

When people talk about The Smoke Shack, they talk about the sauce. It's a spicy vinegar deal... real spicy. When you order any of the smoked meats, you can get them dipped in the sauce or just sprinkled with the sauce. There is a considerable difference!

The Dipped Shoulder was excellent. The only place I've had anything similar is the famous Smokey Pig in BG. It doesn't seem so spicy at first, but it'll get ya. The Vinegar Slaw is surprisingly sweet and very welcome while you're trying to cool off. The Ribs are big Spare Ribs like they sell at Split Tree or Old Hickory, but unlike those places a sweet Tomato-based BBQ sauce is applied after they are smoked. And you can still get them dipped or sprinkled, of course. While I prefer Baby Backs with a wet sauce like the ones at Wildfire, I gotta say these Sprinkled Ribs were really good -- mostly because I loved the way they were cooked, leaving a slightly crunchy bark at the tips and a nice smoke ring all around.

Now that I know how close this place is, I'll be back soon...

Earl G Dumplin's -- home of the Baby Bakers.

I wasn't exactly lost, but I definitely went a few miles in the wrong direction after lunch.



Straight [Amish?] Gangsta ****.

Headin' home... running just a little late.


UPDATE (12/16/11):  OK, so I'm back even sooner than I expected. I told a friend who was cruising through Scottsville today that he should stop by The Smoke Shack and try the Dipped Shoulder. He later sent me a picture of the sandwich and told me it was the best advice I ever gave him. Considering that I've known him for over twenty years, I'm not sure how to take that. Of course, this meant I had to go back for some more of my own...

I think these pictures speak for themselves. But I have to point out that the Pork Chop Plate contained three Pork Chops and two Sides for $6. It's definitely a meal for two, and it's such a great value that I wonder if they accidentally threw in an extra Pork Chop?!

48 hours later and proper December weather is back -- rain, sleet, and snow flurries.
Dipped Pork Chops, Potato Salad, & Vinegar Slaw (to go).
Sprinkled Chicken Breast, Mayo Slaw, & Baked Beans (to go).
Smoke Shack Sauce (one pint).
I'm gonna dip everything I eat for the next week...