Thursday, September 29, 2011

Countryside Jeep Ride

Bike Jeep:  Wrangler TJ
Route:  Google Maps

This post follows all three Food Ride rules, even if it breaks the unwritten 'Ride a Motorcycle' rule. But I've always thought that driving the Jeep with the top off is quite similar to riding a bike -- at least in the sense that you're out in the elements and you don't feel isolated from the environment like you normally do while caging it with the A/C on. I know I'll get there a lot faster and have more fun on a bike, but the Jeep has some obvious advantages in certain situations:  it goes places my bikes don't, it can carry things that don't fit in my pocket (including people-sized things, of which it can handle about three), I don't have to strap on a helmet or any other gear, and I can eat pizza while driving. She's been with me a long time, and I love her.

I also love The Country Bakery. That's probably obvious from a couple previous Food Ride posts (here & here), and today I was going to get some love in return. On the last visit I learned that they'll give you a free personal pizza on your birthday, so I was determined to get there for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. It ended up being somewhere in between lunch and dinner. Perfect.

I got my pizza and I also got an unexpected something extra...

BREAKING NEWS:  My beloved Country Bakery is closing! Not really... they'll reopen next week in the building on 31-E where Honey's BBQ used to be. But it feels like they're closing.


MORE BAD NEWS:  Mo's is closed!

It wouldn't be a true Food Ride if I didn't have to turn around at least once.
31-E -- not fun.

Nine-and-Three, kids.

The Country Bakery. At least it is for two more days.
FLASHBACK:  Here's a pic of the new location from a previous ride -- definitely a lot bigger!
Nice! I usually arrive too late for donuts.
Free Birthday Pizza! I'm gonna miss sitting at this picnic table in the middle of nowhere eating a fresh hot pie...
Take-out pizza for my people.
Chicks dig Jeeps with baby seats.
Sorry, I meant to say chicks dig big boxes of donuts.

VERDICT:  I don't know what to think about this. Being opposed to change in general, my initial reaction is sadness. The new location is exactly the same distance from my house and I'm sure they'll do a lot more business with so much more traffic. But my favorite thing about The Country Bakery is that it really is out in the country -- it is in the middle of nowhere! I sat outside for twenty minutes today and saw five cars on the road... and three of 'em were stopping by to pick up their own pizzas!

Also, it's a fun ride to get there. There's nothing fun about 31-E, so some of the charm will certainly be lost. There will be no more Country Bakery + Berry Patch + Kenny's Farmhouse Cheese family drives on Saturday mornings.

On the bright side, they'll have a lot more room and it sounds like they're putting it to good use. There's talk of an expanded breakfast menu and a variety of dinner items that will now be served during extended hours on Friday & Saturday evenings. Knowing how well they do donuts/bread/pastries/pizza, I'm sure they'll make a mean meatloaf.

So, goodbye Country Bakery v1.0. We'll always have the memories, and the pictures. And of course we'll visit CB v2.0 for more good country cooking. Ciao...

The Jeep hasn't made a successful pass on a two-lane road since the fall of 2000 while running north on 178 through Panamint Valley, CA... until now!
Ranger Bob's.

I've been to a wedding there. I've collected two First Place Chilifest trophies there. I like it there. But I miss Chilifest -- bring it back, Bob! Bring it back!
Corn to the left of me... Chickens to the right... Here I am...
Big Sky Country.

What do we have here?
Headin' home, eatin' pizza...

BONUS:  I came home to the coolest birthday cake ever! Well, at least the coolest cake since the last time Mindy made one for us. Thanks, Lana's Girl!


JEEP HISTORY:  We've been through a lot together...

Jeep 1.0.
Jeep 2.0.
Jeep 3.0.
BEST MOMENT:  We climbed Lippencott Road to The Racetrack in Death Valley a few times, this time with three people and three days of camping gear.
WORST MOMENT:  The Salton Sea is the stupidest place ever, but the people are friendly. The next day a Snowcat pulled her out. That wasn't cheap.

UPDATE (7/25/12):  Great news! According to an email I received today from The Hibners, The Country Bakery will be moving back to Austin on August 15th!  I know where I'm eating lunch in 21 days and again in 66 days.  I never did visit v2.0, but it will remain open in Glasgow until August 11th.

UPDATE III (8/15/12):  It's true... The Country Bakery is back!!!

UPDATE IV (4/27/13):  The Country Bakery has closed forever. Sad day. Thanks for the donuts, the pizzas, and the good times...

Last donuts. Last pizzas.


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