Life here at Ironhorse is moving along as we get better acquainted with our new job and surroundings. We are cooking dinners in the lodge five nights a week and will serve anywhere from 30 or 40 up to 90 or 100 guests per night depending on how many are onsite or if a group is in for the weekend.
We have been through most of the menu items at least twice so Chuck and Deb have been leaving us on our own for the most part. He will stop in to see how we’re doing and answer any questions that come up but we’re handling it pretty well.
There isn’t anything very difficult or technical about the meals we are serving. The hard part is timing everything to be ready and dealing with the constantly changing number of dinners reserved. We don’t like to cook too many dinners to have leftovers or throw food out so we try to cut it pretty tight on what we prepare. Guests pre-order their meals through the front desk so we have a basic idea of numbers when we go in at three or four o’clock but that number can change drastically by the time we start serving at 6:30. The numbers can even change during dinner service for late arrivals or walk-ins until we finally stop serving at 8:30. It’s always a scramble to start more entrees cooking and to make sure there are enough side dishes prepped as the numbers go up during the night. No matter how hard we try to coordinate things we usually come up one short of one entree and two over of something else. We serve desserts until 9:00 and then have about an hour or so of clean up before we head home.
We went on a nice ride with Chuck and Deb and a few of their friends on one of our days off. We went up to the Blue Ridge Parkway up near Asheville and the rode it south to where it ends in Cherokee, NC.
We stopped for lunch at the Pisgah Inn, a beautiful park service lodge with an amazing view of the Smokies. As we waited for our table the weather went from partly cloudy and blue skies to stormy, gray and overcast.
We watched a storm approaching off in the distance and could see the rain getting closer and closer as we had lunch. We felt the first raindrops as we walked out to the parking lot to leave so we put on rain gear and rode the first ten miles or so in a fairly heavy rain. It eventually stopped and ended up being a really nice ride. We stopped at the highest point on the parkway for some pictures.
Later that week we got a really nice surprise. Jim Cunningham, who I had worked with at Excelsior called to let us know he was coming down to visit and do some riding. He called on a Tuesday and got here just a few days later on Friday night. He was pretty waterlogged after riding 500 miles of the Blue Ridge Parkway in the pouring rain.
It was great to see a familiar face again and we spent Saturday just hanging out, drying his wet clothes and relaxing.
We caught up on all the news from back home and told him about our adventures on the road. Jim pitched his tent and really enjoyed the biker friendly vibe of the Ironhorse. He said the prime rib dinner on Saturday night was delicious.
He was ready to get back on the bike by Sunday to start exploring our twisty roads. We headed out for the Cherohala Skyway a scenic road that winds through the Cherokee and Nantahala National Forests into Tennessee.
It’s a very scenic ride with lots of turnouts to enjoy the endless mountain views. The roadway is in great condition, nice and smooth running up and down the mountains with a combination of wide sweeping curves and sections with tight, twisty turns.
We stopped for lunch at a little cafe in Tellico Plains, TN and then headed home on some back roads. We went over the Hiawasee Dam before hitting Joe Brown Highway back into Murphy, NC. Joe Brown was a little rough due to a recent tar and grit paving job but was like a roller coaster with quick ups and downs and lots and lots of curves. We had to work dinner that night so after a quick stop in Murphy we continued on back to Ironhorse on some four lane highways.