Ramps and Bacon and Cornbread…OH MY!

By: chesshirecat

May 09 2009

Category: Uncategorized


Focal Length:7.5mm
Shutter:1/0 sec
Camera:FinePix S5000

Flag Pond TN. and Other Great Places!

What a unique name…Flag Pond. I’ve seen its name posted for an off ramp on I-26. I’ve always wanted to visit the place, and now…I have.


I’m kinda doing something about checking the small communities out right here in my own backyard. It’s been raining for almost ten days straight, so today I just said to heck with it. I’m tired of being shut up in the house, and here is Flag Pond…just 30 miles to the south of me as the crow flies…and they are cookin’ up a mess of RAMPS! I gotta go…I don’t give a damn about getting wet…I am not made of rice or worried about the chrome on my bike. None of that really matters, since it’s been over six weeks since I washed my bike last anyway. After a couple thousand miles (coming up on three thousand now), my bike looks like a rat bike with all the oil sticking on her sides…

All right…do you guys know what ramps are? I didn’t. I posted something about a ramp festival up in West Virginia. Someone came back and told me what they were and what to expect at a ramp fest. Well….I’m gonna tell you guys what a ramp is…and why it’s such a big deal up here in the Appalachians!

“Well, a ramp is a little wild onion that grows on top the mountains ‘round here. A lot of people, they eat them raw. We’d cut them up, put them in eggs, put fatback in there and fry them up real good. A lot of people pickles them things. I guess I’ve eat a thousand bushels of them things. They won’t kill you. I freeze a few. I told you I can everything but I do freeze a few ramps so I can have them year ‘round. But I like them. They’re awful good.”

— Haywood County resident and storyteller Carl Presnell, from the CD recording of An Unclouded Day: Stories and Songs of the Southern Appalachian Mountains (used with permission from the NC State Humanities Extension project called The North Carolina Language and Life Project).

I’m telling you, I was excited about coming to Flag Pond to join in with their festivities of the day!

I downloaded the directions; I hate those directions from Google any more. Lately here, I have been given street names that are not even worthy anymore. Not even on the map anymore…except theirs. ARRGH…you know I turned around once…thinking I had missed the road I was to turn at…found a couple of local ladies working in their home garden…hollered down at them, asking how to get to the road I was looking for. Nope these gals have never heard of the road, but they asked me where I was heading… “Flag Pond….” “…AWWWW Gal just stay on this road…it’s straight ahead. Just bear to the left at the Y…and you’ll be in Flag Pond.” I smile and thank them profusely…you know you have to really be nice…they were nice enough to stop their work to help you…Off I go…I’m smiling…what a great ride this is turning out to be.

I’m on Hiway 19W heading south toward Asheville NC. Not far ahead, I come to Flag Pond… the festivities are at the Elementary School…it’s not hard to spot. Flag Pond doesn’t appear to be much larger than a few blocks or so…but its people are sure friendly…helpful…and gosh darned happy!

Pulling into the parking lot… (The front lawn of the school) I’m stopped by a friendly parking attendant, who tells me she’s not going to charge me for parking! She loves my bike! Man sometimes I love being on a bike. I pull forward and find a great parking spot up ahead.

I’m off the bike and walking up a slight incline toward the lines I see ahead…I can also hear music…country music…ahhh OK.

Up ahead under a canopy are a batch of gals…line dancing I guess…its entertainment. Uh huh…all the same, the gals must have worked hard to learn the steps and keep in line with each other…I clapped when it was appropriate to do so…they were all such nice gals anyway…and deserved it!

I was following my nose…oh my lawrd…it smells sooooo GOOOD! I’m being inspected by the crowd…I’m not local…and I’m dressed like a biker in a T Shirt and chaps. Hell I’ve seen lots of folks here wearing biker T’s…most are in pick up trucks, hauling kids, and HD stickers on rear window. But the food is smelling soooo fricken good!

I walk over to the food line…it snakes all around the parking lot…I by pass all the people in the line…walk over to where they are serving the public…check it out…then down the line to see where they are cooking the Ramps, tators, bacon, soup beans (red beans), corn bread, cole slaw, pickles….I need a bib.

All these people are watching me cut in front of them, by passing the line…but once they figure out I’m only there to get pictures of the food…they quickly forgive…and even become helpful with displaying the items… Oh did I mention the meal above…with all that good stuff was $7.00 and it includes a soft drink too.

I stuck around for the Ramp eating Contest, and I listened to Winfred Shelton Gospel Group…he’s a sweet old man…but I didn’t get pictures, it had started to rain…but I was having some fun!

The ramp eating contest is done…eating the dang things raw…I just don’t think I want to do that…yuck…these guys must have been eating this stuff since they were babies…

I left after the ramp eating contest…I wanted to take a road that advertised it’s self as having switch backs and advising truck drivers to find an alternate route.

I haven’t been on this road before…it’s the rest of 19W South. Better known as the old Asheville Road. Years ago, before I-26 came along…this was how you got over the mountains to Asheville NC. Mom has spoke of it often…only she couldn’t remember the route number…I knew this had to be it as soon as I saw it…what a grand road…yes there were switch backs,

and waterfalls, and all manner of greens…it was a calipee of wonder…you know how it is in the forest in spring…all the trees have their fresh and tender green leaves out now…all of them representing a different shade in the spectrum that is green. Simply thousands of shades of green…God sure knew what he was doing when he made the color green!

I stopped at this place to get gas…and across the street is this great old building…no one seemed to know what it started out to be…but over the years they told me it had been a general store, a gas station, and a library….a library? Yeah…I see…OK…

Moving along from there, I came upon US 19E. This road will take me back north again. I’ve been on it before…last year…on a lost ride…it was great. I didn’t follow it all the way up to Roan MT. instead, I turned left at Spruce Pine…made my way over to Route 226 north, and followed that into TN. and back home again.

The ride? It was wet for the last 50 miles. It was the kind of wet that is not blinding, not a nuisance except for the fact you have to slow down for the switch back turns…and the long sweeping curves…it was another perfect day in paradise folks…I’m asking you, do want to try to top my ride? Of course you do…but you’d just about have to come here to do it…You know…I call this my job…and it’s the best job I’ve ever had! Today…162 miles…the map says 146 or something like that…I made some u turns…got lost a few times…and had a blast!

Be prepared for more pictures of nature. I’m waiting to get my own PC back to edit the pictures. These are not edited…and could sure use some cropping…ah…well it will be home soon nuff… Till then, you guys just ride…I will too.


16 comments on “Ramps and Bacon and Cornbread…OH MY!”

  1. Great story…I was getting hungry just reading! Definitely want to try “ramps” some day! Also, the road with the North Carolina sign looks like a fun road to drive! As always thanks once again for sharing your ride!

  2. Toured with Winfred Shelton back in 74 on the Southeastern leg of the “Hide your daughters and sheep” tour with the Wandering Pickleberrys. Think Gordon Lightfoot was with us on that leg as well.Imagine those crazy appalachians mixing Wild Onions, Eggs and Bacon. Folks after Ol’ Buford heart! Can’t believe in all my years that I missed a wonderful town named Flag Pond and they got themselves a little party called the Ramp Festival. Can’t make that stuff up!Bacon and No Chargin for parkin. Life is good. Great Story Ms. Chessie. Think I gotta try some ramps after I finish up these damn turkey necks today.

  3. Mr. Faceyman, thank you for coming and sittin a spell….enjoyed your companyBuford, you old devil…My momma told me to make sure and give them turkey necks to the cats….and there you go…saving em…and sending poor ol Wendel out to pick up that mess o necks at the butcher…I am not at all surprised about Winfred…he has that grizzled face that just shouts that he’s seen more’n he’s tellin’…But I think he supplied the sheep…. Gordon Lightfoot was on that tour too? I love “The Wreck of the Edmond Fritzgerld”…could you get him to send me an autograph?Thanks for stoppin by to visit Buford, I’ll be sure to leave ya a jar of white lightn’ for your sippin pleasure…now I know you stop by at night without tellin no one.

  4. Another Grand Ride, keep up the great work.!LOL “Work” …was another perfect day in paradise,and a blast! …Pappy

  5. What a beautiful write-up and keen pictures…good thing they didn’t mispell it to ROMP..Ramp sounds deliciousssss Love the town name and the whole festival…Give me some more pictures soon…that bike needs a wash…!

  6. Great road story – this is why I love the internet – discovery right in ones backyard is sometimes the best adventure and I look forward to more local interest

  7. Oh my gosh, that was interesting and the pictures fan freakin tastic. I wondered what ramps where and I guess maybe it’s a bit like rhubarb, cept they’ll make you sick if not cooked right.That Rock building you mentioned with a picture…where is that? It seems my brother and I may have passed it before when camping long ago.

  8. My first thoughts of ramp festival made me think of BMX bike jumping or something like that. As an avid cook, I’m surprised there was a member of the onion family I haven’t met yet. I wonder if they make good soup like leeks do?As always, a great adventure to ride along on. I love that gas station – those pumps look like they’re about 30 years old! Did they make the “ding-ding” noise still? If I pulled into a place like that I’d probably be expecting the attendant to be Goober! Too bad the soda machines were new and not old style – that woulda made the whole look of the place. Very cool.One thing though…what in heaven’s name is fatback???

  9. Pappy, yeah…I know…I chuckle too when I call this work…it’s a great way to spend the day isn’t it?Baron’s life…I dunno…I’ve heard of all kinds of descriptions for the taste of Ramps…I only smelled them…and they smelled damn fine to me. My sister says they are not to her liking though…so who asked her? LOL Two Wheel NE…I just came from your website, and it’s just what I’m looking to do for this area! I’m so glad you stopped by!Wooley Bugger…well…no…not Rhubarb…I like Rhubarb, as kids we used to go to my great uncles place and pull Rhubarb from the garden, pour a handful of sugar into out palms and munch away…I wouldn’t try to eat these raw…it’s compared to eating the most potent onion you ever tasted…raw…I wish I could have entered you in the Ramp eating contest…would we have won?Joker, yeah, when your like me and your mind is on motorcycles all the time, I can see where your mind was heading with this title! And actually did you know Ramps are of the Leek family…not the onion? I’ve been told there are some very fine versions of ramp soup out there…in fact I saw some cooking for the recipe contest…I would of ate it if I hadn’t ate large before I left home…The gas station was a cool stop Joker…and yes those pumps dinged as each gallon was served up. The pumps did not register past .99 cents so had to be computed inside by attendant. The only gas they carried was Premium. That impressed me. YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT FATBACK IS? You poor boy, I’ll bet you have some really healthy heart and veins… fatback is from the pig…it’s the fat that’s cut away from the bacon…cuz it’s too fat for even bacon! It’s used to flavor mustard greens, collard greens, dandelion greens…ohhhh more heaven with nails for my coffin.

  10. Chessie: I just love small town events & to mix with the locals, but I suppose your attire gave you away. Never heard of Ramps before, I thought it had something to do with either Bacon, or Ramps that you ride on. I love fat, especially if it is carmelized even though it really isn't that good for you but you have to have junk food sometime. You've got some lovely roads there.Looks like you have a lovely day for a ridebobskoot: wet coast scootin

  11. Great ride. Thanks for sharing. Your photos made me hungry… I need to see what I can scrounge up. Oh, and I found out as a kid if you eat too many ramps… you get sick.

  12. Awesome write up and loved the pics! Very informative,I never knew what a ‘ramp’ was, now I want some….;)

  13. Chessie, what a great ride! I’d never heard of ramps either, but since I’m not from up that way, I guess it makes sense. When’s the next festival? maybe I could mosey up that way.You’ve got some gorgeous pictures there- what are the flowers in the picture with the butterfly? they look like the blooms on my hydrangea, but the stems look longer… really beautiful.don’t you just love the looks you get because you’re a girl and you ride your own? and what a great way to get free parking! LOLone of these days, girl, I’m coming up to go on an adventure with you.thanks for sharing your ride with us.

  14. Hmmm… never heard of Ramps. Not sure I would have been brave enough to try them! Don’t you love visiting small towns and experiencing themlike this? Thanks for sharing!

  15. Never mind the ramps – those new saddle bags of yours look really good! They just hang on the Sportster like they were made for the job (which they were f course!!!).

  16. Affer, my dear friend! Moving must be accomplished and your now setting about getting yourself fitted within your home!So glad to see you back, I’ve missed you.Chessie

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