Tough to get to a WiFi. Sorry not to have put these up in real time, as planned. We're in our room in Durham now, and I'm writing.
Carl and I decided to go for BBQ greatness by going down I-95 to Wilson, and then west across Rt. 264 to Durham. We started lunch, pre-lunch, with some minced pork and slaw at Ralph's in Roanoke Rapids. We checked Ralph's buffet, found it impressive, but offering too much variety for our plans for the day: "This is a marathon," Carl observed. "We need a longer-term strategy." So we got takeout, and enjoyed it in the parking lot with another Saranac Ofest.
Damn me if it wasn't good: the mellow pork, the sharp vinegar/pepper dressing/sauce, and the roundly sweet Ofest. We were disappointed by a lack of smoke in the pork, but weren't about to let that stop our enjoyment. Rain poured down as we passed the slaw and pork and beer back and forth; roaring on the roof at times, gently dripping at others. The mustardy slaw, the pig-sweet meat, and good beer...NC BBQ joints don't really go for beer, you gotta grab it, and it's worth it, and, well, maybe it's sweeter for being slightly illicit. (I had the keys on the dashboard the whole time, BTW; might as well be obviously not drinking and driving.)
We went on down to Wilson, and stopped at Parker's, and ate a big feast...with no beer. Food...with no beer. This was really good, but a big mug of beer would have been better. It yanks me when I can't have a beer, when I'm not allowed to have a beer with my dinner. It rankles me when the New Drys say "You don't have to have beer to have fun" but they won't go with the converse, which is "You don't have to be abstemious to be virtuous." Jerks. Pass me another bowl of minced pork, willya?