Friday Favorites: Geological Survey Markers

One of my favorite things to look for when traveling are geological survey markers. Survey markers are objects placed to mark key survey points on the surface of the Earth.

I get a thrill seeing one on a remote mountain top, imagining the survey crew who hiked in there and placed it.

Here are some pictures I’ve collected along the way:

Pine Mountain, Georgia (note the triangle indicating this mark is used for triangulation)

Banff, Alberta

El Malpais National Monument, New Mexico

Seattle, Washington

Charleston, South Carolina

Knoxville, TN

Cadillac Mountain, Maine


Picture of the Day: Beautiful St. Augustine, Florida

St. Augustine has the same kind of charm that make Charleston and Savannah so popular. Whereas Charleston and Savannah show their British roots, St. Augustine was a Spanish settlement dating back to 1565 and was not ceded to the United States until 1819. I really enjoyed the Spanish architecture and hope to return soon.

Here are a few more pictures to enjoy. rk

Seven Favorite Coffee Shops (So Far)


I love coffee. I have many different methods to brew coffee at my house (My go to being my Hario V60 pour over) and I drink probably an average of three cups a day as well as I dabble in roasting coffee with my brother-in-law. So obviously I love going to coffee shops when I travel and I have accumulated a small list of favorites that I wish I could have at home with me. Here is my list of seven of my favorite coffee shops I have been to (so far!) Also I am excluding any of my home city of Atlanta’s coffee shops and just focusing on ones away from home.

  1. Cartel Coffee Lab (Phoenix, AZ)  – There are several Cartel Coffee locations but I visited the Phoenix location in July of 2016. Something that is really important to me is quality of coffee and Cartel definitely cares about their coffee quality. When I went I got a Honey Process Costa Rican that was sweet and nutty to the last drop.
  2. Glen Edith Roasters (Rochester, NY) – I discovered this shop in September 2014 on a road trip to see The Black Keys and Cage The Elephant in Rochester. When I went they were called Pour Coffee Parlor and served Verve and Intelligentsia but have since changed their name and began roasting their own. I would love to go back for a pour over and one of their “Lumberjack” sandwiches soon. (They also were doing nitro cold brew before it became such a huge fad) pour.JPG
  3. Boxcar Social (Toronto, ON) – When I visited Toronto last month (September 2016) one of the highlights to me was Boxcar Social. They specialize in coffee and whiskeys and serve flights of both. I did not try any whiskey but I tried a pour over of each of their offered coffees as well as an espresso shot of their Ethiopia Yukro from Anchored Coffee. I quite enjoyed the time spent there drinking coffee and I even brought back two bags to drink at home!
  4. Mission Coffee Co. (Columbus, OH) – I also went to this shop on my Black Keys/CTE road trip as well as again on my way to Toronto. The first time I went they were serving multiple roasters and I tried a Siphon (or Syphon) of an Ethipia Amaro Gayo roasted by Deeper Roots and that coffee stands out as one of my favorite coffees I have had with its rich chocolateyness and its sweet distinct raspberry flavor (needless to say I bought a bag of it). The second time visiting they had began roasting their own coffees and we tried an Ethiopian and an El Salvador!
  5. CREMA (Nashville, TN) – Crema rules. I visited for the first time last year and have been back every time I go to Nashville (which is often). The coffees they roast are on point and you can tell they care about they quality of the coffee they serve. The last coffee I had at Crema was a Honey Process Costa Rica Finca Dragon that i regret not buying a bag of. Crema is a must for me when in Nashville and despite it always being busy Crema is probably my favorite shop.
  6. Black Tap Coffee (Charleston, SC) – Just like Nashville, I visit Charleston multiple times a year and Black Tap has become a staple in our trips alongside places my family has been visiting for years. Black Tap roasts their own coffee and does a good job at it. I can’t wait to go back to sip down some pour overs and spend time with
  7. Elemental Coffee (Oklahoma City, OK) – Elemental is where I had one of my favorite coffees ever. I visited in July of 2015 on my way to the Grand Canyon and had a pour over of an Ethiopia Sidamo that I sadly had drink in a paper cup because we didn’t have time to sit and drink it but it was good enough in a paper cup that I had to buy a bag of it to compare with the Ethiopia Sidamo my brother-in-law and I had been roasting with our whirly pop. Once I got home and we brewed some up in the trusty ol’ V60 we were blown away by the complex flavor and deliciousness of the coffee. I tried to visit Elemental again on my way home from Utah in July of 2016 but was thwarted by storms and sunday coffee shop hours.

So there is my list. It is lacking for sure as I haven’t been to the northeast United States and I am about to visit Bard Coffee in Portland, Maine and that could easily be added to my list. But for now these are my favorites! – Josh

Ten for Tuesday – Charleston, SC

Charleston, South Carolina is a beautiful and romantic city.  To me, it is the most European city in the United States.   It is known for culture, history and southern charm.   It’s is known as a foodie destination as well.   For today’s Ten for Tuesday I am giving you ten things you have to know and do when planning a visit to Charleston SC.

  1. Where to stay – The historic district of Charleston is known for being very pricey. It’s for good reason.   Charleston is a walking city.   To get the full experience, you need to stay where the action is.   One of my favorites is Kings Courtyard Inn on King Street.   I’ve  stayed at probably 20 different places downtown over the years though and always had a good experience. Other great places include the Harborview Inn, Charleston Place, and the Mills House.   If you are a points guy, the Hilton Doubletree and Marriott Renaissance are cool spots in great locations. If you are on a budget and can’t afford the easy $200+ nightly rates downtown, then stay at one of the chain hotels in Mount Pleasant near the bridge. It is a doable walk into town and an inexpensive Uber trip back at the end of the day. Plus the view from the walkway on the bridge is amazing.
  2. Where to eat — You would need to stay about a month to make a dent in all the great places to eat.   May I suggest a few favorites:   Caviar and Bananas for a quick breakfast to fuel you up, a blue plate of lowcountry favorites from Jestines Kitchen for lunch, local seafood in a cool building at The Ordinary for dinner. Get some Black Tap for coffee and longtime city favorite Kaminsky’s for dessert.   Of course, there are dozens more great places like standby Hymans, Hanks Seafood, Husk………
  3. Tours – I’m not normally a big fan of taking tours.   I usually prefer to just wander around and look for mischief to get into.   Having said that, as a first time visitor you do need to do the carriage tours that leaves from the Market.   I haven’t tried it, but I’ve also heard the ghost tours are pretty cool as well.
  4. Shopping – I just mentioned the Market. As the largest open air market in the United States, it is a must see.   Don’t forget to look through all the antique shops on King Street. These aren’t the typical antique shops full of junk.   Most everything is from England and very old and expensive.
  5. Angel Oak – This isn’t downtown, it’s a massive 400+ year old oak tree over on Johns Island. (I mean a tree with a website—wow!).   This pairs really well with….
  6. Wadmalaw Island – I like to make a day trip over to eat BBQ at Bessingers on Hwy 17S, see Angel Oak and then tour the winery/distillery and tea plantations on Wadmalaw Island. All very cool.
  7. Plantations – The plantations are another great day trip.   There are several of them and they all have gorgeous gardens and huge mansions.   I like the history and my wife likes the plants.   Win! Win!
  8. Bar Hopping – Charleston has a bunch of great bars.   When watching the big game I always end up at the Kickin Chicken.   Buffalo Chicken Dip, friendly bartenders, lots of TV’s.   I enjoy the view from rooftop Pavilion Bar as well.   There are literally hundreds of bars here and more opening every day.   I would recommend scouting out during your daily adventures and then bar hopping at night.
  9. Charleston Art Walk – This is one of those things that is hard to find on the internet.   I literally stumbled into it a few times. It’s usually on the 3rd Thursday of the month.   Basically art galleries all over town open up and have mini cocktail parties that you can just cruise through, check out the art, grab a glass of wine, some cheese and off to the next one.   It is amazing how many participate and how many art galleries there are that you just don’t notice during the day. Best of all, it is all free (except for the art of course).
  10. Architecture – Charleston was founded in 1670 and the architecture is as varied here as anywhere in the United States.   I love the single houses, old churches, rod iron gates, and majestic mansions.   And fountains, did I mention hundreds of fountains!Be sure to spend an afternoon just wandering around exploring the cobblestone streets and old neighborhoods.   The Provost Dungeon is at the end of Broad Street just down from the Four Corners of the Law.   Check out the history and architecture here for sure.

Now, I know I’ve left off a bunch of things that many folks consider “must do’s.  Going to the Battery, Fort Sumter, Patriots Point, the Aquarium etc……..   I know, I know!   I self limited myself to ten and if you are a Charleston fanatic, don’t worry.   As you know, once you visit Charleston you are sure to come back to see (and eat) more.