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Trailheads Hike A Parking Lot, Saunter Kolb’s Farm Loop, And Geek Out At Dave Poe’s BBQ.

Updated: Jun 23

It was Thursday, 9:24 a.m., and Steve’s phone rang.

“Does my voice sound muffled?” Patrick asked.

“No,” Steve said. “It’s clear as a bell.”

“Good. I thought it might sound muffled because my head is up my butt. I’m running late and will miss Guy’s Express shuttle. I lost track of time. I’ll meet you at the trail.”

How does anyone lose track of time? It’s here, there, and everywhere, looking at its watch and waiting for us to get with the program. But Patrick was preoccupied with doing other things on his computer. Is he a geek? 

Not in the classical sense. He has little tech or scientific skills, although he can change a lightbulb by following instructional YouTube videos. 

It was June 20th, National Hike With A Geek Day. Roy said the original definition of a geek is a carnival performer who bites the head off of a chicken. Patrick worked for a circus (read about that here), and he does like chicken, so he fits the bill of the geek. He raced through Atlanta traffic and arrived at the trail 12 minutes late. Fortunately, Brad was 13 minutes late. (Not that we're counting.)

“What took you so long, Brad?” Patrick asked, in a geeky sort of way. “We’ve been waiting forever.”

Trail Master assembled his troops of Brad, Roy, Steve, and Patrick. George was gallivanting across Europe, he was about to unveil an incredible installation for the founder of the modern Olympic Games. He leads a glamorous life of using eating utensils, feather pillows, and indoor plumbing.

We prepared to cross the street to the trail. Guy saw the solar-powered parking ticket machine and remembered he needed to place his National Park parking pass on his dashboard. He and Brad returned to their cars to do that as Patrick idly chatted with Roy and Steve.

When Guy and Brad were almost back, it dawned on Patrick he’d also need a parking pass (guess where his head was hiding?). He ran back to his car. We're not sure if the Park Rangers ticket you, boot you, or station a black bear in your passenger seat for improper parking.

Twenty minutes into our official hiking time, and we had only seen the parking lot. Some of us thought we should call it a day and head out for lunch since we were close to the cars anyway, but Guy insisted we march on. Trail Master is a stern taskmaster.

We last hiked this trail in October 2022 (read that adventure here). Roy suggested that since he vaguely remembered the previous hike, he might not need to go today. The group used extreme peer pressure and twisted his arm to the point of breaking it to convince him otherwise.

We began our journey on the Kolb’s Farm Trail, the site of a nasty Civil War battle from late June to early July 1864. We immediately started arguing about whether we were hiking or sauntering. 

The day before, June 19th, was National Sauntering Day––why did they choose a date so close to Hike With A Geek Day? That’s Hallmark Holidays for you. We trust you got your holiday cards out in time.

National Sauntering Day is dedicated to naturalist John Muir, who said this about hiking: “I don’t like either the word of the thing. People ought to saunter in the mountains – not hike!” 

Given our snail-like pace, Trailheads saunter, meander, stroll, mosey, and wander like sheep without GPS. We think Mr. Muir would approve, and we suspect he was a garbage disposal for barbecue. Was he the original Trailhead? So here we were, walking the battlefield where brave men spilled blood and gave their all.

A quick recap: Tennessee troops held a position on the high ground of Kolb’s farm as Union regiments from Ohio and Illinois advanced toward Kennesaw Mountain and eventually Atlanta. We wondered why the Tennessee soldiers were there and where the Georgia troops were. Perhaps the Georgia folks saw the Illinois soldiers and took off for points unknown.

A protracted battle ensued, with 480 Federal Troops killed or wounded, including Col. Dan McCook and Col. O.F. Harmon of the Illinois Army. A memorial to them and their charges was erected 50 years after they fell.

While the Confederates held their high-ground position at the earthworks, the Yankees kept advancing over an open field. We discussed the stupidity of advancing in formation over an open field as we did the same thing. Of course, no one was firing hot lead at us. Yet.

The Union soldiers were picked off by gunfire but kept coming, eventually getting to within 30 yards of the enemy’s position. For the next six days, they returned fire. War is not only hell; it’s noisy as hell, too.

The Union soldiers dug a tunnel and were planning to plant bombs to clear the Rebels, but before that could happen, the men in gray skedaddled. The Union Army advanced.

There is a gravesite of an Unknown Union Soldier– “known but to God.” We wondered if the unknown soldier wasn’t the same person who wrote all the quotes attributed to “Anonymous.” 

"God only knows," Patrick said. We just looked at him and shook our heads. Geeks!

The temperatures were rising. While much of the country suffered an unseasonable heat wave, the weather in Atlanta was pleasant. Roy took exception to that––bitching and moaning about the heat and sweating. Fio said, “How do you think it feels in a fur coat, wuss?”

Roy finds sweating offensive, especially under a tree canopy's protective, cool cover. The dogs found water and were happy. They, like him, thought it a few degrees beyond "pleasant."

Later, Guy would share some of his drinking water with the pups as the rest of us looked on with tongues hanging like dry jerky outside our mouths.

Then the mad Trail Master took us off-trail. We thought he was trying to kill us. He surveyed the land, licked his finger, and poked it into the air. We thought he was lost, so we grumbled about our bellies growling and that we should begin doubling back for lunch. Trail Master put up a fight. “Come on,” he said. “Just eleven or twelve more miles. Hey, where are you guys going?!”

Brad insisted he had a very important conference call he had to be back for (actually, he had a pickleball game scheduled and didn't want to be late).

Guy corralled his troops and obeyed our request to return to the parking lot. But to get revenge, he chose a path under the ruthless, oppressive domain of the sun––with no tree cover whatsoever. 

Onward, we marched. We were plumb sauntered out. Many of us had fresh memories and scars from our recent Mohs surgeries removing basil cell and melanoma carcinomas. The sun beat down on our pasty skin, and we swore we heard it laughing. Solar humor sucks.

Back in the parking lot, we began researching lunch places. The one we did the last time we hiked here, Major Q BBQ & Catering, had permanently closed. RIP, Major Q, you served us well. We decided to attack Dave Poe’s in Marietta.

Somehow, we had yet to visit Dave in our travels, although we had been to his mentor, Atty. Sam Huff’s BBQ 1 a couple of times (read a review here–it explains the Pitmasters’ connection).

Dave Poe’s is nestled in a retail plaza. When you enter, you’re immediately impressed with the many banners boasting selection as “Best of Cobb Co.” along with a long row of barbecue competition trophies. Okay, this joint talks a good game, but would they deliver the goods for Trailheads?

We bellied up to the counter and placed our orders. The counter guy wrote down the order, then clipped it to a wire and shot it down to the man in the kitchen preparing plates of food.

We loved this old-timey ordering system. It was zip-lining for paper slips, almost like the flying monkeys delivering cassette tapes at OZ Records back in the day.

Outside, we grabbed a table, got our trays and beverages, and ate. Many of us had ribs of the St. Louis variety. Bone Appetit!

Patrick went rogue and had the baby back ribs, which he said were incredible. They were meaty and dusted with a flavorful rub. He painted Dave Poe’s barbecue sauce on them. It has a nice vinegary tang and sweet tomato pop. 

Brad, Steve, and Guy loved their spareribs––they are big, with lots of meat. It's just what someone needs after a day of sauntering in the shade and sun. The meats have a little smoky flavor and are delicious.

Roy went for one of the specials: a brisket sandwich with slaw. He added fried okra as his vegetable side.

Speaking of sides, let's give them a drive-by review. The fried okra was exactly what it should be: battered, fried, crispy brown, and as nutritious as if it had been freshly picked, then bathed in batter and dipped in hot grease—the perfect green vegetable.

There were rave reviews on the baked beans. “These are great,” said Brad. We asked for a little more description, but Steve and Guy said the same thing. "These really are great."

Okay, we guess they loved them.

The coleslaw was also well-received. “This is like I remember it as a kid,” Guy said. You should know he has no recollection of what he ate two days ago, so can he really be trusted?

The tater tots were good, but they could have spent more time in the hot stuff. The name "Tater Tot," by the way, is a registered trademark of Ore-Ida—a subsidiary of Heinz (it’s our favorite ketchup) since 1965. They invented Tater Tots in 1953. They're as old as Brad. Hopefully, these weren't from the original batch.

And the Texas Toast could stand to be a tad toastier. Kirby's Pig Stand claims to be the originator of Texas Toast and Onion Rings. Those are big claims. We hope Kirby can back them up. We may need to make a field trip, not in the summer.

We were very impressed by Dave Poe’s BBQ––no wonder it dominates the Cobb barbecue scene. A woman entering the restaurant shouted, "You look like a motley crew!" We think she was the manager and we took it as a compliment. 

With our belt buckles struggling to hold back the advancing blubber, we called it a day. One can only saunter with a geek for so long when restful naps are calling.

Rating: Four Ribs*

Dave Poe’s BBQ

660 Whitlock Avenue SW

Marietta, GA  30064


*About Our Barbecue Rating System

Trailheads do not claim to be food experts, epicureans, or sophisticated palates. We are hungry hikers who attack a selected barbecue venue and ravage our way through whatever smoked fare and fixings they're dishing out. Our reviews feature what we believe are the highlights of the menu we sampled. So our intent is not to trash talk the saintly folks who tend to smoldering smokers on hot, humid summer days. They are sacrificing themselves in the noble art of smoking meats and feeding the drooling masses. Many are independent entrepreneurs who are the backbone of this humming American economy. Now that you know our standards, you may wonder why every barbecue place gets a four-ribs rating. The answer is easy: our group has acclaimed designers, and they think the ribs graphic looks cool. Who are we to argue? Enjoy.

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