Saturday, November 16, 2013

Lady Bugs, Sprint Car Races and A Name Change...

We spent our week in Charlotte at the Apollo RV Park, less than a half mile from the Speedway.  It is a family-owned, no frills park with full hook-ups and wide open flat campsites.  It suited our needs well...except for the infestation of lady bugs!  I have never seen so many lady bugs in one place before.  We opened the windows one day when the weather was nice and within minutes there were dozens of lady bugs working their way into our camper!  We didn't try to open the windows again and, though it's been nearly a week and we've traveled two hundred miles, we are still finding lady bugs in the RV!

The World of Outlaws Finals covers three days.  The first day was qualifying and we were only there a couple of hours.  Friday night we watched races and wandered around looking at the various vendors.  It was the coldest of the three nights and I was freezing even through four layers of shirts under my jacket!  Saturday the weather was better and we walked around the Pits before watching the races.

The food is expensive...$5 for a bottle of water, $6 for a cheeseburger, $4 for fries...and not very good, but it is part of the experience.  Brown dirt is also part of the experience and I was sneezing it out for two days!  So is the four abreast formation around the track part of the experience and the fire works as well.  Most important is that we had fun!


Pictures from the Pits...





 Driver Sammy Swindell 


While in Charlotte, we also made a visit to the Social Security Office and I changed my name!  Several more places still to make the name change...driver's license, bank accounts, credit cards etc. but Social Security is the big one.  Wonder how long it will take me to finally get used to my new name?

Charlotte and the NASCAR Hall of Fame...



Jack loves racing, so our next stop was Charlotte, NC.  We were there to see the World of Outlaw Finals at The Dirt Track at Charlotte Speedway.  This was the third year we have gone to this race.  The first year was our first trip together.  Last year (the second year) we got engaged while we were in Charlotte!  This year, of course, it was part of our honeymoon.





We visited the NASCAR Hall of Fame while we were in Charlotte and as luck would have it, one of Jack's favorite drivers, Jeff Gordon, was appearing the day we went!  It was all new to me and I found it interesting listening to him.   He looks like a kid instead of a forty-something year old man!   I enjoyed the Hall of Fame and took lots of pictures of cars!


The 1994 Lumina that Jeff Gordon drove to his first big win is being installed in the Hall of Fame in early 2014.

Jimmie Johnson was also appearing the same day and brought his little girl with him.


Jack trying to qualify!


 Lots of pictures of cars...click photos to enlarge






Sunday, November 10, 2013

Old Salem

While in Greensboro, I took Jack to visit a favorite of mine, Old Salem, a Moravian Settlement in Winston-Salem, NC.

Salem was originally settled by members of the Moravian Church, a Protestant denomination that first began in 1457 in what was then the Czech Republic.  The town's restored and reconstructed buildings show what Moravian life was like in the 18th and 19th centuries.  There are also private residences interspersed among the public buildings.  It is definitely worth a visit if you are in the area!

No visit to Old Salem is complete without a visit to Winkler Bakery, where the goodies are made in an old stone oven.  I can not tell you how much I spent there, but Jack is now a major fan of Moravian Sugar Cake, Moravian Cookies and their fresh baked bread!
It was a chilly, cloudy day when we visited, but I was able to get some good pictures.





Since my first visit to Old Salem in 1982, I have wanted to eat at The Old Salem Tavern, but never made it...until this visit.  We enjoyed lunch there in the dining room pictured...there are several small dining rooms.  The restaurant is in what was originally an annex to the original tavern.

The Original Tavern...outside from the back


 Inside the Tavern Museum...


Kitchen...


Guest room on the upper floor...



 This main floor guest room was for men of means, as very few of the rooms were private...




Letter from George Washington, who was a guest at the Tavern...





At the Gunsmith's Shop...














Garden of the Master Gardner in town...he was a resource for the townspeople 


Some private residences...



I visited Old Salem many times when I lived in Greensboro and knew Jack, who's a history buff, would love it...I was right...he did!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Heading South and More Family...

Our next stop on the road was Greensboro, NC.  I lived there for 23 years and have two brothers still living there.  Much as I hated leaving Michael, it was good to get out of the cold and away from the mountain driving!  We stayed at Greensboro Campground.  It is a former KOA, has a pool, but not a lot of amenities, and is right off I-40.  We stay there whenever we visit Greensboro.  It is also the only campground in town ;)

Baby brother, Ken was rather booked up for the week, but we did get one evening to visit with him, my nephew Matthew and my niece Ciera.  We met for dinner at Elizabeth's - the best Italian in town and an old family favorite almost since it opened thirty-some years ago.  We had a great visit and dinner...it was good to see them.  Of course, we also took pictures with Blue Bear and Red Bird, but forgot to take any with us!

My beautiful niece Ciera is 9 1/2, just six months older than my granddaughter Katie.
They are cousins and friends, gymnasts and super-smart sweethearts!


 My nephew Matthew is a UNC-Chapel Hill alumnus.  I am quite proud of him!


 My baby brother Ken with his baby!



My other brother Glen is retired so we were able to spend more time with him and his Significant Other, Joanna.  They are renovating his house and we were excited to see the progress they are making.  We were also happy to show off our home on wheels.  We enjoyed a few meals together, including one at our usual place...Darryls. We loved seeing them!

As I write this, I realize we do a lot of eating out...something Jack and I both enjoy! 


Glen and Joanna
 And...photos with Bear and Bird...





We saw some sort of plane camped in our campground!  I've never seen anything quite like it before.

 Next...a visit to Old Salem...