Where We've Been (46 out of 50 States)...Where We Are!

Where We've Been (46 out of 50 States)...Where We Are!
We are extensively traveling around...working and having a blast...Life is Grand!

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

March / April Wine Tastings

Lucky Duck Riesling / Rivaner – From Germany with 10% alcohol that we rated a 7.4 because of its citrus, melon dry taste.  Even as dry as it was, it did have a cleansing light flavor with a clear ending.  Definitely not as sweet as many Rieslings we have tasted, probably due to the blend of Rivaner.  A taste like no other that would pair well with a Cajun Spiced Pork Loin Roast or any spicy, light meat that we would recommend but we would not purchase it again. 

Gallo Family Apple Caramel Holiday Blend White – A limited edition white wine to compliment the holiday season that we rated an 8.7 with a 9% alcohol had a delightfully surprising sweet green apple flavor with just a hint of caramel.  Very light and fresh taste that would be wonderful for an after dinner taste or on a warm day by the pool that we would recommend and purchase again.

Chateau Morrisette Orchard Series Sangria – A fruity tasting wine from the Blue Ridge Parkway area that has 8.5% alcohol content that we gave a high rating of 8.5 that we paid $8 for a bottle that we would purchase again.  It is a bit dryer than most of the Sangria’s we have tasted but once the ice cooled the drink the dryness dissipated.

For more photos, check out our Google + Web Albums.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Tom Johnson Camping Center

6600 Bruton Smith Blvd
Concord, NC  28026
9/2009 & 3/30-4/20/2014

We stayed here previously in 2009 while we first worked for Scootaround and then did the tours of the NASCAR garages.  Things did not change that much at all, it is still a well maintained park.

Price of the sites vary widely depending on the time that you are visiting.  For events they are high and for NASCAR events they are even much higher.  For a typical stay without any events going on you can plan to spend around $30 using a Good Sam 10% discount for a water, 30/50 amp electric, with sewer on a fairly level gravel site.  They do offer free WiFi but our Verizon service was excellent.

The only amenities they have are laundry facilities with only 4 washer and dryers and restrooms with showers.

They have strict rules regarding pets and they enforce them.

If you are a race enthusiast as we are we would highly recommend this place while you visit the racing garages, museums, restaurants and so many other race oriented places in the area.  We would even recommend this place to stay if you are passing through for an overnight stay to non-race enthusiasts.  Reservations are highly recommended during events but also call ahead to check if there are any events going on prior to making the drive over.

For more photos, check out our Google + Web Albums.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte

So many years ago we purchased our brick but have never seen it and we said that the next time we would be in the area that we would go and see it and that is just what we did on Sunday when we left Darlington Raceway.

Our original plan was to stay at a RV Park nearby and bike the few miles to the Hall of Fame but when we arrived all of that changed.  First the neighborhood was sketchy and we would once again not feel safe riding our bikes into the downtown area and then the RV Park was so rundown and did not feel safe at all. 

We do not understand why they put this Hall of Fame in the downtown area instead of right by the track.  We know they had their reasons but for us it was really inconvenient.

So as usual we went to Plan B, actually we did not really have another plan but made it up as we went along. 

We took Maggie into the downtown area and parked her across the street from the Hall of Fame while we went in and visited.  It worked out great and only cost us an additional $15 to park for a few hours, but at least we felt safer than we would have riding our bikes through some pretty sketchy neighborhoods. 

Our brick was located in Section 12 and it didn’t take us long to find it. 

We then entered into the Hall of Fame and just took in all the ambiance.  It is still a work in progress and will be ever changing as time progresses along. 

The museum takes you through the old times as well as the current times...there is so much memorabilia from the drivers, the crews, and all the others that it takes to run this business.  They have a special area of the folks that are no longer with us and it shows the type of family that NASCAR becomes...

If you are ever in the area and love NASCAR like we do we would highly recommend checking it out.  It was a bit pricey at $19.95 each for just the museum but it was worth it for us.  They did offer other packages to include various items but we opted for the museum and skip all the hoopla offers.  They took photos on a green screen in front of a track but we have our own photos so we did not purchase them.  The gift shop had some really great items but for us it was just a pin since we could not find any magnets or stickers that we liked.

We took hundreds of photos, to check them all out go to our Google + Web Albums.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Darlington Raceway Makes Twelve

Track number 12 out of 23 Sprint Cup tracks, more than half way to our goal.  It may be taking much more time than we imagined that it would but once we made the decision that we no longer wanted to work them we then needed to purchase the tickets and be able to make it to the location which takes money. 

We are just so happy because a few years back we would not have been able to afford being on the infield for most of these races but when the recession hit a few years ago they lowered the prices and it is now affordable for everyday folks like us.

We spent a few days checking out the merchandise trailers, got our pin, flag and sticker and we also got all sorts of freebies...love it!

We had so much fun, even with the many knuckleheads drinking way too much and being way too belligerent.  The second night we were sitting in our chairs just enjoying the ambiance and waiting for the Nationwide race to begin when out of nowhere I got hit with a football right on the top of my head.  Really took a huge jolt on my neck but I will survive.  Jerry on the other hand went right over to our neighbors of 2 busloads of guys and expressed his concern and they all came over and apologized and they were more careful after that incident.

I was so tired and slept so hard that I did not hear any noise once my head hit the pillow at about 10:30pm.  Jerry said the noise level was high until around midnight when it all just seemed to stop.  I heard nothing and slept hard all night.

We love being on the infield at these races but we have had better spots for viewing.  It makes it a bit different too since our roof has turned a bit spongy so Jerry does not go on top any more but the neighbors had offered their platform for him to enjoy the race.  He did not take them up on their offer and instead we watched it on TV with the roar of the engines live and it was marvelous.  Since the taping is on a 12 second delay it was strange to hear the roar start or stop and then see it on the screen but it was interesting and we enjoyed it.

Whenever we decide to be at one of the tracks we thoroughly look through the rules for what is allowed into the track.  We were a bit concerned because absolutely no bikes, motorized or not are allowed in the infield, also golf carts, skates, and just about anything with wheels.  So we prepared ourselves to either sign a waiver for us to confirm that we will not remove them from our carrier or store them in a designated area chosen by the track.  Both of these arrangements have happened at other tracks but we were not prepared for what really did happen.

Going through all the inspections of dogs sniffing, mirrors and them entering our rigs we thought we were fine when they waved us on but then just as we were driving away they motioned for us to stop.  Oh, no here we go!  But instead of them saying anything about our bikes they said our new 6’ ladder that was bungeed on our RV ladder could not go into the infield.  Oh, ok even though we had not seen any sort of rule stating this we just asked where we could keep it.  They all replied they had no idea or that we could just leave it along the fence and hope for the best.  REALLY?

Remember now we have worked these tracks and totally understand that is the reply we are to give when it is clearly posted in the rules but it was not so Jerry was a bit upset and got out and took off our ladder and then proceeded to chain it to the fence with our chain.  One of the workers said the chain would probably be cut off and then about this time a supervisor David Sanders came onto the scene.  By this time the line is going around us and Jerry is looking very upset chaining it to the fence.  As for me, it was my turn to be reasonable since Jerry was not.  So I explained to David Sanders that we were anal about looking into all the rules since we travel full time and have certain things with us that may not be allowed and that we went over all of them and did not see one that stated anything about a ladder.  So he was attempting to contact someone and this was taking a long time. 

First let me back up a moment to when we first arrived and why by now we were a bit agitated.  We always keep our tickets at Will Call and were informed that we could pick them up at Gate 39A, we also know this since we have worked plenty of these tracks before and know that once the event begins that they send them to the gate you are to go into for camping.  So as instructed by phone we showed up at Gate 39A but were told we could not even turn into the area and that we are to go into Gate 40.  Traffic was so heavy we were unable to turn back to Gate 40 and had to go the long way around to get back to Gate 40 where our tickets unfortunately were not there.  The guy on the gate told us to turn around and go to Gate 39A which is a direct gate right into the tunnel and if they are not there we would need to go to the Will Call Ticket Office.  We turned around and went back to Gate 39A where we were then instructed that if we were not associated with NASCAR that we were at the wrong gate and I then asked him to humor me and to please look to see if our tickets were there and lo and behold they were, but instead of them allowing us to enter into the same tunnel but from a different direction they asked us to turn around and go back to Gate 40…OMG!

Now back to finally having our tickets and being in line, oh by the way they forgot to put our Pit Passes in our package so after making a few calls we were instructed we would need to go to Will Call and they would handle it.  But first since we were already in line we were going to get into the infield and set up and then walk back to Will Call but in the meantime we needed to wait for some decision on our ladder.

David Sanders finally came to us and asked what site we were in and that he would come there and let us know what the final decision would be about our ladder and I then made him aware of our Pit Passes and he told us that he would escort us back to Will Call to get them when he came to our site.  A short time later while we were still setting up he showed up with our Pit Passes and asked for the key to the lock for our ladder.  He explained that apparently a few years prior some fool fell off their own ladder on the infield and sued the track and won so they put it in the rules but then this year they omitted to put it in the rules so he apologized and told us if we needed anything to let him know.  He also stopped by several times over the weekend to see if we needed anything and of course we did not.  We really feel that he went above and beyond his call of duty and helped to make our stay memorable and we surely do appreciate it.

The race was a good one and then we stayed up until almost 1am watching the transporters leave the track and then sleep was difficult due to the loud noises throughout the night.  Not just partiers but the track people cleaning up and more transporters leaving honking and hollering.  Life at a NASCAR event is not always fun but somebody’s got to do it and it might as well be us.

For more photos, check out our Google + Web Albums.