About Us

Welcome to our blog of our 2013 trip. We Have been camping since our honeymoon. Each summer we take a trip to a new part of our country. We try to stop at local fairs & festivals, take tours of manufacturing plants, do a little kayaking, and try to get an up close look at how people live! Join us! This Bog runs from our most recent post backwards. At the end of this year,I have left the past years blog. Double click on any picture to get a larger image. These are all low res versions. If you see one you really like, let me know and I'll send you a better image.

Liz & Bruce on the way to Minnesota, last year

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Richard Childress & Lexington

While we were touring NASCAR we stayed in a nice RV park at High Rock lake, in Lexington NC. Lexington is where Duracell had their plant when I was making 12-18 trips per year while I was working for Delker/Dexmet. It is nice little town better known for it's BBQ than Duracell. I almost never left Duracell without some of their pulled pork BBQ for our kids who were small when we were here before.
The BBQ is great, served as a chopped plate, with cole slaw, and hush puppies, or a sandwich. It has a vinegar based BBQ sauce which is pretty characteristic of the Western NC type. Lexington BBQ is a generic name for this type of preparation over here. I won't say much about how good this is, if you would like to know ask Meredith or Erin.

I never spent any down time in Lexington while visiting, except one day I had an afternoon because of a flight cancellation or something. I had passed a sign for Richard Childress Winery along US 64 on my way over from Valdese. With the incongruity of a famous racing name, and a winery, as well as it's location in the Piedmont of NC made me go back and see what was up. What I found in 2004, had grown, and become much more beautiful today. 
Richard Childress was Dale Earnhardt's owner when he won all those championships. He and Dale, when in California, would visit a winery, enjoy a glass(or two) of wine and talk about bringing a vineyard To NC. The state had targeted Wines as a replacement for tobacco in the economy. So Richard began growing a few types of grapes in the front yard of his house (estate!) 
He met with some success, and the state targeted the Yadkin river valley as a prime spot. Richard hired a well known vintner to scout out an area for the Childress Vinyard. This site then, has been the recipient of Richard"s time, and funds to become a showplace for the state's wine business. When we arrived Liz just exclaimed,  Oh! this is beautiful!
Richard, of course needs to keep those cars running, to generate the cash for his wine business!  He has two shops, one for his Sprint cars and one for his Nationwide cars. His original shop here in Welcome, NC is devoted now to the Childress museum. As I said Dale Sr. drove Richards cars in the 80's and 90's, to an amazing number of victories, and Winston Cup championships.
Most of those winning cars are here, along with a full collection from Richard's racing past, (including his first race car, a sop box derby car) and his other drivers. It was really impressive to look at the collection of black Goodwrench Chevy's, and think Dale drove all of these cars to a checkered flag.
This car was the chilling one in Richard's museum. This  car was back in the shop being prepped for Dale to drive in the next race after he died. Rookie Kevin Harvick got the call, and the car was painted white instead of black. He battled Gordon and two other drivers with 10 laps remaining, and at the end pulled out  a victory in Earnhardt fashion, by .002 of a second. The two of them went on to win more races that year,and Kevin won rookie of the year for 2001. It was the shot in the arm that NASCAR needed after losing Dale Sr.

As I said earlier Richard has a separate shop for the each circuit. We toured them both,and I would imagine you're getting pretty tired a looking at race cars being prepped  , so I'll just give you an overview of The Sprint shop with Burton's,and Menard's cars being readied. They did an excellent job of describing the suspension prep steps, the frame construction, as well as giving a lot of technical info in the museum.
 They had an older Earnhardt hauler there with a couple of #3's above your head as you walked through. This is one of Burton's haulers being readied for departure later this day. So all of Richards facilities were a surprise to me after years of visiting Lexington only to discover on this trip that all this history was only about 5 minutes away.
So that about wraps up the NASCAR part of this trip. On To Raleigh.

Oh and by the way. The Duracell plant is no more.Demolished:-(

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