Winston Cup Museum, Pettys', Childress Winery, etc

Trip Start Jan 01, 2008
Trip End Dec 31, 2008

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Flag of United States  , North Carolina
Wednesday, April 16, 2008

  We've really been kicking back while we're staying here at our Thousand Trails Preserve in Advance, NC.  We've gotten some things done that had to be done - lots of laundry, oil change on the car, car and motorhome washed - but we've really had lots of nice, relaxing time to explore a wide range of things!  Of course, this being the modern home of Nascar racing offers lots of opportunities - we spent a day at the Winston Cup Museum in Winston-Salem - right across from RJ Reynolds, which was of course, the sponsor of Nascar Racing for 33 years.  As much as times have changed, this is STILL very much the home of the tobacco industry - as evidenced by a sign I took a picture of when we came out of the museum:  "We Support our Tobacco Industry - THANK YOU FOR SMOKING!"  Bet we won't see that anywhere else in our travels!  
   We also spent a lot of time touring the Richard Petty Museum in Randleman, NC - Richard Petty, of course is still "The King" of racing, with 7 Championships.  The museum was really wonderful, full of so many gifts that he'd received over the years - cases full of custom-made western belt buckles, promotional items from customized Pepsi and Coke Bottles to Cheerios and Wheaties boxes with pictures of the racing Petty's.  As the ever-present personification of Nascar/Winston Cup/Nextel Cup/Sprint Cup Racing from the last 5 decades or so - Richard has met with every U.S. President as wel as most every major sports hereo and actor, it seems!  He still comes to the museum quite often, and the gal who'd been at the desk told us he'd been there 3 times that week, as had his wife, who has an entire room devoted to her doll collection - over 700 dolls from all countries and all eras in history. 
   While we were in Randleman, we decided to go check out the Victory Junction Gang Camp - a wonderful camp for children with life-changing illnesses that was started by the Petty Family in honor of Adam - the youngest of the racing Petty's, who lost his life several years ago in a practice wreck.  Adam's dream was to start a camp of this type, and it originally started small, as one of Paul Newman's "Hole in the Wall Gang" Camps - but it has grown and grown, with numerous racers and their foundations supporting it.  We wanted to check it out, as we're hoping to do some volunteer work there when we get back to this part of the country, sometime.  You really do "feel your heart race" as you meet some of the families and children, as we did, who were waiting to check in for a families' weekend.  It is clearly a place designed with the kids in mind - and such a neat opportunity for them to just "be kids", not kids with disabilities for anywhere from a weekend to a full week, at absolutely NO cost to them or their families!
   We also enjoyed going back to Richard Childress' Vineyards and Winery - twice for Sunday Brunch, which was fabulous - and once to enjoy the tour of the winery. 
   When we were at Pat's place in Florida, I started reallly enjoying some bird-watching.  I've always carried a North American Guide to Birds, marking off various species as I've seen them.  I had seen some new ones in Florida, including the Mockingbird, Bluebird, Wild Turkey, and some shore birds.   We really had a neat opportunity to see some new species here in our park in North Carolina, where there was a grove of trees right behind our motorhome site - Greg gets a kick out of mimicking their songs, so many of them come quite close to find out who's whistling at them!  We saw several thrushes, a beautiful bluebird, and a HUGE cardinal, which, when I first saw it from the back on a low bush, I would have sworn was a parrot of some sort, with its long tail - but with the help of the zoom camera, I determined that it really was a cardinal - they sure make them big down here!
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