(We are currently in Wisconsin, and realized that we did not publish our posts from North Carolina….sorry for the delay)
After our brief visit in South Carolina (a state we will definitely explore in more detail someday), we had a relatively easy drive up to Concord, North Carolina to visit with my friend Jodie and her family. Jodie and I worked together as CT Technologists back in Wisconsin. Jodie’s husband Chris has a “work from home” job. Since they could live anywhere, they wisely decided to move from the snow and cold of Wisconsin, to a very moderate climate in North Carolina to raise their two young boys.
We found a convenient “campground” at Ver-El Mobile Village in Concord. It is right across the street from Charlotte Motor Speedway, has full hookups and was only $25.00 per night. There are no other amenities, it is basically a large grass field, but it was close to Jodie’s home in Huntersville. After arriving, we met up with Jodie and her two boys, Cole and Austin, at the massive Concord Mills Mall. They came over to see our house, and meet Makena, and we had a nice time catching up. It always amazes me that no matter how long you have been apart from someone, it just seems like yesterday when you do get together!
We talked about the big influence that NASCAR has in this area, and Jodie mentioned that Hendricks Motorsports was located about one mile from where we were staying, and Joe Gibbs Racing was very close to their house in Huntersville. We decided to add those items to our itinerary.
The next day we drove out to Jodie’s home, and were impressed by the many miles of paved bicycle paths all over the area. Jodie stated you can pretty much go anywhere on your bicycle. Makena came with us, and she and the boys had a great time playing football in their backyard. Cole decided to challenge Makena!
Austin enjoyed bringing dishes of water for Makena to drink out of!
Eventually the boys wore her out, and she needed a rest!
The adults also had fun too!
Since we are in NASCAR country, we decided to visit the Hendricks Motorsports complex and toured the free museum, as well as the areas in the garage that are open to the public. The museum was very interesting, and had multiple cars on display.
There was a large display of colorful cars for Jeff Gordon, who is retiring this year from racing.
Below are the actual winning race cars from the Daytona 500. On the left is Dale Earnhardt Jr’s car from 2014 and Jimmy Johnson’s car from 2013. Both cars remain covered with confetti from the winners circle.
This is Ken Schrader’s Budweiser car from the 1995 Talladega (AL) race. Despite the severity of the crash, he was not injured and walked away from the car. This is probably what my car would look like if I was driving 200 MPH!
They even have an outdoor exercise facility for the pit crew members, and we happened to be around when one of the teams was working out.
You can view inside the garage to watch the employees work on the cars. (Only the #24 and #5 car facility was open on this day. The #88 and #48 facility was closed for a private event).
Since the Joe Gibbs Racing complex was near their house, we stopped in to check that out as well. The facility is in a newer office park, and really blends in with the surroundings. We were quite surprised by that, and it would be very easy to miss the facility. You can also see into the immaculate garage area, at the cars in various states of repair.
We met up with Jodie and Chris in town for a nice dinner on our last night.
This is a growing area, with much to see and do. Dan and I discussed looking into a work camping job in NC for the future. North Carolina is a one day’s drive to many states. With a moderate climate and low cost of living (compared to Wisconsin), we can see why they chose this area. Thanks again Jodie and Chris! We will be back!
Quote for the day: “It’s all about quality of life and finding a happy balance between work and friends and family.” – Philip Green