Oldies but Goodies

While staying at Ver-El RV park in Concord, NC we were parked across the street from Charlotte Motor Speedway, we noticed a lot of classic cars heading into the parking lot.  Twice a year the racetrack hosts the Charlotte AutoFair, where owners can put their cars up for sale or trade.  There are also vendors selling parts for every type of vehicle, and displays of some unique vehicles.

We enjoy looking at old cars, so we walked over to check it out.  We were also able to wander around and check out the speedway.  Here is a view from the infield of the bleachers.  The cars were displayed around the 1.5 mile race track.

Charlotte Motor Speedway

Charlotte Motor Speedway

With well over a thousand cars on display, it was hard to pick what photos to display.  This blog is a bit photo heavy, but if you enjoy cars, we hope you enjoy this post!

This fabulous corvette was listed at $55,000 and did have a “sold” sign on it.

Sold!

Sold!

This car is owned by NASCAR driver Kyle Busch.

1956 Chevy Bel Air

1956 Chevy Bel Air

Before the mini van, families traveled in style!

classic station wagon

classic station wagon

classic wagon

classic wagon

And remember the days when everyone had their own ash tray, even in the third row bench seat of the wagons?!

ashtrays for everyone!

ashtrays for everyone!

The show had some very old and beautifully restored vehicles…

1931 Ford Model A

1931 Ford Model A

as well as this truck, which could easily tow just about any 5th wheel!

pimped up truck!

pimped up truck!

There were some muscle cars on display.

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1967 Chevy Chevelle SS Convertible

1967 Chevy Chevelle SS Convertible

classic muscle car

classic muscle car

And some unique vehicles we have never seen before.

1945 COE

1945 COE

1948 GM Cabover Racecare Hauler

1948 GM Cabover racecar Hauler

1935 Ford 4 door Slantback

1935 Ford 4 door Slantback

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Engines were much simpler in the older cars.

Not much  under the hood

Not much under the hood

One of my favorites was this 1964 Impala SS that came with “factory power steering”.  This car is “my age” and was all decked out in purple, my favorite color.

1964 Impala SS

1964 Impala SS

This 1956 Chevrolet Del Ray was getting a lot of inquiries, as it had been fully restored and was immaculate inside and out.

1956 Chevy Del Ray

1956 Chevy Del Ray

super clean engine

super clean engine

inside look

inside look

I’m not really sure if these guys were planning on taking a spin around the track on their scooters!

going for a spin?!

going for a spin?!

They will have another auto fair in September, so if you are in the area, you may want to check it out.

Quote for the day:  “Never lend your car to anyone to whom you have given birth.” – Erma Bombeck

Visiting friends in North Carolina

(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!

Cole, Austin and Jodi

Cole, Austin and Jodi

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!

Just throw it!

Just throw it!

Austin enjoyed bringing dishes of water for Makena to drink out of!

thanks for the water

thanks for the water

Eventually the boys wore her out, and she needed a rest!

all pooped out

all pooped out

The adults also had fun too!

Patio beers!

Patio beers!

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.

Hendrick  classic cars

Hendrick classic cars

There was a large display of colorful cars for Jeff Gordon, who is retiring this year from racing.

Jeff Gordons collection

Jeff Gordon’s collection

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.

Daytona 500 winners

Daytona 500 winners

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!

ouch!

ouch!

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.

Pit Crew workout

Pit Crew workout

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).

working on the 24 car

working on the 24 car

Inside the garage

Inside the garage

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.

Joe Gibbs garage

Joe Gibbs garage

Crispy M and M's car

Crispy M and M’s car

We met up with Jodie and Chris in town for a nice dinner on our last night.

Jodi, Chris, Dan and I

Jodie, Chris, Dan and I

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

Two days, two different experiences in Charleston, South Carolina

We left Florida Monday morning and ventured up I-95 to Charleston, SC.  Our trip was uneventful, other than seeing three different men peeing on the side of the road while going through Georgia.  Perhaps the state should put up a rest area on that short 105 mile stretch through that state!!  And if you have a four-door vehicle, open both doors and stand in the middle….just a thought!

After getting set up in our campground, we were excited to visit historic downtown Charleston.  Unfortunately, we arrived the day after Easter, when many families were on Spring Break.  It was a traffic nightmare!  After driving around for over an hour, finding parking lot after parking lot, full, we just gave up.  And then spent another hour in bumper to bumper traffic to go 15 miles to back to our campground.  We were both very frazzled and disappointed!

After taking the dog for a long walk to calm our nerves, we turned on the news, and the lead story was coverage of a meeting going on in Charleston to try to improve visitors experiences to the city!  We both laughed at the irony.  They are trying to figure out what to do about the traffic jams and the lack of parking.  Hopefully they will come up with a solution.

Today we got up early to beat the traffic and head over to Mount Pleasant, SC to see Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum.  Unlike yesterday, today we had an awesome experience!  If you are in the area, we would strongly recommend spending time visiting this place.  Patriots Point is home of the aircraft carrier  USS Yorktown (CV-10), Destroyer Laffey (DD-724), Submarine Clamagore (SS-343), Medal of Honor Museum and The Vietnam Experience Exhibit.  Admission is $20, and you can easily spend all day touring everything.  We spent about 5 hours, and could easily have taken more time to read all the exhibit signs.

Here is a view of all three in the water.

Patriots Point

Patriots Point

The USS Yorktown Aircraft Carrier was commissioned on April 15, 1943 and fought in many historic battles in World War II.  She was converted to an antisubmarine carrier in the 1950’s and served in that capacity in the Vietnam War.  In addition, the carrier recovered the Apollo 8 astronauts and their capsule after they returned to Earth.  The carrier is very impressive in size at 888 feet in length.

USS Yorktown CV-10

USS Yorktown CV-10

Dan on flight deck

Dan on flight deck

Bridge of carrier

Bridge of carrier

view of flight deck from bridge

view of flight deck from bridge

some big guns

some big guns

more views of flight deck

more views of flight deck

The self-guided tour allows access to many areas of the carrier, giving you a good idea of what life was like on board.  During WWII, 3,088 enlisted men along with 380 officers served on duty.  They had 90 planes on board between the flight deck and the hangar, which is just below the deck.

long hallways

long hallways

The tour provided access to all levels on the carrier.  There is an extensive medical and dental area.

open wide!

open wide!

operating room

operating room

Pilots Ready Room

Pilots Ready Room

The enlisted crew did not have much privacy, as they had a bunk and a small locker.

Crew's Berthing

Crew’s Berthing

The carrier had their own bakery, and they had several recipes on display, including this one to make 10,000 chocolate chip cookies!

a bakers delight

a bakers delight

The Destroyer Laffey seemed rather tiny next to the Yorktown Carrier, although it is still 376 feet long.  The Laffey was involved in the D-Day landing of Allied troops in Normandy. Just four months later it was out fighting in the Pacific.  On April 16, 1945, the Laffey was bombed by the Japanese and several kamikaze planes.  32 men were killed and the ship sustained heavy damage.  Yet the crew of 336 continued fighting and shot down their attackers.  The destroyer earned the nickname “The Ship that Would Not Die.”  This is a view of the Laffey from the deck of the carrier.

Destroyer Laffey DD-724

Destroyer Laffey DD-724

The front gun mount on the Laffey was the area struck by the bombs. It was rebuilt and now they show a short, but sobering film about the attack and the men who were working inside the mount.  As with the Yorktown, you can view many levels and rooms.

Laffey DD-724

Laffey DD-724

The Laffey contained this very interesting US Navy QH-50D Drone Anti-Submarine Helicopter (DASH) from 1966. Many people commented on this “old school” style drone. Drones have certainly come a long way in design and technology!

1966 style drone

1966 style drone

The submarine Clamagore was commissioned in 1945, near the end of WWII.  This diesel-powered sub remained in service until 1975.

Submarine Clamagore SS-343

Submarine Clamagore SS-343

The sub in not for someone afraid of confined spaces!   There are a lot of small spaces to navigate through.

small openings

small openings

Torpedo room and bunks for the men assigned to this detail.

Torpedo and bunks underneath

Torpedo and bunks underneath

Patriots Point also has an area on land entitled The Vietnam Experience, to show what life was like during the Tet Offensive on a US Navy Advanced Tactical Support Base and a US Marine Corps Artillery Firebase. It was a very moving exhibit.

Vietnam Experience

Vietnam Experience

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inside of helicopter

inside of helicopter

This was truly a wonderful display of military history. We want to thank everyone who has served our country in the military including some of our family and friends.

Quote of the day: “When I lost my rifle, the Army charged me 85 dollars. That is why in the Navy the Captain goes down with the ship.” – Dick Gregory

Taxes and future plans

In 2014, we were legal residents of two states, and worked in three states.  This may sound like a potential nightmare for filing taxes, but in reality it was not too difficult this year.  And, we opted to try out H & R Block’s software, given all the issues with Turbo Tax this year, having stripped out some of their forms from the Deluxe version. We found Block’s software to be just as user friendly as Turbo Tax, and it was substantially cheaper (we found ours at Target, on sale for $34.99, verse Turbo Tax Premier which was $79.99).

We “resided” in South Dakota and Florida last year, both states that have no income tax, or tax on investments.  So we did not have any forms to complete for these states.  We received W-2’s for our work in South Dakota at Crazy Horse, and multiple W-2’s from Amazon for working in Kentucky and Indiana.  We needed to file Federal and non-resident state forms in Indiana and Kentucky.  We decided to use our “free” state download form on Indiana, since Kentucky’s non-resident tax form is very easy to complete by hand. We made a wise choice, as we found Indiana’s form a bit confusing, so we were glad to have the software assist us.

While everyone’s tax situation is different, we always declare “0” dependents on the Federal W-4 withholding tax forms, and “2” dependents for the state tax forms.  By declaring “2” dependents, we have the least amount of money withheld for state taxes, and that works out well for us.  We do not want to receive a large refund from the states.  That is just our preference.  This year worked out pretty well, as we will be getting less than $250 combined back from both KY and IN.

We may have to rethink our deductions for the Federal form though, as we ended up with a pretty large refund.  Last year we funded, for the first time, a Health Savings Account.  We were not sure how that would impact our taxes, and discovered the HSA saved us money as it is a credit right off the top of your income.  And the HSA is available for anyone who has a high deductible health plan.  We are not experts at taxes, so please don’t rely on us for advice!  I’m just trying to give you an overview on our taxes with work camping in several different states.

FUTURE PLANS

We will be leaving warm and sunny (and humid) Florida next Monday, April 6th.  Originally we wanted to stay one more week, and head back over to the Gulf side of Florida.  But our neighbor here at the campground noticed that one of our hydraulic leveling jacks was leaking fluid on the very hot and humid days.  Since our 5th wheel is still under warranty, we contacted Heatland and they recommended a place in Elkhart, Indiana for warranty work. (we had told them we would be coming up that way).  So we will be leaving a week earlier.  After looking at Google Maps and discussing various routes with our neighbors, we decided to take a new route and go through South Carolina and North Carolina on our way home.  We have not yet decided if we will continue up I-77 through Virginia and Ohio, or cross over I-40 into Kentucky.   We have heard both positive and negative things about both routes.

We need to be in Indiana for our appointment on 4/13, and then back to WI for doctors appointments on the 20th.  Then it will be back to work!!

Summer Work Camping Job

In May, we will be heading West, to work at the Homeroom @ Madison Crossing located in West Yellowstone, Montana.  This gift shop specializes in cabin décor and is located just three blocks from the entrance of Yellowstone National Park.  We will be working with our friends Tom and Ellen (from Amazon), that recommended the job to us.  We are looking forward to having all summer to explore the area, and Dan is looking forward to fishing.

Fall Work Camping Job

In the fall, we will again work at Amazon, this time for a full season in Jeffersonville, IN.  We enjoyed our time there last year, and look forward to spending more time in Louisville on our days off.

We are committed to Amazon through December 23rd.  After that we have not decided which direction to go.

Quote for the day:  “Life moves pretty fast.  If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” – Ferris Bueller

I’ve been Banned!

Hello everyone, it’s me again!  I decided to steal my mom’s blog again.  I was going to title it “Happy 8th Birthday”, but thought the above title was more attention grabbing.  And I like it when humans, not other dogs, pay a lot of attention to me!

Keeping my peeps informed!

Keeping my peeps informed!

My parents have been very busy the last couple weeks with Dan’s brothers family in town visiting. Unlike last year, I have not been able to partake in all the social activities.  My parents have been visiting a lot with my grandparents (Dan’s mom and dad).  They have been renting the same condo in New Smyrna Beach for over 15 years.  The condo does permit dogs, and the owner of the condo told them I was welcome to visit as well.  Last year I made many visits, and had also made several more this year.  I really enjoy going for walks with my grandparents.

But one day, no sooner than after I finished giving smooches to my grandparents, the telephone rang, and it was the manager of the rental association asking if they had a dog in the unit.  To make a long story short, a power struggle ensued between the manager of the rental company, and the owner, and I am no longer allowed to visit, because the owner uses the rental company to handle everything. The rental agency does not permit dogs.   Sigh….my grandparents are very sad about this.  And I’m sad when I get left behind….

Apparently I missed out on a riveting shuffleboard tournament.  I could have taught everyone a thing or two about chasing around a puck!

Chris and Brooke

Chris and Brooke

Jasmine & Grandma

Jasmine & Grandma

But, this just means everyone has to come down and visit me at my home!  It’s not  easy having seven people come over for a visit, because we live in a small space.

Carmen, Julia, Luke & I

Carmen, Julia, Luke & I

The floor is always a good spot for me and my cousins to watch the Badgers play basketball!

Go Bucky!

Go Bucky!

The weather has been nice, so we could sit outside, which helps.  And, they can play with me in the campgrounds dog park!

tug-a-war with Gramps

tug-a-war with Gramps

come on Grandma!

come on Grandma!

Everyone did come down and celebrate my birthday with me, and I even had presents to open.  I love presents!!!

what's in the bag?

what’s in the bag?

Sometimes the bag keeps moving all over, but I am persistent!

still working on it!

still working on it!

Success!!  Thanks for the new toy Grandma and Grandpa!

next present please!

next present please!

I am not sure what is going on next.  My parents spent a lot of time working on taxes, so I’m sure they will be talking about that in an upcoming blog.  I just heard them use the word “refund”, which in dog language means “buy more toys and treats please!!”

And finally, even though I have just turned eight, I am still the youngest in our family.  In dog years, based on my size, I am only 48 years old!!

Take care everybody!

Quote for the day:  “Dogs are the leaders of the planet.  If you see two life forms, one of them’s making a poop, the other one’s carrying it for him, who would you assume is in charge.” – Jerry Seinfeld