Oct. 16 - 25 Forest Lake TT - Advance, NC
Beautiful drives, laid-back lifestyle, NASCAR, and Barbecue. North Carolina definitely has the southern style. Such beautiful country with the hardwood forests and rivers. You an see why the people who live here take pride in their state. We didn’t get a chance to make it to the coast this time. But we liked what we saw while we were here. Our Forest Lake Preserve started out things on a positive note with a nice resort in a wooded setting of rural NC. The trees were just starting to show their color when we arrived and were almost in full fall color when we left. To try and catch the Fall colors we took a side trip upstate to the Blue Ridge Parkway. One of the most toured stretches of roads in the lower US. The drive was nice with traffic limited to 45 MPH and no trucks allowed. There were many turnouts for drivers to get off the parkway and enjoy the beauty of the surrounding panoramas. The Fall colors were just beginning to get spectacular with a week or more later they would be breathtaking. The views were even so still beautiful. We took the parkway for only a short drive in the North Carolina area. To fully view it you have to start in Virginia and end in South Carolina. At 45 MPH it would take more than one day. Of course it was crowded too, even though we went in the middle of the week. Ron and I spent one day traveling down to Mooresville to see some of NASCAR’s favorite sites. We spent time touring Dale Ernhart Sr.’s and Jr.’s facilities. We also went a NASCAR museum, Red Bull’s race car shop and Penske’s shop. If you like cars and especially NASCAR then Mooresville, NC is absolutely where you need to go someday. You can look through glass into most of the shops. However Penske is the best where they have a walkway along the side and above their line where they do the final prep for their race cars. Ron and I had a great guys day out. We even bought a cap. Who would have thought. Last but not least in our visits to Forest Lake was our visit to one of the top 10 food festivals in the nation. Unknown to us when we came to the area. But the last weekend we were there on Saturday, was the 26th annual Barbecue Festival. The town of Lexington, NC is know as one of the best BBQ cities in the south with 10 BBQ joints in town. We happen to like John Wayne’s BBQ since we ate there twice. The area is know for their distinctive vinegar based BBQ sauce. The festival did not include a contest, but did have lots of locations to eat BBQ. It was one of those local festivals which included live entertainment and hundreds of craft and food booths. The town grows by 100,000 guests on that day. I believe it. The day started out kind of grim with rain soaking the attendees. The crowd was kind of thin at first. However about midmorning the rain subsided and the crowd came in and packed the streets making the vendors very happy. We heard some good blues music and a pretty good rock-band. Ate pretty good BBQ sandwiches and a deep-fried Snickers Bar. We watched an old guy about 80 something dancing pretty well for his age. Saw a pig sand sculpture. It was a fun day. We left Carolina Landing Thousand Trials in Fair Play, South Carolina the following Monday.