Concord/Charlotte, North Carolina

We arrived safely in Concord, North Carolina on Thursday (10/23), after traveling 330 miles from Fredericksburg, Virginia. For this part of the trip, we decided to stick with the interstates and we took I-95 South to I-85 South. The trip was relatively easy and, oddly enough, we found that we prefer interstate travel to back road travel.  Traveling the back roads is nice if we’re in a car, but I think for a motor coach, we definitely prefer interstate travel.

Concord is located about 30-miles away from Charlotte, on the north-east side of the city, and is home to the Charlotte Motor Speedway. The campground that we’re staying at, Glenwood Acres RV Park, is kitty-corned from the speedway and is convenient to shopping and restaurants.  Although the speedway is on one side of us, country living is on the opposite side of us, making for an interesting camping experience.  We have not encountered any noise from the speedway, which is a plus for staying here.  There are four other campgrounds very close to the speedway, but a majority of the lots are gravel (meaning nosier) and more expensive (double of what we’re paying here).

Dave and I are becoming extremely proficient in regard to setting up/breaking down our site when it comes to prepping for travel. We pulled into our site around 4:30 p.m. in Concord on Thursday and we had everything hooked up (water, sewer, electric, satellite), the interior set-up, and dinner on the table in an hour.  Great team work!

Speaking of team work, Dave does 100% of the driving of the motor coach and I take care of the navigation of our trips regarding the actual routing, making sure that there are no bridges that may be an issue (our coach height is 12’ 7”, which is important to know if you’re not traveling interstates), finding gas stations that have diesel when we need it, calculating our time/mileage so that we get to our next destination at a decent hour and, most importantly, finding the next campground or resort that we’ll be staying at. All in all, Dave actually has the hard part as he has to trust my directions and he has to deal with driving a 60’ rig on tight/hilly country roads and 3-lane interstates.

On Friday, we decided to find a laundromat as the campground here does not have one and then went grocery shopping afterward to replenish our food supply.  We stayed at the campground to regroup after traveling as traveling can be quite stressful.

Saturday and Sunday were great days as we got to spend the days with my sister and brother-in-law. It has been over a year that I’ve seen either one of them, so it was great to spend time with them again, especially since last time I was here, I wound up in the hospital with pancreatitis.

On Saturday, the four of us went to the R&R Bar-B-Que restaurant, which offers “bend the rail” servings of true Eastern NC vinegar-based pork on the Engineer’s BBQ Plate or smaller portions on the Choo-Choo menu. I went for the Choo-Choo menu and I enjoyed a very delicious (and huge portion!) of barbequed chicken, complete with red-slaw, macaroni and cheese, and hushpuppies.  Dave enjoyed their beef stew.  The red-slaw is coleslaw which has a tangy-vinaigrette dressing with a tad bit of hot sauce thrown in, instead of the traditional creamy coleslaw made with mayonnaise. The atmosphere of the restaurant is really unique as well, as they have train tracks suspended above the dining areas with trains riding the tracks.  Really neat!

After a nice long lunch, we went to SEA LIFE, which is the aquarium for the Charlotte-Concord area. It’s not a huge aquarium as it’s located within the Concord Mills Mall, but it’s a good size if one is taking children.  They have over 20 display tanks and more than 5,000 sea creatures.  I would suggest buying tickets online (which one can do the day of visiting) as it will save the purchaser a considerable amount of money.  Tickets at the door cost $21 per adult and $17 per child.  If one purchases them online, then the price is $14 per adult and $14 per child, which is definitely a cost savings for a family of four if purchasing online.  Expect to spend at least two hours at the aquarium.

After our adventure at SEA LIFE, we then walked around the Concord Mill Mall, which is absolutely HUGE! The mall’s layout mimics the oval of the Charlotte Motor Speedway and is home to over 200 stores, including retailer outlets and anchor stores, such as The Disney Store, The Lego Store, Saks Fifth Avenue Outlet and, of course, Brass Pro Shops Outdoor World which is the size of four football fields.  The best part for me is that they have an AMC Theatre that boasts 24-screen theaters and an IMAX theater.  Movie theater, here I come!

On Sunday, the four of us drove to Columbia, South Carolina to visit my nephew. Ben made us an absolutely fantastic lunch consisting of Turkey Manhattan’s, macaroni and cheese, green beans, and a side salad with a vinaigrette dressing topped off with pine nuts and various desserts too!  Wow!  Thank you, Ben, it was delicious and company was even better! Dave also took possession of the Les Paul guitar that he and Ben trade back and forth over the years.

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