The following is a post from a guest blogger, Ruth Mattern. I wrote about Ruth and her visit to Cabarrus County earlier this week. Here are her thoughts about her experience in NASCAR country.
If This Is A Dream, Don’t Wake Me Up
Have you ever had something happen in your life that made you feel like Cinderella? Like you were dreaming and afraid that at any moment you would wake up to find out it wasn’t real?
I have, and I’m covered with bruises from pinching myself to be sure I was awake.
I had an awesome weekend thanks to the wonderful ladies of the Cabarrus County Visitor’s Bureau, DeSales, Sharon, Erin, Sandy and Margaret. For those who don’t know, Cabarrus County is where Kannapolis, Earnhardt territory, is located. Or as they say at the Visitor’s Bureau, “The racing side of Charlotte”.
A Dale Earnhardt fan visited Cabarrus County this past weekend. I know many are laughing and thinking – Dale Earnhardt fans visit Cabarrus County everyday…many of them even live here. Yes, this is true. But this past weekend one of the very first requests for a Dale Trail banner was fulfilled and the recipient visited the county.
photo courtesy of txwendycp on flickr
One of our favorite things to do is to see pictures from fans who came here on vacation and followed The Dale Trail™. Recently I found some great photos of a vacation that included The Dale Trail, races at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, and NASCAR Race Shops, on Flickr. We’d like to thank the photographer, txwendycp, for sharing thesebeautiful photos with the rest of us!
Dale Trail Story on News 14, Showcasing Cabarrus Visitor Center and Curb Motorsports
This News14 story, run on the day the Dale Trail™ banners came down, shows some great footage of the Dale attractions in Curb Motorsports, stop # 8 on the Dale Trail. The museum showcases NASCAR, Indy and modified race cars, as well as LeeAnn Rimes’ very first car, a 1995 black Dodge Viper. Two rare glimpses of NASCAR history are on display front and center in the new museum’s street-side windows – the #2 car Dale Earnhardt drove in his first Winston Cup Championship and the #43 car Richard Petty drove in his 199th Winston Cup win – sister-car to the one Petty drove in his 200th Winston Cup win that now resides at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, DC.
Dale Trail banners before they were taken down
It’s been almost a month since the Dale Trail™ banners came down, and officials are working diligently to breathe new life into the iconic trail. Cabarrus County Convention & Visitors Bureaustaff members are meeting with the city of Kannapolis and other area leaders to begin the process of replacing the banners with historical markers. And, in a wonderful twist of fate that Dale himself would have probably appreciated, the media frenzy that ensued after the banners came down resulted in nearly a million dollars in free publicity for the Dale Trail.
It is unclear at this time when those markers will be in place, but officials are optimistic. In addition, other exciting enhancements being considered are: an interactive GPS unit, and a DVD narrated by NASCAR celebrities. Requests for the Dale Trail banners have flooded the CVB, and we have a waiting list in place. Requests have also been received from the Earnhardt family. The CVB is working with both family and fans to fulfill those requests as quickly as possible.
I found this great blog post about The Dale Trail™ from October of last year. The post includes a photo gallery of many of the stops on The Dale Trail.
Image courtesy of the Salisbury Post
Today the banners came down, but the Dale Trail™ is still alive and kicking! You can still come to Kannapolis and do a self-guided tour of Dale’s hometown, using our Dale Trail map. We also still have the Dale Trail T-shirts for sale. We don’t know at this time what we will do with the banners after we get them back, but many fans have called, and we have been taking down names in the order that they call.
We hope you will post your thoughts and comments about the Dale Trail, and what Dale Earnhardt meant to you. And we REALLY hope you will come follow in his footsteps by visiting the Dale Trail! The Dale Trail starts at the Cabarrus County Convention & Visitors Bureau, 3003 Dale Earnhardt Blvd., Kannapolis, NC. Or, for more information, call 800- 848-3740.