Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Grand Duke

I don’t mind telling people my weight. It’s 141,312 beans, give or take a bean or two. You’ll just have to convert beans to pounds to know for yourself.




I try to keep my eyes on the road as I drive about five miles down a winding, two lane road off I-40 in rural Tennessee. The road is barely big enough for two cars to pass, much less a car meeting a tractor trailer full of beans.


Those trucks are coming from the Bush Brothers and Company in Chestnut Hill, TN, and they’re hauling “Bush’s Best.”


Right across the street from the company’s plant is the original AJ Bush & Company general store from1897. It now serves as the Bush’s visitor center. A place where visitors can learn about the long history of the Bush family’s business and probably more information about beans than you ever wanted to know. You can even find out your weight in beans.


Besides the beans, the one thing most people associate with Bush’s has to be Duke, Jay Bush’s trusty companion. He’s probably more famous than the beans themselves.


Duke and his owner Jay star in a series of commercials that almost everybody with a TV is bound to of seen. But unbeknownst to Jay, Duke is scheming to sell the Bush family’s secret baked bean recipe. It’s like a never-ending cliffhanger of a story. “Will Jay discover Duke’s evil plot? Will Duke finally spill the beans on the family’s secret recipe for baked beans? Tune in tomorrow to find out.


You’d think after all the commercials they’ve done, Jay would have caught on to Duke’s secret plan by now. Guess I’ll just have to wait for the next commercial to find out.


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Monday, March 14, 2011

Where Racing Lives


The man watches the action from behind a glass window, like an awestruck visitor at the zoo watching the playful antics of chimpanzees frolicking about. But this isn’t the zoo, it’s NASCAR Country! And this is the window into the NASCAR world. Or at least one that allows visitors to check out one of the working garages at Hendrick Motorsports in Concord, NC.

With Charlotte Motor Speedway down the street, NASCAR is a major player in the area’s economy. Teams like Roush Fenway, Hendrick Motorsports and Earnhardt Ganassi Racing call Cabarrus County home.

The teams are also extremely fan-friendly, offering visitors glimpses into the teams’ past, present and future by way of their museums. Through their teams stores, they also give fans a chance to take home a special piece of their favorite driver, whether it be a team hat or a front bumper off one of the cars. There is something for everyone.

But the shops aren’t the only things NASCAR-related in Cabarrus County.

It’s hard to drive anywhere in Cabarrus County and not run into something NASCAR related. From NASCAR-themed restaurants, to stores selling NASCAR merchandise, to the NASCAR Speedpark at Concord Mills, NASCAR is everywhere.

After all, this is “Where Racing Lives.”