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Let’s go racing in Charlotte, North Carolina….

Cool zebra painting by Charlotte, North Carolina artist Tony Java!, on display at NoDa art gallery Boulevard.I’m going to be blogging sporadically over the next ten days, since I’m in Charlotte, North Carolina busily researching a combination NASCAR/travel article for an upcoming issue of Automotive Traveler.

For transportation, I’m zooming around in a Dodge Avenger, which is sort of a moderately souped-up sedan that just came out from Chrysler this year. The tie-in with NASCAR is the role that the Avenger is playing as the new Car of Tomorrow (COT) for many of the Dodge racing teams.

I may have interviews lined up with two of the more famous Dodge Avenger drivers — details to follow!

My itinerary is pretty jam-packed with both NASCAR events and investigating attractions that have nothing to do with stock car racing.

Last night I enjoyed dinner at the family-friendly Cabo Fish Taco restaurant, followed by a stroll through some art galleries during the twice-monthly Gallery Crawl in the hip NoDa arts district in Charlotte. NoDa is the “North Davidson Street” area of the city; it’s a National Register Historic District and former textile manufacturing hub (one of the mills has been converted to swank lofts and apartments.)

The galleries were fun and something that older kids would enjoy; I liked the caffeinated paintings by artist Tony Java! but am trying to save my pennies for next week’s Southern Highland Craft Guild Folk Art Center in the NC mountains.

I was particularly interested in the Neighborhood Theatre, which bills itself as a “non-smoking all ages live music venue.” I could hear famous white-haired blues/rock guitarist Johnny Winter wailing away in there last night, so I stood on the sidewalk for a minute and enjoyed my own mini-concert.

Dodge Avenger racing version (courtesy Daimler/Chrysler)

Today I’ll attend the NASCAR All-Star event (a fun race for big bucks) then tomorrow I’ll check out the Levine Museum of the New South for a cultural twist.

Monday is the US National Whitewater Center (if there’s a family-friendly angle there, I’ll post about it) and a visit to Pit Crew U, where they train members of NASCAR pit crews to magically refuel a car, change all four tires and make other adjustments in just a few seconds.

Tuesday I head out for a three-day road trip in the western part of North Carolina, driving up the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Friday through Sunday I’m back in Charlotte for racing activities and the big Coca-Cola 600 race on Sunday May 27th.

Whenever I can post, I’ll certainly try to get you some North Carolina family travel info “hot off the presses.”

Technorati tags: family travel, Charlotte, North Carolina, NASCAR