Looking for Richard Petty; Greensboro to Randleman NC, September 14, 2020

I parked the Prius at a Walmart on the southern fringe of Greensboro, just off the “new” I-85.  It had been an hour’s drive from my home in Chapel Hill.

This was to be a day trip, bicycling south towards Randleman NC, a town I had never visited.   I had heard that area was the birthplace and home of eighty-three year old NASCAR legend Richard Petty.   Maybe I could see something about him.

By bicycle I headed south.  Walmarts have lots of mindless impervious surface.


I cycled back over I-85.

Most of the day’s ride was on Randleman Road / US-221 although I veered off the highway whenever possible.


Randleman Road / US 221  used to be a principal highway but it has been bypassed by the newer Interstate from Greensboro heading south.  I saw many older highway businesses; some still operating, some not.


Word salad


On down the road.

Richard Petty went to Randleman High School but he really grew up in the settlement of Level Cross NC, eight miles north of Randleman NC.  To my Chapel Hill readers, Level Cross is really small, a crossroads like Calvander.  The Petty compound is about half a mile from Level Cross.


I read that Petty and most of his extended family live on their compound outside of Level Cross NC.

I bicycled up and parked the bike.   I doubt they get many visitors by bicycle.



There was not much activity here at 9:45 AM on a Monday morning.

The museum was open!   An older woman immediately apologized for not wearing a mask; she did stay socially distant and there were signs asking visitors to wear a mask.   Admission was twelve dollars.  I was the only visitor.




In addition to his cars there were Richard’s possessions, especially his guns.    I will let my readers make their own conclusions about this stuff.






There was his wife’s doll collection.


There were pictures of Richard with every president since Nixon including Obama and Carter but not Clinton.  I am not sure what to make of that.



I said my goodbyes and got back on the bicycle, heading toward Randleman.   I passed this house where people were sitting outdoors.


Randleman (population 4,000) is a former mill town, built originally around a waterfall on the Deep River.   As I crossed the river heading towards downtown this mill looked at least semi-operational.   Sometimes these old mills have been repurposed to other industries.



Randleman is a reasonably attractive town.   Downtown had the usual mostly empty storefronts.




In front of the offices of the local cable provider there was a bench.   I chose to do my lunch here.  There were a couple restaurants in Randleman but in this coronavirus I hate to take chances.  I chose lunch of mixed nuts and Starbucks, both bought at the downtown CVS.   (I love these Starbucks mocha drinks but there is too much sugar; I usually drink half and then toss the remainder.)    I sat on the bench and read The New Yorker on my Kindle.



I eventually got back on the bicycle and rode the seventeen miles back to the south Greensboro Walmart.

I was home in Chapel Hill by late afternoon.

2 responses to “Looking for Richard Petty; Greensboro to Randleman NC, September 14, 2020”

  1. I can’t decide which is stranger – all the weapons or the photos with the Carters and the Obamas.

  2. The Highway is Business 220 not 221.

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