Stories from the Road – The RV in the Sod Field

There are fascinating stories all around us if only we will pay attention. Each day on my way to work I pass by several fascinating “mysteries” and points of interest that I have decided to share here. It’s all a part of the ordinary every day life we each live, but too seldom pause to appreciate how truly extraordinary life really is.

I have chosen to start with this simple image that evokes such mystery to me. Here was the view from my passenger window several days ago.

Out the window of Big Daddy, my Ram 3500

Besides immediately noticing the awesome side mirror that shows both behind and the blind spots in Big Daddy (that’s what I named my Ram 3500, and yes fellas, of course he has the 6.7L Cummins turbo under the hood!) Look out the window, at the field. Do you see it?

This motor home showed up close to a year ago. One day there it was, pulling a car behind it parked in the middle of this sod field. Soon the car was unhitched. One day an older man was pushing a lawn mower, tending to the grass on each side of the long driveway into his “home” spot

I was fascinated. Why on earth would someone choose to set up camp in the middle of a field in Sampson County NC? Sidenote: my ride takes me across Johnston County, Sampson County, Johnston County again, Sampson County again and then into Harnett County so I am not 100% sure it is in Sampson County; I’ll have to pay better attention to the Welcome To / You are Leaving signs. Back to my story… Why on earth would someone pick that particular spot to bring an RV and car to and set up camp? Out in the middle of the country, nothing much around, shows no signs of building a house or making a permanent structure, simply has the RV parked there and is settled in for however long.

Winter came and one day I noticed something I had missed – even though I looked at it every day of the work week. Zooming in a bit. Look closer.

RV in the Sod Field

Fascinating, isn’t it? For those like me who for far too long looked but did not see I will zoom again in case you do not see it.

Closer still…

There it is, surrounded by trees and brush

Fascinating, isn’t it? And a bit melancholy? I wonder if this was his home place, the house where he grew up?

Isn’t it funny how life takes us full circle sometimes? We grow up, can’t wait to move on and move “up” and climb that old ladder of success only to to find one day we wake up and want to go back. Back to a simpler time, get off the ever spinning hamster wheel and climb down OFF the “ladder of success”. We long to return to a simpler time.

I wonder if any of those memories of the times he spent here are now – from the other side of life- the sweetest and most treasured memories he has? I don’t see anyone else there and no animals. The house is in such disrepair it probably is not worth breathing new life into. I don’t see him outside too often but the car is moved around often so someone is still there. There he is, living the day to day.

Some days I wonder if it is love or hate that draws him there? What if it is hate, memories of a terrible life he thought he would never be free of. What if he stays there in defiance of situations or people in life that threatened to defeat him? What if it is victory that drew him back? Victory over all that made him who he is?

Or perhaps, it is simply love that draws him back. Love for people and times now past. Coming home. Home to a place where the memories are alive and well within his soul. Where the peace and love of long past family lingers and soothes his soul. I hope he is there for love, not hate. I hope whoever this fellow sojourner is that he has peace, and finds love and joy in sweet memories of those who have past before him.

Sometimes I think about stopping and asking this man his story, but I want to respect his privacy. And, truth be told, I want to believe that he has come home to a place where the grass is green, the air is fresh, the memories are sweet and the love of a family now passed and waiting on the other side is enough to sustain a wandering fellow sojourner until he too passes from this earth and goes home. This is my prayer for him.


On March 13 in North Carolina, United States and World History …

1781     Sir William Herschel discovered Uranus, he named it ‘Georgium Sidus,’ in honor of King George III.

1793   Eli Whitney patents the cotton gin

1821  North Carolina’s first attorney general, Waightstill Avery, died in Morganton. A native of Connecticut, the Princeton-educated Avery came to North Carolina by way of Edenton in 1769 and was granted permission to practice law in the state. While living in Charlotte in 1772, Avery was elected to serve in the provincial assembly.

He was a signer of the 1775 Mecklenburg Resolves that declared all laws of the British Crown void and suspended authority of the King and Parliament.

Instrumental in establishing North Carolina’s early statehood, Avery served on the committee to draft the state’s first constitution and literally wrote most of the document. He attended the first meeting of the General Assembly held in New Bern in 1777, and while there was appointed North Carolina’s first attorney general.

For his part in the revolutionary cause, Lord Charles Cornwallis had Avery’s office set afire.

Married with four children, Avery joined his family in Burke County at Swan Pond plantation after the Revolution. Between 1782 and 1796 he served several terms in the state House of Commons and one senate term.
Avery was known for his manners, gentlemanly demeanor and his adherence to colonial-style dress.

1935   A three-thousand-year-old archive is found in Jerusalem confirming biblical history.

1937    Maj. Gen. Henry Wolfe Butner, a native of Surry County North Carolina and commander of the First Artillery Brigade in World War I, died. Butner received the Distinguished Service Medal and the Silver Star among other commendations for his wartime service.  He was also briefly the commander at Fort Bragg Army Base in North Carolina.

1941     Hitler issues an edict calling for an invasion of the Soviet Union.

1942     Julia Flikke of the Nurse Corps becomes the first woman colonel in the U.S. Army.

1974     The U.S. Senate votes 54-33 to restore the death penalty.








March 5, 1929 David Dunbar Buick Dies

In 1869 David Dunbar Buick dropped out of school at age 15 to assist his fulfilling his family’s financial need by taking a job at a plumbing goods company. When the company ran into trouble in 1882 Buick and a partner bought it out, revitalizing it and turning it into a successful business once again.

That all changed in the 1890s when Buick discovered a new interest, internal combustion engines. The plumbing company was sold and Buick used his new free time and capital to start the Buick Auto-Vim and Power Company in 1899, which produced motor-car bodies and internal combustion engines for agricultural use. He quickly turned to automotive development and after creating a revolutionary “valve in-head” overhead valve engine, he founded Buick Motor Company in 1903 with a loan from friend and fellow auto enthusiast Benjamin Briscoe. David Dunbar Buick was the creator of the infant Model B back in 1904. This is how the Buick history started, and today it’s growing to be one of the most successful luxury American car brands out there.

In 1911, four years ahead of Ford, Buick introduced its first closed-body car and by 1914, the company introduced the 5-passenger Touring which, as the name implies, could seat up to 5 passengers.

1906 Buick Touring, #131, By F. D. Richards, CC2.0

Today Buick is a leading luxury American car brand; we invite you to stop by Bleecker Buick GMC in Red Springs, NC and discover for yourself why the legendary Buick lives on. Bleecker Buick GMC is located at 926 E. 4th Avenue in Red Springs, NC 28377, between Ft Bragg / Fayetteville and Lumberton North Carolina. From I-95 it is exit 20, about 10 miles on Hwy 211 to Red Springs, dealership is on the left. Call us toll free at: (866) 662-1260.








F. D. Richards, CC2.0\


Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot, Inventor of the Automobile, was Born this Day in 1725

The first self-propelled, land based vehicle is credited to French inventor Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot, who was born on February 26 in 1725. He was a French inventor who built the first working self-propelled land-based mechanical vehicle, the world’s first automobile.

Cugnot was born in Void-Vacon, Lorraine, France. He trained as a military engineer. In 1765 Cugnot was a captain in the French army who relied on two wheeled horse drawn fardiers to carry heavy equipment such as artillery and arms across long distances. He began experimenting with working models of steam-engine-powered vehicles for the French Army, intended for transporting cannons. He developed a way to turn the reciprocating motion of a steam piston into rotary motion by means of a ratchet system. Using this design he built a less than full scale “fardier à vapeur,” steam powered fardier, in 1769, which had three wheels. The third wheel was placed where horses normally would be secured to the wagon. The next year he built a full size version that was specified to be able to carry four tons and travel approximately 3.9 kmh (2.4 mph). It was designed to carry up to four passengers as well as its cargo. In 1771 a second full scale fardier is said to have ran into a wall after its driver lost control, thus resulting in the first recorded automobile accident.
Cugnot’s 1770 fardier à vapeur, as preserved at the Musée des Arts et Métiers, Paris.









North Carolina Military Veterans Benefits Website

The North Carolina Department of Military and Veterans Affairs in conjunction with the NC Department of Health and Human Services and The Department of Commerce have joined together to to assist and educate veterans in learning about state and federal veteran benefits.

If you or someone you know is a veteran of any branch of the U.S. Military, please make sure they have seen this great resource showing health care, employment, housing and other services:

Bleecker Automotive Group is a proud employer of a high % of US Military Veterans!

Oak Grove Plantation Civil War Reenactment, Dunn, NC

If you’re going to be around Dunn, NC this weekend don’t miss the opportunity to visit Oak Grove Plantation and watch the Civil War Reenactment at Aversaboro Civil War Battlefield!

*Image property of Averasboro Battlefield Museum

February 25, 2017 all-day

Oak Grove Plantation
8640 Burnett Rd
Dunn, NC 28334

Bleecker Automotive SuperCenter is proud to be a supportive, committed community member of Dunn, NC!



Happy Birthday NASCAR

During the Prohibition era, Chicago was considered the center of illegal liquor activity. But the secluded stills of the rural South produced the life and legend most associated with moonshine, rising out of places such as Dawson County, Ga.; Cocke County, Tenn.; Franklin County, Va.; and Wilkes County, N.C.-once the self-proclaimed “Moonshine Capital of the World.”

North Carolina’s tradition of auto racing developed in the garages of bootleggers, particularly on the roads between North Wilkesboro and Charlotte. Legendary auto racers Junior Johnson and Curtis Turner were well-known bootleggers in the 1950s. Many of the winning entries at local Saturday night race events would be hauling illegal whiskey the following morning. Movies such as Thunder Road (1958), starring Robert Mitchum, and television series such as The Dukes of Hazzard offered both factual and fictional accounts of the exploits of moonshiners in the rural South.

NASCAR’s roots were laid in the southeastern United States, primarily in North Carolina. One reason for this involves the bright red clay of North Carolina’s Piedmont.  When properly treated (churned, graded, packed and watered correctly), the clay creates a very smooth and durable natural racing surface.




DAYTONA BEACH, FL – FEBRUARY 15, 1948: The first NASCAR-sanctioned race was held on Daytona Beach in 1948 for modified-sportsman cars. (Photo by ISC Archives via Getty Images)

July 4, 1952 race in Southand Speedway. Photo by Raleigh News & Observer. Compliments of the NC State Archives. Call no. NO_7-4-1952 06.

A former driver and part-time race promoter named Bill France realized how big racing could be if it was organized and had a uniform set of rules, meaning a car could race in any area of the country and still be within the rules. The sport needed a national point system and one official national champion. It also needed credibility–meaning guaranteed purses, and it needed cooperation among all sanctioning bodies. In December 1947, France summoned the sport’s best owners, drivers, mechanics and promoters to the Streamline Hotel in Daytona Beach, Florida for a four-day series of meetings (Fielden, 1987). The rules were drafted and cooperation among all attendees resulted in what we know as NASCAR, the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing.

A total of 52 races, all on dirt tracks, were held in NASCAR’s inaugural 1948 season. North Carolina speedways hosted 30 of those events at places like Greensboro, North Wilkesboro, Lexington, Wadesboro, Hillsborough, Elkin, Winston-Salem and Charlotte.  The first Strictly Stock Division race, (now the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series), was held at Charlotte’s 3/4-mile dirt track in June 1949 (Year Book, 1950). North Carolina quickly became the center of the NASCAR world with its close proximity to the majority of the sports racing venues. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, the premier racing division, has produced 28 different national champions with nine of them hailing from North Carolina, more than any other state (Media Guide, 2010). Buck Baker, the first champion with back-to-back titles; Lee Petty, the first driver to win three championships; Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt–with a series-high seven championships each and arguably the sport’s greatest legends, are all North Carolina natives.

From the earliest days it seems the best teams, drivers, and latest technology have come out of North Carolina. Ford Motor Co. established their official NASCAR racing team in the mid 1950s and located their facility in Charlotte and soon many of the sport’s biggest teams followed. Today nearly 90% of the teams competing in NASCAR’s top three series are based within a 90 mile radius of Charlotte, NC (Media Guide, 2010). NASCAR, although based in Daytona Beach, Fl., opened its new state of the art Research and Development (R&D) Center in Concord, N.C in 2003. Technology that is developed at the R&D Center is easily shared with the industry since the center is located near many of the team shops.

In 2005, the University of North Carolina-Charlotte, did a study of motorsports financial impact on the state. It found that the industry employed over 27,000 people with an average salary of $71,000 and a yearly contribution of 5.9 billion dollars to the state economy. Charlotte Motor Speedway alone has an impact of over 400 million dollars annually (Connaughton and Madsen, 2006).

North Carolina’s role in stock car racing was a major factor in NASCAR selecting Charlotte as the home of the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Opened in May 2010, this 150,000-square-foot facility honors the history and heritage of NASCAR. The high-tech venue features artifacts and interactive exhibits designed to educate and entertain fans and non-fans. Each May five individuals are inducted into the Hall of Honor.







Keep Calm and Eat Peanut Butter

Farmers and ranchers are “Price Takers, Not Price Makers,

…meaning they invest everything into their crops and livestock, then take what the market offers them.

That can go one of two ways. They can be offered substantially less than their cost of production because there is too much supply/not enough demand for that particular commodity. OR … they can be offered substantially more than their cost of production because of a shortage in that particular commodity.

And more often than not, the movement from loss to profit can happen in the blink of an eye. Case in point:

A year ago the outlook for the 2016/17 peanut marketing year was anything but bright: There was a global glut of peanuts and contract offers to growers for 2016 were less-than-attractive at $365/ton. The forecast for 2017 contracts as recently as October were even worse. There were so many peanuts on the world market, an effort was underway to organize a plowdown of U.S. peanut acres just to get rid of some production.

But, surprise! “Everything turned in our favor — and it turned fast!,” according to Marshall Lamb, research director of the National Peanut Research Laboratory at Dawson, Ga.

The turnabout came because of unexpected weather setbacks in other key producing countries that resulted in China coming to the U.S. for peanuts that it otherwise would’ve bought from someone else. “These are the sorts of things we really can’t predict,” Lamb says.

Massive rains in Argentina rotted the crop in their fields. The rain kept falling, which kept Argentinian farmers from being able to prep their fields for the next peanut crop. Then South Africa’s crop was completely wiped out, and India didn’t get enough rain … which reduced their export supplies by 32%.

China … the world’s largest consumer of peanuts … had a crop loss as well, and needed more from the world market than they normally do. And U.S. growers were the only ones with the supply to satisfy. Exports of American grown peanuts to China in 2017 are forecast at levels that will represent more than a 2000% increase in exports to that country over 2015 levels.

And contract offers for available peanuts … today … are in the $500 range. An increase of 40% in just the last few months. Forecasters are sitting on the sidelines, not even trying to predict where the ceiling could be. What they do agree on … the climb in farm gate peanut values is not going to end anytime soon.

Living here in the peanut growing state of North Carolina we are accustomed to seeing peanuts growing in the fields.  Did you know that in North Carolina, Georgia, Texas, Alabama, Florida, South Carolina, Mississippi, Virginia, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Missouri … there are roughly 8000 commercial peanut growers?

Next time you grab that jar of peanut butter for your PB ‘Naner sandwich send up a little prayer for the farmers around you and all over this blessed country busting their hump growing food to feed us all!

Bleecker Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram is proud to be North Carolina’s very first RAM Certified Agriculture Dealership.

Dunn Crimestoppers Fundraiser – Feb 3, 2017

Mark your calendars and don’t miss this opportunity to get a great lunch AND help a worthy cause!

Dunn Crimestoppers Fundraiser

Dunn Crimestoppers

Combo / Fried Chicken / BBQ Plates

Friday, February 3 2017
Triangle South Enterprise Center
600 S Magnolia Ave, Dunn, NC 28334
11am – 2pm

Dine in or Carry out

$8.00 Per Plate

Let’s be the change we want to see in our communities!


Christmas at Bleecker, 2016

A huge thanks to all who came out and supported our fundraising efforts to fill the local food pantries! Our awesome Bike Ride participants and Car Show participants helped us feed a lot of local community members in need this holiday season!

Santa and his elves were kind enough to stop by and stay for pics (taken by outstanding photographer James Burke), the kids had a great time playing on the bouncy houses getting their faces painted and eating hamburgers, hot dogs and funnel cake.

The beautiful cars and trucks in the car show were a joy to all. Congratulations to our Car Show winners:
1st Place: John Ingram, 66 Black Chevelle
2nd Place: Ira Parker, 58 Black Ford Fairlane
3rd Place: Bill Kistner 56 Blue Chevy BelAir

Merry Christmas to all from Bleecker Automotive Group!

Bleecker Buick GMC, Red Springs NC  (Bob Bleecker, Alvin Ivey & Team)

Bleecker Chevrolet, Dunn NC  (Bob Bleecker, Robby Boswell & Team)

Bleecker Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram, RAM Commercial, Ram Certified Agriculture Dealership (Bob Bleecker, Travis Hibler, Ken Kirby & Team)

Bleecker Bleecker!

Christmas at Bleecker Automotive Group, 2016