Norm Nicholls: Burning rubber and selling rummage |

Norm Nicholls: Burning rubber and selling rummage

Norm and Alan Nicholls
Wednesday columnist
By Norm and Alan Nicholls

We’re cruising at 33,000 feet somewhere between Atlanta and Los Angeles on our way home from a great, but tiring trip back east to see our daughter, Christy.

Alice and I left on Friday morning, May 1, and puddle jumped from Reno to Phoenix, to Philadelphia, and then landed at Wilmington, N.C., some 14 plus hours later. We are always looking for flight “deals” so we can go back to see our daughter at least twice a year. We found this “deal” in January, which saved us several hundred dollars ” but we got what we paid for!

The first leg of our trip was to New Bern, N.C. New Bern was settled in 1710 by Swiss and German immigrants. The original founders were from Bern, Switzerland, and the city flag’s bear motif (with long, red tongue) dates from the Middle Ages. There is still a strong mother-daughter relationship with Bern, Switzerland.

We visited several sites in the historic district in town including the rebuilt Tryon Palace and gardens (rebuilt in the 1970s to replicate the original palace built for the colonial governor in the 18th century), several homes of former prominent New Bern citizens of the 1800s, the New Bern “Fireman’s and Civil War Museum,” and “Bradham’s Pharmacy,” the site of the creation of Pepsi Cola in 1898.

Our next destination was the “Outer Banks” of North Carolina. We spent most of a day driving and taking two ferries to get to our destination of Cape Hatteras and its famous lighthouse.

The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse was built in 1870 and was constructed of 1,250,000 bricks. It weighs 6,250 tons and stands 208 feet tall. The nation’s tallest, Hatteras lighthouse and other lighthouses along the Outer Banks were constructed in the 1800’s to warn ships of the shallow sandbars that stretch 14 miles out into the ocean. Over the centuries, many a ship has ended up in shambles after running aground along the shoals of North Carolina. This area was easy pickings for pirates including the infamous Black Beard and his crew.

Due to erosion of the shore line, the lighthouse was carefully moved in 1999 to a new location 1/2-mile away, at a cost over 10 times the original cost to build. The lighthouse made the journey totally intact and is again fully operational and its 2,000 watt electrical lamps can be seen from 20-plus nautical miles away.

I am proud to say I made it up the 268 steps that the original lighthouse keepers used to climb several times a day. But I did not have to carry up the cans of fuel oil that weighed more than 40 pounds apiece, so I guess I should not be so smug.

Our last major stop was at Darlington Raceway in Darlington, S.C. We camped, partied, and survived the heat and humidity along with thousands of NASCAR fans for three days.

The track is known as the “track too tough to tame” and during both the Nationwide and the Sprint Cup races more cars scraped the walls in the corners than those that escaped damage. In the “Southern 500” Sprint Cup Race there were 18 “cautions,” mostly as a result of spinouts and collisions with the walls. Darlington Raceway is known for its “Darlington stripes,” the rubber and paint marks left on the walls by the scraping of the cars in the high-speed corners. After each race, they repaint the walls of the track, to make room for the tell tale stripes of the next race.

For you NASCAR fans, Darlington is a great venue to view a race and only sits about 68,000 spectators. It has hosted NASCAR racing for 60 years, but could lose its prominence in favor of bigger tracks that seat up to three times as many fans. I hope not.

Coming up … Don’t forget Truckee’s two annual Memorial Day weekend events. The Truckee Lions Club will once again hold Truckee’s largest rummage sale of the year at the Tahoe Donner Public Utility District parking lot. If you have any items you would like to contribute, call one of the Lion’s members to make arrangement for your donation.

The annual Truckee Home Show will also take place once again. This is both a fun and informative event and you may come up with some great home improvement ideas.

If you have been thinking of remodeling your home, or even building a new one, this might be an excellent year to do so. A good number of our top notch contractors, craftsmen, and subcontractors are eager to get to work this summer, and you may find some very competitive pricing.

Whether you are looking for builders, landscapers, handymen, etc., please keep it local.

Norm and Alan Nicholls of the Nicholls Real Estate Group are affiliated with Dickson Realty at 11500 Donner Pass Rd. in Truckee.

Last week’s question: Eileen Lyon was our first contestant to identify Sandy Stewart as the principal that immediately preceded Cathy Valle as the principal of Truckee Elementary. Other former principals of the school who were mentioned included Rex Anderson and Rick Miller.

Winners included: Suzette Seagoe, Karen Justesen (who served as School Secretary at T.E. for many years), Steve Marshman, Jan Polochko, Diane Fix, Mary De Lisle, Nancy Shaeffer, Pat Northrop, Beth Cushman, and Larry Ford, who described Sandy as a “great ol’ gal!”

This week’s question: Who was the CHP Officer (now retired), whose main job was to sight local citizenry who were displaying Nevada license plates on their California cars?

Call us at (530) 550-5035 or email us at with your answer.

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