Weekend Road Trip: North Carolina ‘Shine Fest


North Carolina is known for its beaches, gorgeous mountains, the Wright Brothers, the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, the Venus Fly-trap (native to N.C.),  Pepsi Cola, Babe Ruth’s first professional home run, and Krispy Kreme doughnuts. The state is also home to Nascar legend, Junior Johnson.

Johnson learned to drive fast at the tender ago of 8 while running ‘shine (homemade liquor) for his daddy. He continued hauling the illegal booze, also known as White Lightning, Kickapoo, Moonshine, Happy Sally, Ruckus Juice, Joy Juice, Hooch, Panther’s Breath, Mountain Dew, and Hillbilly Pop,  until he turned 22-years-old. At that time he traded outrunning the police on country dirt roads for “trading paint” on Nascar’s dirt tracks.

An instant superstar, Johnson quickly developed a large following of fans. They loved him and they loved the fact that he once drove souped-up cars that were specifically modified to leave the police in a cloud of dust. In fact, the cars driven by the moonshiners of  that time were worked on by the same mechanics that worked on the local police cars. The mechanics often admitted to fixing it so the bootlegger’s cars were faster than than those of the police officers because the bootlegger’s paid better, and they did so in cash.

In 1985 Johnson was named one of Nascar’s greatest drivers. Today, he is part owner of Piedmont Distillers in Madison, N.C., a distillery that manufactures Midnight Moon and Catdaddy, two legal moonshine products.


Last weekend (November 21-22) , the Southern Culture Society sponsored the first annual Carolina ‘ShineFest in Madison, N.C. The event was billed as “a celebration of the legacy of moonshine in the Carolinas and its impact on the cultural fabric.”

I took a break from the rewrites on my novel and we drove to Madison see the town and to check out the action. Here’s what we found:

We were back home within an hour…

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Writers Police Academy Updates

Registration is officially open and I’m pleased with the number of people who’re taking advantage of the low early registration rate.

Please visit us at www.writerspoliceacademy.com to reserve your spot at this unique event now.

Space for the FATS training is limited to the first 100 people who sign up for it and we’re rapidly approaching that number!