With the NASCAR Sprint Cup season in the rearview mirror, Greg Biffle knows he has only a few weeks to unwind before the 2013 season begins.
"Our season is the longest out of any sport. We go to Las Vegas for the awards show at the end of November and get our photo print work done in December," said Biffle, who finished fifth this past season. "Really our only time off is the holidays, around Dec. 20 to Jan. 2. Then it's back to testing at Daytona. That's not much of a break."
Biffle, who lives just outside Charlotte, N.C., is hoping to spend a few days at his cabin in Rutherfordton, 80 miles from his home. He owns more than 1,000 acres at the foothills of North Carolina’s South Mountains. He has built a dirt track and a cabin, but that's just the beginning. He'd like to build an entire town.
Playbook talked with Biffle about his latest venture.
Are you really serious about this?
"I really want to build my own little town. I want to build that old saloon with swinging doors right in the center. I want to have parties up there. I want to build a jail and a barber shop. I have already built the gas station."
There is a gas station up there already? For what?
"Well, it's really a place for people to stay. It's a working gas station, but it's a facade for a king-size bedroom with a kitchenette, sitting area, shower and a 40-inch flat screen TV. It's really nice. There is even a sign that says 'No spitting on the sidewalk.'"
Where did you get all the items?
"With 1,000 acres, we had plenty of wood. We're environmentally friendly. We don't knock the trees down. We use trees that were already knocked down. I just enjoy building stuff. I grew up doing steel construction, so this wasn't that much different."
But what about all the signs and gas station equipment?
"You've seen that show 'American Pickers' on History Channel, right? Well, that's what I was doing. There obviously is some art to do that sort of thing. I went to a barn two miles outside a track in Michigan, and this guy had a shed full of stuff. I bought an old cast iron thing that took cream off milk. I bought old gas station signs. I bought this old wagon wheel."
You sound almost obsessed with picking.
"The thing is, I don't know what anything is worth. I just grab it. It might look cool, but I have no idea whether it's valuable or not. I do know that gas station signs are valuable. Not everybody wants a Babe Ruth baseball card, but everyone wants a gas station sign."
That place in the mountain sounds pretty special to you.
"I enjoy that property. I don't use it as much as I should. You can go up there to mentally get away. Oh, I really need to build a barn too. I have these old junker cars for my charity races and a tractor. I need to keep that stuff inside."
And don't forget your love of pets. It can be a sanctuary.
"It already is. I don't allow hunting up there. I don't shoot deer, and I don't want anyone else to shoot deer either. I wish I could have a high fence to surround the whole place. I just like looking at them."