"Just the good ol' boys, never meanin' no harm ..." You know all the words to The Dukes of Hazzard anthem, but did you know you can see a replica of the General Lee and Cooter's Garage, and visit with the REAL Cooter, Ben Jones, at Cooter's Place in Luray?"Breaker one, breaker one, I may be crazy but I ain't dumb!" I can still hear "Crazy Cooter's" famous CB call ringing in my ears as clear as day, and I guess that's no surprise given my childhood devotion to the show (repeat after repeat). Maybe it was strange for a little girl, but I even had a Dukes-themed birthday party when I was seven -- complete with the General Lee birthday cake! (I also thought I was going to marry Bo Duke one day, so there's that). Imagine my surprise when I realized that the General Lee is parked only a couple hours away, in Luray, Virginia, at Cooter's Garage! [caption id="attachment_7751" align="aligncenter" width="960"] My own picture of Cooter's![/caption]
Strangely enough, my family and I found out about this phenomenon by accident. We were heading for a day of hiking in Shenandoah National Park, and we passed this big red building with a sign that said "Cooter's." My husband and I thought it was a funny name for a store, and drew no connection to "Crazy Cooter" until we saw the General Lee parked out front! Tire screech. U-turn. [caption id="attachment_7743" align="aligncenter" width="960"] Me and the General Lee[/caption] We didn't have time that day to even do more than snap a few pictures -- a long hike was waiting for us -- but I vowed to learn more about this place. And I did. Cooter's Garage, as it's formally called, has not one but THREE locations -- the other two are in Nashville and Gatlinburg, Tennessee. At the Luray locale, you can find a Dukes of Hazzard museum; a gift store with all the Hazzard swag you can dream up; a replica Cooter's Garage (complete with the General Lee, Cooter's tow truck, Daisy's Jeep, Sheriff Roscoe P. Coltrane's police car, and Boss Hogg's Cadillac); and Daisy's Diner, which has an extensive breakfast and lunch menu. (Pssst! Catherine Bach, a.k.a. Daisy Duke, even stops by from time to time to give autographs. Check this Facebook calendar of events for her next visit)! [gallery type="rectangular" ids="7750,7749,7748,7746,7745"]
Every Saturday, from 1 to 3 p.m., Cooter himself (or Ben Jones, but it's more fun to call him "Cooter," right?) is at Cooter's Garage performing with his band -- yep, you heard me. HIS BAND! It's called "Cooter's Garage Band," and there's a free concert every Saturday. Afterward, Cooter is available to shake hands, kiss babies, and give autographs until 4 p.m.! [caption id="attachment_7747" align="aligncenter" width="960"] Courtesy Ben Jones Facebook[/caption] The only Saturdays that Cooter's Garage Band doesn't play is on Cooter's Shenandoah Jamboree weekends. On those weekends, Cooter sells tickets to country shows featuring the likes of Billy Dean, Wade Hayes, Linda Davis, and more. Other special events include car shows (or "cruise-ins" as they're apparently called), tribute weekends to law enforcement, meet-and-greets with The Dukes of Hazzard cast members, free bluegrass concerts, and more. Cooter's Garage is located at 4768 U.S. Highway 211 West, not far from where Cooter's own mountain home is. Go on and straighten the curves, flatten the hills, burn rubber, and dodge Sheriff Roscoe P. Coltrane in your hurry to get over there this weekend! And don't forget your "YEEEEHAW!" Were you a Dukes fan? Which character was your favorite? Tell us about it in the comments!