National Corvette Museum News
Following is a day-by-day report of RVC’s participation in the 2014 National Corvette Museum 20th Anniversary Caravan, authored by RVC Member John Warren …
Hello all…a quick note on today’s trip. The first day has been filled with fun. Started off the day in Shady Cove and had breakfast at 7a with Jim/Marilyn and Dave/Linda along with the rest of the caravan group wishing us well and to have a fun and safe trip. As it turns out…we were the first customers ever for this restaurant and they took our picture and let us sign their first dollar bill which will be posted on the wall behind their cash register. We all signed the currency with a pen. Rogue Valley Corvettes on their wall…forever! We drove for several hours and then had lunch around noon in Bend with some of their local Corvette club members. They plan on joining the caravan tomorrow. From there we stopped at a couple of Dairy Queens for cokes and ice cream…I guess you just need to travel with Tony Wiggins to understand. Tony and ice cream just seem to go together. Just arrived in Sandy and this afternoon’s drive was beautiful through very green forests and mountains. Quite a few volcanoes in northern Oregon. They are still capped with snow! I think the highest summit that we drove over today was 5,300+ ft. if I read the sign correctly. So…we’re at the Best Western in Sandy where the caravan is starting to build. As of this afternoon in Sandy we are 80 Corvettes strong…the parking lot here at the hotel looks like a Chevrolet dealership with nothing to sell but Corvettes. Our caravan leader says by tomorrow afternoon we will be 200 Corvettes strong…so the caravan is building quickly. It’s hard to imagine that we will be all together because it’s like a rubber band driving down the highway with cars closing up on each other and then stretching out. Our destination tomorrow will be Worley, Idaho. By the time we get to Bowling Green, Kentucky…we think our NW Caravan will possibly be well over a 1,000 Corvettes (?)…so we’re told from previous caravan participants. That’s hard to imagine…so we’ll see what happens…and I’ll be taking pictures!
Some quick numbers…we drove 337 miles today…getting about 24 miles to the gallon. We would probably get better gas mileage if the highways were level…but lots of climbing and going down hills through this part of the country. The emphasis seems to be on eating a lot and stopping for ice cream! Drive…eat, drive…eat…you get the picture! However…during all of that…the scenery is beautiful.
There are some really beautiful Vettes in the parking lot and some people are driving old ones….several 1965s and 66s. Everyone we have met is very friendly and as eager as us to drive across the country…there’s a lot of energy here tonight!
Tomorrow morning…just down the street…is the local Sandy Chevrolet dealership. The dealership is feeding our entire group with a full breakfast and sending us off to Kentucky. We are to be at the dealership with full tanks of gas at 6a for breakfast. Drivers meeting at 7a and departure from Sandy, Oregon at 7:15a sharp. Everyday from here on out will be a full day’s drive and we plan to be arriving Bowling Green, Kentucky next Wednesday. Special events are planned for each day which I’ll report on if I have time. The Missouri and Kentucky Highway Patrols have reportedly sent our caravan an e-mail that they will be escorting us through their states at a fairly good pace. All four caravan’s…one from each corner of the United States…will be arriving Bowling Green at the same time next Wednesday…should be quite a sight. I’ll be giving you updates and pictures as we travel East.
Reporting from Sandy, Oregon
We started day 2 very early in the morning at Suburban Chevrolet in Sandy, Oregon with a huge catered buffet breakfast. This will be day 2 of a continuing theme…drive and eat…drive and eat. After breakfast we met more Corvette owners that had arrived late the previous night, had our driver’s meeting and then departed around 7:30a. We were warned by our Caravan Captain that every state between Oregon and Kentucky knows what day we will be in their states and approximately when we’ll be driving through…so the message is…OBEY THE SPEED LIMITS! While at the dealership early this morning, Sharon and I were interviewed by the local newspaper and had our picture taken with Sharon’s Corvette. We’ll see if we make it through the editing room by next Wednesday, which is their day for publication. The Sandy Police Department was also there early this morning because they had to stop the traffic on the highway in front of the dealership to let all those Vettes get their day started. As we drove out of the parking lot there was a lot of excitement with police cars blocking the highway, reporters with flashing cameras and bystanders just looking at the cars and wondering what was going on so early in the morning.
Once again I must say that Oregon is simply a beautiful state and the driving was very enjoyable during the day. Our caravan started this morning somewhere in the 80-85 car range…so I was told, but it seemed so much larger than that. We were close to the front of the caravan and as we drove through the mountains and forests…I could see nothing but Corvettes in my rear view mirrors with their daytime running lights on…it was like a living Corvette snake winding down the highway. And…the people driving in the opposite direction were waving as they passed us…so very cool and fun!
We drove around the base of spectacular Mt. Hood and then turned north to intersect the Columbia River Gorge. The drive through the Gorge was also beautiful, but very windy…a tail wind in fact, but still didn’t help my fuel mileage today! Due to highway construction we had a minor detour so we wouldn’t be throwing up gravel and pitting the paint and windshields on our cars. Around noon we arrived in the Washington Tri Cities area and were provided a huge buffet lunch by McCurley Integrity Chevrolet. With more Corvette Clubs arriving at this dealership our caravan was still growing and also with the complexity of it all. Try serving a buffet for 200-250 people or so and see how long it takes to get to the front of the line. However…I must say…that considering how many people were there…the food was as good at the end of the line as it was at the beginning. Great caterers! Everything is now becoming a little more complicated…but not a problem. Purchasing gas, waiting on a bathroom, getting out of the parking lot…it’s just details and coordination, but fun! When we pulled into a gas station this afternoon with about 30+ Corvettes behind us you could see the station’s attendants eyes just pop! What the hell is happening here…look at all those Corvettes trying to buy gas all at the same time!!!
The weather so far has been gorgeous…not too hot..not too cold. Many in our group are driving with tops down and hair on fire. However…this afternoon we did have a thunder cell down pour and we all got our cars washed for free. It rained like crazy for only a few minutes…then the sun came right back out.
More numbers for our second day. Started with about 85 Corvettes in Sandy, Oregon and ended up with over 200 Corvettes here…near Coeur d’Alene, Idaho…Coeur D’Alene Casino Resort. We drove through three states today…Oregon, Washington, and Idaho. On the interstate our Corvette got almost 30 MPG, but overall today was about 26.5 MPG…not bad for such a powerful car. Today we drove 417 miles and overall have now driven 756 miles in two days. Kentucky still seems like a long way away. I guess it’s because it still is!!!
Tonight at the Resort was the “official” start of our caravan because now all the NW States Corvette Clubs have gathered here for a big welcoming party and reception with lots of prizes and gifts. Did I mention more food? Drive and eat…drive and eat. As we drive east we’ll obviously pick up more Corvette Clubs to make our group stronger in numbers. Our caravan captain informed us that we are the third largest group in the nation. There are twentynine caravans coming from all four corners of the country…plus Canada. I would have thought that we were the largest, but the NW states aren’t as populated as the rest of the country.
Tomorrow we begin our day at 5:30a with a full breakfast and another driver’s meeting with departure at 7:30a from the resort. Many people were wearing Polo shirts tonight with the caravan logo “All roads lead to Bowling Green”. Tomorrow has the promise of being one of the hardest days with all the miles that we need to put behind us plus the stops for food and entertainment. We will drive many, many miles tomorrow through Montana. Big Sky Country…here we come! Watch out for all these Vettes!!!
Your RVC Cub Reporter…reporting from the Indian Reservation near Coeur d”Alene, Idaho.
Day 3 started with…you guessed it…another buffet at the Indian Casino Resort. More Corvettes arrived late last night and we now have most of the cars from the Northwest…one big happy family with all models and colors. Lots of new C7s in the caravan. Today will make for a long day with three legs. Indian Casino to Missoula, Missoula to Bozeman, and then finally Bozeman to Billings, MT.
Our first stop of the day was at Karl Tyler Chevrolet for Subway sandwiches and a nice relaxing break from driving. This dealership is like non other that we’ve visited. It was more like a hunting lodge with animal heads all over the show room. Goat, Elk, Moose, Deer, etc. Their new car lot had more trucks and horse trailers than Corvettes…we must be in Montana! Cowboy Country for sure! After a nice rest we all got back in our cars and started driving to Bozeman where we will be treated for…yes…more food at a private complex and the opportunity to see a huge Corvette collection. We’re not there yet. Sharon is driving and I’m writing part of today’s report from the passenger seat as we drive.
Montana is also a very beautiful state and enjoyable to drive through. The vistas are amazing. The weather today has changed as it’s much cooler and we’ve been driving in the rain for the past several hours. As I type…we just crossed the Continental Divide at 6,963 ft.
I haven’t mentioned it previously, but if you don’t already know…we are five Rogue Valley Corvettes strong. Sharon and I, Roger and Pat, Tony and Diane, Dan and Cyndi and Rod and Bob.
After arriving Bozeman, we got to the complex with the Corvette collection around mid afternoon in the pouring down rain. This is the first time we have seen our caravan in one place parked side by side in a line. It was quite an amazing site. The Corvettes went on and on and on. The complex we visited is owned by Mr. Dressler. Many of you…if you watch Barrett Jackson auctions… may know him as the fancy, flamboyant, white haired, good looking guy that always wears a sport coat the same color as the highest priced car that he is selling. And he always hams it up in front of the TV Cameras. When we saw him today he was wearing tennis shoes and a work out suit…just blending in with everyone else. Unfortunately our visit was in extremely bad weather as it was cold and raining. He had buses carrying everyone from building to building where different Corvettes were stored. He owns many Corvettes, but I think his claim to fame is that he owns at least one Corvette from every year produced. The most famous Corvette in his collection is the oldest surviving C1 with serial #3. That car was gorgeous! Actually…they were all gorgeous!!! He also owns the first made ZR-1, serial #1. However he owns many ZR-1s and many Z-06s. Many of his cars have never been driven…never had the window sticker taken off and appears as it came from the factory…not even dealer prepped. The plastic is still covering the seats and the keys and delivery paper work are on the console just as it was driven out of the factory. His private Corvette collection must be one of the largest (if not the largest) in the country…right there in Bozeman, Montana. His hospitality was incredible and his love for Corvettes exceptional.
After being totally amazed and enjoying pulled pork sandwiches (drive and eat) and in awe from that collection we got back in our cars and started driving to Billings, Montana in the late afternoon. It is normally about a two and a half hour drive, but we were all so tired that we stepped it up and got there in about two hours. The speed limit on our highway was 75 MPH…but we kept it at about 83 MPH from Bozeman to Billings. The weather the entire afternoon and evening has been pouring down rain and cold. We were told that the weather forecast for Bozeman on Monday is possible snow showers! Also, this is the dirtiest Sharon’s car has ever been since we’ve owned it. I’m sure I’ll spend a lot of time once we’re home cleaning her car and making like new again.
Today’s numbers. We crossed into Montana shortly after we left this morning and have been mostly in one state today…Montana. This day was long and we have another long day tomorrow. Today we drove 539 miles mostly in the rain and a lot of it in the pouring rain. Rooster tails were flying! The total for three days now is 1,248 miles. We crossed the Continental Divide at 6,963 feet. The temperature today never got above 53 degrees in the pouring rain. It was also interesting today that several of our cars said that our tire pressures were low due to the cold temperatures. The alarm came on in our car saying low tire pressure on the left rear tire…several times…24 lbs of pressure when it is normally around 28 lbs. Regarding eating…I have no clue as to the calories…but the number is high! This is worse than being on a cruise ship!!! But, I’m not complaining.
We ended our day by arriving at the Holiday Inn Grand Montana…a very nice hotel…and once again the parking lot is filled with Corvettes. The line was so long for registration when we arrived that we decided to just blow it off and come back later when things settled down. So we decided since we hadn’t eaten in about three hours…we should go to dinner. The theme remains the same…drive and eat, drive and eat!
Tomorrow we attack Wyoming!
Everyone take care and enjoy your weekend.
Your RVC cub reporter…reporting tonight from Billings, Montana.
Day 4 began in the Grand Ballroom of our hotel with another buffet breakfast. After our driver’s meeting everyone departed at 7:30a in the pouring down rain. We’ve been driving on interstates this morning and have entered Wyoming where we will be driving the remainder of the day. Sharon is driving now and I’m working on today’s updates. I do have an editorial correction. In yesterday’s notes I said we stopped at Mr. Dressler’s complex, but I realized this morning after reading more about his Corvettes that his name is Mr. Ressler. Sorry about that.
We’re currently on our way to Casper, Wyoming where we will stop mid day for lunch and are planning to go to the National Trails Historical Interpretive Center to stretch our legs and learn more about this area. While driving this morning we passed through the Little Big Horn Battle Field, which was Custer’s last stand. We have finally driven out of the rain and we now see the blue skies of Wyoming. We never saw the Big Sky country in Montana due to constant rain. The countryside here in Wyoming has rolling plains with mountains way to our East.
It’s interesting to note that every morning the main caravan picks up more cars and leaves pretty much at the same time, however it doesn’t take too long for the main caravan to splinter off into smaller caravans consisting of 15 to 30 cars. I was going to mention that we really haven’t seen any highway patrol…and just as I was thinking that…we saw one on the shoulder giving a new C7 a little note welcoming him to Wyoming. $$$ He must have really been going fast because the speed limits here are higher than other places in the USA. The speed limit now is 80 MPH and our mini caravan is setting a pace in the low 80s. This morning it seems that we are getting more attention from the oncoming traffic. Some people have been honking and other are flashing their headlights at us and waving. Also, earlier this morning we saw several huge coal trains just sitting on the sidings…not sure where all that coal is going, but there’s lots of it. While driving this morning we haven’t seen any buffalo roaming or deer and antelope playing…so goes the song…Home on the Range. We have seen some antelope, but they didn’t look like they were having any fun. Not sure?
So…around noon we arrived Casper and went to lunch at “The Fort” and had a very good meal before we visited the National Trails Historical Center. Their displays were an education of life as pioneer families as they migrated west in the 1800s. It was quite an education and very interesting.
We gassed up again and left Casper heading for Cheyenne, which was our final destination for the day. I must make note that at one “rest stops” there were signs to beware of the rattle snakes! Also at the same rest stop…a gentleman came up to me and asked if I was in one of those Corvettes. I told him yes and he said that he had been driving for several hours and all he saw was Corvettes! What’s going on??? I told him about the caravan to Bowling Green and he was very impressed with the amount of cars and the coordination of it all. We continued to drive and upon arrival in Cheyenne…the hotel had a car wash set up and many of us washed two days of dirt off our cars. We’re finally here for the night…another long day filled with fun.
Today was basically an easy day of driving and casual. However…over cocktails tonight…something became apparent within our little group. One of our Rogue Valley Corvette caravan participants had some remarks about his navigator…which were lets just say…not encouraging. LOL. So as an eager cub reporter I went to the navigator to verify the shocking story of the day and the navigator had some not so nice remarks about the driver of the car. LOL There was apparently a driver/navigator unequal work load in that particular car. I won’t say which car it was, but I’ll spell the navigator’s name backwards so no one will know whom we’re talking about. His name spelled backwards is BOB! Apparently the driver just drove all day barking orders at the navigator…like…where are we?, get the GoPro camera working, get someone on the phone, answer that CB channel 35, what direction are we traveling…north or south? Google this…Google that! Well…apparently the navigator was about to tell the driver to…YOU KNOW WHAT…when he thought he might get asked to take a Greyhound bus home. So better judgment prevailed…as in most employer/employee relationships. And you must know whom I’m talking about by now, but I won’t give you his name, but spelled backwards is DOR. So we won’t bring this up at home at any RVC meetings…will we? I don’t want to exploit any editorial privileges that might impact me at the future RVC meetings. LOL Needless to say…we had fun tonight at cocktail hour discussing our long day of driving and some stories might get repeated at future RVC meetings in jest!
We just got home from a dinner at Los Abuelos Mexican Restaurant by ourselves tonight and we laughed some more about today’s events. We are all having so much fun and enjoying our trip across the country. We’re building relationships amongst ourselves and with so many other new NW Caravan Corvette friends with so much in common.
Today’s numbers. We left Montana this morning and were basically driving in Wyoming most of the day. Today we drove 467 miles. Total miles since we left Grants Pass are 1,766. My mileage isn’t improving, just staying around 26.5 miles per gallon, but what do you expect from a Corvette doing 80 MPH all day long. Other notable numbers are…Tony Wiggins’ brand new C7 just passed through 10,000 miles today. So…I guess even though the car still looks new…Tony is hammering the miles because he loves to drive. Dan’s brand new C7 is about to pass through 3,000 miles. And…we all have a message for Morris…go put some miles on that beautiful black Grand Sport.
The days are fun and the friendships are growing. It’s amazing how a sports car can bring so many people together with their passion for it and the history of Corvette. All roads lead to Bowling Green…and we are getting closer each day. I asked our Caravan Captain tonight how many Corvettes we have and the number is somewhere around 300+ now.
We are all having so much fun driving across our beautiful nation! And…the sun is finally out again! And our cars are clean again!
Your RVC Cub Reporter…reporting tonight from Cheyenne, Wyoming
Well…if you’ve read the first four days reports…you’ll get the jist of the fifth day. It’s the same…breakfast, driver’s meeting and drive. Late yesterday afternoon when we arrived Casper, Wyoming we all felt good about seeing the sun shine again so most everyone washed their cars. We all went to diner last night in our own little groups with the anticipation of a nice sunny drive this morning. WRONG!!! We woke up this morning with strong winds and lots of rain…it was raining hard in Casper. Hey…we’re tough and we can get through this. Didn’t matter that we spent an hour last night washing our cars and getting them perfect again. Within 15 minutes…they were all dirty again!!!!
Today was another day of simply driving in our beautiful country…even in the rain this morning. However, after a couple of hours…the rain stopped, the skies cleared and eventually we had sunny skies all afternoon, which made everyone happy. Many cars once again had their tops down as the temps were perfect.
There was some drama however…we heard that yesterday three of our cars got speeding tickets…don’t know what speed…but, it doesn’t matter…they got tickets. Ouch!!! $$$ Also…we heard this morning due to the heavy downpours of rain on the highway that one Corvette started hydro planing and spun out into the grass. We also heard that there was no damage to the car, but possibly had to clean out the driver’s seat. Just what we heard, but can’t confirm!
Today we crossed into another state…Nebraska…and have been here all day. We also crossed into another time zone…Central Time Zone…lost another precious hour. This was mostly noted at cocktail hour. Tonight we are several caravans in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Nebraska is a state that I’ve never been in before and it is also beautiful. My impressions so far is that it is mostly flat. I think it might be the most clean state. The highways are pristine! The medians have green grass and are mowed like a golf course. There are no billboards advertising anything off to the sides…just green country side. I’ve never seen more corn anywhere! There are corn fields on both sides of the interstate for miles and miles and miles. When there isn’t corn…there’s hay.
This NW Caravan is becoming so large that it morphs into little groups and then becomes another large group. Different Corvette clubs try to stay together because they know each other…obviously. However…it seems like you meet up with other Corvettes on the highway regardless of what you do…go slow or go fast…you end up with other Corvettes regardless. The odds are with so many cars on the highway that you will meet up with others…so much fun as we all wave at each other full well knowing that we’re part of the same group even though we don’t know each other.
Today we especially noticed Corvette license plates that we hadn’t seen before. We saw more California plates and Utah plates. The Northern California Caravan must have merged with us on the interstate. I think our two caravans have merged and become one…as our Caravan Captains said it would be….they are so smart…plus they have been working on this for over two or three years! No surprise to them!!!
Today’s numbers: We crossed into another time zone….we are now in the Central Time Zone…we lost yet another precious hour. I guess we’ll have to drive faster to make it up. Today’s miles were 440. Our total miles since we left Grants Pass are 2,206. Sharon’s Corvette total miles on her odometer went through 40,000 fun miles today. We are two days away from Bowling Green and getting very anxious. I think two caravans have come together west of Lincoln, Nebraska and have merged tonight. Not sure, but I think we must be somewhere around 400-500 Corvettes now.
More funny things today. We were at a rest stop in the men’s room and a truck driver came in to…well…you know. He just shouted out…Corvettes have been passing me all day…anybody in here with a Corvette? And…we all pretty much said yes. He asked what we were doing and we told him that we’re driving to Bowling Green. The Caravan is now becoming so large that everyone on the highway notices it or they are asleep at the wheel. It is really pretty spectacular to see all these cars on the interstate of different models and different colors, but mostly…it’s just fun to look at.
Tomorrow we drive into Missouri…the next to last day. Wednesday is a very coordinated day with the police getting thousands of Corvettes into Bowling Green. We have been told that on Wednesday…all the caravans will go into Bowling Green at specific times to end our journey.
Each day seems to get longer because we are driving so many miles, but the fun never ends. Tonight we had a gathering of RVC members after dinner and just laughed about it all. What fun this has been!
Sorry…no pictures tonight. Sharon drove much of the day and I was so tired that I slept in the passenger’s seat.
Your RVC Cub Reporter…reporting tonight from Lincoln, Nebraska.
We got up this morning and after breakfast had several driver’s meetings. The conference rooms couldn’t handle our large number of people. Yesterday we thought we finally drove out of the rain. By the time we arrived Lincoln, Nebraska the weather was quite nice. However…the weather Gods have been playing tricks on us. We woke up to more rain this morning. Last night Lincoln got 1.5 inches of rain. York, Nebraska which is north of Lincoln got 5 inches of rain last night. We have been following the storm or the storm has been following us, but either way…we’re staying wet and our cars are dirty.
Also…another editor’s correction…I must be getting goofy. We didn’t spend the night in Casper the other day…we spent it in Cheyenne. I guess it’s getting hard to remember where we were…so many stops with so many hotels.
This morning we were in Lincoln, Nebraska…I think? Our day wasn’t filled with so much driving as in the past and we got to spend the morning at the Museum of American Speed. If you are ever in Lincoln, Nebraska…this is a must. I have been to many museums in my life, but none quite like this. If you love engines and cars…this place has it all. Three floors of automotive history like I’ve never seen before! There were many, many exotic engines on display from years past in NASCAR and INDY. A must see. Unfortunately we still had to drive to Columbia, MO today and our time was cut short. We spent about an hour and a half at the museum and I could have spent most of the day there.
Tony and I went back to the hotel and loaded the cars…and the girls…Diane and Sharon. Dan and Cyndi we also waiting on us and we departed Lincoln around 10:45 or so. Rod and Bob left from the museum and Roger and Pat had another agenda today looking at quilting stores. After the rain stopped the weather Gods decided to let us have some sunshine for the remainder of today’s drive. We thought we were leaving America’s Heartland in Nebraska, but honestly I think we’re still there. To me it still looks the same. I’ve never seen so much corn in my entire life. You can drive for hours and all you see is fields of corn…and soybeans. The landscape for most of today was either flat or slightly rolling hills and made for a beautiful drive. The highways are very nice. Obviously, our caravan is quite large now…somewhere around 450-500 cars. So today we saw license plates from Alberta, Canada, California, Utah, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Nebraska…pretty much all the NW states and beyond.
I also saw a burgundy C5 today that had the left rear quarter panel with lots of deep scrapes and scratches on it from the rear wheel to the tail lights…OUCH!!! Must have gotten tangled up with something bad.
As I said earlier…the weather Gods are simply playing with us. Rain in the morning (or all day as it was several days ago), sun in the afternoon…then rain again at night. Two days ago everyone was shivering from the wind and cold. This afternoon the temps here in Columbia were in the high 90s and 1000% humidity!!! Almost unbareable…you just want to run for something that is air conditioned.
After we got here late this afternoon we were fed once again by the local Chevrolet dealer at a remote location due to the size of the crowd. All the Chevy dealers have bent over backwards to accommodate our caravan. Not only were we fed a nice dinner tonight, but they had a bar set up for adult beverages. In addition, car washes were provided for a $15 dollar fee to a charitable cause. Their service department was there for help with any issues and they also had an oil change area available to anyone there while they were eating dinner. It was quite organized and nice for everyone. The only downside to it was that the heat and humidity was almost overwhelming, but we survived! And yes…we departed the dinner where I had just paid $15 for a car wash and the skies opened up again with thunder, lightning and a huge downpour of rain. Time for another car wash!!!
Another observation from today’s drive (and I mentioned this before) was the cleanliness of the countryside and communities. The highways are mowed to perfection, the homes that you can see from the highway are all clean and neat. There are almost no billboards for advertising…just natural landscapes for the most part. No graffiti in the towns we drive through…just clean everything. How nice to see such pride in their communities.
Tomorrow is the BIG DAY…our last day of driving. As said before…all roads lead to Bowling Green! We have approximately a six hour drive tomorrow to get to our staging area in Morgantown, Kentucky. From there we wait to be called by the organizers in Bowling Green and it’s my understanding that we will be escorted to the National Corvette Museum by the police or the highway patrol to keep the traffic issues to a minimum. I think everyone is ready to get there because the driving and the checking in and out of the hotels is starting to wear on people. However I don’t want to paint it as a negative thing…we’re all having fun…but I think we’re all getting tired. It’s time to stay in one hotel for more than a night. Once we’re in Bowling Green tomorrow, we stay in our Bed and Breakfast till Sunday…yeah!!!!
Today’s numbers: We were in three states today…Nebraska, Iowa (for about half an hour) and Missouri. We drove exactly 350 miles today. The overall total now is 2,556 miles since we left Grants Pass. Here’s one that you’ll love…for the past several days…premium gas has been between $3.39 and $3.49 a gallon and the gas is good gas…not some California special blend. We’re starting to really figure out the “drive and eat” theme…for the past two days I’ve had a Chef Salad or Subway for lunch. I’m not talking about the dinners however…we’re in beef country! I can still say that we’re having a blast and yes…I’d do this again because you meet such an incredible group of people with the same interest and passion for our Corvettes! Temps today were in the high 90’s. Humidity is over the top!!! We anticipate a gathering tomorrow in Bowling Green somewhere between 3,500 to 4,000 Corvettes from all over our nation from 29 caravans. An RVC member e-mailed me today and asked about gas mileage…both C6s and C7s are getting roughly 30 MPG at 75 MPH. I’ve also been asked what color is dominant…and I can’t tell you. If I had to guess I’d say it would be between different shades of red and silver and grey. There are also a lot of yellow cars out there. There are just so many with different colors that it’s hard to determine…and they are all beautiful.
Tomorrow is the last day of the caravan and then we start our events in Bowling Green. The big one for me is the factory tour. Then there is the museum to visit. I’d like to put our Corvette on the newly built race track for a parade lap or two. Talks by GM people and a dinner the last night with GM people. Our group is also splitting off from the main group and doing a distillery tour….lots of great hard liquor being produced in this area. Not sure how many more reports I’ll submit to you after tomorrow night, but there is at least one more on the editing floor for sure. Probably a final report after all the events are completed.
We leave Bowling Green on Sunday and start our trip home going through Tennessee and head down towards Texas. We haven’t yet decided how to get back to Grants Pass from Texas…but, probably over the Rockies. Hope to be home before the Fall Classic.
And speaking of the Fall Classic…both Dan and I are still receiving phone calls everyday asking if there is room for more cars. I think this year’s car show will be a huge success if we get good weather. Thanks to everyone for working on all aspects of the show!
Your RVC Cub Reporter…reporting tonight from Columbia, Missouri. Our journey east is almost complete.
This is my last report as yesterday was day 7 of the caravan and it’s a day late because I was so exhausted last night…I just couldn’t type. So here we are on Thursday…exactly one week from when we departed from Grants Pass. We got up yesterday morning in Columbia, Missouri, had a quick breakfast in accordance with our theme of “Eat and Drive or Drive and Eat” and then drove to our designated meeting point for the entire group from the Northwest and other groups that joined us along the way. Another note was when Sharon and I got up that morning and turned on the TV…the first news story we heard was about the Corvette Caravan. We left Columbia with police escorts as by now our caravan was very large. We had a thunder storm with lightning and an incredible amount of rain the night before and the lightning storm was such a sight to see, but driving the morning of our last day was sunny. Our day was filled with excitement as it was the last day with a deadline of being in Morgantown, Kentucky by 3:00p sharp to regroup in a massive caravan.
We drove through Missouri, then Illinois and Indiana and finally into Kentucky. We also drove over some major rivers including the Mississippi. One of the more exciting things we did was drive through St. Louis because we had never seen the arch and it was beautiful and spectacular! We stopped for lunch in Evansville where there were people waving at us on the highway overpasses. Also, on the side of the highway where there were Park & Rides…Corvette fans were waving at us as we drove by in our huge caravans.
The countryside our last day was filled with more corn, soy beans, wheat fields and tobacco crops. Everything here is green and the grass must grow fast because we were laughing about how many people were on tractors mowing their huge lawns.
We arrived Morgantown, Kentucky which only has three red lights and yes…we got lost. Don’t ask how that can happen, but Dan was leading the pack…LOL! Seriously, when we got to Morgantown which must have been the staging site for other caravans…there were so many Corvettes driving in every direction that it was very confusing. We finally found our staging area on the outskirts of town and there were police and highway patrol everywhere including a Corvette as a state trooper car with blue flashing lights on the roof. It was pretty amazing.
When we finally left Morgantown…the caravan lead by the highway patrol was so long that we got left behind in the rear of the pack. However, we knew that we were getting close because we saw several 18 wheel trucks loaded with brand new Corvettes wrapped in white plastic driving in the opposite direction…so we knew we were closing in on Bowling Green. Those new Corvettes were going to be delivered across the country to new proud owners. We finally arrived at the National Corvette Museum around 6:00p and then had to get parked with many, many hundreds of other cars. We were then shuttled to the museum on huge busses where we registered and got our credentials for the remainder of the weekend.
Yesterday’s numbers: On Wednesday…our last day of driving…we drove 445 miles. The grand total from Grants Pass to the Bowling Green, Kentucky National Corvette Museum was….drum role…3,001 miles!!! I can’t tell you how many gallons of gas, but it was a lot. We have noticed that premium gas has been averaging around $3.59 per gallon. Except for the mountains in the western part of the United States…we pretty much got around 30 MPG for both the C6s and C7s.
Today when we arrived at the NCM, there were vendor tents everywhere. The first tent we saw was Corsa Exhaust and Sharon and I went there and decided to put a new exhaust system on her car. We talked to the marketing manager and he was convincing. They sold us a new system and installed it right on the spot. There were so many people interested in their new exhaust systems that they were almost sold out by this afternoon and there are two more days of the show. Now Sharon’s Corvette sounds real serious and mean!
From there we visited other vendors of all types and you can’t imagine how many people are here…standing room only. (Approximately 9-10,000 people here) The weather was so hot and humid this morning that you could cut it with a knife! It makes us really appreciate the climate in southern Oregon even though this year’s temps have been higher than normal. We eventually worked our way into the museum and have been to several engineering talks today. We ended our day by touring the museum itself and viewing the rotunda to see the sinkhole. We viewed all the Corvettes that were recovered from the sinkhole and the history of each one. It truly is a sad sight, but also very encouraging that GM is planning to restore some of those cars. Two or three of them are completely beyond restoration…they are mangled beyond belief!
Dan and Tony were at the track today and the Corvette Racing Team had their C7-R on show and did several hot laps. As Dan described it… the car came down the straight away…and the ground was shaking from the huge V8 ground pounding engine in the race car. The speed was shattering and the noise made your heart pound. It’s no wonder that Corvette Racing has a winning record this year!
We ended our day with a group dinner as we may not see some of our Rogue Valley Corvette caravan members again until we get home. After a tour of the GM Corvette Assembly Plant tomorrow morning…we will have pretty much completed the major things that we wanted to see. We all have separate plans from tomorrow throughout the remainder of the weekend. We are so happy that we drove across the country with our fellow RVC members, made friendships with other Corvette owners and had the privilege of touring our beautiful nation.
Sharon and I will leave for home on Sunday taking a southern route through Tennessee to visit some of her family and then on to Texas to celebrate my mother’s 90th birthday and visit my family in Houston and San Antonio. We don’t know what route we’ll take home from San Antonio, but it will be fast. Most likely over the Rocky Mountains.
I would strongly recommend this adventure when they do it again five years from now. We may very well drive the country again on a different route on the next Corvette Caravan. You don’t need to have a Corvette to appreciate this museum and assembly plant…you just need to have a curiosity for one of the best American cars and the technology that goes into it. After this trip…Sharon and I have a much better appreciation for the culture and history of Corvette. It truly is an American icon!
Your NW Caravan Cub Reporter…reporting and signing off from Bowling Green, Kentucky.
Hugs to all and we’ll see you back in southern Oregon!
The National Corvette Museum 20th Anniversary Caravan to Bowling Green, KY was not about Corvettes. It wasn’t about driving two-thirds of the way across the USA. Nor was it about seeing the infamous Sink Hole.
The NCM 20th Anniversary Caravan was about members of Rogue Valley Corvettes sharing an experience and a trip of a lifetime. It was an event all will remember for years.
Nine RVC members – Rod McLeod, Roger and Pat Puhl, Dan and Cyndi Richards, John and Sharon Warren, and Tony and Diane Wiggins – embarked on the NCM 20th Anniversary Caravan from the Rogue Valley to Bowling Green on Thursday, August 21, 2014. The last of the Caravan crew returned home on September 27th – some 8200+ miles later.
On Day 1 of the NCM Caravan, the RVC ‘Gang of Nine’ had a pre-launch breakfast in Shady Cove. Jim and Marilyn Pack and Dave and Linda Guches join the group as the first-ever patrons at the new Mac’s Diner. After some well wishes and goodbyes, the RVC Caravan Crew headed to Sandy (outside of Portland) by way of Bend. In Bend, RVC had lunch with some High Desert Corvettes members. That afternoon, the five RVC cars made their way to Sandy for the official start of the Pacific Northwest National Corvette Museum 20th Anniversary Caravan launch. On the evening of Day 1, the RVC crew took part in a dinner attended by many of those who would embark on the Caravan the next morning – it was exciting to be surrounded by so many Corvette enthusiasts, all of whom were making the trek to Bowling Green.
Day 2 of RVC’s NCM Caravan started at Suburban Chevrolet – the largest new Corvette dealer in Oregon. Suburban Chevrolet provided a first-class breakfast buffet for upwards of 200 people – it was wonderful hospitality, great food and an exciting atmosphere. After breakfast, the RVC five cars and nine members grew to a Pacific Northwest NCM Caravan group of 85 cars. Television, radio and print media – along with many daily commuters – witnessed our mass exodus from Suburban Chevrolet. It was a thing of beauty. After pulling out of Sandy, we headed around the base of Mt. Hood and into the Columbia Gorge. From Biggs, OR, the Caravan headed north and east toward central Washington. In the Tri Cities, the Caravan grew to 150+ cars and 300 or so Corvette nuts – all of whom were treated to lunch at a local Chevrolet dealer. By the time the Caravan reached the Coeur d’Alene, ID Resort Hotel in Worley at the end of Day 2, there were 200 or so Corvettes in the parking lot.
Day 3 of the Caravan saw the RVC ‘Gang of Nine’ grow to the ‘Gang of Ten’, as Rod McLeod’s friend, Bob Korbol, joined the ranks. Rod and Bob worked together at REI and have been friends for years. Day 3 also saw the RVC crew roll across most of Montana – mostly at high speeds, and all of it in the rain. At mid-day the Pacific Northwest Caravan had the unique opportunity to visit one of the world’s great Corvette collections – the Dave Ressler Collection. Ressler’s collection includes the oldest known Corvette (Serial #3, 1953) and numerous unique and very rare Corvettes. Lunch was served, but it was the opportunity to view the collection that satisfied every Corvette enthusiast on the Caravan. By nightfall, the Caravan had made Billings, MT – it was a long, rainy day. But it was a chance to see the best privately owned Corvette collection in the world.
On Day 4, RVC and the Pacific Northwest Caravan traveled from Billings to Cheyenne, WY. The RVC ‘10’ toured The National Historic Trails Interpretive Center in Casper. The Trails Center interprets the significant role of the area’s historic trails in the history of the United States, and seeks to promote public understanding of both America’s western Native cultures and historic westward expansion while highlighting BLM’s role as active stewards of public lands. With a posted speed limit of 80 MPH, RVC had no trouble making time across Wyoming after the museum visit, and arrived safely in Cheyenne by dinner time.
Day 5 of the Caravan saw 300+ Corvettes depart Cheyenne for Lincoln, NE. RVC opted not to attempt lunch with 600 of our closest Corvette nuts – instead, the group found a bowling alley in North Platte that served chicken wings. ‘Winging it’ for lunch proved tasty and saved time. At 80 miles an hour, the Cheyenne to Lincoln leg of the trip was a pretty easy day. By the time the Caravan reached the Holiday Inn across from the University of Nebraska’s famed football stadium, 800 Corvettes blanketed the six-level parking structure – every spot had a C-something parked in it!
Day 6 of the NCM 20th Anniversary Caravan took RVC from Lincoln to Columbia, MO. RVC traveled on Interstate four-lanes, State Highway two-lanes and country roads to make Columbia. At the auto auction yard east of Columbia that evening, nearly 1000 Corvettes converged for a barbeque dinner and a chance to wash the cars. After days that included rain, road construction and thousands of 80 MPH bug splatters, an hour wait in the wash line and a donation to a local children’s charity was worth getting the RVC cars clean again. That evening at the hotel, a high velocity thunderstorm made sure every car was thoroughly rinsed – thoroughly.
Day 7 of RVC’s adventure in the 20th Anniversary Celebration of the NCM saw the group drive from Columbia to Bowling Green – sort of. Up to this point, all of the routes, plans and preparations had been meticulously prepared by the Pacific Northwest NCM Caravan Captain, Robin Forrer – she did an outstanding job. From Columbia, RVC was in the hands of some less prepared individuals from the Midwest. The plan – if you can call it that – was for the Caravan to meet in a small town about 30-miles outside of Bowling Green, then follow a State Police escort into the NCM. But, there wasn’t really a plan and there was no communication about the non-existent plan. RVC arrived at the small town at the designated time and … Nothing. No Corvettes. No Caravan. No plan. As RVC made its way through a town the size of a Costco parking lot, the group found hundreds of other Corvettes – driving in every direction possible, with no one knowing where to go or how to get there. A receptionist at a local law office called the local police department, who then, in turn, called the local sheriff, who thought they knew where the Caravan was supposed to meet. RVC and hundreds of other Corvette nuts found the designated staging area shortly before the scheduled police escort – again, however, no plan. The State Police pulled out of the staging area and left 1000+ Corvettes in their dust. In Bowling Green, a Corvette with some engine warning light issue pulled off at a freeway exit, only to have hundreds of Corvettes – and RVC – follow them. Getting to the NCM in Bowling Green was, well, a cluster of magnificent proportion. But RVC got there! In time. All cars present and accounted for. And still laughing and loving the time together.
Once in Bowling Green, RVC members enjoyed the National Corvette Museum, the Corvette Assembly Plant, the new NCM Motorsports Park and Bowling Green in general. As had become a tradition on the NCM 20th Anniversary Caravan, RVC members gathered every night for Happy Hour and dinner – the ‘Gang of 10’ spent nearly every waking, non-driving moment together. And they enjoyed it!
After four days in Bowling Green, most of the group toured the Buffalo Trace Bourbon Distillery in Frankfort, KY. Buffalo Trace is the oldest continuously operating distillery in America. During Prohibition the distillery was even permitted to remain operational, to make whiskey for “medicinal purposes”. Following the distillery tour, the RVC group headed back to Bowling Green before the five cars and 10 people began making their own trips back to the Rogue Valley.
As a group, the RVC cars traveled nearly 40,000 adventurous miles across America – from the Rogue Valley to Bowling Green and back. It was not, however, the miles or the museums, or the Corvette Assembly plant that RVC members will remember most. It was the Camaraderie, the fun, and the experience of a lifetime with friends that will be remembered most.
RVC’s participation in the National Corvette Museum’s 20th Anniversary Caravan was what the Corvette culture is all about.
(NCM) — The National Corvette Museum Board of Directors met June 25th to discuss and decide on the future of the Skydome building. Three primary options were presented: 1) Fill the sinkhole and replace the floor so that the building is much like it was previously; 2) Keep the entire sinkhole as is; 3) Keep a smaller portion of the hole open.
With 14 of the 16 board members present, the group decided to move forward with Option 3, keeping a portion of the sinkhole open, but pending review of further information. This option as it stands would include an opening approximately 25’ by 45’ wide, and 30’ deep, providing views down into a portion of the cave. The opening could have some existing ground and rock face, and a dirt embankment where one or two of the cars could be placed for display.
Each board member expressed how the decision was not about them or what they thought but rather what is best for the Museum, and what most of the members and visitors would want. “I have a responsibility to represent the people who sent me here. We all do for our geographic areas,” said a Board Member. “My own personal opinion changed as time went on. I come here today with my marching orders from my members. About two thirds of my organization says to leave it open in some form or fashion,” he added.
After much discussion the Board decided that additional information was necessary before making a final decision. Some changes discussed could affect the cost estimate. More information was also requested on the impact on the humidity in the room and potential impact on any cars displayed within; the temperature control of the room and any associated impact on the Museum’s utility costs; and review and consideration of any other costs associated with the maintenance of the Skydome if the hole is left partially open. The additional information could result in the plans being modified.
Mike Murphy, C.E.O. of Scott, Murphy and Daniel Construction, was on hand to answer questions and provide his feedback on the proposals. “You come in and you have all these displays of the history and life of Corvette, and then you come into the Skydome to see this new part of history,” said Murphy. “I think it will always be a part of history, but will the increased attendance continue? I don’t know, but it will always be of high interest.”
As expected, the group deliberated greatly as to what is the right decision. Christy Thomas, CFO for the Museum, shared that an estimate had been provided for filling in Option 3’s small portion of the sinkhole should the Museum decide later to end the exhibit. “If the interest in the exhibit wanes, or if down the road we decided that we don’t want the hole any longer there is always an option to put the room back how it was,” Thomas said.
Thomas shared with the Board some numbers – including a 59% increase in the number of visitors from March to June 23, 2014 compared to the same time period in 2013. The Museum has also seen an increase of 71% in admissions income, 58% increase in Corvette Store sales, 46% increase in Corvette Café sales, 72% increase in Membership for a total of a 65% increase in these revenue areas overall.
“We have to look at creative ways to generate interest in the Museum,” said Executive Director Wendell Strode. “It would be so much easier to just be a regular automotive museum with our Corvettes on display, but we have to think outside the box.” The construction plans also included eliminating the two level display space that once existed in the Skydome, both making it easier to get cars in and out, and increasing the number of cars that can be accommodated for display.
“We only have one chance to do this right. As a board, we owe it to everyone to explore all possibilities, to completely investigate all financial aspects and impacts, and to make a fully informed decision,” added one Board Member.
Plans are still on track to leave the sinkhole and 8 Corvettes on display “as-is” through the end of August and then begin construction in September. The Museum will celebrate its 20th Anniversary with an event August 27-30, and the Grand Opening of the NCM Motorsports Park is slated for August 28. “We have a lot to be thankful for right now,” said Strode. “We really want to thank all those who have stood by us during this difficult time, and we are looking forward to celebrating with everyone in August! “
The Museum is located at I-65, exit 28 in Bowling Green, KY – just one hour north of Nashville, TN and less than two hours south of Louisville, KY. Open daily, 8am-5pm CT, admission to the Museum is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors age 65 and over, $5 for kids age 6-16 and children age 5 and under are free. Access to view the sinkhole is included with regular admission. Guests who enter the Skydome to view the sinkhole must be age 8 or older
The five RVC couples attending the 20th Anniversary National Corvette Museum Caravan recently met at the beautiful home of Cathy Fultineer and Rod Mcleod outside of Jacksonville to ’round table’ some ideas.
NCM Caravan veteran Tony Wiggins led the discussion and had many helpful hints for the rest of the group — all first-time NCM Caravan attendees.
RVC’s cars will depart August 21st and travel to Sandy (outside of Portland) to connect with others on the Northwest NCM Caravan. The RVC cars will not take the traditional route up I-5 — instead they will travel by way of Bend, Redmond and Madras before heading back northwest toward Mt. Hood and into Sandy on Highway 26.
The RVC contingent will lunch in Bend at Pilot Butte Drive-In, a renowned burger place. They hope to connect with some of the High Desert Corvettes Club members for lunch.
Any RVC members not attending the NCM Caravan who would like to run up to Bend with our group are absolutely welcomed — we’d love to have you escort us to Bend and give us a ‘Bon Voyage’. For more information about the lunch trip to Bend, contact Tony Wiggins.
(NCM) – February 12 the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, KY was handed a lemon… a 40′ wide by 60′ deep lemon to be exact. What the Museum did, in turn, was even more unexpected than the sinkhole itself. The Museum turned the misfortune into a tourist attraction.
“We started with a Plexiglas viewing window so guests could see the construction going on inside the Skydome, and eventually the recovery of the Corvettes,” said Katie Frassinelli, Marketing and Communications Manager at the Museum. “We always had one web cam available inside the Skydome, and due to the growing interest and popularity we added two more so our online visitors could get additional angles to view what was going on.”
The interest in the damaged Corvettes continued to grow as did the Museum’s attendance, so much so that the Museum decided to leave the sinkhole for the summer, and delay construction until after their 20th Anniversary Celebration August 27-30. “We have about 6,500 Corvette enthusiasts from all over the world pre-registered for our event so far, and many of them have expressed an interest in seeing the damaged cars as well as the sinkhole. Determining the best method for repairing it and getting bids on the construction work has been a time consuming process also. In the grand scheme of things, we felt it would be best to delay construction a few months to give all of our visitors the opportunity to see it.”
Attendance at the Museum since February has been up nearly 50% over the same time period in 2013. Many guests have expressed that while they came to see the sinkhole and damaged cars, they were pleasantly surprised by the rest of the facility and Corvette displays.
“Driving up I-65, I saw the sign for the museum and decided to make a stop but had fairly low expectations given it was a roadside attraction. I was pleasantly surprised by the facility; it was very modern, well themed, professional staff, and it was much larger than I expected with a gift shop and restaurant,” wrote Mark Byrn of Orlando, Florida in a Trip Advisor review. “Even more impressive was the fact that the museum suffered extensive damage from a sinkhole, and they turned a negative into a positive by making the sinkhole into an attraction of sorts and displayed the Corvettes that were heavily damaged. Overall I was very happy to have made the stop.”
The Museum is awaiting price estimates on the various options to repair the Skydome, from keeping all of the sinkhole, to leaving just a small portion of it, to restoring the building to the way it was before. The Museum’s board of directors is scheduled to convene on June 25 to review the proposals and options on both the building and the “Great 8” Corvettes, and make a decision on the plans moving forward.
The Corvettes that are not restored will be kept on display in the Museum’s Skydome, as part of preserving and telling the story of the February 12th sinkhole collapse.
Given the recent boost in attendance, the Museum is expected to hit its 3 millionth visitor within the coming days. As of May 31, 2014 the Museum has recorded 2,995,655 visitors since its Grand Opening September 1994. In celebration of the milestone, the Museum will be awarding their 3 millionth visitor with a special “Walk of Fame” engraved sidewalk brick with their name, one-year membership to the Museum, $10 Corvette Cafe gift certificate, $50 Corvette Store gift card, Flint Brick and article in the Museum’s membership magazine, “America’s Sports Car.”
The Museum is located at I-65, exit 28 in Bowling Green, KY – just one hour north of Nashville, TN and less than two hours south of Louisville, KY. Open daily, 8am-5pm CT, admission to the Museum is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors age 65 and over, $5 for kids age 6-16 and children age 5 and under are free. Access to view the sinkhole is included with regular admission. Guests who enter the Skydome to view the sinkhole must be age 8 or older. For more information on the Museum call 800-538-3883.