Day 1: June 28, 2002
Fast Track to Bowling Green



The first rest area south of the Ohio River is a very popular spot for staging or regrouping south bound excursions and we were only one of several Bowling Green bound groups that were meeting there today. While we waited for our group to be completed, this Dublin, Ohio group, with a yellow C5 in front, reformed and re-launched. The middle pictures shows us ready to roll. The group had a range of Corvettes from 1971 to Dennis DeHaan's '02 roadster with about a week left on the temporary tags. It even had a Trans Am subbing for a 'Vette that had not returned from the shop in time. On the road, there were plenty of reminders that semi-trucks out number and out weigh Corvettes.

I was tagging along (but made to feel very welcome) with Corvettes of Hamilton. They were staying a bit north of Bowling Green while I was headed for the Super 8 one exit past the museum. When they exited for lunch, I continued on to the NCM where I found the anticipated collection of Corvettes and vendors. I had dropped the top at the start and, despite a few drops on the windshield, it was still down until I parked at the museum. The overcast sky would continue to clear throughout the day.

There were several anniversary model Corvettes on the grounds including this wide open look & touch copy. Another one was inside this cool looking tent promoting next year's party. In the tent, you can stand beside the car and a photographer snaps a picture that you can see via the web. I did the pose but haven't yet seen the results. One of the slogans for next year's big event is "All roads lead to Nashville" and an "All roads..." pin can be picked up here. I got mine. I overheard an observation that the tent would make a really neat garage but that hanging a door opener would be really tough.

I didn't get very far into the museum itself but did get far enough to get Dave McLellan's new book and have him sign it. That's John Fitch on the left and he quite graciously autographed the book under a picture of him in a '56 racer.

The Historic Motorama reached Bowling Green yesterday so today's entrance was a bit of a repeat for them but not for me. Today, the cars were coming from the factory which they actually drove through to the delight of plant workers. That first picture is Al Hill's 1953. Next is the 1954 of my "neighbor" (Fort Thomas, KY) Kurt Meier. That's the increasingly famous Chaz & Gael Cone in the '64 and another "neighbor" (Randall Shinn, Hamilton, OH) in the '98 with Cincinnatian Bob Craig waving from the passenger seat. Bob owns the 1997 alternate. When the Motorama cars were selected, alternates were also picked, just in case. I understand that only two alternates were actually required. Imagine driving a 50 year old car from Flint to St. Louis to Bowling Green and it's easy to see that some great stories resulted. Thanks!!

Not to slight those folks in the previous panel, but here is a real celebrity. Ray Quinlan really boosted the idea of a Corvette museum with his "If you build it, I will give it" promise. "it" was Ray's '53 which became the first car owned by the museum. That is Ray's niece beside him.

About 1000 people enjoyed dinner under the big top. Center pieces were gas filled balloons anchored by sand filled balloons. It didn't take long before attendees improved on this by replacing the anchor with more transportable cans. Soon, several of these Easily Identified Flying Objects were being held down by the tent.

Bowling Green's mayor and the Speaker of Kentucky's House of Representatives were among celebrities and dignitaries addressing the crowd. Dave Hill's telling of a Le Mans story was interrupted by one of those large lights breaking loose. One end of the chain holding it let go and the light swung into a table where one lady was slightly injured. She was attended by a couple of doctors from the audience and EMTs from Bowling Green were not far behind. The injured person was carried to an ambulance but the consensus was that injuries were not severe.

Dave did get back to his story and the evening proceeded as planned until it was time to start the auction. The break between speeches and auction was used as an opportunity to empty part of the tent and test the remaining lights. I'm not sure what the details were but the result was a decision to move the auction outside to the circle in front of the museum. I certainly appreciate folks who bid up items for the benefit of the museum but things like $500 logos are a bit out of my league. I headed for the motel after watching a few items change hands.

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