Rt66in03 at DennyGibson.com
5035 5408 Miles To Bowling Green
Rt66in03 at DennyGibson.com
June 30, 2003
Completed the cycle by staying for the Corvette's birthday. This was one of the most enjoyable and memorable trips I've made. The contrast of the westbound solo passage with traveling eastbound in the company of hundreds of Corvettes was even more pronounced than in 1999. The sense of incompleteness that remained from the 1999 trip has been erased and I'm ready to do a different route (Lincoln Highway, US 50) for the next National Corvette Caravan. I met some great people on both sides of this trip. On the way out, there was the likes of Ernie Edwards at the Pig-Hip and Jim at Mary's restaurant. The Corvette group included several Australians along with some friendly Californians and others. An all around good road trip.

Hib Halverson passed along a press photo of the Fontana departure and I've included it here. Another photo that I received while traveling is of my uncle's 1954. I've included that photo and a couple of others here.

June 29, 2003
Finally completed the caravan by reaching the NCM.

June 28, 2003
A day to visit a couple of Nashville landmarks - the Parthenon and the Ryman - then finish up with a concert.

June 27, 2003
Saw lots of GM advertising at the Coliseum, met the man who drove All50, and connected with Chris.

June 26, 2003
One more police escort out of town and the end of the caravan. The birthday party starts tomorrow.

June 25, 2003
We were made to feel very welcome by both the roads and the people of Arkansas. A little rain but lots more sun and a great drive.

June 24, 2003
Police escorts in Tucumcari & Oklahoma City where we were treated to a visit to the Oklahoma City National Memorial. The caravan is growing with every stop.

June 23, 2003
This is the opening day for the NPE which is where I would normally be. If you own a plastic plant and can possibly swing it, stop by Mattec's booth and buy a system or two to make up for my absence. As for me, I drove to Tucumcari, NM.

June 22, 2003
The Southern California Caravan rolled out of Fontana Speedway while the Goodyear blimp circled in a cloudy sky. The day ended in Flagstaff one of the Arizona areas currently dealing with major fires. On the drive west, I did see significant smoke and drove by firemen in the final stages of defeating a roadside grass fire. No fire related problems for the caravan so far.

June 21, 2003
It's birthday time for the guy who took me on my first road trips. Happy Birthday, Dad. Plus I reach the end of Route 66 and get ready to head east.

June 20, 2003
The Grand Canyon, Seligman, and Hackberry plus H.O.G. in Williams. Add crossing the California line in my own car and it was a very full day.

June 19, 2003
A little more rain (Which I helped split at the Continental Divide.) and another state. Saw some rocks for the first time and a bartender for the second.

June 18, 2003
The perfect weather streak came to an end - twice. In the morning, five minutes of rain made me close the car then another 15 minutes passed until the top was dry. Later in the afternoon, about an hour of rain and 57 degree temperature not only brought the top up but got the heater going, too.

June 17, 2003
I made it into Texas with the Oklahoma City Memorial and the ongoing restoration of the U-Drop-Inn being highlights. No rain and the highest temperature I saw was 88.

June 16, 2003
I had breakfast with my uncle then ended the day in familiar digs in Stroud.

June 15, 2003
I found a room with a view in St. Louis and made a Fathers Day call to Dad from the river side. Then I headed into Missouri with great weather.

June 14, 2003
OK. Now things are really starting to feel right. I'm on the Mother Road and the top is down. There is a ZZ Top concert in Nashville at the end of this outing so humming a couple of bars of "Denny Just Left Chicago" seems fitting and proper.

June 13, 2003
Yee! Haw! I'm on the way. Left Cincinnati about 5:00, made it to Merrillville, IN, and am ready to start down Route 66 in the morning.

June 1, 2003
The big month is here and my excitement is definitely rising. Thirty days to the Corvette's birthday, twenty-two days until the turn around in California, and less that two weeks until the launch. This seems a good time to mention the new buttons mixed in with the standard Home, Genesis, Cast, and Related. Of course, the whole reason for the timing of this trip is the Corvette's 50th birthday but I have read and heard comments about other major birthdays mixed in with the Corvette and caravan related chatter. Birthdays was created to identify some of the many significant anniversaries being celebrated this year. Forum is something completely new with a tinge of the experimental. On other trips, I've had email from various folk and some led to fun, if spotty, cyber-conversations. I'm thinking that maybe the forum will let me share some of any similar conversations that occur this time around. You do have to register in order to post to the forum but it's quick and painless. Take a look, click on the Register button at the top, and give it a try. We'll see what develops.

April 23, 2003
Over seven weeks remain before I start my own journey but one caravaner started today and that seems worth noting. I know many folks think that driving to California to get to a museum that's about 200 miles away shows a little imbalance but what about a guy that starts off for the same destination by flying from California then immediately driving away from that same museum? I have both admiration and envy for Ray Ehly, Jr., who has done just that. The flight was yesterday and today Ray picked up his Z06 at the museum. Tomorrow he starts off on a driving adventure that will include all 50 states and end up back in Bowling Green for the celebration. Good luck, Ray, you've got lots of waving and smiling ahead. Visit Ray's web site for more info.

Even before I unpacked from the 1999 Route 66/Corvette Caravan adventure, I was planning to go again. What a great time. There had been a caravan to the National Corvette Museum opening in 1994 and the 1999 caravan was part of the fifth anniversary celebration. The pattern seemed to be leading to a tenth anniversary caravan in 2004. In 1999, an embarrassing accident kept me from driving the Corvette to the end of Route 66 and I figured I would get a chance to finish the job with that third caravan for the tenth anniversary.

But before the NCM turns 10, the Corvette turns 50 and any plans for a museum party in 2004 have been trumped by plans for a General Motors party in 2003. The museum received much early support from GM and continues to get lots of cooperation and frequent donations from the company but is a completely separate non-profit entity. Chevrolet had been involved in the '94 and '99 caravans and celebrations but this time they are throwing their own party and it is for the car, not the museum. In fact, it's not actually at the museum but about 65 miles south in Nashville. Bowling Green is certainly the Corvette's current home town but it turns out that the nearest 67,000 seat stadium is in Nashville.

With both museum and manufacturer involved, celebrating the Corvette's golden anniversary takes several forms. The party began a year before the actual birthday with a Corvette of every model year traveling from the original manufacturing site in Flint, Michigan, to St. Louis where they were built until 1981, then on to the current plant in Bowling Green. I was in Bowling Green for the finale but could only envy the folks in the actual Motorama. General Motors has their own Anniversary Road Tour leading up to the June 27-28 blow out in Nashville and the NCM is coordinating the caravans converging on Bowling Green/Nashville along with activities around the museum and plant and there is the actual birthday on June 30th.

My own involvement will likely start on the weekend of June 14th with a drive to Chicago to touch the eastern end of old Route 66. I'll have about a week to reach the route's western terminus in California. The first event of the trip with a preset time is the 8 AM departure from the speedway in Fontana on June 22nd. Then it's on to Nashville in a caravan with lots of Corvettes and several planned events along the way.

For the curious, the original place holder page for this trip is here.

Rt66in03 at DennyGibson.com

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