The adventure begins.
It was a misty morning when we set off in our black-on-black 2007 C6 Corvette coupe from our home city of Trail, British Columbia (in Canada) to embark on a very long tour into the U.S. – first driving across B.C. to southern Alberta, then down into the U.S., heading south and east – all the way to Kentucky and Tennessee.
We first heard about this National Corvette Caravan some four years ago, shortly after purchasing our Corvette and getting involved with the Spokane Corvette Club. The Caravan happens once every five years and gathers cars from all over North America (8,000 to 10,000 of them) to converge on Bowling Green, Kentucky, birthplace of this most esteemed sports car. Bowling Green is the Mecca of Corvettes – not only home of the assembly plant but also home to the Corvette Museum. And since this is the 60th year since they started making Corvettes, the caravan is a pretty big deal. Its profile was raised earlier this year when a sink hole developed at the museum, engulfing five or six cars.
Anyway, we opted to join the Western Canada contingent, rather than travelling with our friends from Spokane who are travelling with the Pacific Northwest team. We will meet down in Montana. The caravan is divided into segments with “captains” organizing the various groups from all over both countries.
While most of the B.C. group from the coast headed down to Seattle to join the Pacific group, a few cars came across the province and met us in Trail. Photo: Our B.C. group leader Craig Reavley and his wife Janet are from Victoria. There were six of us: Reavleys and another car from Vancouver Island, and cars from Vancouver, Quesnel, and Kelowna.
It was about 9:45 am when we headed east, taking our first “bio” break at the top of Kootenay Pass. There’s a lovely little lake up there with a not-so-lovely restroom. We then carried on down the road to Cranbrook. Although we’d all been enjoying a particularly hot summer, it was freezing cold at the summit.
We’d contacted the GM dealer in Cranbrook a few weeks ago, and they were so excited about seeing us, they invited us for lunch. They also brought in a number of their Corvette customers and advertised a mini Corvette Reunion. The press came and interviewed a few people; we looked at cars and had a nice lunch of Caesar Salad, beef on a bun and fruit. Very nice. Will make sure we contact North Star GM if anyone is looking for a Corvette.
It was then on to Lethbridge with a stop for gas at Crowsnest Pass. Only the Shell where we usually buy was out of petrol. So we filled up on coffee at Tim Horton’s and carried on.
Upon arrival at the Hampton Inn in Lethbridge, we connected with Corvettes from Northern Alberta, Edmonton, Calgary and other parts of the province so our number is now up to about 50.
Dinner was provided at the hotel: barbecued beef on a bun with Caesar Salad (again) but there was also some yummy garlic mashed potatoes and beans.
After dinner, Dan and I popped over to see our daughter (who lives in Lethbridge). Dan rinsed off the car and we headed back to the hotel. (We would have stayed with family but we had to be up so darn early the next morning, we opted to stick with the group.)
As a few people were spending time (and cash) at the casino across from the hotel, we went in there. Not gamblers, us, but Dan plugged a five dollar bill into the machine and came up with $13 which I promptly lost. Then I put in a $20 and won $205! Not bad. If I’d been betting more than a nickel a spin, I could have won thousands of dollars, Dan said. We quit gambling at that point. So the casino covered our first night – $140.
Can’t say enough nice things about Lethbridge’s Hampton Inn – really clean, friendly, big rooms, great food, and convenient location.
We were up at the crack of dawn to begin Day 2.