Road Trip

True story, continued. Perhaps others have shared this same sort of experience. In the summer of 1982, with a fresh newly rebuilt engine, I prepared for a 4,000 mile road trip. Albuquerque, Yellowstone, Seattle, San Diego, Las Vegas and back home again. I did all my research and located my overnight locations, estimated how much gas I'd need (a lot), and made use of every square inch of available space (not much, but luckily I have a rear mounted luggage rack). I was traveling solo until Seattle where I would pick up a passenger for the rest of the trip. (So had to reserve enough space for those bags as well.)

Up until now I had not taken my Corvette on any type of trip other than within a 30 mile radius of Albuquerque. I load up, gas up and head out. The world is mine - open road, a rocket ship of a vehicle - what more could I ask for. Life was good. My initial leg took me headed toward Denver, north on I-25. I swear that when I reached Las Vegas (NM), my butt was aching. Man did that seat feel like a wooden plank all of a sudden. I also did not have cruise control, so not much opportunity to squirm around. I pulled over in Las Vegas and dug through my small suitcase to find whatever I could to fashion a pillow to sit on. I managed something which apparently worked well enough.

As a side note: there is a story posted on this web site titled "Rock On", published 3/8/15 which details one particularly fun story along this journey. As I passed through Yellowstone (late May mid you) I encountered a snowfall. A heavy snowfall where the road was a white sheet, wipers on high and me white-knuckled with a car that was definitely not ideal for snow. To my relief the snow only lasted about 20 minutes as I crested the Tetons and began my way down. After that experience I was only on snow one other time, in Denver 1983 where I got stuck trying to pull into my garage following a VERY short trip (as in about 1/8 mile).

Back to the road trip, the trip to Seattle was uneventful except for a stop about 100 miles east of Seattle. I had installed a very nice theft unit. One where if set, the car would run for about 10-15 seconds then die. I also believed I had some starter motor problems because one of the wires was really close to the header and had burned up before, requiring a new wire. I pulled into a McDonalds, grabbed a burger and climbed back in for the last 2 hours. Won't start. Won't turn over. I spent 90 minutes on my back in a McDonald's parking lot, rocks digging into my back as I worked on replacing that starter motor wire (see last week's post to understand my knee-jerk reaction to assume a problem before I actually determine the issue.) Wire looked good, but I replaced it anyway. Finally - 90 minutes later - I hop in, turn the key - nothing. I am NOT a happy camper now. I go back into McDonald's to clean up and consider what next. I came out and went to put something behind the driver's seat - where the alarm switch was. Turns out that before I turned off the engine when I arrived, I had reached behind the seat to get something. I apparently tripped my alarm. As I put something back behind the seat - that light bulb came on, I reached back, flipped the switch and she fired up. Wow did I feel stupid. The only good thing I suppose was that it was a clear day (no rain) and that I had parked far enough away from others that I had actual room to crawl under the car (using a jack that would barely lift the tire off the ground.)

I won't bore you with the rest of the journey other than to say that driving highway 1 down the Pacific coast was a true joy. Now this was decades ago and with all the fires in California this may not exist now - but the 30 miles or so north of San Francisco on highway 1 were out of this world beautiful. Sun shining through a canopy of laves from trees on both sides of the road creating a tunnel-like environment. No other traffic, gentle sweeping turns - this quite possibly was the best 30 miles or so (maybe 50) I have even driven, anywhere.

Next week - finding the original owner in my back yard.

Source: True story from the webmaster

Submitted by Phil Ellison