GETTING READY FOR THE GATHERING … EARLY MAY
In the last week and a half I’ve installed a new Kenwood stereo, 4 new speakers, new speaker wire, new power amp with it’s mass of wire, repaired the faded digital dash, replaced the fuel filter, power steering pump bracket, all 3 radiator hoses, idler pulley, 4 new Bilstein shock absorbers, finally got the driver side headlight working after 8 months, removed the seats and cleaned some 50 lbs of sand, grime, old grease, dirt, spilled who knows what, 20 year old french fries and $3.19 in change. You have no idea how elated I was when I turned the key and saw my digital dash display for the first time. I should be in bowling Green by meeting time, I’ll think about ya’ll.
MOUNTAIN RUN 3 AND C4 GATHERING
I returned Sunday afternoon from the Mountain Run 3 and annual C4 gathering at the Museum. The entire trip added 1565 miles to my odometer and the old girl made the whole trip without a hiccup, and averaged exactly 19mpg. Considering some of the “spirited” mountain driving we did I expected a lot worse.
The MR3 consisted of 3 days of running curvy mountain roads through Georgia, North Carolina and Tennessee with a string of about 15 or so Corvettes, mine being the oldest there. I had intended to only do the last two days so I left Monday morning to meet up with the group at the hotel in Fontana, NC that afternoon. As luck would usually not have it a few missed exits in Atlanta put me a little behind schedule. I stopped for fuel at a rinky dink station on Georgia 5 well north of Atlanta when suddenly the station was swarmed with Corvettes, just happened to run into the group doing the first day run so I joined in with them and ran the last half of Monday’s drive and then back to the hotel.
The Tuesday run went across the Smokey Mountain NP road from Cherokee to Gatlinburg where we had lunch and prepared for the second half of the run, across the Tail of the Dragon. We did the Dragon run in 19 minutes first time. I don’t know if that’s considered fast but from where I was sitting we were blazing!! When we finally got to Deal’s Gap at the end we all got out sweaty and exhausted, and a little bit of motion sickness for me and a few others. I received a lot of complements from the old timers for keeping up on my first time across. It was truly a run Corvettes are made for.
Wednesday we caravanned from Alcoa TN to Bowling Green via about every two lane, moonshine running mountain road between the two. That too was very enjoyable and we went through some beautiful country, and went through some back country towns that I’m sure have never seen that many Corvettes at once.
The Gathering: My biggest regret is not signing up for the “parade laps” on the Museum’s autocross track on Thursday. I and several others didn’t sign up because the description sounded just like that, a parade that cost you $45 to join. Oh how wrong I was. The parade laps turned out to be 4 laps following a professional driver and really tested the participants driving skills, a couple of cars even spun out w/no damage. Once they ran their 4 they all got back in line and went again and again, all morning. I won’t miss that next year even though I’d probably be in the way with my measly 240hp.
The C4 event should have been called a ZR-1 gathering. Out of about 50 C4s there were about 6 Grand Sports, 3 40ths, 2 base models and the rest were ZR-1s. There were probably 75 or so newer models in attendance. Every seminar was ZR related also. It’s the car’s 25th anniversary so I guess that’s why. The plant tour was fantastic except I kept drooling all over the floors. Corvettes are even beautiful in pieces.
All in all I really enjoyed the gathering despite the shunning of base model cars. I met some great folks and had some pretty good chow at the banquet and BBQ. But to be honest the mountain runs were way more enjoyable for me. I finally got to put the car on some roads it was designed to handle, and it continued to impress me on how well it did, and it’s a 26 year old specimen.
I’m already looking forward to next year’s MR4 and the track day at the museum. I haven’t had that much fun in a car since I was 18.