Corvette Vagabond

48 State US Trip

In the summer of 2010, I took a road trip that I had planned to make in my early 20's; before life got in the way. The goal was to drive my 1966 Corvette (40 years as owner) to 48 US states and through photos and interviews, document the  'love affair' that long-time Corvette owners have with their cars. I became the Corvette Vagabond.

A year prior to the trip, I posted this message on several forums:

 
"When I was a junior in HS, a friend came to school with a 1957, fuel injected, black corvette. I was in smitten. I was not a racing or corvette hobbyist, I just loved the car and the speed and attention it got. In 1969, I got my first job and bought a 1961 corvette. It caught fire and in 1970 I bought a 1966 L79 roadster from a Navy pilot going to Nam. I am the second owner.

I used it as my daily car, and it 1974, I had some money in the bank and I was going to take a year off and drive across the country from the east coast to the west coast. Just living off the land, working when I had to. Just the car, my tent and a compass that pointed west.
"Life got in the Way" .

So after 36 years , 250,000 miles, a couple of restorations, and 4 engine rebuilds, I am going to take that trip with that same car & tent.


As I was preparing my car for the trip, I became a member of several corvette forums. Except for the engine and paint, I was doing all the work on this final restoration and needed help. I got all the help I needed.


I started to meet many other long time owners online and I thought it would interesting to meet some of these people on my trip.


My project is not so much about the cars that they own, but the relationship between them and the car. 


Many of us have gone though Marriage, birth, death, divorce, triumphant and tragedy, yet the car is still out in the garage.
I wondered what do we all have in common? So what started out as a personal journey, has grown into something else. My goal is document that relationship or "love story " if you will.

I hope to spend informal time with you and others like you. I will ask some questions, take pictures of cars, and have you do some tasks before I get to you. But the story is not about the car, what year, what option, but the story of how you still have the car and what it means to you.


Many have tried to get me to schedule my trip with certain events and parades, and I am sure I will make a few , but I will be most happy sitting by a backyard fire, having a nice talk others who make up the special few that we are.


I hope that answers some of your questions.
I hope to put my travels into possible articles and a book but the main part of my trip is to have fun, meet interesting people, see blue highway America. Look forward to meeting you,"


Jack



Little did I know that this post would lead to a trip of a lifetime. More than 74 different corvette owners opened their homes and hearts to me.  I was on the road for 20,000 miles,  89 days and nights, and traveled for the most part on the blue highways of America , seeing the small towns and cities that make up much of rural America. All I had was a bunch of dots on a Google map marking the locations the forum members who suggested I stop by.    

The budget: $100 a day including gas , food and lodging.   Driving a L79  (327-350 HP) roadster with a 3.70 rear end meant about 13-15 mpg or $70 to $150  per day in gas.  It did not leave much for food or shelter.  Without the support (food, lodging and fellowship) of forum members I would not have been able to complete the trip.


The real challenges:
to keep the car full of gas, to contact a forum members on  route, and to be sure I had a place to stay each night. A few nights were spent camping, but most often I stayed with complete strangers, with a common bond, the Corvette. On the nights I had internet access, I posted to four forums. Needless to say, the good intentions of keeping up with my blog was not as much fun as getting to know folks and sharing stories about this grand adventure.

Most days: T
ravel 200 to 300 miles, a schedule that would allow me to cover all 48 states in 90 days.  On some days out west, I drove over 500 miles and on my longest day I covered 720 miles. Remember, it was a really hot summer and my car is a convertible , non-AC car. Some days the heat took it's toll on me, the car was fine.

In the beginning of August , 2010, I departed from Maine in the northeast and traveled through New England and New York, then headed west and traversed the northern part of the country and arrived in northwest at the
end of August.

In September, I drove through California and the southwest, it was a HOT month! The month of October, my route continued through the south, the mid-Atlantic and arrived home at the end of October. Time for re-entry and reflection...


Those dots on the map: turned into dear friends, beautiful vistas, spots where the car or I broke down. They turned into memories and experiences I am so privileged to have had and they are woven into stories that I am happy to share. 


Click on any of the links below to read more about my adventures and by click on the photos to meet some characters, see some sites and have a few laughs.


US and European Corvette Forum Links:
  1. s633.photobucket.com
  2. ncrs.org
  3. jackpanzica.blogspot.com
  4. maps.google.com
  5. corvetteclub.no
  6. digitalcorvettes.com
  7. forums.corvetteforum.com
  8. forums.corvetteforum.com
  9. corvetteactioncenter.com
  10. ncrs.org
  11. forums.corvetteforum.com
  12. maps.google.com
  13. corvetteclub.no
  14. corvetteforum.de
  15. ncrs.org
  16. corvettevagabond.com
  17. www.corvettefinland.com
  18. www.finnshark.com

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