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Road Trips

Since taking ownership of my ZR-1, I’ve created a habit of taking at least one extended cruise a year, designed to drive on interesting roads and explore this new continent I now inhabit and also just to glory in driving around in this incredibly rare and special ‘vette so that all can see. (Actually, I don’t think anyone much notices or cares, but it helps feed my starved ego to think they do.)

Traveling this way is a little bit like royalty trying to slip the paparazzi and move around incognito. King he may be, but to most people he is sadly just a generically labelled “Corvette” judged on the quality of his paint (and current state of cleanliness) rather than the unique Lotus-designed heart that beats beneath the hood.

Coastal Road to Marquette

Coastal Road to Marquette

While no Corvette is ‘ordinary,’ Dave McClelland et al. made a very deliberate decision to run the King of the Hill in discrete clothing. Some ZR-1 owners I believe find this a source of frustration and bemoan the fact that the ZR-1 wasn’t given more distinctive features. I certainly sympathise with this when I find myself at Corvette shows and even other Corvette owners seem to not understand what they are looking at; but for the most part I actually find the relative ignorance amusing.

The first of these extended cruises was a drive around New England two years ago to take in the coastal sights. For this year’s trip (we skipped last year as my wife and I had an important wedding to attend – our own!) we decided to do a coastal trip of a different variety – the ‘Circle Tour’ around Lake Superior. This involves following the roads that skirt around the lake and had all the hallmarks of one of the most memorable journeys “on our doorstep”. The tour is 2100 km (1300 miles) around and the quickest recorded circumnavigation is 18 hours on a motorbike (driven at legal speeds).

In our case we planned to spend the first night in Paradise, MI, and then go around the southern coast of the lake, up to Duluth, cross back into Canada and stay at Thunder Bay, before curling back down the eastern coast to hit Wawa and finally Sault Ste. Marie.

The first day was the usual mix of rush and relaxation. This was our first real vacation of the year and with the world economy in full-on meltdown we were more than ready Continue reading

In my earlier post I discussed tackling the under-plenum updates. Here I cover the drivetrain updates which turned out to be more significant and challenging in unexpected ways. Early on Sunday we were back at Jim’s for the drive-train work. Again the WAZOO guys were in full attendance. Darrin was back too to help the transmission pull – this after working all night at his “day’ job.

Jobs for this day included: Continue reading

After the drive down to Baltimore and meeting up with David (including a fun visit to the local Tilted Kilt) we were ready to get stuck into the job at hand: updating the Dragon.

DSCF6040Saturday was warm and sunny, almost a shame to waste it on the WMD (Westminster Maintenance Day), but the WAZOO guys are dedicated to building bigger and better ZR-1s and I wasn’t going to pass up the chance to complete several of the jobs that had been on my “to do” list for far too long.

Jim’s place (the then ZR-1 Registry president) is the garage a lot of people dream of having – me included. Spacious, a  four post lift, hydraulic bridge jacks to lift one end of the car up in seconds. What else could you ask for? Continue reading

As anyone with a vette will understand, part of the fun is updating the car. Some people like to add Plenty O’Bling (I think she was in a Bond movie), while others just want to improve performance and quality. Personally I like a little of both. The problem I have is limited facilities (no garage at the moment). As a result my backlog of projects has grown. When I had a chance to visit the WAZOO (Washington Area ZR-1 Owners Organization) I grabbed it – what could be better than meeting other owners and also getting some work done. Perfect!

The first part of my trip Continue reading

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