There are firsts for everything in this life. For instance, the first time you ride a bike, pick up a basketball, go to a birthday party, and so on. However, there are those firsts that you'll never forget-those select few that stick out in your mind like a sore thumb. Try these on for size: The first time you drove a car, first kiss, first speeding ticket, and of course, the first time you and a friend, or friends, headed out on a road trip. Now when I say road trip, I'm not talking about heading to the beach or the lake; I'm talking about straight truckin' from state to state.
Ahhhh...I still remember it like it was yesterday. My younger brother, three of my best friends, and myself all crammed into the Canyonero (or should I say a '96 Suburban (and to be honest with you, it was actually pretty roomy)-traveling 1,500 miles from SoCal to the northeastern part of Oklahoma. And here's the real kicker, we made it there in 22 hours! Yep, I learned a lot on that trip. I learned a thing or two about camaraderie, that Stroker Ace is one of the best movies ever (oh yeah, the Subdivision had a TV and a DVD player in it...and for the record, Burt rules), and that when traveling across the 100-plus degree weather of the Arizona desert, if you add scorched Budweiser to ice you get Bud Light! Who would of thought? But that's beside the point because there really is no feeling like taking a road trip. Just ask Al Hill and Kurt Meiers.
In the summer of 2002, Hill and Meiers took a road trip they'll never forget. They had the privilege of joining four dozen other Corvettes for a 1,400-mile cross-country drive, where they would eventually end up at the Corvette assembly plant and the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green for Corvette's 50th anniversary. Oh yeah I forgot to mention, each year model Corvette was represented out of the fifty. For example, Al's '53, Kurt's '54, and so on until finally it ended with the then-latest model of the Corvette-the '03 Z06.
Their trip started off in Flint, Michigan, at the Sloan Museum. All of the 50 Vettes were on display before they headed out on their journey. During that first show alone, Al and Kurt were able to meet several men who worked on the very first Corvettes ever. In fact, some of the men even worked on Al's way back in 1953 when it was built. But before the Vettes headed out, the state See on the road next page of Kentucky had issued each owner a commemorative license plate that had the year of their car on it. Al's plate reads 1953 and Kurt's 1954. Just before they headed out to Warren, they stopped by the Flint plant for a photo 'op', but then it was on the road again.
Once the Historic Motorama arrived in Warren, they attended a banquet at a local Chevy dealership. However, the dynamic duo ducked out early to visit Elfie Arkus-Duntov, Zora's widow. They sat around with her drinking English beer-which she requested (hey, you can't argue with that)-while she told two stories about the glory days. Then they rejoined the brigade and headed towards the next leg of their trip, Joliet, Illinois. But what's a road trip without hitting some rain, especially when you're cruising in a not-too-weather-tight Corvette roadster. In Joliet, Hill and Meiers were able to get in a little gamblin', but more than anything, they were just anxious to get back on the road because the next stop was St. Louis.