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Touring: Seeing The U.S.A. (Properly)

If it's one thing that Corvettes and their owners do best, it's tour in style. Here are just great ideas for your next touring destination.

Scott Ross Aug 11, 2008
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They got it right in this Chevrolet factory photo in 1961--a scenic road, a scenic destination, and a Corvette to get there in. (Courtesy General Motors/ Wieck Media Services)

If it's one thing that Corvettes and their owners do best, it's tour in style. Think of it: Planning for a weekend adventure, then ensuring that this adventure isn't filled with misadventures by giving your Vette its proper pre-trip preparation. Even if you don't need to change your oil or other fluids, and every system on the car works just fine, quality time spend hand-washing it inside and out (at least a day before you leave) is worth it. Corvettes are head-turners--no sense in attracting attention to one wearing the "souvenirs" of your last road trip!

Deciding where you'll go can be as easy as joining in your club's latest day trip or weekend run, or it could be the ultra-scientific method of throwing a dart at a map taped on the wall and heading to the point on the map nearest to where the dart landed.

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Red Wing, Minnesota's Levee Park is one place that upper Midwest Vette lovers seek out on day trips from the Twin Cities. The bridge in the background carries U.S. Highway 63 over Mississippi River into Wisconsin. (Courtesy Red Wing Chamber of Commerce)

Over the years, each place that I've lived has had its share of road-trip destinations best reached by a Vette. Hastings, the river town in Minnesota where I lived for over a decade, and Red Wing, where my family moved to over 30 years ago, have become destinations in their own right. That's thanks to some delightfully twisty roads along and near the upper Mississippi River, especially U.S. 61 on the Minnesota side, and State Highway 35 in Wisconsin--the latter having undergone an extensive rebuild since the early `90s without losing any of its essential (curving) character. The only downsides are minor: a need for bug remover on your Vette when you get home, and keeping your eyes open for deer and wild turkeys crossing the road, especially near sunrise and sunset.

Another past home that's familiar with Corvette lovers as a destination is Bloomington/Normal, Illinois, Bloomington Gold's birthplace. Old Route 66 goes through both towns, and it's a no-brainer for anyone who wants to do some leisurely open-top cruising to and through the small towns along the way.

For twistiness, there are two "old stomping grounds" to check out: Upstate New York and Northern California. From Syracuse, where I saw the last of the chrome-bumper Corvettes in Chevy dealers' showrooms, the best roads to aim for are State Highway 28 into the Adirondacks north and east of Utica, and U.S. Highway 20 in either direction from Pompey. In the fall, a stop at the apple orchards along Route 20 near Cardiff is well worth the trip . . . as long as you don't fill up your Vette's cabin with too many bushels of freshly picked apples. And any time that the weather's good--rare as that might be in the "snowbelt" south of Lake Ontario, where "partly cloudy" can mean 6-8 inches of snow by morning--a day trip to Watkins Glen is a good one, regardless if it's a race weekend or not.

Northern California has several distinct Vette-friendly areas to head to and roam around. If you like cruising on a highway along a levee, State Highway 160 between Sacramento and Rio Vista is a must-see, following the route of the Sacramento River southwestward, curving through California's Delta with Mount Diablo visible in the distance. Other must-see/must-drives are the roads through the wine country in Napa and Sonoma counties, past the acres of vineyards with (seemingly) a winery around every bend.

And then there's State Highway 1, south of Pacifica. The road at Devil's Slide, just south of there, has been a major headache for years, thanks to its cliffside location and heavy winter rains that have washed away the roadbed and resulted in huge mudslides that close the road for months at a time. Now, CalTrans is tunneling through Montara Mountain to bypass it, with completion set for 2010. (See more about it at Until then, you'll have to watch for work zones and construction equipment at both ends of the tunnel project if you're taking Highway 1 between San Francisco, Half Moon Bay, Santa Cruz, and the Monterey Peninsula--a road that Corvettes (especially open-body ones) were made for.

These are just several places to go Vette you have any favorites? Let us know at



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