Of course we had already made plans to be there for the celebration, and had made arrangements for our daughter Sarah to come down from the northeast and meet us there. She had no idea we were having museum delivery of a new car. We arrived in Bowling Green Tuesday afternoon, after spending the night in Atlanta with our good friends, Chaz and Gael Cone at their very exclusive bed & breakfast. They are always the gracious hosts.
We stopped by the NCM to take a look at our baby, as it was in the nursery. Buzz, and I, too were starting to get excited. Alas, we knew we had to wait one more day. We went around to the staff and visited a little. Anyone who knows Buzz, realizes that he will definitely visit. Then it was off to have a quiet dinner and patiently wait for Wednesday to arrive. Buzz had to be up early and make the drive to Nashville to pick Sarah up at the airport. From there he was taking her straight to the NCM, where I would be waiting for their arrival. Remember we had driven our 2000 Vette, so we had to split up. This was Sarah's first time to the NCM and we were hoping to make it a little memorable.
Well now I was pacing the museum waiting for them to arrive. I knew that the delivery was supposed to start at 11:30, where were they? My phone started ringing, and I was told that they were stopping at a Bowling Green hot spot. Sarah hadn't eaten all day and needed some substance. So I continued to wait. They did arrive at 11:00 and there was a reader board as you walk into the museum announcing that we were the proud owners of a new car:
The cat was out of the bag and Sarah was now excited too.
Well, Thomas, our NCM delivery person, met us, and first stop was the Corvette plant. This is a private tour so as we came up to the tunnel that approaches the entrance, the cones were removed and Thomas drove us right up to the front door. Usually you have to walk from the parking lot to there. Above the door in lights was a neon sign flashing a message meant for us:
It was fantastic. Thomas was very competent as a tour guide and very knowledgeable about all that was happening at the plant and of course knew many of the workers. They were all wonderful, and he graciously answered any questions we might have. Even one of our friends John Wakefield, who now works at the plant, managed to locate us and wished us luck with our new car. He also informed us that our Z16 was the ninth production car produced. As we neared the end of the line, and reached the first start area, Sarah was asked to step inside and start a new ZO6, she was a bit nervous as she doesn't drive a stick all that often, but she did just fine, and the car turned right over. Jackie was also allowed to start one. Both were handed certificates. This is a nice little perk that the plant usually does for someone from each tour. Like I said before everyone is very personable, but his or her job does come first.
We arrived back at the NCM around 2PM and now it was time to have a tour of the museum. We told Thomas to act like we had never been there before, so that Sarah would get the full benefit of the tour. This he did and he did an excellent job. Again he graciously answered all Sarah's questions. As we neared the nursery I knew Buzz was getting anxious. Several of our friends were trying to watch via the web camera the precise moment the keys were handed over. We came around the corner and there were all of the staff members assembled. There is a tradition among the staff when someone gets a new car they all pass the keys to him, from one person to the next. Well since Buzz is a member of the board of directors, they felt it would be nice to include him in this tradition:
It was certainly an honor. The best part was that you have to remember Buzz was to get the keys last, but when they hit Sarah's hands, she just asked to keep them, WRONG, she did pass them on with a few laughs. Buzz had a smile on his face from ear to ear. As this was going on, he also had his cell phone in use, talking to Chaz in Atlanta, and Chaz was directing us on where to stand, so that he could capture the pictures from the web cam:
What a great friend, what would we do without him? The car looked great and we had many pictures of it taken in the nursery:
Buzz was itching to get behind the wheel, but lo and behold, Mother Nature decided to rwar her ugly head, and bring about a huge KY rain and possibly hailstorm. Well there was no way the car was going to have its debut in that, so we decided to wait another 24 hours.
It was then time to go to dinner and we were off to the Iron Skillet to join Wendell and Jan Strode for a quiet meal. The food was delicious as usual and the company was to die for. After filling our bellies, we headed to the Holiday Inn at University Plaza to check our daughter in and get some rest.
The next day we awoke to prepare for a cruise very skillfully led by Wendell and Jan Strode from the NCM. This would be a real ball, since we were going to be starting to clock off the miles on the new car. Sarah was going to take our other car and rally with the rest of the enthusiasts. We drove throughout the countryside and had a wonderful lunch at a local bed & breakfast:
After a delicious meal we were off to the museum for the rest of the day. Of course Jackie went into the store with Sarah and Buzz was off conversing with whoever would listen. After the museum closed, we went to Rafferty's for their wonderful salad. Once more it would be a somewhat early evening.
Friday saw us off early to go to the museum for a day of fun. As usual Jackie was in the store and Buzz was, well Buzz. That evening was the induction for the NCM Hall of Fame. As usual it was a very enjoyable function and the crowd was incredible. The inductees were introduced and a short history was given on each. We were sitting with Chuck Gordon, Jim Palmer, Dave McClellan, John Cafaro and others and had a blast listening to the many stories they told:
I would love to tell a few, but we know better and have been sworn to secrecy. What an honor for Sarah to be able to be at a table with some real Corvette historians. I am sure it is an evening she will never forget.
Saturday found us all heading to the NCM for another day of fun and excitement. David Hill had asked us if he could give us the keys to the new toy and we planned on doing it before his seminar. However, he seemed to be having a problem with his laptop and we had to wait until later. If you have ever been at the NCM when David arrives, you know how hard it is for him to go anywhere without being swamped by fans. This day was no exception and it was after noon before we could get him outside to the car. We also found Will Cooksey, Corvette Plant Manager to lend a helping hand:
In the mean time, Jackie was in her usual place in the store and I was doing my usual job of B.S.ing. Saturday night found us at the Lifetime Members' dinner, which was held in the museum. There were a few short speeches and dinner. Of course after dinner an auction took place. This is a time when the museum lets the lifetime members know just how much they are remembered and appreciated.
Sunday morning the festivities still continued. There is a celebrity judged car show. Each judge picking a car that they like. Lo and behold our new toy was picked:
Charles Harlan was the judge and he had large input into the Commemorative Edition. So I guess he has a special place in his heart for this car.
One of the car raffles was also held at 4 o'clock. It was absolutely amazing, that the ticket that was pulled, stated no phone, can you believe it, filling out a raffle ticket and not being able to get the exciting phone call. Well let's face it, how many of us expect to win, but there is one lucky person out there. Of course they did pull a second ticket just in case they couldn't contact the first person. From what we understand they did make contact. Some one is now the proud owner of a new C5. That pretty much ended the events for the museum's weekend and many started home.
The three of us had decided to make this into a small holiday and Monday morning got up bright and early to go to Mammoth Caves, this is a national park in KY. Buzz had picked out the four-hour tour. Hmmm how hard can a four-hour tour be? Well, let's just say go for the $9.00, 45-minute tour if you do it, unless of course you are in really good shape. We all were huffing and puffing. It was extremely interesting, being underground, where they even have a small restaurant for lunch. Real bathrooms. What more could you ask for. The sites were few and far apart. Until almost the very end., which was beautiful. Let's just say we traversed underground mountains. Many of us on the tour, there were about 100 in our group, were totally exhausted when we finished:
Exercise was the word of the day. Glad we did it, won't do the long tour again:
We needed a good night's rest as Tuesday found us going to Opryland Hotel for a couple of days in Nashville.
The hotel is great, and has many different stores and restaurants under one roof. It is a site to behold. A great place to sit back and relax, or shop as the case may be. Yes, we did do some of that, too.
We played tourist, and did the General Jackson boat cruise and show. We had a great time, then it was off to the airport to send Sarah back, and started the drive home. Of course we had to stop at the Cone B & B, it's always great to be with friends. Of course we wanted to show off our new baby to them. It's always nice to travel, but home is wonderful. You know us, we never stay put for long. So I'm sure we will be off soon.