Ride & Drive
of the 2008 Corvettes
Bar Harbor, ME
May 16-21, 2007
This adventure started at the National Corvette
Museum's Labor Day Celebration in 2006. Author and Corvette
Quarterly Editor Jerry Burton stopped by my
display in the lobby and
asked if I would be willing to help him set up the next annual Ride &
Drive. That is the feature article in the Fall issue that introduces the
next year's Corvettes. They do this in a different, scenic part of the country
every year, and for the 2008 models he wanted to do it in Maine: Bar Harbor and
Acadia National Park on Mt. Desert Island were my immediate first choice! Always open to any excuse to cruise my favorite part of
the country in a Corvette, I instantly agreed to help.
During the next couple of months I made trips
to the area, taking pictures and videos (camcorder strapped to the dash)
specifically to show Jerry the scenery and roads
we might utilize. I also
connected him with Marian Burns at the Mira
Monte Inn B&B that I suggested using as the base of operations
for the duration of the activities
rather than traveling to a different location
each night as was SOP for these events. I would be riding along as "scout
and interpreter of the Maine dialect".
Formal notices were sent to all the
participants in February. Attendees would be Tom Wallace (Corvette Vehicle Line
Tadge Juechter (Corvette Chief Engineer), Gary Claudio (Corvette Brand Manager), Harlan
Charles (Corvette Product Manager),
Jack Matukas (representing the NCM) and Jerry Britner
(winner of the NCM auction for the 8th seat). Jerry Burton, Todd Kraemer (CQ Art Director), the photographer Evan Klein
& his assistant Matt Grayson from CA
and myself completed the group of 11.
Jerry and I met with Gary Claudio at the Bash
in April to fine tune the schedule and itinerary, coming up with additional
points of interest in the process.
Wednesday, May 16
6:42 am launch to meet photog Evan Klein &
Matt at Mira Monte for breakfast.
They had arrived the night before and wanted
to spend the day advance scouting for photo sites.
First stop was the Acadia National Park HQ for
the necessary commercial photography
permit and vehicle passes. I couldn't
resist this shot in the park office!
We spent the day scouting the park in the rain
in the rented minivan, assisted by my GPS equipped laptop map program.
When we returned to Mira Monte, we found four
2008 Corvettes gracing the front lot, and shortly afterwards Jerry and Todd
arrived by shuttle from Bangor Int'l Airport.
After getting them settled and enjoying the
Inn's wine & cheese, we went to Galyn's to start what was to become
flawless dinner tradition of closing every place where we ate dinner!
This is, l-r, Jerry, Evan, Todd & Matt.
Thursday, May 17
The front of Mira Monte before we embarked on
what would be an 11 hour day of shooting!
This is an indication of the extent of
sacrifice I made to help with this event. I actually left my
Conquer Cancer C6 at the inn and drove this... for 2 days!
Yeah, that's a 2008 fully loaded Z06, VIN #11. It had 126
miles showing when we started.
It was an odious task, but I toughed it out.
can tell it was my ride - look at all the crap
on the front floor, and the trunk was loaded with cleaning supplies.)
The elaborate setup and precise staging at each
stop was a real education for me. First, at
each location throughout the event
we had to do a quick detailing of all the cars. Even
though it wasn't raining, there were puddles and runoff across the road. While setting up,
we all had FRS
radios, and Evan
directed us into position using them. This could have been a
very tedious process, but Evan was fun and informative to work with and kept us
made good use of the radios to call attention to points of
interest and local trivia as we traveled.
(The Silver is Vin #7)
Here Evan & Matt attach a rig under the Z06
which mounts a camera
shooting back at the car while driving.
For the next setup, Evan & Matt mounted
this suction cup tripod on the
Atomic Orange coupe (VIN #4)
to shoot forward over the top & hood
while driving. You can see it in my mirror as we get
ready to roll.
Here are a couple of moving shots of my own.
Then it got really interesting. Here you can
see Evan getting secured in a harness
in the open back of the van. Notice the
pad over the center of the bumper.
While in the One Way section of the Park Loop Rd, he directed
us into a formation that typically was like this: van riding the center line;
first Vette (yeah, and I was
the first one in that position) in the right lane,
but close to the line, 1/2 length back from the van's bumper; second Vette in
the left lane at about my door and also
close to the center line, and a third on
the center line at the back, ALL spaced 1/2 length apart front to back. We drove
in this tight formation for several miles of
spectacular winding road along the
rocky coast at 35-40 mph as Evan shot both still & video while hanging out
the back of the van, from standing to lying down
hanging over the bumper with
the camera 6" off the road surface... all the while directing us for
fine-tune position and occasional position shifts via radio!
And Matt, driving
the van, would alert us to obstacles & traffic necessitating lane shifts.
Whew! Kind of a very tiny sense of what the Blue Angels deal with!
We concluded the day on the pier (with the
at the Bar Harbor waterfront, wrapping up at about
Friday, May 18
Before we hit the road, Evan got some shots
from inside Mira Monte, here from the parlor,
of the Z06 out front, again
directing position via radio.
Today was another scouting day. We headed south
on US 1 the 90-some miles to the
Transportation Museum in, yes, Owls Head, ME. Yes, in the rain.
The Museum was not even part of the original
plan, but it ended up being one of the highlights of the event. Since I had
planned to bring the group down
the coast to visit a couple of lighthouses in
the area, I thought it would be a nice point of interest to visit. I called Charlie
Chiarchiaro, the Director,
to let him know we would be visiting on
Sunday May 20. He wasn't there at the time but when I told Ben Cook, who took
the call, what the event was
and who would be there, he immediately asked if we
would be interested in doing any driving activities while we were there.
What? Did he say "DRIVING ACTIVITIES"?
Now, why would a bunch of the people responsible for
designing, producing, selling and enjoying Corvettes
want to do any DRIVING
ACTIVITIES, safely OFF the public highways, with 4 of next year's models?
Did we hit the jackpot or what?
Ben Cook then described to me what they could do for us. The Museum is attached
to the Knox County Airport and has LOTS of secure space. We would be there
before their season begins, so we could have total access to everything except
the main parking lot. They would set up an autocross course for us on the apron
in front of the Museum, and he turned me over to Cathy Hardy, their Events
Director, who said they would also be able to provide a lobster roll lunch for
When our scouting group arrived, Cathy met us
and gave us a personally guided tour of the amazing facility. 95+% of all the
cars, trucks & planes on display are driven
or flown regularly at their
events. The autocross course was already set up, so of course we had to try it
out. In the rain. We left looking forward to a great day on Sunday.
Note: The Museum is holding a “Transportation
Spectacular (All-Corvette Meet)
& Aerobatics Show”
event on July 28-29. Click here FMI.
On the way back to Bar Harbor we stopped briefly to scout Camden, and got
some local flavor shots.
In the rain. At left, Evan & Todd analyze the
Then it got worse...
And some more local color farther North on
Route 1... In the rain.
Thinking this was the end of my sentence in the
Z06, I documented the odometer.
That is 248 miles for the 2 days. A miserable
job, but somebody had to do it.
By the way, the seriously tweaked clutch and
shift on the '08 are fantastic! The throttle/clutch/shift
is so slick and light
that you could really enjoy a daily commute in city traffic in this car!
When we got back to Mira Monte, the
distinguished guests from Detroit, Bowling Green
and Houston had arrived. Here
Jerry Burton opens up
some goodies to show Tadge Juechter,
Tom Wallace, Harlan
Charles and Todd. The second shot adds Jack Matukas and the back
Unfortunately, Gary Claudio had to cancel at the last minute when
went into the hospital.
We kept our dinner record intact by closing the
Bar Harbor Inn that night.
Saturday, May 19
This was the first day of travel and shooting
with the guests. I was back in my own car to
lead the way, starting overland
North & East
to Schoodic Point, on the opposite side of
Frenchman Bay from
Mt Desert Island but still part of Acadia National Park.
That's Mt Desert Island in the distance in the
but Cadillac Mt. is still hidden by the low overcast.
Native spectator to the shoot...
Jerry Burton interviews Tom Wallace.
"Can I see your permits please...
Spotting an open lobster pound on the way back
to Mt. Desert Island, we made a screeching
U-turn back to Ruth & Wimpie's
for lunch. Great food,
great service, great auto memorabilia
everywhere. Everybody was having so much fun we couldn't get them away and had to
the afternoon's itinerary!
Back on MDI, we stopped to allow Evan to get
harnessed up for another rolling shoot.
This time I could get shots of the
my position at the back. I couldn't do this
while actually in the
shoot because the drivers could be visible in the photos. In the
can see Evan standing in the back of the van.
3rd shot is the kind
of scenery we were passing.
The last stop on the loop was a special visit
to the Seal Cove Auto Museum
Seal Cove. It doesn't open until June 1, but they were kind
enough to have
there to open it for us. A spectacular collection with of
a lot of brass and some
very unusual cars, including the only 2 Chandlers known
On the return to Bar Harbor, it looked like
Cadillac Mountain was finally in the clear, so I took the group on a rather
"spirited" run to the top. (At 1620 ft.
above seal level, Cadillac is
where the rising sun first strikes the continental US.) We could see 360
degrees, but as we walked the path around the summit
we could see the fog
rolling in below, and by the time we got back to the parking lot not 20 minutes
later, the ceiling had already begun to obscure the cars.
Another maybe even more "spirited"
drive back down followed. We actually
had to wait a couple minutes at the foot
for the van to catch up!
Back at Mira Monte, everybody was still having
way too much fun!
Innkeeper Marian Burns' daughter, Linda, asked
me if she could get a ride in one
of the new Vettes. I asked Todd, and he said
'Why don't you do it?" So I did.
One guess which car I chose! I got the
chance for another "spirited" ride
to the top of Cadillac and back,
this time in the Z06. Linda screamed a lot...
Once again, despite the forecast of 100%
probability of rain, we escaped it completely!
For dinner, we maintained our record by closing
Sunday, May 20
Gas on the way and lobster roll lunch at Owls
Head. Director Charlie (black vest) explains the
museum's history and mission. Lady next to Charlie is Stacey Glynn, GM Area Sales Manager.
Then, while the guests toured the museum, us grunts got to
clean up the cars again.
More serious this time, because it rained
for the early
part of the drive down.
We also had to clean a LOT of cone scuffs off the sides
at the conclusion!
The course produced some surprises for me. I
expected Tom Wallace
and Jerry Britner to be fast - both are racers.
Click for Z06
( .mov file, requires QuickTime Player, a free
download if you don't already have it)
Burton was also quick, and Tadge was like a man possessed!
Hee was driving with Stacey riding shotgun in the following video clip.
Click for yellow
convertible video with off screen comments
Some members of the press were on hand. The
local NBC-TV reporter, Don Carrigan,
was there and a segment aired both on the
Bangor and the Portland stations. The footage aired
was very tame and the anchor
hadn't a clue! (Sorry, the link is no longer active) Don's wife, Donna,
was also there, and she ended up driving the Orange
coupe, with Jerry Burton hanging on,
through some pretty hot laps!
is part of the yellow convertible clip above.
Much of it is off camera - turn up
The Bangor Daily News also had an
article in Monday's paper, with a teaser thumbnail
on the top of the front page.
Full of inaccuracies, and the on-line photo is of
Matt cleaning a wheel, not
autocross course action!
Side note: All the non-Z06 '08s
had the optional "dual mode" exhaust which really sounds
off when it
opens... and it opened a lot! At one point,
as the action was getting more
Homeland Security actually called over from the airport,
inquiring what all the noise was about!
Stacey backs VIN #15 into the hangar for a
photo with Ziggy Forman's gorgeous '54.
Evan & Matt attaching the tripod for some
driving shots through the autocross.
The drive back to BaHaBa, crossing the new
bridge over the Penobscot River.
Once again, we made it through with no
rain when it really counted!
Final shoot in front of Mira Monte.
Closing dinner at Havana. Jerry
asks embarrassing questions... and records the answers.
Food and service were superb!
We out did ourselves this time: Not only did we
close the restaurant about 10:00, but we convinced them to reopen the bar! Matt
attention to proclaim that while he had been involved with
dozens of shoots, this one was by far the most fun! Amen to that! He had saved
from Ruth & Wimpie's and he got everybody, including our waitress
and hostess, to sign it. It was nearly midnight by the time we called it quits.
Monday, May 21
Oh-dark-thirty: There might have been some red
eyes as the Detroit contingent
had to catch a 6:15 shuttle bus to make an 8:30 flight out of Bangor.
Finally a decent shot of Jerry Britner, in an
animated discussion with Tadge, at 5:51 am.
6:13 am the bus leaves for Bangor.
I stayed long enough to help ensure that the
Vettes got on the transporter OK.
The local police also helped...
by finding an
alternate spot nearby to put the big rig
that didn't block the main road in and out of town
during rush hour!
Evan & Matt autographed my fuel rail
One last pass by the waterfront on the way out
More views of that unique new bridge...
Final stats at home before switching to the
company car and heading to work in Augusta.
was definitely the most continuously fun event I have ever had the pleasure of
Thank you, Jerry, for getting me involved, and to Evan, Matt, Todd, Tom,
Tadge, Harlan, Jack,
Jerry Britner and Marian for contributing to the
experience. And Gary, we really missed you!
Jerry interviewed me and Evan got some photos for a side bar about Corvettes Conquer Cancer in the R&D
Click here for a downloadable pdf file of
Here's an article Jerry
Britner wrote for the National Corvette
magazine, America's Sports Car:
Here is a video and a couple of montage pages
Evan put together for us: Click
to view video