For the better part of 24 hours B&V were the proud owners of a 2012 Centennial Edition Corvette. It was a wish that neither of us had made and yet, it still came true.
The car is a menacing Carbon Flash Metallic black on black with a sinister looking raised carbon fiber hood, sill extensions, front splitter, and roof. It is enhanced by red details such as seat stitching, “Jake” embossed rear deck and front mats in the interior, and wheel trim and brake calipers on the exterior.When the car is on and the acceleration pedal is depressed the ominous and throaty exhaust provides feedback that the 430+ horses connected to the Chevrolet LS3 engine are ready to be turned loose.
There were over 100 Corvettes gathered with their associated owners at Southridge Sports Complex and itching to get on with the highway cruise to Desert Wind Winery for the Friday evening part of the 3 Rivers Corvette Club 4th annual “Corvettes on the Columbia” celebration of the Great American Sports Car weekend. V&I are part of this event due to the fact D&V have multiple Corvettes and needed a driver for one of them. They are in “The White One” and according to the registration packet for the weekend we own car # 44, “The Black One” by virtue of being more-than-friends with who I now call “The Previous Owners.”I still have bruises on my arm as proof that I kept pinching myself to see if this was actually a dream.
The registrants are gathered in front of a public address system and Matt Price from the McCurley Auto Dealership, who is sponsoring the event, is instructing the participants on “The Rules for the Weekend.” He turns the microphone over to a Washington State Patrol Lieutenant who then instructs us on “The Rules for Driving to Prosser and Back.” We disperse to the various cars and in a scene V&I have never, ever, been a part of, the engines of the once silent cars growl to life almost as one. They are put into first gear and proceed single file out of the lot per the announced instructions. My heart is racing faster than the tachometer shows on the “Heads Up” display. As we get to the traffic signal light on 36th and Highway 395 there stands a Washington State Patrolman directing traffic. He has all the other vehicles stopped at the intersection so the line of Corvettes can safely enter the roadway one-by-one. As we make the right turn onto 395, I shift into second and I look over at V and with a grin I haven’t had in quite some time related to driving a car anyways I say, “As a matter of fact, this evening we do own the road.” It is an amazing sight to see all the Corvettes travelling up Southridge hill, and I will add here, being so well behaved too. It is even more incredible to look in the rearview mirrors and see a long line of them behind.
V&I have driven this highway numerous times and even related one of our adventures in Treveri by way of the Mojave Parts I & II. We hardly ever see State Patrol along this stretch of road. However as I am a keen-eyed individual, I noticed Washington State Patrolmen strategically parked in a couple of spots along the highway. “Just in case”, I am thinking.
Sometimes 32 miles seems like a long distance, however this time it feels like I just drove across the Blue Bridge, and the trip just didn’t last long enough. I realize though this part of the festivities had to come to an end at some point. As we turn onto the off ramp of I-82 to Highway 22 to get to the winery, there is an additional Washington State Patrolman who has traffic stopped at that intersection to allow the line of Corvettes to safely negotiate that left turn then the right one onto Wine Country Road and the Desert Wind Winery / Walter Clore visitor center parking. I look over at V with a knowing nod to reaffirm the earlier statement about “owning the road.”
The checkered flag wristbands which were found inside of the registration packet allowed us into the wine tasting and dinner. The wine for tasting includes the Duck Pond Pinot Gris and the Desert Wind Ruah. The Ruah blended of 41% Cabernet Sauvignon 41% Merlot and 18% Cabernet Franc from the Wahluke Slope is the signature blend for Desert Wind. We like this blend as one can discern each of the varietals as the fluid moves from front to back. V really loves the presence of the Cab Franc.
The Pinot Gris from Duck Pond, the Oregon based sister winery of Desert Wind, exhibits tropical almost pineapple aroma and the minerality paired well with dinner. The Ruah is fruity, balanced through the palate, and the subtle presence of smoked cedar is a perfect pairing with the smoked Tri-Tip and chicken which were offered as the dinner protein. Coupled with the cheesy Cilantro Rice and Cesar Salad, Chef Kristin Johnson and her staff really presented the group of approximately 200 folks a sumptuous feast to be sure. It was fun that Chef remembered us from our previous trip and truly seemed pleased to see us again.
The evening’s entertainment, Groove City, provided fun, energetic, danceable, Motown Funk. In between sets a live auction is held of Chevrolet wine themed items as well as other items with the proceeds going to Make- a-Wish. In fact, the entire event weekend for that matter was a fund raiser for the charity. All funds raised from the weekend will be added to money raised during McCurley Automotive’s Wheels for Wishes promotion held during the month of May. The total amount will be provided in a check format to Make-a-Wish during the Saturday evening’s outdoor dinner/comedy/concert at Clover Island Hotel parking lot.
With the band packing up, and the auction completed with D purchasing an item of Mariner memorabilia for “The Man Cave” it is time to make the trip back home. Some folks are hanging out in the parking lot, others have left already, and with those that are leaving now the parade back to the Tri is not nearly as put together. That doesn’t matter, the grin is back. We arrive home safely at not too late an hour because the cars have to be at Columbia Park early for the Show and Shine judging and awards presentation in the afternoon. Well early for most folks anyways. During the regular workdays I normally have half a day’s work put in by 9:00 AM.
With the exhilaration of the evening’s activities, sleep does not come easy. But when it did come it was filled with dreams of driving a black Corvette. When it is time to get up Saturday morning I am having a difficult time separating the dreams from the reality of the past evening. With coffee clarity of thought returns and with it separation of fantasy from reality and it is time to get to Columbia Park.
We find “The Previous Owners” chat for a while then V&I decide we are going to walk the rows of Corvettes for pictures. The word “rows” doesn’t quite put into perspective the fact there are almost 200 cars for the Show and Shine.
When we arrive back to where “The White One” and “The Black One” are parked, we talk about all the wondrous sights – The row of Corvette Generations –Seeing a black 63 split-window Stingray which was just like the one I had my first Corvette ride in when I was 10 – Looking over the apparel the D has purchased in the Chevrolet Product Tent, the keen-eyed individual that I am notices the registration card which has informed all who care to read that car #44 once owned by B&V has been repossessed. I am crushed, devastated, and distraught. It is all I can do to keep the tears from streaming down. Well, that may be just a bit over dramatic and an exaggeration. Ok, Ok, Ok – a lot over dramatic and an exaggeration. As it turned out the Show and Shine prizes were awarded to registered owners and B&V’s little fantasy is now over. To assuage the great disappointment of the repossession I go back to the Product Tent and put D&V’s name on a few of the silent auction items. I just knew they would not mind if they spent a little more money for a good cause, especially if they were to actually “win” something like the wine basket of Smasne wine. As it turned out they were outbid on everyone one of those items. Oh well, it’s the thought that counts. By the way, is it actually winning if you have to pay for an item? That deserves some serious contemplation.
During the award ceremony Bill McCurley announced there are 198 cars at Columbia Park for the Show and Shine.The cars have come from four states and Canada making this a truly regional event. The bar for next year is set higher and portends to be bigger and better. B&V, D&V, folks like Bill McCurley, Craig Cavanugh, and all the McCurley staff, other sponsors like PayneWest Insurance, the 3 Rivers Corvette Club, and Make-a- Wish are hoping so too.
It was announced at the evening’s dinner / comedy / concert the fund raising goal set for this year was $35,000.00. The actual check presented to Make-a-Wish was for over $40,000.00. That is a lot of wishes granted, and one extra due to the outpouring of generosity. When the total was announced, a stunned V looked over at me and said, “Don’t we live in the best place ever?” I smile and say back, “You say that all the time. But I have to agree with you. This is certainly a generous community.” I continue, “Due to the generous friends we have and the big hearted community in which we live, more people than just us experienced a life changing weekend, all things considered.”
Who knows perhaps B&V might even have a “for real” entrant next year instead of a make believe one. Stranger things have happened.