The Places You’ll Go

Chautauqua County Corvette Club Logs Thousands?Of Miles

Members of the Chautauqua County Corvette Club park by Churchill Downs in Kentucky during a club trip. Submitted photos

You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose, according to Dr. Seuss.

Even the famous rhyming author might not have imagined the places you can go when a group of Corvette owners put the pedal to the metal and steer themselves in all different directions.

Gary Baldensperger of Warren said that although he’s been a proud Corvette owner for many years — he purchased his first one 25 years ago — he never would have driven his Corvette to so many places and seen so many sights if he hadn’t become a member of the Chautauqua County Corvette Club.

‘This is a club that wants to drive,” Baldensperger, current president of the club, said. “Members can do as much or as little as they want.”

Owners of older model Corvettes sometimes prefer a day cruise or a car show, Baldensperger said. “We do those too,” he said. But the club does take two major trips per year where they travel for a week to 10 days for an average of 2,000 to 3,000 miles, he said.

During a trip to Maine members of the Chautauqua County Corvette Club lined up their cars outside an inn and chartered cruises on sailboats.

Trips are planned ahead but there’s always leeway for side trips along the way and time to “do your own thing”, he said.

One trip took the club members to Watkins Glen in New York. Once there, drivers could do laps around the track for a $50 fee. “That wasn’t for everyone,” he said. “My wife didn’t care to go that fast.”

Another trip south to North Carolina also appealed to racing enthusiasts. Members of the club visited Hendrick Motorsports and Joe Gibbs Racing.

While in North Carolina, the drivers also tested their skills at Deals Gap, a stretch of road that has 318 curves within 11 miles. Baldensperger said the road can be treacherous if you drive too fast. “There’s a big tree there that has parts of cars and motorcycles on it from drivers who tried to take it too fast and failed,” he said.

This past fall the club’s trip took Corvette owners to scenic destinations to the north. They drove through the White Mountains to Mount Washington, the

highest mountain in the eastern U.S.

Baldensperger pointed out that Mt. Washington is where L.L.Bean tests many of its winter clothing items, as it is one of the coldest places in the U.S. during the winter.

Mt. Washington also served as a memorable stop for club members as they captured images of their cars with mountains as the backdrop.

As one might suspect, when groups of Corvettes travel together they sometimes become the scenery. Such was the case during last fall’s trip, Baldensperger said.

As the cars were driving along, a television crew passed by heading the opposite direction. It wasn’t long until the tv crew turned around and got in front of the cars. “We heard that we were on the news that night,” he said.

Each trip brings new adventures and new friends, Baldensperger said. “The best part of being in the club is the friendships you make with people who share your passion for the cars,” he said.

The purpose of the club is to encourage planned trips, events and social activities for members of the Corvette Club; to provide and regulate events and exhibitions for the Corvette owner and to encourage careful and skillful driving on public highways.

Baldensperger said he would encourage anyone looking for a Christmas gift for a Corvette owner to consider a membership. “It’s not the kind of thing people typically buy for themselves,” he said. “But if someone gets a membership as a gift, they’re likely to use it.”

“We have members from New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio,” he said. “We also join with other groups during events and trips.”

To learn more about the club or to purchase a membership go to their website at cccorvetteclub.net or check them out on Facebook at facebook.com/ChautauquaCountyCorvetteClub.

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