September 18, 2011

9/15/11 – Corvettes & More Corvettes

Every new Corvette is assembled at the GM plant in Bowling Green, KY.  Since we were nearby to visit Mammoth Caves, I talked George into visiting the factory and the National Corvette Museum.  You can imagine how hard it was to get him to agree to my suggestion...
I read that the factory was across the street from the museum.  Well, yeah, as long as you consider I-65 a “street”.  We headed towards the museum first, then decided that we’d better go to the factory first or we’d miss the last tour of the day.  After all, they work 4-10’s, 6:12 am-4:42 pm, Mon-Thurs, and today’s Thursday… 
We turned around and followed the signs to the Corvette Plant Tours.  Lots of signs:  No Cameras, No Cell Phones, No Purses, No Backpacks; Open Toed Shoes Only.  (Sign, sign, everywhere a sign...)  The one below is my favorite--we’re driving a Silverado, so no problem.
The website said to get to the tour site early.  That’s because they don’t say that you have to hike across 3 huge parking lots to get to the entrance.  The picture below is from the museum--remember the sign about “No Cameras”??
There was a movie about safety in the plant, which was about as interesting as you'd expect.  Our tour guide was a college intern.  She couldn’t possibly have been born in Kentucky because she talks as fast as I do! 
There weren’t a lot of people working—doesn’t take as many as it used to, I guess. Those guys were having fun though—lots of joking and laughing.  It was, after all, their Friday.  And they’re UAW workers, so they’re not terribly impoverished.  On the other hand, you might want to make a note that you don’t want a ‘Vette made today. 

The cars roll slowly forward on the conveyor belt to their ultimate destination (sadly, not our driveway).  We weren’t allowed to stop and watch unless it was an authorized tour stop.  We had to "stay on the green painted walkways and watch out for forklifts".  I slowed down where they put the window & trunk piece on, and dawdled where they lined up the doors, but we got to stop when they drove one for the first time.  They let a woman from the tour (the only blonde in shorts...hmmmm) get in and start it.
After the water test, the tour just sort of ended, anticlimactically, with a “Check out the store” and “Bye, folks”.   Oh, yeah, they were getting off an hour early. 
Next stop was the museum.  First the ubiquitous movie about the history of the Corvette, which was definitely more interesting than the safety movie, then you just sort of wander around this huge maze to see really pretty Corvettes.  Well…there was one that had gone through a test crash that wasn’t real pretty.   A lot were on loan, or had been donated. 
There’s even a 1983 ‘vette—the one that never made it into production.  I didn't know that, so I guess I didn't take a you won't see it here either.
Some of the cars are behind clear plastic panels.  I think that’s so you can’t get close enough to drool on the paint. 

This is the 100th anniversary of Chevrolet, so they had a special exhibit on other Chevys.

Last room was the store.  I told George that I’d buy him a $70 jacket when he figures out how to buy the $70,000 car.        I liked this rear view mirror. 

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