Sunday, April 24, 2011

48 Days Until the Great Race: Like Riding a Bike

There's something weird about driving a car with a manual transmission.

I can remember learning how to drive stick all those years ago.  I was so frustrated with the entire process.  I wondered why every car wasn't produced in automatic.  Stick was such a nuisance to me back then.  However, Dad insisted to teach me and persisted when I wouldn't get it right.  "It's like learning how to ride a bike, once you learn you never forget" was what he would tell me.

Eventually, I came to love driving stick.  It puts you in touch with the cars soul.  It allows you to truly become one with the car.  Generally, those who drive stick are exponentially better at driving then those who cannot.  It makes you pay attention to driving that much more.  You can't play with the radio, you can't eat breakfast, you can't talk on the phone, and god forbid you try texting.

Today, the manual transmission is on the automotive endangered species list.  Flappy-paddle gearboxes have progressed to a point where they can out shift the fastest human drivers alive.  Why change gears yourself when you can make a computer do it for you in 100 milliseconds?  100 milliseconds is too slow you say?  Well, Porsche's seven-speed Doppelkupplungsgetriebe (PDK for short) will do it instantly.  At least they still offer a stick shift as standard in most of their models.  Ferrari's iconic gated shifters have gone the way of the dodo.  Don't get me started on what they've been doing lately, I'm sure that "il Commendatore" is rolling over in his grave right now.

Anyways, I stepped into Joan's Corvette this afternoon to drive back to Franklin & Marshall with Dad, I had a chance to remind myself that driving stick is in fact like riding a bike.  I didn't have a period of stalling and jittery starts right after I got back in.  It really is something that you can't forget how to do.  It was great to finally be back in the drivers seat going through the gears once more.  We had a great drive back along Routes 33, 78, and 501.  Quite a good mix of highway and b-roads.  The car performed great.  It cruised very well at highway speeds and was pretty smooth off the highway as well.  I was actually sad by the time we got to F&M.  I wanted to keep driving.  I would have been content to drive home, and then back again if I realized that I forgot my running shoes.  The car didn't miss a beat for the whole trip and I'm confident that it'll get us through the entirety of the Great Race (and the trip to Chattanooga and back from Bennington).
This is a picture of my cousin's kids.  We stopped at their house on the way to F&M and the boys were eager to show us their new go kart that they got for Easter.

James (7 years old) was very eager to take me for a ride.  I loved it.  I really wish that I had enough space to make that work at my house.

We stopped at Old Main once we got to F&M to take a picture of it with the car.  Dad was an F&M grad ('72) and I'm currently attending ('13).

I'll be back home in two weeks after I'm done with my last week of classes and a week of exams.  I'm really looking forward to spending more time driving the car.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

55 Days Until the Great Race: Just to be Fair

Another amusing new Corvette ad.  It was apparently aired for the 12 hours of Sebring in the 3rd week of March.
A lot will be going on next weekend.  I'm heading to the New York Auto Show on Friday and then back home on Saturday for a track meet at ESU and I'll be driving the Corvette back to school with Dad on Sunday.  We haven't had the chance to get a long drive in it since before the engine was out so this will give us an idea of how it performs with a refreshed engine.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

62 Days Until the Great Race: Cake and More Childhood Photos!!!

Dad sent me these two pictures:

I would assume that this picture was taken sometime in the early nineties.  I still enjoy washing our cars myself to this day and Allison (my twin sister) still enjoys watching.  It's good to know that some things in life stay the same while other things change.

This is the cake that we got for the guys at Mark Gray's Automotive for freshening up (notice that I did not say restore) Joan's Corvette for the rally.  They did a fantastic job so we got them a cake as a token of our thanks.

I'm happy to know that the Corvette is finally back in our garage.  Dad drove it for a little bit and said it sounds pretty good.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

70 Days Until the Great Race: My Name is James Tiberius Kirk

I was never a big Star Trek guy because I am too much of a Star Wars fan.  However, I loved the most recent Star Trek movie, particularly the opening scene.  It reminds me of me in high school...minus the joyrides...and the police...and driving the car off a cliff.

No further news on the rally at the moment.  Dad signed me up to bring the car to Pocono CSD in late May since the rest of the family will be at the cottage that weekend.  We've been going since 2005 and it's truly one of my favorite car shows to go to.  This is the second time we'll be showing this Corvette, normally we bring the '57.