By Janet Curran, Registry Number W0477

Way Out West

by Janet Curran [C5R# W0477], Yucaipa, CA  Email

Way Out West Late Summer 2008

Summer is over and we have experienced drought, floods, fires and beautiful weather — just another typical California Summer Way Out West! There have been lots of parades, car shows, picnics, mystery runs, weekend gatherings and visits to museums. The Corvette family camaraderie has not been deterred by the high cost of gas because our amazing C5s and C6s can stretch out a gallon of gas when we keep our foot off the throttle.

Well, I have finally done it. I officially retired on July 1, 2008. I am no longer employed!  Now there will be time to complete many of those items that have been placed on the back burner for way too long. Mike and I have been taking short two and three day trips and have really been enjoying the scenery out west. 

Once a month we have gone out to the Wild Burro Rescue Sanctuary outside of Olancha, CA (about an hour south of Bishop) on Highway 395. This is not a place for our Corvettes, but it is a place where you can help save the wild burros. The Wild Burro Rescue Sanctuary is comprised of 130 acres, 216 burros, 6 mules, 7 horses, 8 dogs, 6 cats, 1 crow and lots of wildlife. Diana Chontos has been rescuing burros for many years. The animals are her passion for living and are a 24/7 way of life. Many of these burros are descendents from the gold rush era. Some have come from Federal and State lands where they are deemed a nuisance and others from homes where the owners can no longer care for them. 

Diana’s goal is to adopt out as many burros as possible. The animals are all neutered, unless they are too old, but occasionally a newly adopted burro arrives pregnant and then there is an adorable baby for all to admire. Last weekend we were thrilled to see the newest five day old arrival with long skinny legs and a very shy nature. Mike and I always arrive with a truckload of carrots, oranges, dog and cat food and whatever supplies are needed. It’s so rewarding to see these critters chomp on a carrot or eat an orange with juice running down their face. If you want to know more, visit their website at to see more of those adorable faces.

A trip where you can take your Corvette is the Manzanar War Relocation Camp. Manzanar was one of ten camps where Japanese American citizens and resident Japanese aliens were interned during World War II. This camp is located on Highway 395 between Lone Pine and Independence, CA at the base of the magnificent Sierra Mountains. There is a fabulous interactive museum and a well marked “drive yourself” guided tour of the camp. If you are headed up to Mammoth or Reno, take the time to stop and explore this historic site. Please note that the self-guided tour is on a dirt road and your vette will get dusty.

Near Lone Pine is the area known as the Alabama Hills where thousands of movies and television shows were filmed, such as Gunga Din, the Lone Ranger, The Flintstones and Wagon Train. Lone Pine has a well known film museum and an annual film festival. There is a nice paved road to take you up to the Alabama Hills where you can hike through familiar movie scenery. John Wayne, Robert Mitchum, Will Rogers, William Boyd (Hopalong Cassidy), Roy Rogers, Tom Mix, Hoot Gibson and Ken Maynard spent a lot of time filming in the Alabama Hills. For more information, you can go to

I know many of my Registry friends are aware that I am a member of the Camaro Focus Group and I feel honored to be a part of it. I was privileged to once again attend the Camaro Summit at the Milford Proving Grounds last month, along with 14 other auto enthusiasts from across the US and Canada. Each of us had the opportunity to drive a couple of the new 2010 Camaros, and let me tell you that I am really “jazzed” about GM’s new performance car! Camaro test drivers gave us some exciting demonstrations on the Proving Ground’s Black Lake, the huge GM skid pad. From my perspective, Chevrolet and the Camaro Team are doing this car proud! 

The Camaro Team briefed us on the details of the upcoming 2010 model. This new Camaro has a hint of the vintage Camaro we all love, but it is all new and ready to lead us into today’s modern life of fuel economy and add excitement to the brand. I loved driving the 6 cylinder 304 hp Camaro. This Camaro will get 26 miles per gallon, but will also be FUN to drive. I can only imagine what the beautiful SS/RS 6.2 liter, 422 hp LS3 6-spd manual transmission will feel like on the highway. Final testing is yet to be done, but reliable sources have stated that 0-60 times will be well under 5 seconds and the quarter mile around 13 seconds. This little brother to the Corvette is now ready to take its place in the family lineage.

One story I wanted to share with you is that while we were there, Bob Lutz, Vice Chairman GM, thrilled us with some very LOW flyovers in one of his vintage jets. He demonstrated some exciting barrel rolls and then bid us farewell with a little waggle of the wings!

Earlier this summer Gary Claudio, Corvette Marketing Manager, Andy Pilgrim [C6R# Z5202] and Oliver Gavin [C6R# Z5212] visited us at Spring Mountain Motorsports [Corporate Member MC065] to demonstrate to Corvette Quarterly just what the new ZR1 is all about. Try as I might, Gary would NOT let me drive the ZR1, but he did give me a thrilling ride. Thanks Gary!

A couple of months later Scott Settlemire, Exhibit Manager for GM, brought out several of the 2009 SS line of Chevrolets for filming. Included in this fabulous group of cars were the 2010 SS Camaro and the 2009 ZR1 Corvette dream car. This time I was privileged to drive the ZR1 on the Spring Mountain track for the cameras. Wow! What a ride! Mike and I own a 2006 Machine Silver Z06 with all of the wonderful horsepower and handling one could want, and I have driven the Pratt and Miller C6RS. I know what a Super Car is like and this is definitely IT!!! The 638 hp, LS9 Supercharged ZR1 handles marvelously, shifts beautifully and makes you feel REALLY GOOD!!! Since it was a GM owned vehicle and I was driving it by invitation, I did not let it all hang out, but I could still feel the power that this vehicle was capable of giving me.

Now for the BIG question — Do we sell our fabulous Z06 and buy the ZR1… or do I beg rides from friends? 

Join us for some
C5/C6 Fun!



October 9-12, 2008 
Corvettes & Ghost Riders

October 17-19, 2008 
ALMS Laguna Seca 
Monterey, CA

November 22-23, 2008 
Spring Mountain Corvette Track Days 
Pahrump, NV

June 26-28, 2009 
Big Bear Bash 
Big Bear Lake, CA

July 10-12, 2009 
So Oregon Corvette Weekend
Grants Pass, OR

August 8-14, 2009 
NCCC 50th National Convention
Colorado Springs, CO

August 29-September 7, 2009 (approx) 
NCM National Corvette Caravan 
to Bowling Green, KY  


If there is an event that you believe others might care about, please let us know.


Driving a ZR1 for a Corvette Commercial is really a lot of work!  Photo by Kevin Kolvenbach



It was exciting to have Spring Mountain Motorsports chosen as the photographic location for upcoming Corvette and Camaro pictures. 

Photo by Kevin Kolvenbach.

Photo by Kevin Kolvenbach

If there is an event that you believe others might care about, please let us know.


Previous "Way Out West":

  Summer 2008
Spring 2008 Spring 2007

Fall 2006

Spring 2006
Way Out West Summer 2005 Way Out West May 2005


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