Tucumcari way station for caravans

Dave Gragg

Old ’vette, new ’vette; red ’vette, blue ’vette.
Not to mention yellows, oranges, blacks and silvers.
In fact, there were more than 200 Corvettes in Tucumcari on Monday and Tuesday as they headed east in a cross-country caravan.
Most of the Corvette owners who arrived Monday night were part of the Southern California chapter of the Corvette Caravan, on their way to the 50th anniversary celebration of the American sports car in Bowling Green, Ky.
Salt Lake City resident Dennis Gines said he normally traveled with the northern California club, but decided to swing south this time.
The 2003 model he was driving is just one of the Corvettes he has in his collection, he said. Two years ago, he drove his 1995 ZR-1, he said.
“It’s the only truly American sports car,” the Salt Lake City resident said.
Although wind and rain threatened to put a damper on Monday night’s festivities at the Tucumcari Convention Center, Steve Mills said the weather held off just long enough for all the cars to arrive and the people to get inside and eat.
Many of the Corvettes lined up to take their picture in front of the “Roadside Attraction” sculpture.
“I heard lots of compliments,” said Mills, owner of the Mills-Strebeck Chevrolet dealership. “A lot of places don’t give them the treatment we give them here.”
Gines agreed. “This is first time we’ve had a police escort,” he said.
After spending the night in Tucumcari, the cars paraded down Tucumcari Boulevard before resuming their journey to Kentucky.
Mills said 50 Corvettes with the Arizona chapter was supposed to have stopped in Tucumcari on Tuesday night as well, but they were coming in too late to have a reception.
Mills said this was the third time the caravan had stopped in Tucumcari and had filled up several hotels.
“If it holds true, they’ll stop in town on their way back (from Kentucky) to thank the town, too,” he said.
Shortly after the Corvettes left Tuesday morning, another caravan stopped near town as well.
Around 150 motorcycles stopped at Palomas as part of the ninth annual Kyle Petty Charity Ride. The trip is expected to last a week, beginning June 22 and ending in Daytona Beach, Fla.