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To start describing my experience with Columbia Valley Luxury Cars, I have to go back to 2010. I had finally saved enough and was in a position in life to search for a car to enjoy – not just to take me from point A to point B, but to do so with a smile on my face and maybe a little faster pulse. I have always wanted a Corvette and when my father finally purchased his, it made my desire all the more intense.

Over the next 3 years, the internet became my friend (the internet is a wonderful thing for us Alaskans. We can expand our search without expending too much time and jet lag). Sites like cars.com, autotrader, ebay, hemmings, and craigslist were at the top of my computer’s history. Vacations and business trips allowed me to test drive everything from a ’65 coupe to a 2007 Z-06.

Finally, in the beginning of September, I came upon a short and sweet Craigslist ad for a 2012 Centennial Edition Grand Sport. The couple of photos were enough for me to click the link provided in the listing. While the photos in the Craigslist were good, the photos on the Columbia Valley Luxury Car’s website was all it took for an email to Nathan.After a red-eye flight and a 5 hour drive from Portland, I was looking over the ‘vette at the shop and taking a test drive along with Nathan. Now, looking at the other inventory and what has come through the company, the Corvette was somewhat out of place amongst the Porsche’s and BMW’s (and a Ferrari under cover). However, Nathan was not only knowledgeable on the vehicle, but also provided insight on the vehicle’s previous life. Even after all this, I still couldn’t decide if I wanted a Grand Sport or a Z-06. I had two Z-06’s lined up to look at in Seattle, and Nathan was kind enough to hold the vehicle while I checked the other two out.

Well, driving a Z-06 on the track is an amazing thing. Driving one in rush hour traffic on the 405 is a completely different story. Immediately after stepping out of the car, I called Nathan to say he had a buyer. The next day, I was back in Richand, completing the vehicle purchase. However, as I had no way to transport my new pride and joy, the story does not end here. Nathan agreed to hold the ‘vette for a week while I figured out my next move. In the meantime, another deal was reached (you always need another set of wheels and tires!).

A week later, I was met at the Tri-Cities Regional Airport by Nathan and the boss for a quick drive to the shop. As a local friend was kind enough to meet me with a truck to load the tires and hold for a couple months I was off and the first adventure began.Stop one was

 

 

 

 

 

 

in Poulsbo, WA, to reunite with old Alaska neighbors and be the starting point for the run. After catching up on old times and a good night’s sleep, I was off to meet US 101 and turn north to Port Angeles.

From there, 101 was followed west until the coast was sighted and would remain in sight for the next 4 days. Poulsbo, WA, to Tillamook, OR. Tillamook, OR, to Gualala, CA (and finally outran the rain). Gualala, CA, to San Louis Obispo, CA, and my cheeks hurt from smiling so much! Perfect weather, the Pacific Ocean on the horizon, pavement draped as close to the edge as man dared, windows down, 6.2 liters of hand assembled, pushrod V-8 singing out of every turn. Finally, San Louis Obispo, CA, to the Tijuana Slough at the end of Imperial Beach. The whole Pacific Coast in less than 4 days. I had enough time to make my way back north to Santa Ana for the evening.

The adventure wasn’t over yet. I still had to deliver my new pride and joy to its winter hibernation. The following morning (after a stop at West Coast Corvettes), I made a dash for US 395 and began my trek back north. Outside of Bishop, CA, I had the joy of surpassing 10,000 miles on the odometer before climbing into Yosemite National Park. I turned onto a stretch of blacktop just north of Mono Lake (CA 167) that was arrow straight and freshly paved – so fresh there were painted lines only three quarters of the way to the border and the remainder was those sticker reflectors. In a surprising display of restraint due to the reputation of the CHP, I maintained the speed limit all the way into Nevada. Once in Nevada, I met up with US 95 and made my to merge with I-80 to Winnemucca for dinner and gas-up. As it was brisk and I could see storm clouds, I decided to push it. I continued north on 95 where I met the storm just south of the Oregon border. Rain and 38 degrees… and we started climbing. At the top of the pass, it was bouncing between 31 and 33 degrees with half-dollar sized flakes coming down (but not sticking). White knuckled, I gingerly continued on (egg between my feet and the pedals). Fortunately, the temperature started climbing as I lost altitude and the snow retreated to rain.

Finally, I rolled into Eagle, ID at 11:45 that evening.3,185 miles, 5 states, 6 days, 21.0 mpg average (lowest stint was 19.8, highest was 31.7) and the car performed flawlessly. While I am adding my own personal touches and embarking on a quest for a little more “sleeper” power (because if a lot is enough, too much is just right), I could drive the car as-is and be as content as can be.Nathan, I can’t say enough about the experience, knowledge, and vehicle quality. You have certainly earned a repeat customer. Thank you for a little slice of heaven on earth!

Best regards,

Frank Roach

Anchorage, Alaska

 

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