Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Before I take off on my next adventure...

I'd better write about my last one.

Two weeks ago I was afforded the opportunity to fly to Detroit courtesy of GM. They wanted to know if I'd "take a look at" some of their 2008 models and would I like to participate in an Advanced Driving Techniques course?

Um. Yes. Please.

Day one was The Advanced Driving Techniques. It was very, very interesting. The broke us into groups of two drivers per one instructor.

We learned about skidding - how to stay in control and 'drive through.' To accomplish this...

Enter The Skid Monster. It is created to simulate a skid. If you do it 'wrong' you end up doing donuts - just ask my partner. (Hi Gloria!)

We learned about avoiding obstacles at high speeds. Meaning get the car to around 50 as fast as you can, then try and not hit a set of cones while staying inside others.

We learned about braking and swerving. Brake first, then try to steer.

We learned how to do a serpentine "S" - going backward. Imagine five cones, set along a slightly curving line, right to one, left to the next, right, repeat. Backward. Using only the mirrors. Also, another station was just reversing. No, you don't always have to fiddle with the wheel if you just want to go straight.

It was very informative.

What I found most enjoyable, was riding with the professional drivers.

Here I am getting a StabiliTrak demonstration. Very cool. Especially after you get done braking from a high speed, tell the instruction, "Wow. Can we do that again?" and he does. While everone else watches.

Day two brought the 2008 vehicle driving. We had a closed course. And oodles of cars to drive. I was particularly surprised by the drive of the Saab 9-7x. Very nice.

And a few sporty cars. At one point, I overestimated my ability to drive a five-speed. It had been between 10 and 12 years since I've driven that one. In that amount of time, I forgot that the clutch is on the left - not the middle. Shortly after getting out of the gate, I got out, threw my hands up, and said, "I'm clearly out of my league." They brought someone out to bring me in. As he got there, he asked I wanted him to drive. Yes. Please.

A short while later, one of the hosts asked me if I'd like a trip around the track in the new Corvette. Sure.

Thirty seconds into the ride I realized that the clutch is on the left. Not the middle. Doh! I mentioned this to my driver, and he offered to let me drive. Um. Yea. After shifting from first to second using the clutch it came rushing back. Just like riding a bike.

If you ever get the chance to drive a Corvette, or any car for that matter, on a closed course - Do it.

The course was set up to stimulate 'real' world driving conditions set over the course of five miles. Highway, two lane, country, city... I think they covered it all. The strangest thing about driving there is the lack of advertising. Buildings, trees, roads... and no advertising.

Although the weather was a bit threatening, and did infact rain, I still had a great time driving the cars.

This is what I was most interested in seeing and driving - a Hybrid Tahoe (pictured) and Hybrid Yukon. Though it would be nice if we could all drive compacts, it just isn't in the cards for me. Three kids. Two booster seats.

A big thank you to GM for arranging this and paying my way. Accoring to them, I'm not a "Mommy Blogger," I'm a "Lifestyle Blogger." Thanks also to my driving buddy Gloria for sharing her pictures. I was too busy oogling cars to take but two.


Mitzi Green said...

"lifestyle blogger?" i thought that term was reserved for the gay blogging community. ;)

Tree said...

Wow - what a cool trip!

g-man said...

Wicked Cool, Thanks for sharing. :) Did it say what the Hybrid Tahoe and Yukon get for milage?

Lukie said...

That is so great. I would love to take part in something like this. I need a "closed course". My husband would agree.