Monday, September 13, 2010

How to get a Free Camaro from Chevy

Recently I had been planning a road trip to my 20 year high school reunion, in Reno Nevada. Where I had attended and graduated from Reno High school. We were the class of 1990. My husband had never been there with me, and I wanted to show him where I lived during my high school years. Typically when our family takes road trips we incorporate skateboarding because my husband and kids all skateboard and I enjoy the opportunity to photograph our journeys. During the summer I had joined our Class Facebook page every so often I would see something new posted about our upcoming event. A lot of people from our class I had already connected online with.
One day I saw a post of a “Really Cool Camaro” come through. The question was “Which RHS graduate from the class of 1990 still owns this car?“ Well I was the only one that responded and happened to guess right. The car had been restored and looked way better than it did back in the day.



A couple days later I got an email from someone on Chevy’s marketing team. This email read something to the effect of “Our intent is to give folks an opportunity to drive our most current cars and trucks and to solicit their candid feedback. We hope this effort will help prove to today’s consumers that Chevrolet is committed to delivering beautifully designed, high quality vehicles.
Chevrolet would like to extend an invitation to you to “experience” the Camaro for a few days.” Well immediately the wheels in my head were turning. And I thought man wouldn’t it be fun to take this Free Camaro up to Reno for the Reunion. So I threw it out there. And sure enough Chevy said “Yes!”

Next thing I knew I was telling my kids we were driving a new Camaro up to Reno on our trip. They were like “What?” “ How?” “What Color?”
I ran it by my parents who thought for sure the e-mail could be fake and I should get more info. Well when the car showed up on the day of our departure. I was pretty sure it was real.

My son was anxiously awaiting the car’s arrival. As soon as it showed up we had Pageone give us the low down on how everything worked.
We figured out how to attach our I-pod. It fits wonderfully into a USB port in the center console. No special cord needed. And then you just switch the mode on the stereo to I-pod. One of our family’s favorite travel games is “Name that punk artist”. My Husband covers the console and the kids guess the band, and man are our kids good at it.

We also were shown what and how Onstar worked. I had never used Onstar so it was new to me and apparently not just for accidents. You can actually use it for directions to hotels or skateparks as we later tested. As soon as the Pageone guys left we had to take her for a drive. We started with photos.



hen a quick trip to Target for last minute road trip snacks and items. My son had to stay in the car and check out all the features on the stereo while we went in. He also mentioned that he looked good in the car. And he was right he did. We came back to him blasting “Bitchin’ Camaro” by The Dead Milkmen. Boy those Boston Acoustic speakers work well.

My husband got home and we loaded the trunk with our bags, cooler, skateboard equipment, cameras etc. Now let me just say that we travel a lot by road trips, and family car is a 12 passenger van. So I wouldn’t say we pack light. But we definitely scaled back for this car. My husband said his skateboard wouldn’t fit so he didn’t bring it. Let’s just say that the trunk which I would say is a pretty good size trunk, was packed all the way to the top. There was no room in the car for snacks or a cooler so we left most of those at home and managed to get our mini cooler in the trunk.

I hadn’t really had a chance to open her up on the freeway yet. And I was probably going to have to be patient, since it was traffic time in So Cal. Driving the Camaro was a novelty. My husband hadn’t even had a chance to drive the car yet. Probably, because I was still enjoying it too much. So we headed out and headed for Reno, Nevada.

You can make the drive in a day but since we had such a late start. Our plan was to get to at least too Bishop and stay the night there and then hit Mammoth Skate park in the morning.

We live in North San Diego County so our route was to take The 15 to and then drive Highway 395 the majority of the way.

So when I went to get on the freeway by our house, this scenario happens as it does many times. You know the one where you are in the lane to merge on to the freeway and a Semi is right there next to you and you are running out of on ramp. And your moment of opportunity is diminishing quickly. So what did I do? Exctly what any girl given a new 2010 Camaro would do, I romped on the gas pedal. And boy did that car respond. I am pretty sure out of the corner of my eye next to me, I saw my husband kind of drop back into the seat next me as the acceleration of the car kicked it up ten notches. He giggled with thrill of man car delight. No problem getting head of that semi and around it. We were in a Camaro. Revvv it up baby.....

We stopped for vittles at a Denny’s somewhere off 395. Our I-phone maps were not working as well as we thought they would. Many times we did not have service. So we took the opportunity to try out Onstar. We weren’t really sure how it worked having never tried it. But we pressed the blue and white button on the rear view mirror. The i-pod muted and the Onstar person came on. She was very helpful. We were in the middle of nowhere on 395 nothing but black top in front of us and behind us and we said “Can you tell us where the next Denny’s is?” She input it on her end and said it was 48 miles away? We said “Perfect.” So she then sends the OnStar directions to the car navigation system, which is pretty cool. Once the car gets the directions it tells you the next turn to watch out for and as you approach it, it gives you plenty of warning so you can make the turn. It even beeps at the exact moment the car should turn. Which is pretty amazing.

We arrived at Denny’s which was about 5 miles off the 395. But we were glad to have found it all. Without Onstar we would have never seen it. When we got out of Denny’s it was dark. This was our first opportunity to see what the inside of the car looked like at night.
Which personally is something I really enjoy. And the Camaro looked cool inside. The gauges all illuminated Cyan Blue and Orange, which I love and the interior lines of the door panels even lit up. The door panels have a blue swoosh that glows softly and looks really cool. I liked it a lot. For some reason driving at night for me is like Christmas time. I love all the glowing lights. I was enjoying the drive so much that I drove the whole way to Bishop.

On these large stretches of HWY 395 I had the opportunity to really drive the car. If you haven’t driven HWY 395 in a while, most of it is a two lane road. Which means there are limited passing lanes. The Camaro did awesome. The acceleration and power is there. I had no problem passing cars and I feeling safe while doing it, because the car was able to get enough power to move quickly around and back into my lane quickly. I also liked that driving lights were on at all times. This is a must have when you are on the open road.

We found a Super 8 Motel in Bishop unloaded quite a bit out of the car and got some shut-eye for the evening. This Super 8 didn’t have Wi-Fi which is hard for this techie girl to understand. But my I-phone had some signal so I was able to plot out breakfast down the street. Our good friend had told us about a place he always stops on his way to Tahoe called Schatz Bakery. We decided we should try it. We loaded everything back in the car and headed to Erick Schatz Bakery.

Let me just say that this place is amazing. It is in Bishop and is a Dutch bakery. You can smell the place as you approach the driveway. Sweet baked goods and breads await the hungry traveller. The place has an old world look to it and you know from the crowd around it, is going to be good. Once we got the Camaro parked and made it to the door we were drooling. As soon as you open the door you are wafted with yummy goodness. There are literally bakery cart after bakery cart of fresh baked goods inside. One side is the bakery side and the other is the bread-sandwich side. We found the path to the bakery cases which were piled with fresh donuts and tarts and muffins. I decided on an egg croissant and the others got donuts and the likes. My son and I had to try the fresh squeezed orange juice at the door. It was delicious. I grabbed a bag of dehydrated apple rings and chocolate raisins for the drive too. After we ate we had to do a small photo shoot in all the cool old cars out front and the old red telephone booth.
Next stop Mammoth Skate park. So, we were relying on our I-phones to get us to were we going, but it was not working that well. With the no-service areas and really slow internet connections when we did have coverage. We were beginning to wonder why we didn’t print out Google map directions. At Schatz Bakery I was having too much fun eating yummy goodies and taking pictures of the sites and didn’t plot out the skate park before we left Bishop. I thought we would know where the turn off to the skate park was, since we had been there a year or two back. But, once we were coming up on Mono Lake we figured technology had failed us and maybe we missed the turn so what did we do? We pushed the little blue and white button on the rearview mirror and asked the nice person who answered at OnStar. We said “We are looking for Mammoth Skatepark can you help?” After a little bit of searching on Onstar’s part, she was able to find it. We quickly realized we had passed the Mammoth Lakes turn off about 25 miles back. So after a quick stop at Mono Lake, scouting about and lil’ photo shoot, we hopped back in the Camaro and backtracked to Mammoth Skatepark. This road trip was suppose to be fun for the kids and Mammoth skate park was a big highlight of the trip and we couldn’t miss it. Besides we had all day to get to Reno no hurry.

Want to find out how to get a free Chevy Camaro for a few days. Make sure and leave a comment here and I will pass along your contact info.

Coming next..
Do I ever let my husband drive the Camaro?
Bucket of Blood
20 Year Reunion
Lake Tahoe
Harrah’s Auto Museum