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“It will be a beautiful drive,” Messner said. “Our only worry right now is what’s going to happen with the fires. Every day is a bit of a challenge in making sure everything is going to work out.”

COCHRANE— Setting out on an epic cruise across Alberta and British Columbia, a convoy of Corvettes departed Okotoks on Monday (July 19).

Cochranite Jim Messner was selected as a cruise captain for the Rocky Mountain Corvette Cruise and drew on his experience with Cruise Cochrane to help organize and run the logistics of the journey.

The Rocky Mountain Corvette Cruise has been running for about eight years and has a rich group of participants experienced in the art of cruising. Messner participated in the cruise for the first-time last year.

The 2021 Rockies Cruise saw 36 Corvettes from across Alberta and British Columbia meet in Okotoks before starting on a five-day epic journey across Alberta and British Columbia.

“We come through some of those stops or towns, whatever the case may be, and you get surrounded by people wondering what’s going on,” Messner said with a laugh. “We get a chance to talk to them and show the cars to the kids which I think is important. It’s a really good time and everyone is happy and friendly— It’s a real relief after being locked up for so long.”

This year marks the eighth annual cruise. Since its inception, it has grown from a one-day event to five days.

The cruise began with people from across the western provinces gathering in Okotoks on Monday with the Corvettes officially hitting the road on Tuesday (July 20) traveling and visiting Nanton, Head Smashed in Buffalo Jump, The Frank Slide and the large truck in Sparwood, B.C. The day ended in Cranbrook.

On Wednesday (July 21) the day was spent touring, with a stop in Yahk for ice cream. After a trip to the Castlegar Sculpture Walk and a lunch break, the drivers met with other car enthusiasts from the local area. The drivers ended the day in Osoyoos.

On Thursday (July 22) the convoy toured through Keremeos, taking the Green Mountain Road and stopping at Apex Mountain Resort before landing in Kelowna. The trip then continued along the east side of Okanagan Lake to Vernon.

On Friday (July 23) the group drove up to Nakusp and onto Revelstoke enjoying two ferry crossings as well and lunchtime hospitality in Nakusp. The Revelstoke Mountain Resort is hosting the group, Messner said, and they are looking forward to racing down the Pipe Mountain Coaster before having supper at the Rockford Grill.

On the final day of the cruise Saturday (July 24) everyone will head back home or continue on their personal voyages with their Corvettes.

Bringing together 36 Corvettes is a sight to behold, Messner said, and the cars span decades ranging from the 1970s to brand new. Messner hit the road for the Rocky Mountain Corvette Cruise with his 2007 Corvette.

“It’s an adventure,” Messner said with a laugh.

He is happy to see the cruise has doubled in size in comparison to 2020 and was looking forward to connecting with old friends and seeing the new faces.

“People are more comfortable doing it and being among a crowd,” Messner said.

He considers the cruise lucky, because last year the timing was just right allowing them to avoid most major COVID-19 public measures. This year they face a new challenge— Planning around the forest fires ravaging British Columbia.

“It will be a beautiful drive,” Messner said. “Our only worry right now is what’s going to happen with the fires. Every day is a bit of a challenge in making sure everything is going to work out.”

Contingencies have been built into the drive so they can adapt as needed and stay safe, he said, explaining the route of the ride could change based on fire and smoke levels.

“We just hope that it all goes safely and that the fires subside and that the weather is good,” Messner said. “The fires are more important though, if they can get some rain and shut down these fires, we’ll put up with that before just to help the people in B.C.”