If you see a white C5 convertible on Route 66 over the next few days, you might just be witnessing a dream coming true.
Bob Welborn, a 62-year-old Corvette enthusiast, was up before the sun last Thursday morning, heading west to live out a boyhood fantasy of driving cross-country, the way Tod and Buz did in the 1960s TV show “Route 66.”
“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, and I just made up my mind that this year, I’m gonna do it,” Welborn said. “I’m not getting any younger, and my health’s not getting any better.”
It’s not that Welborn has never seen the country. As a worker for a moving company, he traveled from Washington, D.C., to California for years.
But now he wants to see America from behind the wheel of his Corvette.
His only regret is that his brother John isn’t alive to share the adventure with him. Sadly, John passed away from a ruptured aorta 10 years ago, but his spirit will accompany his brother along the way. In fact, Bob says he’ll use the time to reflect on all those trips across America that he made with John when the two were both working for moving companies. He plans to record his experiences each day in a journal.
In case you’re thinking this is a leisurely paced trip, think again. Since Bob is a former truck driver, he doesn’t worry about covering long distances and says his pace may be as much as 900 miles in a day. The whole trip could cover 6,000 miles in seven days.
That is, if his back holds up. The toll of driving trucks and loading furniture for years forced Bob to retire on disability seven years ago, and he’s undergone 10 surgeries on his spine and three operations to fuse vertebrae together.
Bob has that formidable Corvette spirit, though, and with the inspiration of a dream that’s now more than half a century old, we wouldn’t be surprised to hear that he makes it to the Oklahoma Route 66 Museum in Clinton, where he plans to make a photo of his car in front of it.
As Bob puts it, “you don’t give up on your dreams. People get old because they let themselves think they’re old.”
Photo Credit: Peter Cihelka / The Free Lance-Star