Cruising in your Corvette is wonderful, isn't it? Ah yes, the wind whipping over the windshield; the sweet purr of the exhausts; the way the car effortlessly glides over the tarmac mile after mile. Until something happens to interrupt this magical journey, that is. It could be a flat tire, a strange noise coming from under the car, an alarming indication from one of the dash gauges, or any number of other nefarious things. It's a fact of life-stuff happens. The question is: are you and your Corvette prepared and equipped to handle these interesting little turns life indiscriminately throws at us?

In addition to pleasure cruising in our Corvettes, many of us embark on yearly pilgrimages far from home, with destinations such as Corvettes at Carlisle, Bloomington Gold, the National Corvette Museum, Corvette Funfest, and others. I won't bore you with my personal tales of breakdowns I've experienced over the last decade on some of my 200-mile journeys to Corvettes at Carlisle, but I will tell you that I was more than glad to have a set of wrenches and some sockets with me on one occasion when a u-joint failed during my trip home in a shark. I was a real happy camper to have my cell phone available when the oil pump decided to quit without warning on my midyear coupe en route to Carlisle another year. In the first incident, I performed an emergency repair myself, and for the second incident, I was able to summon a friend with a flatbed, who brought one of my other cars with him when he came to pick up my disabled '67 on the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

The Boy Scouts' motto to "be prepared" is really sage advice. Suffice it to say that all Corvettes have a finite amount of space for carrying emergency gear, while some years (e.g., '68-'76 sharks) are particularly deficit in this department. There are also individual interpretations of what "essential emergency traveling gear" should consist of. Some folks have a real adventurous, devil-may-care outlook, and they think as long as they have a credit card and a cell phone they're all set for anything fate may bring. Others are a bit more cautious, and they have a modest complement of tools and other gear to help bail them out if and when the unforeseen should happen on the road. And then there are those who want to bring everything in their garage with them, and, even with all that stuff aboard, they still worry they might not have something they'll need in an emergency.

Who's right? Well, that's up to each individual to decide for him or herself. But what I'm presenting here is a list of items that it certainly wouldn't hurt to have packed in your Corvette when embarking on any journey that's more than a few miles from home. Nobody's saying you have to stow and carry all this gear (then again, nobody's saying you can't, if you want to). But at least perusing this listing will help you pick and choose the items to help give you the warm-and-fuzzies when you embark on a long trip in your Corvette. It's better to have this stuff and not need it than to need it and not have it.

Absolute Essentials
These are what I call the Five Fs-the absolutely essential items you should always have in your ride regardless of the year and model of your Corvette.

* Flashlight
* Fire extinguisher
* First-aid kit
* Flares
* Fone

I don't think you need an explanation of what these items are for or why you should have them in your Vette, so we'll move on to some other items you might also want to carry.

Emergency Kits
You can kill a few birds with one stone by purchasing a roadside emergency kit offered by several vendors. These kits vary by price and vendor, but they all carry a lot of the essential gear (some more than others) that you may need if and when a roadside emergency presents itself. They come in easy-to-stow bags or cases, which make them easy to travel with; these kits are definitely something to consider.

Tools Are Cool
You don't have to be a dyed-in-the-wool "wrench" to be able to tighten up a loose nut or clamp, or wrap some duct tape around a hose that suddenly springs a leak, but you're going to need some tools to do even these simple emergency repairs. To that end, it's good to have these basic items on board.

* Screwdrivers (flat blade & Phillips)
* Pliers (slip-joint and vice-grip)
* Socket set (SAE or metric, depending on car year)
* Wrench set (SAE or metric, depending on car year)
* Duct tape
* Utility knife
* Motor oil
* Octane booster (if required)
* Fuel container
* Jack
* Lug wrench
* Jumper cables
* Gloves
* Shop rags
* Mat
* Hand cleaner

Advanced Complement
Here's some additional gear you might be glad to have available, depending on the nature of your emergency and how prepared you want to be to feel comfortable while traveling.

* Bottled water
* Jump box
* Air compressor
* Bungee cords
* Tow rope
* Reflectors
* Rain poncho
* Tire gauge
* Wheel chocks
* Folding chair(s)

This is all good stuff to consider carrying along in your Corvette when you'll be traveling any great distance. After all, if you knew there was a problem with the vehicle to begin with, you'd have it fixed before you left, right? But that's the point, unless you have a crystal ball and some psychic powers, one never knows. So travel prepared and travel safe. See you on the road and, hopefully, not on the side of it.

SOURCE
Brookstone
www.brookstone.com
Genuine HotRod Hardware
800-575-1932
www.genuinehotrod.com
Corvette Central
Sawyer
MI  (800) 345-
www.corvettecentral.com
Husky Tools
www.huskytools.com
Craftsman Tools
www.sears.com
MID AMERICA MOTORWORKS
#1 Mid America Place
P.O. Box 1368
Effingham
IL  62401
Eastwood Company
263 Shoemaker Rd
Pottstown
PA  19464
800-345-1178
www.eastwoodcompany.com
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