Travel photos by Lyndi McNulty

It’s a scant 52 miles from Westminster, Maryland, to Carlisle, Pennsylvania, where the Corvettes at Carlisle show takes place every August. But when husband-and-wife pair Jim Voter and Lyndi McNulty said they’d “take the highway” to get to the event, they meant it in a way you’d ever expect, turning the one-hour commute into a 30-day adventure covering 19 states and provinces, 10,026 miles, and crossing the U.S.-Canadian border 10 times.

“The Corvette is about the open road and travelling for the sheer joy of traveling,” Jim tells VETTE. “My wife and I own three Corvettes, all ZR-1s: a Black ’90, a Quasar Blue ’93, and a Competition Yellow ’94. In the ZR-1 community, I hear a lot of questions along the lines of, ‘Is the ZR-1 with that fancy motor a reliable car?’ I firmly believe that the answer is yes. So partly, my choice to drive a ZR-1 on a 10,000-mile trip was to demonstrate that this exotic-DNA American sports car is reliable. But more importantly, Alaska seemed like the epitome of Corvette road trips.”

The couple left Westminster on July 24, 2012, with 120,000 miles already showing on their ’94 ZR-1’s odometer. “I planned the trip extensively,” Jim says. “I made every hotel reservation for the first 25 days before we left. Even though this sounds very structured, it worked out well for us because we didn’t have to worry each day about accommodations for the night or the next day. We could enjoy looking around and driving with no sense of urgency.”

By the end of day one, they reached Stromberg, Illinois. Day two brought them to Fargo, North Dakota. On day three, they stopped in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, and had a brief visit with a fellow ZR-1 owner who had never seen another one. It took 11 more days for the Voters to see another Corvette—a C5 in Anchorage.

“The core of the trip for me was the Alaska Highway,” Jim says. “It’s a 1,200-mile supply route built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1942. I found an interesting bond between the ZR-1 and this amazing highway. The Army engineers’ taming of the wilderness in the most remote part of North America was an incredible feat. I think the ZR-1, in comparison, was an incredible engineering feat, too.

“Just about every day of our trip through the wilderness, we encountered wildlife on or near the road,” Jim recalls. “Bears, buffalo, elk, moose, eagles, and deer did not seem to care about the bright-yellow Corvette. We took [it] to every sight we could—such as a ferry from Skagway, Alaska, to Haines, Alaska—and parked it whenever the day’s events could not include it, such as our flight…around the top of Mt. McKinley…a boat trip on Prince William Sound to see the wildlife and glaciers, and trips on the Yukon and Alaska railroads.

“Before we made the trip, many people told us we’d never complete it,” Jim laughs. “There is a lot of erroneous information about the condition of the Alaska Highway and the other major roads in Alaska. The fact is, the roads are in very good to excellent condition. There were some places that we decided not to visit because they were still connected by gravel roads, but on the route we chose, we never had any bad roads.

“When we arrived in Corvettes at Carlisle, our ZR-1 dirty with road dust and bugs, I had very mixed emotions. On one hand I was glad to be home, and happy to be with my car buddies in the ZR-1 Net Registry tent. But, I was ready to keep driving and head out on the next leg of the trip. I was very proud of what we had accomplished. The ZR-1 performed flawlessly. There were absolutely no mechanical issues, and we never doubted that the Corvette would get us where we wanted to go, and get us there in style. I have always felt very privileged to own a Corvette as special as my ZR-1, so life doesn’t get any better than taking the trip of a lifetime in it.”

I would not have driven to Alaska in the family sedan. There is just no style to that.