Viper Nation

Supercar Dodge Viper site with pictures, technical info, experiential stories with a few other winter action extreme stories posted.

RTTTTed On July - 5 - 2011

Vipers, Old West or Bavarian?

                                                                                                                                – Ted Hlokoff

Driving a Viper for hours and hours can transport the people inside to the Old West of the 1800s, or even Bavaria of that time … or maybe the Viper just transports the occupants to modern Tourist Villages that look like the 1800s?

May was the first trip out for my Roe supercharged 2001 Viper GTS since the snows of winter.  Heavily modified for both competition and comfort, my co-driver (Trevor Cameron) and I kicked asp in the TTR/Targa Tabula Rosa Road Rally in Nakusp.  Now the second week of June was ‘relaxing with the wife and friends’ Viper weekend.  The rain had been forcing us to spend most of our time indoors, it was time to get away from the distractions and boredom of owning a General Store in beautiful Anahim Lake, BC.

Deana packed a medium sized suitcase so full that I could barely carry it to the car and it took both arms to toss it into the back of my GTS.  I handed my Canon 7D camera to Deana and fired up my GTS and we headed east on Hwy 20.

Nearing Puntzi Lake’s turnoff there was a “caution” sign on the road.  As I slowed to 30mph the next sign said,”Road Flooded”.  Sure enough, we crested a hill and the river was flowing over the highway.  Since my car is equipped with Eibach springs and has 2” of ground clearance, I looked at the water covering the highway with trepidation.  While nasty thoughts went through my mind the front tires started pushing through the water.  Worry was needless as my Viper growled through the overflow and rumbled away from the river, purring as I regained my high gear and cruising speed again.  Nine hours driving before we arrived in Kelowna for a late dinner.

Friday morning we drove to Westbank’s Chevron parking lot to meet with other BC Snakes.  It was nearing time to start our day cruise to Winthrop, then Campbell’s Resort at Lake Chelan, Washington.  Waiting at the Station was two ’99 Silver R/T10s.  We spoke with Udo Nell, his wife and congratulated their friends on their new Viper, which took him quite awhile to find – in Texas.  I filled up with the $6 per gallon fuel, wishing someone would lower the ‘Free World’s’ Tax Burden.  Jim and Debbie Tait pulled up in their new Venom Red ’08 Hennessey 650R, which we admired while waiting for the last Viper to arrive.  Shortly after 9am Craig and Gail Sandford appeared so we headed south on Hwy 97.  Once we got to Peachland we turned off hwy to Dave and Debbie Balfor’s lakefront home and picked them up.

We drove through Penticton and the Okanagan Wine Country to the US border south of Oliver.  We spent about 30 minutes getting everyone through the border crossing and drove south through Oroville and Omak to the Old West Village of Winthrop, Wash. 

Winthrop is the east end of the popular Cascade Loop, famous for beautific scenery and tight, twisty two lane mountain highway.  The popularity was easy to see as the town was full and parking was at a premium.  The town was built in the Old West style.  Looking at the front of the Farmer’s State Bank I thought perhaps I could use the upper balcony for a pic, then realized that the balcony was merely part of the false front (period correct).  Not much paint was evident on any of the other buildings, making me wonder if paint was hard to get in the old days, before we removed the lead and invented water-based paints.


It took a few minutes to move a couple of cars so that we could park together in front of the Riverside Grille where we stopped to dine.  Inside we caught up on what everyone had been doing over the winter.  Since Trevor Cameron and I had managed a Podium finish in the May Targa Rally, Craig said he’d certainly enter the next Targa Rally.  After lunch we wandered around the town and took some pictures.  Washington Viper owners Tom and Marina Peetz, showed up while we were eating.  They’d driven the ‘Cascade Loop’ from the west to meet up with us and cruise to Lake Chelan.  He gladly parked his Paxton supercharged Gen 3 Viper in line with our cars.  The waitress that had served us was quite excited by our group of supercars.   I already knew the answer when I asked her if she’d shoot a couple pics of our group in front of the restaurant.  She was delighted to shoot our group pics from the other side of the street. 

David, Tom and Craig started with their tops down on their SRT10s, but it didn’t take very long before we pulled to the side of the highway so they could put their tops up. 


As we started back down the highway the rain suddenly came down as a Tropical Monsoon.  I could not believe the size of the raindrops smashing onto my windshield.  I was again amazed at the wet grip of the Michelin PS2 tires, especially since we didn’t hydroplane off the road and die. 


The rain let up and we checked into Campbell’s Resort without getting wet.  Finn and Evelyn Jorgensen’s ’09 Black/silver coupe showed where we were to park and only a short walk was required to the beachfront room I’d reserved.  Jim reserved the penthouse suite above us, which was to be the gathering place for all attendees.  Quickly bored in our small room I wandered up to Jim’s and was invited to move my GTS to the Penthouse suite’s parking, I did, then wiped all the water droplets off my Sapphire Viper with a microfiber cloth.  I removed my vinyl bra and stored it in the trunk. 

Friday night Charley Reid and his wife (Alisha), Viper Parts Larry and Kathy Schmidt as well as Steve O’Neil(Wash. club pres.) with his Venezuelan girlfriend, Tina, arrived at the social gathering which lasted past ten. 

Saturday morning saw the morning sunshine reflecting off of 11 Vipers and owners readying for a day of cruising.  Steve had a bucket of water and a cloth and was carefully wiping the road film from his Black R/T 10. 

7 Canadian Snakesss and 4 Washington Vipers shook awake anyone foolish enough to still be asleep this glorious morning.  We went a couple blocks to feed our hungry fuel tanks and then headed over the bridge and cruised west.  Lakeside Drive had some spectacular views but, halfway to the photo opp., we were accosted by a flag man that advised against our supercars using the detour.  There was 6 – 8’ deep mudslide sloughed over the road!  We turned around and used a wide area as a photo opp., set between the Lake and a rocky cliff it was a beautiful spot. 


We took a couple of pics and headed to Leavenworth for our lunch appointment. 

This Tourist Village was built to appear Bavarian from the 1800s and was quite convincing with shutters, flower boxes and scrollwork.   Flowers and vines were painted on the walls and the architecture was period correct. 

Where an attic would be there was a doorway for ¾ size people to come out the doors and chime the hour.  Leavenworth has a Golf course hidden beside and below the highway with goats grazing along the fence.  The middle of the Village has a park with artists offering their products to the public.  The stores along the Village Street sold tourist junk, ornaments, stickers and fridge magnets.  I bought a decal that said, “Ever wondered about the afterlife?  Touch my car and you’ll know.”

After an hour of wandering we met back at the restaurant for lunch.  Tina generously sponsored the meals for everyone.  Owning a Viper seems to net our group special privileges, such as parking and better service. 

          After lunch we cruised back to Campbell’s Resort for the dinner hour.  After cleaning our cars and relaxing it was time to get ready for Dinner at the Resort.  After changing clothes and ‘freshening up’ we walked to the front of the resort for Dinner.   Jon Brobst ( had mailed a box of door prizes for Jim to distribute to the guests.  Penlights, lock blades and other helpful items were handed out to the Viper owners.  Actually, it seemed to be the wives that got the gifts.  Deana received 2 gifts that will do well in her pick-up’s glove box.  Two of the ladies won very nice Viper Polo shirts.  After the banquet we again socialized in the Tait’s Penthouse where Deana and I said our goodbyes.

Next morning at 9am we were the first to leave the Resort.  Being the farthest travelled we were going to visit Joe Christopherson in SeaTac before heading north and home. 


About 4 hours driving time and calling Joe for directions (we’d forgotten the GPS navigator) we arrived.  Joe’s rare ’01 Sapphire Blue ACR with silver stripes was sparkling in the driveway; I parked my rare Sapphire Blue GTS with silver stripes beside it. 

The pearlescence in the paint brightened the dark blue into a electric blue when kindled by the sun. 

Deana tried sitting in my GTS with it’s 1.5" lowered seat and then tried Joe’s 2-3" lowered seat (How-to posted at  She couldn’t see over the dash!

Joe said their dog looks like "Yoda" …

We visited with Joe and Debbie while listing the items in the packages that I had sent to Joe from the Viper artiste, Timbo.  He had sent me some of his aircraft grade, top quality aluminum creations.  I knew a few people that had earned some of Timbo’s Viper Trinkets because of their past efforts and support of the Viper Club.  After we made a “border” list of items we ran our Viper twins through Burien and ate at the “Claimjumpers Restaurant”.   Deana and I left the restaurant heading to Bellingham and Joe headed home.  We got a room near the border at Quintas where the clerk gave us a few bucks off because we were driving a Viper! 

We fired up the car in the morning and crossed the border at Sumas, back into Canada.  Nine hours later we waded the river at Puntzi Lake, again without problems.  Arriving home the only difference the weekend seemed to make was that the mosquito population had tripled.  More than a thousand miles added to my odometer, which is now well past 56,000miles.


                                                                       -the end-


Categories: Dodge Viper Stories

One Response so far.

  1. I work at Painters Sun Country Mitsubishi and pre-owned here in St. George Utah. I have Mr. Painters original 1994 red Dodge Viper with 14,000 miles. It has been on our Showroom floor for a few years on and off, and is now for sale. .


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