Homecoming ’98

homecoming98

Shortly after the BMW Z3 began rolling out of the BMW Manufacturing plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina, Z3 enthusiast owners (as well as other US BMW enthusiasts) began making pilgrimages to Zentrum (as the plant is called) where their rides were born. A group of these owners arranged a drive to Zentrum which they dubbed Homecoming. Although not officially involved in this initial Homecoming, BMW Manufacturing was very accommodating to the group. After this initial ad hoc homecoming, BMW became officially involved in this huge annual event.

banner_zentrum-2

During these events, in addition to the fabulous public BMW museum at the welcoming center (pictured above), BMW Manufacturing also opened up the manufacturing plant for tours and test track/skid pad for play – both normally not open to the public at all. Additionally they setup tents in front of Zentrum and created a makeshift repair center where the people who make these cars volunteered their time to fix those small (and sometimes large) problems. They also arranged for a panoramic picture of all the cars.

all5

I attended a number of the Z3 Homecomings – the first being in 1998 shortly after I bought my Z3. While I have pictures of each, for this first trip in ’98 I had created an online blog of the trip that I updated (sorta) daily. Other info on Z3 Homecomings can be found at Z3Homecoming.com as well as other places on the web.

Day 1 – 8/30/1998 – San Diego, Ca. to Casa Grande, Az
Departure: 11:00 am Pacific time
Arrival: 4:30 pm (Arizona-we-aint-doin-no-stinkin-daylight-time-zone) Pacific time
Distance: 400 and somthin’

 

 

Day 2 – 8/31/1998 – Casa Grande, Az to Pacos, Tx
Departure: 7:00 am (Arizona-we-aint-doin-no-stinkin-daylight-time-zone) Pacific time
Arrival: 5:20 pm Central time
Distance: 585 miles

 

 

Day 3 – 9/1/1998 – Pacos, Tx to Dallas, Tx
Departure: 8:00 am Central time
Arrival: 3:20 pm Central time
Distance: 438 miles

 

 

Day 4 – 9/2/1998 – Dallas, Tx to Nashville, Tn
Departure: 7:00 am Central time
Arrival: 9:00 pm Central time
Distance: 673 miles

 

 

Day 5 – 9/3/1998 – Nashville, Tn to Greer, Sc
Departure: 7:00 am Central time
Arrival: 9:00 pm Central time
Distance: 624 miles

 

 

Day 6 – 9/4/1998 – BMW Zentrum – Greer, Sc
Activities: Plant Tour, Auto-x, Reception Dinner

 

 

Day 7 – 9/5/1998 – BMW Zentrum – Greer, Sc
Activities: Group Photo, Tech Sessions, Vendor Booths, Zentrum Dinner

 

 

Day 8 – 9/6/1998 – BMW Zentrum – Greer, Sc
Activities: Smokey Mountains Drive, Homecoming Lunch

 

 

Day 9 thru 12 – 9/7/1998 – 9/10/1998
Activities: Visiting Family in Charleston, South Carolina

After Homecoming lunch, I drove down to Charleston Sunday to spent the next 3½ days visiting with family. It was my first visit to Charleston and my son had flown out to join me. I had heard by many that is was a beautiful city, but none of the descriptions did the place justice. Rather than bore you all with a bunch of pics of my family (though they are quite an interesting lot), I’ll post pics of the sight seeing I did.

 

 

Day 12 thru 15 – 9/10/1998 – 9/13/1998
Activities: Bonsai run back to Sandy Eggo, Cali

Having to get back to work, I took off the afternoon of the 10th for a quick (4 hour) trip to Charlotte, NC to drop my son off at the airport, and then start a mad dash back to Sandy Eggo, Ca before Monday. I was hoping to make it back late that Saturday…but some mean bitch by the name of Tropical Storm Francis wanted to meet with me first.