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  • Camaro’s & GTO’s: Folsom Lake Meet

    Posted on April 6th, 2013 tcorzett No comments

    Today was the first, of hopefully many, GTO and Camaro get-togethers. The meeting location was at the Folsom Sports Garage around 1pm, which was nice for those who were making the drive from the Bay Area.

    The turnout was good, with a total of three Camaros, four GTO’s, and a G8. Most members were from Sacramento or the East Bay, but the diehard award goes to the member who drove from Tracy to Dublin, to Concord, to Folsom!

    After car and driver introductions, and the involuntary drooling period, we headed-out on the cruise.

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    The route around Folsom Lake was excellent! Despite being later in the afternoon, with a bit of weekend traffic, the group was able to stick together. The road was smooth and had plenty of turns/elevation changes for those who wanted to partake in spirited driving, but was also relaxed enough for a Saturday afternoon cruise to take-in the scenery.

    After the cruise we returned to the Folsom Sports Garage for food and happy hour pitchers. The Camaro and GTO owners all did a great job mingling as we ate; sharing stories and talking about cars/modifications.

    Today was a great success! It was nice to make some new friends and the cruise was a reminder of all the beautiful and fun roads that are to be had around the Sacramento area. The phrase I heard most often at the event was, “We have to do this again soon”!

  • Toys for Tots

    Posted on December 1st, 2012 tcorzett No comments

    Today the NorCal GOATs headed-up to Able Chevrolet in Rio Vista for their annual Toys for Tots drive. Car clubs (G8/GTO’s, Corvettes, Camaros, etc) from all over the Bay Area get together to hang-out and to donate toys to a worthy cause.

    Unfortunately the weather forecasts for this weekend are full of rain (something called an ‘Atmospheric River’) so the number of participants was far fewer than expected. At the first meeting spot there were only four cars (including a Volvo), but we met-up with a dozen or so other cars at the second meeting spot.

    While the roads were wet from rain earlier in the morning, the weather was very cooperative and only had a few sprinkles throughout the rest of the day. I spent much of the day talking with Corvette owners about track days, but it was also cool to catch-up with the GTO owners as well. I didn’t spent much time checking-out the other cars, but there were a few really impressive vehicles!

    Everyone at the event seemed to have a great time at the event, and in the end we helped to raise over 300 toys and almost $1400!

  • Post-Rebuild Test & Tune

    Posted on November 3rd, 2012 tcorzett No comments

    Having recently having my engine rebuilt, which resulted in a 21% increase in power, quite a few people have been pestering me to get to the drag strip. I’ve been avoiding it since I couldn’t get traction on my street tires before the upgrade, but since the NorCal GOATs were going to Sacramento Raceway for a Test & Tune I figured I’d go have some fun.

    The days leading-up to the event I wasn’t sure if I was going to run the G8 or not. Towards the end of my road trip I developed a nasty “shimmy” in the front-end between 70-80mph, and wasn’t going to race if it continued. Fortunately the new tires fixed the issue (I still think there might be some LCA issues to fix) and I felt comfortable taking the G8 down the strip.

    The weather today was good, but not as cool/dry as I had hoped. By noon, when they started to run, the DA was up to 478′ and it progressively climbed thorough the day to 914′ by the final runs. Not bad for California, but not great.

    My best run of the day came just leaving the G8 in “Drive” with the traction control turned on. I rolled into the throttle from idle and just let the computer do the work. The result was a 12.007 @ 116.10mph… not bad for a 245-series street tire!

    My 60′ time was 1.934sec, five-hundredths of a second faster than launching in 2nd with TC off, but I could feel the traction control pulling timing in 1st gear and between the 1st to 2nd gear change.

    I’m very happy with my results. Would it have been nice to run in the 11’s? Yeah, but I’m not going to go crazy searching for a time. Looking at my trap speeds there are still a couple tenths left in the car… if I was ever wanted to get serious about drag racing.

    My favorite part of all of this is just how “well rounded” my G8 is. I can run 2 minute lap times around Laguna Seca, 12 second passes down a drag strip, and drive 11,000 miles across the country without changing anything!

  • Spontaneous Cruise: Napa

    Posted on October 21st, 2012 tcorzett No comments

    Since returning from my Road Trip I’ve spent the past few weekends “recovering”… which is another way of saying, sitting on my butt watching TV. This weekend I decided to be spontaneous and lead a cruise with the NorCal GOATs up to Napa!

    After some deliberating on the details, I came-up with several different potential routes and posted the event info. I arrived at the starting location early and waited to see what the turn-out was going to be like. With these sorts of short-notice events it’s always a toss-up when it comes to participation, but it would have been nicer to have a couple more cars… none the less, those of us who came out had a total blast!

    The group decided on my “Short Route” (~2.5hrs) and we headed out…

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    Our first stop was at the Monticello Dam for some photos. I drove past here on my road trip without stopping, but I’m really glad we did this time… I’ll need to keep this on my list of potential photo locations.

    We then proceeded towards Lake Berryessa, which I only recently learned was the site of one of the Zodiac killings (remind me not to stop there for a picnic!). Before turning off onto Knoxville Rd. we stopped at the Turtle Rock to stretch our legs… boy were we surprised at what we found!

    This is the sort of place I love to find on drives. Just like The Junction out past Mines Rd. in Livermore, it’s the sort of “hole in the wall” watering hole only known to locals. There is a certain type of “character” in these places that makes them fun. I will for sure be stopping here again the next time I come through (I hear they have “world famous egg rolls” too).

    The road to Lake Berryessa was nearly devoid of traffic, which made the drive very enjoyable. I didn’t want to loose the cars behind me so kept the speeds reasonable. It would have been nice to get a little more “spirited”, but the relaxed pace added an extra element to the cruise. It was nice to just slow down to just enjoy the atmosphere…

    Since we started the cruise early today the sun was still fairly low in the sky by the time we arrived at Lake Berryessa. I knew finding a good location for photos would be possible, but also a bit difficult. I didn’t just want a photo from the road with the lake in the background, but rather something that would really allow the cars to standout. I spotted a deserted picnic area and pulled over to try and find a good shooting location. It was a bit awkward to get a clear view of the lake, and there were quite a few nasty speed bumps, but we found a decent spot.

    After taking far too many photos of the individual cars, then group shots, we eventually got back on the road. The rest of the drive was nice, but the road started to get a bit more rough/bumpy so wasn’t as much fun. We also started to get more traffic, including a semi hauling grapes who had zero respect for the center-line, so the speeds slowed dramatically in some places. Fortunately the views of Lake Hennessey and the various vineyards around the area made-up for it.

    The final destination for the cruise was the Beaulieu Vineyards (BV) tasting room. When proposing the spontaneous cruise I figured having the option to stop for lunch or wine tasting would be nice, but today everyone seemed to have more pressing engagements. I get the feeling that most people aren’t really into that aspect of a cruise… oh well.

    Overall the day was a success. It was great to see some friends and spend some time cruising on the backroads of California’s wine country. With all the positive comments about the route and scenery I’m sure we’ll be back up here again soon!

  • Santa Cruz Cruise

    Posted on December 28th, 2011 tcorzett No comments

    After taking two months off from work earlier this year for my Road Trip, it felt a little weird taking more time off for trips home. The end of the year is also packed with holidays that makes travel a nightmare… so when I only have a weekend off, the last thing I want to do is spend it in an airport. After two months of solid work, I was really needing a break… fortunately here is a holiday shutdown that makes braving the airports worthwhile.

    Having a few days back home, one the the things on the top of my “To Do List” was getting out with some NorCal GOATs for a cruise. A group of us met-up in Saratoga and headed out into towards Santa Cruz.

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    The roads in the South Bay hills are really some of the best in the Country. At times there can be some annoying traffic, but today most of the people were courteous and pulled aside when they saw us approaching.

    Normally I would have lead the group North on Skyline Dr. to Alice’s before turning onto La Honda Rd. for the journey to Pescadero Creek Rd. At the suggestion of one of those going on the cruise, and because we didn’t have a big group, we decided to take Alpine Rd. instead.

    I’d never driven Alpine Rd. before, but based on the Google Street View anticipated it to be quite tight/twisty… boy was it! While there was a painted center line, the road was only one-and-a-half lanes wide. Fortunately there was zero traffic on the road (not another car or even a bicycle)! While it was fun, the road was a bit too tight/twisty for a large car like the G8.

    I’ve been looking forward to driving Pescadero Creek Rd. ever since the last time. This road is truly the ideal place for my car to play… perfect pavement and fast sweeping corners. This time we weren’t any cars to slow us down and we made great time!

    We made such great time that we had to wait a couple extra minutes at Highway 1 for one of the GTOs that was meeting-up after work. We took the opportunity to take some photos and talk-shop about our cars.

    When we first arrived at the coast it was fairly cool and overcast, but it didn’t take long for the sun to burn through the clouds and really make the scenery beautiful.

    Once the final GTO arrived we headed out along Highway 1 towards Santa Cruz.

    Having spent so much time away from the West Coast, I was really enjoying the views. There is nothing line a sunny day driving down Highway 1 to make you realize why you live in California!

    I had planned on simply driving along the coast into Santa Cruz, but we found ourselves stuck behind some slow cars/trucks. Someone suggested we take an alternate route, so I gladly pulled-over and let him take the lead.

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    I was very impressed with the suggested route, will definitely be adding these roads to my repertoire!

    Due to the detour we were running a little late, but that just made lunch that much better. We stopped at a small BBQ joint that has a really incredible menu. I finally decided to get a Tri-Tip Sandwitch with garlic fries… yum! I’m sure I’ll have to make another trip here to try their ribs, and maybe even their fish and chips!

    I was really looking forward to trying to dive on Bear Creek Rd., but unfortunately we were running behind schedule. As a result I had to leave the rest of the group and take the direct route back on Highway 17.

    I was really happy with the way the day turned-out. The choice of roads, planned and improvised, made for a very enjoyable drive. Being on the road with other people was a great change, and really makes me want to spend more time at home.

  • GoatRun: Day 4

    Posted on October 3rd, 2011 tcorzett No comments

    Today was the final day of GoatRun 2011, and started out with the traditional brunch at the Bellagio. I packed-up my car, checked out of the hotel, and headed over to the Bellagio. I arrived a little early, so decided to take some photos.

    One of the great things about the brunch at the Bellagio is that we have a reserved parking area on the top of their structure. With all the GTO’s and G8’s lined-up, it is quite a sight.

    The Brunch was incredible, as always, and I’m sure I ate way more than I should have! I’d have to say that my favorite part was the eggs benedict with a side of prime rib (and horseradish)… ‘drool!

    Normally a few of the NorCal GOATs members try to get together for the return trip to the Bay Area. This year a couple people are staying a few extra days, and a couple others needed to do some repair work on a GTO. I really wanted to drive with everyone else, but I decided to get on the road early… and it really was a good thing I wasn’t part of a larger group.

    During GoatRun my car has been behaving very well, only going into “Limp Mode” on the trip to my hotel in the evenings. I was really afraid that I was going to have issue on the cruise, but I made it with no problems…

    … well, that was not the case with my drive home. I set-off from the Bellagio and made it two blocks before my first DTC. I was able to clear it out and get moving again, but only a few minutes later I received another DTC… This would be the theme for the rest of the day…

    I had a 546 mile drive to make, and every 10-25 miles the G8 was going into Limp Mode. Sometimes it would make it farther, other times it wouldn’t make it a mile. While I had to pull-off the interstate quite a few times, I was also able to recover without stopping the car.

    By the time I was driving through the Fresno area the sun had set, and the car was going limp every 3-5 minutes. I never needed to pull off the road (thankfully), but I just couldn’t take it any more. I pulled-off at a hotel I’d stayed at before in Madera, Ca and decided to call it a night.

    Despite getting a good night sleep last night, driving over 400 miles with an unhappy car took a toll on me… I was exhausted!

    Hopefully tomorrow my drive will be less stressful… I’m only 135 miles from home!

  • GoatRun: Day 3

    Posted on October 2nd, 2011 tcorzett No comments

    This morning I woke-up early enough to get to the Palace Station for the breakfast buffet with a few NorCal GOAT members. Last night I went to bed around midnight, and thought that I had done a good job of staying awake, but this morning I looked on Facebook and saw all sorts of “evidence” of the crazy activities that went on after I had went to sleep!

    The past three years I’ve stayed at my own hotel, because they are free, but I think next year I’m going to have to stay with the rest of the group. There are so many activities that happen spur of the moment, and I know I’m missing out on some of the fun that GoatRun has to offer.

    After breakfast, there wasn’t much going on until later in the afternoon. I didn’t want to go back to my hotel and miss any of the action, so headed to the parking garage to take a few photos.

    In the afternoon a group of us headed to Fast Lap for some indoor go karting!

    I must say that, while I’ve done some of the “kiddy karts”, this was a totally new experience for me. Just how serious is it? You have to wear a helmet, gloves, and a neck brace! The karts are gas powered, and much faster than any that I’d driven before.

    The first session out I had a very slow kart (which wasn’t helped by my added mass), so I spent most of my time trying to keep out of everyone’s way. The second session they gave me a much faster kart… and I was immediately able to take 3 seconds (10%) off my lap time. This new kart was a blast to drive, but it didn’t take long for my arms to get really tired (there is no power steering in these things), and my lap times started to slip. While I was one of the slower people on track, I still had a total blast!

    After the Go Karts there was a poker tournament scheduled, but I didn’t feeling like loosing my money… so, I headed back to the Palace Station for some lunch, then visited the casino’s sports betting area.

    Unfortunately (for me) they allow smoking in the casino, so it wasn’t the most refreshing area, but I had fun. I wasn’t placing any bets, but it was really cool to watch everyone else get into their sports. I was mostly watching the NHRA event, but when the Jets vs. Ravens game cam on things got really exciting. Half the room had Jets fans, the other Ravens fans, and with every play one side or the other would be cheering. At one point the Ravens recovered a fumble for a touchdown, and on the ensuing kickoff the Jets ran it back 105 yards for a touchdown… the place was going nuts!

    In the evening all of the NorCal GOATs headed out to the Hofbräuhaus for the traditional Sunday GoatRun dinner. While I’d love to share all the details… “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas!”. All I can say is that someone bought me a shot… resulting in some paddling… and me officially having “The Numbest Butt”!

    While most of the gang headed for a wild night on The Strip, I decided to be an “old man” and head back to my hotel to get some sleep. Tomorrow is a long day of driving, and I want to make sure I have enough energy to make it home safely.

  • GoatRun: Day 2

    Posted on October 1st, 2011 tcorzett No comments

    The first official event of the day wasn’t until the afternoon, but there were a few other activities going on in the morning. The first was a breakfast at the Palace Station buffet, but I decided to sleep in. The second event was an Adam’s Polishes detail clinic. I stopped by to pick-up a 1 gallon refill of All Purpose Cleaner to replenish my supply (I used all of mine getting the bugs off the the G8).

    After filling-up on gas, I headed to the Palace Station to prepare for the GoatRun cruise! While I was relaxing, several other owners came out and started prepping their cars.

    At 1:30pm all of the GTO (and G8) owners gathered in the parking lot and headed out from Las Vegas towards the Lake Mead and The Valley of Fire.

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    The cruise route this year was awesome. Last year I was a little disappointed, but that was totally not the case this year. Not only was the scenery incredible, the roads were a bunch of fun too!

    The roads was fairly empty of other vehicles, so we were able to move quickly along the route. Because the area requires paying a fee, everyone had to stop at the main gate. As people paid, they set-out on the road… it almost felt like a time trial where they space-out the cars… like they wanted us to drive fast!

    Most of the curves on the route were sweepers, and with the space between cars, everyone was able to cruise at a nice pace. It was really great to do some “spirited” driving, but at times I had to hold-back a little due to flexing of my Carbon Fiber Hood (again, I’m not going to speed test this thing).

    After the first part of the drive everyone pulled-over to take a breather, regroup, and to take some photos.

    For the second section of the cruise I found myself behind another heavily modified G8. Both of our cars have engine mods and completely modified suspensions. I know my car is a well balanced machine, but it really stands out when driving with others who also have fast cars. While I wasn’t pushing as hard on the straights, I was able to carry much more speed through the corners… there were many times where I would let the other G8 “run away” from me, only to dive into a curve (without even touching the brakes) closing right-up on his bumper. I was really impressed how well my G8 was able to take the corners… even at 1/4 mile trap speeds, the turns were no problem!

    I have to say that the best compliments I received were when the owners/drivers of the cars I was following told me that they felt they were holding me up. I told them not to feel bad, as I was having a great time (heck, it wasn’t like they were going slow). It was awesome to know that when others were pushing their cars to the limits, I still had a bunch left on the table!

    The end point of the cruise put us at the location where the car show, BBQ dinner, and other events would take place. Everyone lined-up and started to check-out all of the cars.

    Like always I was really impressed with what I saw others had done to their cars. Many of them I’d seen only a year before… but everyone brings out their best for GoatRun!

    The NorCal GOATs really cleaned-up at the car show awards ceremony! We took home “Best in Show”, “Best Exhaust”, “Best Engine Bay”, and I came away with the “Numbest Butt” award (aka. who drove the farthest to GoatRun)…

    There was some debate about the “rules” for this award, but no one could come close to the 8,499 miles that I drove from my home to GoatRun. Even just considering the distance from my farthest East location (Virginia) or where I was officially heading to GoatRun (Tennessee), I had the competition beat (the next farthest was from Missouri, via San Diego).

    After the car show, one of the GTO owners put on an incredible fireworks show. I’m not talking about a few sparklers and bottle rockets… this was a FIREWORKS SHOW! There were all sorts of things being shot-up into the air, and it rivaled several of the shows I’ve seen put on by cities for the 4th of July. Definitely impressive!

    The last activity for the day was the raffle drawing for various GTO related accessories. I wasn’t really paying attention, but it turns out I won something… an “Air Splitter” from West Coast Speed! I guess I’ll need to find a deserving member of the NorCal GOATs to take it off my hands.

    I really have to say that I was extremely impressed with the way today went… especially with how I felt after the cruise at last year’s GoatRun. Big props go out to everyone who put in the work to make the day’s events happen!

  • GoatRun: Day 1

    Posted on September 30th, 2011 tcorzett No comments

    Today was the first day of GoatRun 2011!

    While I would have loved to make the drive to Las Vegas from the Bay Area with the NorCal GOATS, I was in Flagstaff, Arizona. I had planned on taking a twisty route to Las Vegas, but after looking at how long it would have taken to drive… I decided to take the direct route.

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    The drive was short, and before long I found myself entering the Las Vegas area. I checked into my hotel and then headed-out to wash the G8. I found a self-wash and was able to get over 6000 miles worth of road grime off the car. I ate some lunch, took a shower, and cooled down a little before heading over to the Palace Station for the GoatRun Meet-N-Greet.

    It was really great to see people again… after a month of going from hotel to hotel, it was nice to be social. I had a good time talking with the various GTO and G8 owners, and I can’t wait for the rest of the weekend!

  • More Rig Photos!

    Posted on July 16th, 2011 tcorzett No comments

    A few weeks ago I tried-out my Automotive Rig for the first time, with awesome results. After sharing the photos I had several other owners who were interested in having a giant metal pole suction cupped to their car!

    Just like the last time, I found myself waking-up at 4am so that I could be out on-location just as the sun started to rise. I didn’t really know of any shooting locations in the area, so just chose some areas that might have things that would look good in the background.

    The first location was a roundabout in the housing development of one of the car owners. I setup the 16′ pole on the suction cups and had the owner drive slowly around in circles while I walked along stabilizing the camera (by holding the camera strap). The results from this setup were nothing short of spectacular!

    Previously I had tried to avoid directly lighting the cars (with the sun), as I feared I wouldn’t be able to get the long exposures that I desired. I quickly realized that with the ND filter and a circular polarizer I was more than capable of getting multi-second shutter speeds, even in direct sun light. Also, just like all other types of photography, proper use of golden hour light made the photos absolutely pop!

    After shooting the first car, the group headed out of the housing complex towards a more industrial area (and to get some coffee/energy drinks). I had scouted (via Google Earth) another shooting location in a Park-and-Ride lot that would work well. Like the other area, there were rows of trees that allowed for lots of motion in the background.

    This location was fully lit by the sun, resulting in some complications when setting-up the rig. I had to take care to keep the shadow from the camera rig (and me while supporting it) from covering parts of the car being shot. After a couple of passes we started thinking outside the box a little…

    The owner of this GTO has spent countless hours painting and polishing every little piece of his car. He also runs his car at the drag strip with the hood removed, so it only seemed fitting to take some photos showing off the engine bay.

    As with last time, I learned more and more as the morning went on about what does and doesn’t work. I think I did a much better job keeping track of the basics (exposure, white balance, etc.) and that really made processing the images easier. I feel confident that I should be able to mount the rig to other cars and get respectable photos… I already have a few ideas for things to tryout on the next shoot!