Life is Great with a 6.0-liter V8
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  • Skyline – “The Wall”

    Posted on March 6th, 2009 tcorzett No comments

    After reading about Skyline Blvd. online, I was really looking forward to stopping at “The Wall” to try and get some shots of the G8 GT with the SF Bay in the background. The weather worked-out very nicely (no bright sun, no fog, etc.) and there were no other cars parked ‘cluttering’ my shots.

    [svgallery name=”G8_20090306_Skyline”]

  • Playing Hookie

    Posted on March 6th, 2009 tcorzett No comments

    I woke-up this morning and there was no rain falling… I’m ditching-out on work to take a drive!

    Total Distance: 149 miles
    Driving Time: 5 hours 38 min

    View Larger Map


    I have been looking forward to driving on several of these roads. I decided that a Friday drive would probably work out better than one on the weekend, due to minimal cyclists. Things worked-out well as I only had to pass a handful of cyclists and there was plenty of room to do it.

    That reminds me, the roads that were in great condition. I tried to pick roads that were all two-lanes, and I did a great job at it. Some of the roads even had hard shoulders! Also, despite all the recent rain there was very little ‘slide’ debris on the roads. Other than a few places with a little gravel or dirt, the roads were well paved (all of the roads in Contra Costa Country were perfect)… if only all the curvy roads around the East Bay were like this.

    I started-out with a somewhat ‘normal’ trip towards Livermore. This time rather than just driving on I-580E I’d take Highland Rd., which was a great choice. The road was all two-lanes with some gentle curves and nice green rolling hills. Unfortunately, when I pulled onto Vasco I was stuck in the slow traffic (stupid semi-truck).

    Fortunately, once I turned onto Camino Diablo, I was able to get some clear road ahead of me. Marsh Creek Rd. was very nice as well, until I got stuck behind another slow moving vehicle. This time I pulled-off the road to give myself some more room… and proceeded to hit a nice big pothole. I love the tire pressure monitoring system on the G8 as it reassured me that I didn’t blow a tire. Once I had some more room I started out again… and it was much more enjoyable not looking at the back of a Saturn that was going 25mph! Oh, but watch out for the Clayton Police officer who was sitting at the side of the road at the entrance to town.

    At this point I made a loop around Concord to drive on Kirker Pass Rd, which was a total waste. While Bailey Rd was fun with some nice elevation changes, all the time spent driving in towns just killed the short bit of fun. Ygnacio Valley Rd didn’t help either, as getting stuck in lunchtime traffic in Walnut Creek sucked big time! I need to find a better connecting route from Marsh Creek Rd. that doesn’t include a bunch of city driving.

    The driving didn’t become enjoyable until after I was on Reliez Valley Rd/Alhambra Valley Rd. More of the two-lane curves through green hills. I did get stuck behind another slow vehicle, but it was close to turning onto Bear Creek Rd., so not a big deal (even though I did pull-off to wait for a few minutes, just to turn off two corners later).

    The next few roads were very nice to drive on. I didn’t see another car for quite some time and the handful of cyclists were not a problem. More of the ‘standard’ curves, but the closer to Berkeley I go the greater the elevation changes were. Wild Canyon Rd. had more cyclists and tourists, and I’m sure it would be packed on a weekend, but it was enjoyable. The road runs around the top of the ridge and there are some nice trees covering the road (something different than the grassy hills).

    Once out of Tilden Regional Park, I turned onto Grizzly Peak Rd. (how cool is that name!) and headed south. The first bit was residential, but it turned into a nice curvy road. While I was trying to concentrate on driving, the view to the west was spectacular! I stopped at ‘The Wall‘ to take a few photos.

    Back on the road I found myself on one of the greatest stretches of road imaginable… Grizzly Peak Rd to Skyline Blvd to (my new favorite) Pinehurst Rd. to Redwood Rd. These roads curve around the Berkeley hills through peaks… all the way down to valleys with redwood trees. There were extreme elevation changes as well as several hairpin turns (and I’m talking 180deg with elevation changes as well). Unfortunately, I think these roads will be crawling with cyclists when the weather warms up a little (and it’s not a Friday afternoon). While the roads are two-lane and nicely paved, there are the times when making a pass becomes difficult (due to a blind corner… or a bike on a wicked downhill doing 45mph in a 25mph zone). I still think I’d give these roads a shot this summer, they were just too good to not drive on!

    The really nice thing about this route is it dumped me out in Castro Valley (just over the hill from home). I think starting here and driving North would be just as fun. At this point I made another loop to drive on a pair of roads that was a total waste of time. I went up Crow Canyon Rd (nothing but traffic) and came back on Norris Canyon Rd (much better, but only on it’s own). I took E. Castro Valley Blvd. to Dublin Canyon Rd. rather than heading home on I-580E to get back home, which was OK (not a freeway that’s all).

    Overall the drive was fun. The G8 GT did an awesome job on the curves (as always) and behaved very nicely being thrown around tight corners… especially for a >4000lbs 4-Door ‘sedan’. There were a few things that I would definitely change the next time I head out that direction (like the city driving).

    After a little fine tuning, I think this will become a regular drive for me.