Life is Great with a 6.0-liter V8
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  • 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!

  • Pre-GoatRun: Day 6

    Posted on September 29th, 2011 tcorzett No comments

    Last night while looking at my planned routes for today and tomorrow, I found that I was doing almost 2 hours of unnecessary driving. I decided to change the route that I drove today, and I’m really glad that I did it.

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    Arizona doesn’t follow daylight savings time, so I found myself with an extra hour of daylight. Rather than hitting the road early, I decided to sleep-in a little. By the time I got on the road there was a fair amount of traffic, but it wasn’t that big of a deal.

    The majority of my drive was on US-191. This road is also known as “The Coronado Trail” and “The Devil’s Highway” (since it was once US-666). US-191 is claimed by some as “the curviest road in the Nation”, and I have to say that it is a contender…

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    I’ve read great reviews of this US-191, and most of them start off with “make sure you have gas”. I was getting a little worried as I drove towards Clifton, as my GPS wasn’t showing any gas stations, but there turned-out to be a Shell Station for me to top-off at.

    With a full tank of gas I headed out of Clifton and up towards the Morenci Copper Mine. The climb up the hill was slowed by a fuel tanker, but I didn’t want to pass him and risk the bad karma. It was actually quite enjoyable to take it slow for a little while and admire the view.

    While not “natural” beauty, the mine was very scenic. It was also really cool to see all the equipment… like massive dump trucks! It was also kinda cool to have to turn off my cell phone so that I didn’t risk setting-off any explosions.

    The road headed into the mountains of the Apache National Forest, and as a result the speed limit bounced between 25 and 35 mph. Like yesterday, I decided to ignore the speed limits and drive as a pace I felt was appropriate. Given the complete lack of guardrails, I kept things fairly calm (for the most part).

    I say “for the most part” because I had no choice but to use 2nd gear in most of the tighter corners. The high altitude (over 9000 ft) really made the G8 work hard during spirited driving. Fortunately the weather today was perfect (mid-70’s), but even with a transmission cooler I was getting trans temperatures of 212°F (normal is ~185°F). I can only imagine what it would have been like with >100°F temperatures!

    I was extremely happy with the way the G8 was able to handle the roads. Even the tightest corners were no problem… and the sweepers were a total blast. Climbing the mountain required a bit more throttle than I was use to, but there was still more than enough power to break the rear wheels loose in 2nd gear. The Baer brakes had no problem slowing me down on the descent… with zero fade. Even pushing things a little harder than some might advise, I never felt like the G8 was being pushed beyond the limits.

    For over 100 miles I was twisting and turning through the mountains, and only had THREE slower cars on the road. The first two didn’t hold me up, but after the third wouldn’t let me by… I pulled-over to take a few photographs.

    I’ve driven some extremely twisty roads on this road trip… and “The Devil’s Highway” was right up there with the best of them. If the speed limit was a little higher, it could seriously contend for my favorite road in the Country!

    Tomorrow I make the drive into Las Vegas… GoatRun here I come!

  • Pre-GoatRun: Day 5

    Posted on September 28th, 2011 tcorzett 2 comments

    Yesterday I ended-up driving much of the route that I had planned to drive today, so last night I had to do some quick thinking and plan out where I was going to drive today.

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    I left my hotel at my normal time (~8:30am) in the morning, and promptly found myself sitting in traffic on the Interstate. Normally this would make me unhappy, but it allowed for some time to check-out the hot air balloons that were dotting the horizon.

    This weekend is the annual Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, so the city is all setup for ballooners. It would have been cool to stick around to see some of the crazy balloons (they come in all sorts of shapes and sizes… including SpongeBob), but I need to get to Las Vegas for GoatRun!

    While much of my day was spent driving on the interstate or other uninteresting roads, one section was very entertaining.

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    This section of New Mexico 152 was a real blast to drive. I first need to say that the 25 mph speed limit was a total joke… so I didn’t follow it! I didn’t go crazy, but I drove the road at a comfortable pace. I could feel the car straining a little from the high elevation… at over one-and-a-half MILES above sea level, even with a supercharger, I could feel the car was a little down on power.

    The corners were mostly sweepers, but there were a few 15 mph and 10 mph hairpins mixed in. I ran a few of the tighter turns in 2nd gear and loved how the car exploded out of the corners… however, because of the low speed limit I spent most of my time in 3rd gear.

    For the most part I had an empty road, but a couple times I needed to slow down for large dumb animals (a deer, a steer, and a goober in a Toyota). My favorite part of the road was the length… compared to many of the roads I drove in the Appalachian Mountains, it was two or three times longer… and took almost 30 minutes to complete.

    After driving out of the mountains I crossed into Arizona and headed towards my hotel for the night. I spent quite some time driving around looking for a place to take some photos, and eventually found an acceptable location.

    With today’s drive, I’ve traveled in all of the states that I will be for this trip…

    I’m a little disappointed that I left some gaps in my map, but I didn’t plan my route to “check-off states”. In the future I would really like to take a driving trip up into the Pacific North West and across into the Dakotas… maybe for GONE 2012!

    Tomorrow I’m planning on driving a few twisty roads, and many scenic ones. I might make some small changes to the planned route (and potentially where I’m sleeping) to make Friday’s drive into Las Vegas a little more manageable, but I’ve not yet decided.

  • Pre-GoatRun: Day 4

    Posted on September 27th, 2011 tcorzett No comments

    Can someone tell me why I woke-up before sunrise today? I guess 7am comes early in Texas! I really have no clue why I got up so early… as last night I decided that I was going to take the “direct” route to Los Alamos, rather than the more “scenic” one I had originally planned.

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    Since I visited the Cadillac Ranch last night, I figured I’d skip it this morning. I had debated going to Home Depot to buy a few cans of spray paint, but I wasn’t feeling like walking in the mud to tag some cars.

    I headed out across Texas and quickly found myself in New Mexico. The scenery was nice, and so too was the 75mph speed limit!

    I had skipped-out on breakfast this morning and didn’t refuel last night… so it didn’t take long for both me and the G8 to get hungry. I pulled into a great travel stop (a Shell station with a Subway), but was really disappointed to only see 90 Octane on the pump. Given my car has a tune that is optimized for at least 91 Octane, I didn’t know what to do.

    I was running on fumes, so had to get some gas… and hoped that 90 Octane wouldn’t be problematic. I looked in the mini-mart for some “octane booster”, but didn’t come across any. I did some quick searching online about what to do in this situation, and I guess the high elevation helps with knocking… Fortunately I didn’t have any issues, and the G8 wasn’t even pulling any timing (even at WOT).

    Just after stopping for gas, the G8 decided to go into “Limp Mode” again (it wasn’t related to the gas). I was on Interstate-40 so threw on the hazard lights and crawled to a stop on the side of the road. I’m getting better at pulling off the road quickly (I didn’t bottom out or anything), but I’m tired of this.

    Today was definitely not the day that I had planned. The main reason for driving to Los Alamos was to visit “The Black Hole“, so on my way I decided to give them a call to check how late they are open tonight (and if they are open tomorrow). Well, turns out they are closed for “inventory”… Bummer!

    Without much reason to spend the night in Los Alamos, I stopped into a hotel in Santa Fe and tried to figure out an alternative plan. There were a few roads up by Los Alamos that I had planned on driving tomorrow, but it was still fairly early in the day… so I set out to drive the roads (and then sleep in Albuquerque).

    I went out to my car to cancel my hotel reservation in Los Alamos, and while sitting there I received another series of DTCs. I was parked, so didn’t need to drive off the road, but it was a bit difficult to clear everything out and get running properly. Then, not far down the road, the car again went into limp mode… this time while sitting at a stop light! I was able to limp across the intersection to a safe stopping place, but this stuff is getting a little crazy. Fortunately I didn’t receive any other DTCs for the rest of the day.

    The drive up to Los Alamos was very scenic, with the road winding through several deep canyons. After spending the past few weeks driving through areas of the country that were covered in forests, it was great to see the open views of the Southwest. One thing that I never get enough of are the rich colors of the rocks.

    Having grown-up around the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, I was interested in checking out the area around the Los Alamos National Laboratory (I know, I’m a total nerd). The road that I was trying to drive looked like it took me through the main gate to the laboratory. In Livermore you need a badge to get past the main gate, so I thought I was stuck! I drove around trying to find an alternate route, and almost even considered driving back the way I had come, but figured I’d at least go to the gate and ask directions… Well, it turned out just anyone could go through the “gate”!

    After looking like a fool, I made the drive up into the Jemez Mountains. This area really reminded me of the forests in the Sierras. A really unique thing about this area is that it has recently burned by a large forest fire. Many of the trees were black towards the bottom, but you could see the living branches at the top… it was very interesting.

    While driving through the twists and turns of the mountain forest, I was surprised to find myself entering what looked like the grasslands of Middle America. Turns out, I had found my way into the Valles Caldera.

    The drive back down from the mountains made my afternoon. There were all sorts of scenic views to be taken-in while driving down the twisty road. The turns were mostly sweepers, and the speed limit was quite low, but it was much better than sitting on the interstate! I’m really glad that I decided to make the trip up to Los Alamos, rather than just heading to a hotel early.

    Since I drove almost half of tomorrow’s drive, today, I really don’t know what I’m going to do in the morning. The only thing I know is that I’ll be working my way closer to Las Vegas!

  • Pre-GoatRun: Day 3

    Posted on September 26th, 2011 tcorzett No comments

    Today was a short day of driving, and as a result I stayed up late last night watching Metallica perform “Live” (via the web) at Rock in Rio. They played a really great set, so despite wanting to get some extra sleep… I just couldn’t do it.

    In the morning I slept-in until almost 10am and slowly got myself out of the hotel. After a quick breakfast I headed-out onto the road.

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    Yesterday I talked about how Oklahoma didn’t seem like a “Dust Bowl” type of place… well, today I saw how it could happen. As I drove West the grass started to thin, and at one point for as far as I could see was nothing but red dirt. I guess all the farmers have harvested their crops, because I couldn’t see anything growing.

    Today I spent much of my time on or around Route 66. Since I didn’t have a long drive, when I saw a Rt66 Museum I pulled over to check it out. The first museum I stopped at was the Oklahoma State Route 66 Museum. For the most part I just wanted to get some swag, but there were all sorts of other cool things to see.

    Shortly after walking through the Oklahoma Rt66 Museum, I saw a sign on the interstate for the National Route 66 Museum… so again, I pulled-over to check it out.

    After browsing the gift shops at both museums, I was able to get all sorts of great swag. I also realized that I’ve driven the G8 on Rt66 in each state that it travels through… except Kansas. It’s too late to go back to drive there now, but I’m going to have to do it on the way to GONE next year.

    Unfortunately, when visiting the National Rt66 Museum my car started to act-up with “Limp Mode” again. On the way down “Main Street USA”, just as I was debating stopping for gas, I saw the dreaded “Power Reduced” logo on my dash. Then, just as I had pulled back onto I-40, the car again went into limp mode. Fortunately I was able to exit the freeway without incident, as I just can’t seem to get the car to want to return to normal while driving. Thankfully these were the only times it happened today, and I was able to cover some ground.

    Driving through Texas has so far been a fun experience. The first thing I noticed was that there are different speed limits for day and night. I really like the idea, but I don’t think that it would ever work in California.

    Texas seems like a very flat place with lots of land. A nice thing about flat land is that is allows one “room to stretch your legs”. After letting a windmill ahead of me through a construction zone… yes, a nacelle for a large windmill… I found myself with an empty stretch of I-40.

    So, I’m on a straight, flat, empty stretch of I-40… and what should come-up along side me? A Mustang! At this point I was compelled to put my foot to the floor, but I knew better than to do that. If I had the stock hood on my car I might have given it a go, but I don’t want to be the first person to test the speed rating for the Maverick Man CF hood! It was also fortunate that I didn’t try anything, as just around the corner there were three LEO’s on the side of the interstate searching a pick-up truck!

    I pulled into Amarillo and found my hotel, but since the sun was still up decided to head over to the Cadillac Ranch for some fun. For those who doesn’t know… the Cadillac Ranch is NOT a whore house!

    The Cadillac Ranch is a series of cars buried in the ground, and is a classic piece of Route 66 history. People are even encouraged to visit the site and “tag” the cars… unfortunately I didn’t happen to bring and spray paint (‘Doh!). Maybe I can find a rattle-can and swing by tomorrow before continuing my drive West.

  • Pre-GoatRun: Day 2

    Posted on September 25th, 2011 tcorzett No comments

    I’ve decided to take things easy for the next two days, and I’m trying to catch-up on some sleep. Like yesterday, today was another day of driving on the I-40.

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    As I drove through Western Arkansas I passed a lake that was very different than what we have in California. The first thing that I spotted was a whole bunch of white stork-like birds wading in the water. The thing that I thought was really cool were all the trees growing out of the middle of the water. I couldn’t figure out if they were growing on rocks, or if it was just a really shallow lake, but either way… it was scenic.

    Something I’ve also found intriguing about driving in Arkansas is that they have signs with a phone number for report people littering. Over the past week I’ve been taking notice of the various state signs for littering… Virginia talks about a maximum of $25,000 in fines… Missouri has a $1,000 fine and/or a YEAR in jail… but Arkansas is the only one that actually has a way for people to “self-police” the law.

    The most “exciting” part of the day was when my car turned 30… that’s right, I’ve driven the G8 30,000 miles!

    I’ve known that this milestone was coming for a while, and I didn’t want to miss it. I set an alarm on my phone for ~10 minutes before it was going to happen. I setup the camera on my cell phone to take a photo or two (I wanted one of 29999 and another of 30000). I started watching the miles tick higher and higher… 29995… 29996… 29997… and then my cell phone froze! Seriously!?! Now!?!

    There wasn’t anyone behind me so I slowed way down while my phone rebooted… 29998… 29999… 30000… ‘sigh, stupid phone! Thankfully I’m good at Photoshop (yes, that image is not “real”).

    Entering Oklahoma I was surprised to see that it wasn’t a “Dust Bowl” like I imagined… heck, compared to this time of the year in California, it’s lush! There were fewer trees and more prairie than the neighboring states, with lots of grazing cattle. It also seemed that at every other exit there was a different Indian tribe’s casino.

    The drive through Eastern Oklahoma went by quickly, as I was able to team-up with a pair of cars who were “moving along well” (all three of us had radar detectors, and knew how to use them). The lead car was a new (bright orange) Dodge Challenger SRT8… and the trailing car was a PT Cruiser. I let the SRT8 get out in front of me, and with a “rabbit” (aka. the SRT8) and someone covering my back door… we “made good time”. Unfortunately the SRT8 had some troubles and pulled-off onto the side of the interstate (for what I couldn’t tell), but I’d say we trimmed at least 15 minutes off the drive.

    As I entered Oklahoma City I started looking for photogenic places for today’s image. I noticed Tinker Air Force Base, and pulled-off I-40 to try and find someplace for a great photo with an airplane.

    I drove along the side of the base, but everything of interest was behind gates/fences… so I wasn’t able to get anywhere that allow me to take the photo I wanted. Darn!

    I found my hotel and decided to go looking for a place for today’s photo. I drove along a road that passed several big-rig dealerships, but none were really photogenic. The road continued past the Oklahoma State Fair… a large bulldozer… a strip joint… but nothing was jumping out at me. I continued until I reached a point where I didn’t really feel comfortable getting out of my car with an expensive looking camera (I’ve lived such a sheltered life, I know).

    On the way back towards my hotel I found a place that I figured I could get a decent photo at…

    After some work in Photoshop, I think the resulting image is acceptable.

    One thing that was absent from today’s drive was “Limp Mode”! Hopefully this trend continues…

  • Pre-GoatRun: Day 1

    Posted on September 24th, 2011 tcorzett No comments

    Today was occupied by 8 hours of driving on Interstate 40 across Tennessee… and about two minutes in Georgia.

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    The scenery wasn’t bad, but compared to the past few days… it was crap. The driving wasn’t like I-80 through Nebraska, but compared to the past few days… it was crap. The only historical site I contemplated visiting was the Jack Daniels Distillery, but it would have required an hour detour… In hindsight I probably should have gone.

    For some reason, today there were a whole bunch of big rigs on the road… don’t they know it’s Saturday!?! For the most part I was able to work my way past them, but there were a few times it became tricky. Fortunately early on in the day I let a truck in ahead of me, so my “trucker karma” was high. While most trucks were nothing special, there were a few that I needed to get past quickly!

    While the trucks in Tennessee weren’t a problem, the drivers of cars/trucks were. I’ve driven in many places before (including with cabbies in New York City), but these guys were nuts! I was just trying to drive at my own pace, but I was getting run over left and right… by guys towing trailers… and I was still going 10 mph over the speed limit!

    To make things even worse, just as I was entering Memphis on I-40 my car decided to go into “Limp Mode”. Now, the new tune doesn’t throw a DTC that needs to be cleared, but for some reason I wasn’t able to get the car out of Limp Mode while under motion. At this point I was forced to pull-off this 5-lane intersection and beat my head against the steering wheel until my car wanted to run properly. Fortunately the merge back onto the freeway was easy… as my 0-65 mph only takes a couple of seconds!

    I only had the one issue with Limp Mode, and the rest of the drive went smoothly. After checking into my hotel and relaxing for a little while, I headed-out to find some dinner. I also spent some time driving around trying to find a decent photo location… as when I don’t include photos from the road I get complaints.

    For dinner I went to the Whole Hog Cafe for some World Championship Barbeque. I had an awesome pulled pork sandwich (with their #5 sauce) and some tasty potato salad. I was very tempted to get some more BBQ for the road, but I don’t think eating it for breakfast would be a good idea.

    Tomorrow is another day of boring driving along I-40, but I hope to make the best of it. Worst case I should be a couple hundred miles closer to GoatRun!

    Update: At one point just outside of Memphis a Gold Porsche 911 came past me. A little farther down the road I noticed him pulling off into a rest stop with his hand out of his sunroof… and it almost looked like he was flipping me off. I didn’t think I did anything stupid, but maybe it was because I was driving like a slowpoke? Well, it turns out the driver of the 911 owns a GTO, noticed my GoatRun stickers, and was trying to get me to pull into the rest stop! It would have been cool to talk with an Arkansas GOAT owner… I think there needs to be an international “GTO owner hand signal” or something!

  • Post-GONE: Day 12

    Posted on September 23rd, 2011 tcorzett No comments

    Today I was able to drive some of the most well known roads in the Country… The Tail of the Dragon and the Cherohala Skyway. I’ve been looking forward to conquering these roads for the longest time… as people online always claim they are the best driving roads in the Nation. While the roads were wet, the air was foggy, and my car has been throwing codes… nothing was going to keep me from driving these roads!

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    When I woke-up I looked out the window to find a soaked parking lot and very dark skies. I would have loved to gone back to bed, but with over 7 hours of driving planned… I needed to get started early. Also, I was trying to avoid the rain that was forecasted to increase in the afternoon.

    After a short drive on the Great Smoky Mountains Expressway (US-74) I pulled off the main drag onto NC-28 (aka. the Moonshiner 28). I would have loved to drive the entire Moonshiner, but my goal was to drive the Tail of the Dragon… maybe I can do it next time! The Moonshiner followed a river, and the morning fog was quite dense.

    After taking some photos, I got back onto the road to tackle the fog. I was a little concerned that I would need to drive the rest of the morning in the fog, but fortunately it was mostly concentrated around the river. It didn’t take long for me to reach the Tail of the Dragon, and there was nearly no fog!

    The Tail of the Dragon is in Deals Gap, NC and is famous for having 318 turns in an 11 mile stretch of road.

    Before driving The Tail, I needed to stop at the various shops to get some swag. I purchased a few T-shirts, some “I Survived…” stickers, and a few other odds-and-ends. I know it was poor taste to buy “I Survived” items before driving the road, but my planned route didn’t take me back through this area. I guess I better make it through!

    I programming my GPS with the route… I wasn’t going to get lost, but the GPS makes things almost like a video game with a “Track Map”. I turned on my headlights and started out to conquer the Tail of the Dragon. I was pumped, and just as I rounded the first corner… my car went into “limp mode”! ARGH… seriously, why now!?!

    I quickly pulled-off the road and re-started my car. The new tune that I have loaded doesn’t produce the P2135 DTCs, but the car still goes into limp mode when the DTC would have been generated. The benefit is that I don’t have a code to clear… and I think I could actually restart the car without stopping. I wasn’t delayed long, but it was enough to kill my buzz.

    So after being knocked-down a peg or two from the car troubles… I felt like I just wanted to take a relaxing drive. The Tail has a posted 30 mph speed limit (seriously!?!), so I took things easy for a while… being stuck behind some slow motorcycles didn’t help either. Fortunately I was able to get past the slower traffic and into some clean air. The farther I drove… the more my confidence came back… and it wasn’t long until I was pushing the G8 through the curves!

    The corners on The Tail are fairly tight, but I’ve driven tighter. Most of them had banking and were well marked (people have even painted “SLO” onto the ground before a few of the corners). The roads started out fairly wet, but farther down The Tail things started to dry out a bit. As I’ve done previously, I kept mostly in 3rd gear… but many of the corners wanted me in 2nd gear. Not to leave The Tail of the Dragon wanting more, I had to oblige and drop down into 2nd a couple times… but the faster pace wasn’t something I wanted to do so far from home.

    Along The Tail there were a few photographers taking pictures of the cars and bikes as they went by. I’ve normally not one to want photos of myself, but I hope that one of them got a couple cool photos. Unfortunately I’ll have to wait a few days to see…

    Update: Two of the photographers ( and US129 Photos) were able to get some good shots of me while I was driving the Tail of the Dragon!

    I’ve heard mixed reviews from people who have driven The Tail of the Dragon… and I think I’m one of those who doesn’t think it is the best driving roads in the Country. I did my run down The Tail on a Friday morning, and while traffic was low… there were still quite a few people on the road. I can only imagine how much of a traffic jam that place could be on a weekend when the weather is good! Fortunately there were no LEO’s (Sheriff/Troopers) out this morning, but I’ve heard that the 30 mph speed limit and many cops combine for lots of tickets. In the end, I’m really glad that I drove The Tail… and I still think it ranks in my Top 10 favorite roads.

    After driving The Tail of the Dragon, I drove North on a loop to return to where I started the morning. Part of this loop took me into the Smoky Mountains National Park.

    While the drive was very scenic, the roads were extremely slow and crowded with people. I spent over an hour crawling through the woods staring at the bumper of a Subaru Outback. To make things even worse, the XM Radio coverage in the area was crap… so I couldn’t even sing along to songs from the 80’s and 90’s!

    The reason for making the loop was so that I could drive the Cherohala Skyway.

    Unlike the Tail of the Dragon, the Cherohala Skyway is long (~60 miles), has a 45 mph speed limit, and was nearly deserted. Sure, there are fewer corners per mile… but I found it quite enjoyable. Another thing that the Cherohala Skyway has going for it, is changes in elevation. I kinda like to think of it as the Blue Ridge Parkway on steroids. Unfortunately by the time I was half-way through the drive the forecasted rain arrived. It didn’t lessen the drive at all, just made it wet.

    Well, my trip through the Appalachian Mountains is officially over. Tomorrow I drive West… towards Las Vegas and GoatRun!

  • Post-GONE: Day 11

    Posted on September 22nd, 2011 tcorzett No comments

    This morning there was no rain, but a dense fog alert didn’t give me any reason to rush out of the hotel. I didn’t doddle too long, as I had a full day of driving ahead of me.

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    The morning was full of very scenic roads. I spent quite some time actually driving slower than the speed limit, as I checked out the old buildings. Some of the homes and barns looked very old… I’m sure my Mother would have enjoyed them all. I also learned that there are tons of Christmas Tree farms in this area!

    The first fun section of road was on the way from Tennessee into North Carolina. At one point I thought about short cutting this section of road (just driving direct on US-19), but I’m really glad I didn’t. I was originally disappointed with the 40 mph speed limit, but once the first climb started… it was more than enough.

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    The turns were tight and the climb was steep… much like the other drives in this area. Crossing from Tennessee into North Carolina the speed limit increased to 55 mph, at the perfect time for the descent!

    While winding through the mountains, I found a spot to pull over to take a few photos.

    While climbing around my car, the guard rail, etc. I determined that I really needed to use the restroom… unfortunately, I was in the middle of no where (with all the trees at the bottom of a cliff). At this point, I was yet again happy to have a 4-door car (I will spare you the details). Eventually it didn’t matter, as there were no passers-by. Given the empty roads, I decided to take some additional photos.

    After the photos I got back onto the road and headed down the mountain and out onto the Blue Ridge Parkway.

    Much like the Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park, the Blue Ridge Parkway is a very scenic road that slowly winds itself through the forest. There are many scenic outlooks, but today the view was completely fogged-in. The fog was actually quite thick in many places… so much that I needed to slow down just to see the road.

    Yesterday I loaded a “new” tune onto my car with the attempt to stop the P2135 DTCs that I’ve been getting… well, it didn’t work. I was driving along and just like before had the car go into “limp mode”. I pulled-off into an outlook point to rest the code and to stretch my legs.

    When I got out of my car I heard two guys on motorcycles start to comment (positively) on the G8. They came over to check-out the car and talk shop. One of the guys asked if it had the 6.0L V8… and his eyes grew when I said it was supercharged. The other guy mentioned that his son has been asking him to get a G8. We shared some storied from the road, and talked about great roads to drive (they kept mentioning US-421, aka. “The Snake“)

    I continued to get periodic P2135 DTCs as I drove, so after lunch I decided to load another new tune onto my car. I don’t know specifically what is different with this tune, but my mechanic suggested I give it a shot. Right now we’re thinking more and more that there is something physically wrong with a sensor. I’m going to need to have things checked-out, but hopefully it can wait until I return home.

    After lunch I headed back out towards the Blue Ridge Parkway. The road that I was driving on had a detour (stupid bridge closure), but I’m glad I didn’t get lost as the subsequent road was a great drive.

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    This was a very technical section of road, and many of the corners were just begging for me to use 2nd gear… but again, with wet roads (and a lack of traction) 3rd gear was my only option.

    Back on the Blue Ridge Parkway I found myself at it’s highest point.

    I didn’t stop to take a photo (the above image was something I found on the web) because I didn’t want to wait for the group of bikers to disperse from their photo.

    Today was a long day, but I decided to take my last “optional” loop. The first part was a little bumpy, but the turns were challenging. Unfortunately, I quickly found myself stuck behind a pair of motorcycles. I can understand not wanting your woman to fall-off the back of your bike, but going 15 mph under the 45 mph speed limit is just not acceptable!

    The second leg of the loop was not a fun one, as the road was covered with gravel and “fresh tar”. I had to slow down, but there were a few times where I wanted to play rally driver and drift around the corners!

    Yet again I had a really lucky day when it came to the weather. While there was fog, and the roads were fairly damp, I never got caught in the rain. Hopefully tomorrow the rain will hold out long enough for me to drive one of the most iconic roads in America!

  • Post-GONE: Day 10

    Posted on September 21st, 2011 tcorzett No comments

    For the first time, in a long time, I took a day-off to relax and recover. The rain that was foretasted showed-up, so I didn’t miss much by sleeping in. Around 10:00 am my package arrived at the hotel, so I got myself out of bed and by butt into gear.

    Before I left for my road trip I had my mechanic order me a copy of HP Tuners. This is the same software that he used to build the tune for my car, and gives me complete access to retune my car. Add-in a connection to the Internet and I have access to my tuner wherever I am… like in the middle of Tennessee! With the HP Tuners hardware and software in hand, I have the chance to try and deal with this pesky P2135 DTCs that have been plaguing me lately.

    My mechanic sent me a few different files for my car… and I loaded the first onto the car.

    This “new” tune is actually the old one I was using before I left for my Cross Country trip. Before leaving there were a few little tweaks made to my tune to help with a long distance drive. While I’m unsure exactly what is causing the P2135 DTCs at this point (hardware, electrical, tune, long-term trim tables, etc.), it was never something I had seen with the old tune… so by reloading the old tune, we’re isolating at least one of the variables.

    After loading the “new” tune I fired-up the G8 and everything sounded great. I gave it a little gas… and it sounded even better! After a short drive around the parking lot I found a nice dead end road to play in. I only did a little “testing”, but the car seems a bit more “peppy”.

    The bulk of the rest of the day was spent doing laundry and catching-up on being a couch potato. After my laundry was done, I felt like getting back behind the wheel to “test” the car a bit more.

    View Larger Map

    The drive was short and sweet, but it was just what I needed to get back into the mood for my roadtrip. The curves were gentile, but that was also a good thing since the road was wet. In a few places, the sun found it’s way through the clouds and steam was rising from the roads… which never gets old. While I didn’t receive any DTCs, the drive was too short for a definitive “it’s fixed” answer.

    Today I saw my first bicyclist! I’ve been really shocked that in the previous 5354 miles of my roadtrip I’ve not seen a single bicyclist on the twisty roads. This has been quite a (positive) surprise for me… if this was California, most of these roads would be crawling with spandex clad riders. While I still keep an eye-out for cyclists, not having to deal with them has allowed me to have a more enjoyable experience.

    When I started back towards my hotel the skies opened up and the rain started to fall. It wasn’t anything too crazy, but it definitely made me want to get off the road. Fortunately my hotel was close, and the rain even decided to stop when I arrived (so I didn’t get wet walking in).

    Recently I contemplated jumping ahead to drive a few select portions of road… then returning home early. I still need to double-check the maps, but I think my roadtrip will continue on as planned tomorrow.