Life is Great with a 6.0-liter V8
RSS icon Email icon Home icon
  • Road Trip: Day 3

    Posted on August 31st, 2012 tcorzett No comments

    I’m really glad tomorrow is a “recovery day”, as today was another long day of driving through the twisties.

    View Larger Map

    After waking-up a bit earlier than planned, I headed out to get some breakfast, then started North on Highway 32 towards Lassen Volcanic National Park. I didn’t know what to expect from this route, but it turned-out to be a nice drive. The road worked its way through the pine trees following a river (complete with a fisherman), steadily climbing up into the mountains.

    I had a great time laughing at just how much torque the G8 has… I easily climbed to an elevation 7,000 feet at 55mph in 6th gear! Even when I needed to pass a slower vehicle, I didn’t even need to down-shift… just added a few revs and away I went. That being said, there were a few times I “quickly” made the pass… you know, so the other driver didn’t have to stop when using a turnout… and the G8 performed flawlessly at WOT.

    When I got to Lassen National Park I was able to purchase a new America the Beautiful annual pass. Last year it took me forever to find one, but this year I’ll have one for my entire trip!

    I planned my route to drive through Lassen National Park, because of the twisty roads, but never really thought about the park itself. While the roads only had a 35mph speed limit, I barely noticed… I was far too busy looking at all the scenery.

    After leaving Lassen I jumped on Highway 44, but it was boring… very much a “point A to point B” sort of road. I also found myself stuck behind several groups of Labor Day Weekend campers (towing trailers). It was so bad that when I reached Redding I didn’t want to stop for lunch and risk being stuck again.

    Yesterday I drove Highway 36, which turned out to be a euphoric experience. Today it was time for Highway 299, and while it wasn’t as good, it was still enjoyable…. lots of long sweeping corners!

    This road is more heavily traveled, and with the holiday weekend, I spent more time behind slower traffic (many hauling trailers). In addition to the weekenders, it was also spotted with large road construction projects. Over the ~135 miles there must have been at least a dozen sections that were closed-down to a single lane of traffic. Unfortunately this resulted in large groups of cars closely spaced on the road… at least the G8 had no problems taking advantage of passing lanes!

    Tomorrow I get to sleep in and recover a bit. With only 190 miles to drive I can take my time on my way into Oregon.

  • Road Trip: Day 2

    Posted on August 30th, 2012 tcorzett No comments

    The first word that comes to mind about today’s drive is… WOW! I know I’ve not been driving the G8 much over the past few months, but I didn’t expect to feel like this worn-out so quickly… I feel like I just got my ass kicked.

    The route for today headed North out of Ukiah up the coast on Highway 1 then across into the Central Valley on Highway 36.

    View Larger Map

    The drive up Highway 101 wasn’t anything to write home about, but the traffic was light. Things really started to pick-up when I turned onto Highway 20 and headed into the redwoods. These road and scenery reminded me of the Santa Cruz hills, and I really enjoyed pushing the G8 through the turns.

    During one of the descents I found myself behind an 18-wheeler hauling lumber. It clearly wasn’t the driver’s first time on the road, as he was doing a great job “using all the road”… including the “rumble-strips”. I was shocked just how quickly he was driving, especially with such a heavy load. The great thing about roads designed for trucking is that they are perfect for “spirited driving”.

    The fog at the coast was fairly heavy, so while the roads were great the views of the Pacific Ocean were not as spectacular as I’d hoped. Hopefully one of the days I’ve planned driving along the coast will be clear.

    When Highway 1 left the coast and headed inland towards Hwy101 it really got good.

    For about 20 miles the road snaked up and over the mountains, curving through large redwoods. The road was flawless, and it made for a nice drive.

    Despite getting slowed by a couple construction zones, the spirits of Pontiac were looking down on me today… There wasn’t a single time all day where I was held-up behind a slow moving vehicle! I even found a cool carving for today’s obligatory photo.

    I was also blessed with an abundance of 55mph speed limits… despite roads that were nearly impossible to even drive at that speed. I kept asking myself, “How do they expect me to drive 55mph on this road… I’m pushing hard, yet only going 45mph.”

    After stopping for a quick lunch (and to call-in for a work telecon) I started Eastbound on Highway 36. I’ve been looking forward to driving this road for quite a while, as it “has taken on an almost higher state” for some. After driving this road, I have to agree with them 100%.

    What makes this road so great? Well, it starts with a sign warning semi-trucks of tight corners for the next 140 miles! The speed limit is almost entirely at 55mph (but you’d have to be completely insane to try to take most stretches at that speed). The majority of the pavement is smooth and well maintained. Still not convinced? Check out the elevation profile!

    My favorite part about Hwy 36 is the wide variety of corners. Traveling Eastbound the drive starts out with a steep climb with lots of technical corners (little banking, blind exits, etc.). The middle section has a mix of climbs and descents with sweeping corners. The final section is truly a “natural terrain road course” that drapes like a ribbon over the countryside.

    Now the road didn’t come without it’s excitement… the early part was being repaved, resulting in several long delays. Just after the “trucks beware” sign was one saying “pavement ends 2 miles”. At this point I was afraid as there isn’t an alternate route (and every other vehicle ahead of me are 4×4 trucks). Fortunately the unpaved road was only ~100 yards long and I was able to tip-toe my way through. Another fun part was when I came around a corner to find a cow standing in my lane!

    Of all the roads I’ve driven, Highway 39 definitely one of the Top 5. I’d put it up against The Tail of the Dragon and The Cherohala Skyway. If it was closer to home it would for sure be my favorite road in California.

    Overall today was awesome, but it definitely was tiring. I will need to drink a bunch of water and get a good night sleep… as tomorrow has another 290 miles of twisty roads scheduled!

  • On the Road Again: Day 1

    Posted on August 29th, 2012 tcorzett No comments

    Today I set out on another crazy Road Trip. The destination, like last year, is the National G8 Meet in Iowa… but this year I’m not taking the long way there. Over the next few weeks I’ll be driving thousands of miles on all sorts of fun roads!

    After packing the final provisions I headed-out to start my journey. Today’s drive was a short one (only ~5 hours), but it covered several great roads I’ve never driven before.

    View Larger Map

    The freeways leaving the Bay Area were congested, like always, and I was really looking forward to get out on the backroads. Once I pulled-off the I-80 and headed into the foothills I started to really feel like I’m on a vacation. The traffic today was really light, being mid-day on a weekday I’m sure helped, and made the drive very enjoyable.

    The last time I drove around Lake Berryessa I saw some cool animals (deer, turkey, etc.), and today was no different… first there was a roadrunner (running on the road) and then a peacock!

    Highway 128 looked to have been recently re-paved, and it made for a smooth ride around the lake and down into Napa. With moderate climbs and sweeping turns this was a great road to warm-up on. One of these days I need to lead the NorCal GOATs on a cruise up here.

    View Larger Map

    Being late-August the hills were golden in color, and the vineyards really stood-out on the landscape. On my way out of Napa I made the mandatory stop for a quick photo.

    After leaving Napa I turned onto Highway 29 North and started on the best section of road of the day.

    View Larger Map
    How is it possible that I’ve never driven this road before? Seriously… it was awesome! The pavement was flawless, turns flowing, and the 6-8% grade made things a bit more challenging.

    I’ve driven many twisty roads, but the incredible part about this one is just how many passing lanes there are. Just about every other turn there was a passing lane, and with no one else on the road, allowed for some great apexing (without needing to cross the center line).

    Highway 175 up Boggs Mountain was fun, and made for a nice combo with Hwy29. I wonder if any of the NorCal GOATs would be interested in a cruise this far North… not likely, but the roads are worthy of a visit!

    The route around Clear Lake wasn’t as fun as I’d hoped, with many slow radar-monitored sections, but it was quite scenic. I found a spot to pull-off the road to take a couple photos.

    The remainder of the drive was mundane, but went by quickly. I’m spending the night in Ukiah, and the air quality is very poor due to a 34,119 acre wildfire… also, the hotel parking lots are packed with fire trucks (I’m glad I made hotel reservations).

    Tomorrow I continue my trip by driving to Chico… It’s going to be a long day (~7hrs), but most of the roads will be nice and twisty!