Life is Great with a 6.0-liter V8
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  • Road Trip: Day 33

    Posted on September 30th, 2012 tcorzett No comments

    Yesterday when I checked into my hotel I was offered the option of a “late checkout”, but there was no way I was going to be sleeping late today… I had hours of twisty roads to drive!

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    It was 40°F when I went out to the G8, so it took me a little while to warm everything up. I made my way to Carbondale before stopping for gas and breakfast, and with my tanks full I started down Highway 133. It was early for a Sunday and the road was almost empty, which made for a great drive.

    The road followed a river, so again I found myself surrounded by Aspens with color-changing leaves. There were a couple other cars pulled over with people taking photos, and I didn’t want to look like a tourist, so kept driving. At first the road was at the bottom of the canyon, but at one point it turned sharply and climbed steeply up and out through McClure Pass.

    My favorite part of today’s drive was Highway 92 around the Black Canyon and the Morrow Point Reservoir.

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    The roads were empty, speed limits reasonable, and the scenery was spectacular. How good was it? I drove it 3 times! The first time through I was enjoying the roads, trying to think how I could share the experience with others… when I remembered I have my GoPro!

    After driving the route with the video camera I made another pass taking a few moments to stop and take photos.

    After returning to civilization and eating lunch I made my way towards the Grand Mesa. The climb up the mesa was great, as I was chasing two motorcycles. I would have liked to push a bit harder, but I didn’t want to crowd the bikes (the second rider seems a bit timed). Unfortunately the bikes pulled-off to take some photos, so I had to go play on my own.

    I know I’ve taken a ton of photos of the golden leaves, but the views from the top of the mesa was just too good to pass-up.

    The last portion of today’s drive was at the bottom of a meandering canyon carved by the Colorado river; the walls must have been at least 200 feet straight up! Traffic had increased, but at this point I wanted to get to my hotel to look at the photos and video from earlier today.

    Tomorrow I’ll be doing a mix of mountain climbing, interstate cruising, and national park exploring. It’s going to be a long day, but I’m looking forward to seeing some of the landmarks that make Utah famous.

  • Road Trip: Day 32

    Posted on September 29th, 2012 tcorzett No comments

    The past few days have been a bit scrambled due to the inclement weather “dumping” snow on the roads I wanted to drive. I could have moved-on early, but I spent yesterday relaxing while I waited-out the storms. When I woke-up this morning I checked the various webcams and it looked like my patients paid off!

    With blue skies and a road that looked to be snow free I rushed out of the hotel and set my sights on Pikes Peak! Turns out yesterday I was just down the street from Pikes Peak, but with all the clouds I didn’t realize it. After paying my admission I began my climb to the summit!

    I was somewhat disappointed by the slow speed limits, mostly 25 or 35mph, but I can understand it. There were quite a few cyclists on the road, and with few guardrails, high speeds wouldn’t have been advised. As a reminder, I even saw the skid marks on the pavement from where a competitor had their throttle stick at this year’s Pikes Peak Hill Climb. It’s really hard to believe these guys can make the climb in less than 10 minutes!

    The climb to the summit took me almost an hour, but it hardly felt that long. The weather was perfect and the road was completely dry. There were so many scenic vistas to take-in; and of course I had to stop a few times for photos.

    When I reached the summit (14,110 feet) I was feeling a little light headed… I guess that’s why so many of the items in the gift shop said, “Got Oxygen?”! After wandering in circles for a while, I set out to taking some photos to document my expedition.

    On the way down Pikes Peak I did a great job keeping my brakes from getting too hot, and when I reached the mandatory brake check area the worker just laughed and waved me on. Using 2nd and 3rd gear worked well and my transmission temperature never even went above 200°F. I’m still running my track brake pads (HP+ on front and HPS on rear) so would have been fine even if I’d pushed things.

    After finishing the descent I proceeded towards Aspen on my planned route for the day.

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    Highway 24 had more traffic than I was expecting, but there were still a few places where I could stretch my legs and have some fun. I did a good job avoiding the unmarked police cars and worked my way towards Highway 82 and Independence Pass.

    From here I found myself surrounded by “leafers”… which made the roads impossible to drive in a “spirited manner”. Fortunately I too was caught-up with all the brilliant colors and didn’t care that I was creeping along in traffic. Every turn could have been a postcard, so I found a quiet place to stop and take a few photos.

    I never planned on being in this area to see the leaves change colors, but I really lucked-out. Add in the great weather for today and I couldn’t have asked for anything more.

    Tomorrow I make the drive to Grand Junction (~1.5hrs via I-70), but will do my best to drive as many twisty roads as possible (~5.5hrs)!

  • Road Trip: Day 31

    Posted on September 28th, 2012 tcorzett 1 comment

    Due to the snow/ice on Pikes Peak today turned into a “Recovery Day”… so I recovered! For the first time in longer than I can remember I didn’t set an alarm for this morning. When I eventually rolled-over, debating to get out of bed, it felt like noon… but it was still only 10am.

    I double-checked the webcams at the summit of Pikes Peak, but despite having a few visitors, there was still too much snow for me to make the trip.

    Having a whole day with zero plans, I quickly set to work making plans for the day.

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    After getting some breakfast I went to Walmart for a new razor then headed to the Garden of the Gods. I had planned on only driving around the park, but after seeing all the great rock formations I parked and walked around a bit.

    The Garden of the Gods was very impressive, even if it wasn’t a “driving road”. I was even able to find a place to pullover to take my daily photo of the G8.

    I’ve been on the road for a month and started to run low on clean clothes, so I headed back to my hotel and did some laundry. With nothing else planned for this evening, I think I’ll relax for a while before getting a good night sleep.

    Tomorrow I head back into the mountains of Colorado for some fun on twisty roads. I’ll be going to someplace warm… where the beer flows like wine… where beautiful women instinctively flock like the salmon of Capistrano… I’m talking about a little place called Aspen!

  • Road Trip: Day 30

    Posted on September 27th, 2012 tcorzett No comments

    Last night was another filled with thunderstorms… unfortunately this time it was accompanied with hail. ACK! I inspected the G8 in the morning and didn’t see any damage, but I’ll have to take a closer look when I get home just to make sure.

    Traffic the morning was heavier than I expected, so I avoided driving into Denver on route to the mountains for some fun driving on twisty roads!

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    The first road I drove was up and down Lookout Mountain; which was the perfect “wake-up call”. After letting a local Jeep past, I disregarded the 20mph speed limit and had a total blast chasing him down. Have I mentioned before how much I love switchbacks?

    The next portion of the drive was on Highway 6 through a deep river gorge. The road closely followed the river, but several times needed tunnels to keep-up. If the speed limit was a little higher it would have been great fun… although it wouldn’t have mattered. The only thing I hate more than slow speed limits are slower drivers! In this case it was exceptionally bad… I’m guessing it was a blue haired person heading to the casinos.

    After stopping for breakfast in Idaho Springs I back-tracked a little to “Exit 243” in search of the “Central City Parkway“. While the road wasn’t anything spectacular, the whole area is filled with trees whose leaves have changed to a brilliant golden color. Even with overcast skies it looked like someone had spattered paint across the mountainsides.

    The area around Central City and Black Hawk was once known as “the Richest Square Mile on Earth”. It has now turned into a Casino town, but I really liked how it still had an “old mining town” feel.

    After making my way back into Idaho Springs I started my climb up to Mt Evans. Just as I exited the interstate the sky opened-up and the rain poured-down… reminding me why the road to the summit was closed.

    I’m really glad I decided to make the trip, even if to just get a photo in front of the barricade. The drive was beautiful; every corner was a photograph waiting to happen. To make it even more special, the road was steaming from the earlier rain!

    The road leading away from Mt Evans was fun and the light dusting of snow (from the rain I experienced earlier) made it even more challenging. I’m running Bridgestone RE-11’s… an “Extreme Performance Summer” tire that is “not intended to be driven in near-freezing temperatures, through snow, or on ice”. I can now vouch that they do not work at all in the snow… seems like a trip up Pikes Peak is out of the question.

    I arrived in Colorado Springs early in the afternoon and decided it was time to service the G8. I re-filled the windshield washer fluid and even had the oil changed! What… isn’t it normal for people to travel thousands of miles with 9 quarts of oil and a filter?

    Tomorrow I had planned on driving up Pikes Peak, but they are still forecasting a 30% chance of snow. Given how incapable my tires are in the snow, I think I’ll be spending the day recovering.

  • Road Trip: Day 29

    Posted on September 26th, 2012 tcorzett No comments

    Last night the weather decided to get dramatic, and not long after I went to sleep a line of thunderstorms passed through the area. This morning there were a few lingering showers, but nothing major.

    Today consisted of a very long and boring drive across Kansas and Eastern Colorado. You know it’s going to be a long day when the GPS says, “In 410 miles turn left”!

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    I slowly worked through the miles, looking at the clock far too often. It didn’t take long for the songs on the radio to start repeating… at which point I quickly realized I’m terrible at karaoke. While I survived, I really don’t know how I’ll be able to make it through the scheduled 9.5hr drive across Nevada on I-50 I’ll be doing in a week!

    I drove 7,849 with zero issues, but today I received a “Contact Dealer” alert. At first I thought it was my “Rest Reminder”, but I turned that off last year… and the fuel gauge was showing completely empty. The code that was thrown was P0461 “Fuel level sensor circuit range/performance”. The G8 was running fine… fuel pressure was up, pumps were turning on, etc. I checked the fuel level reading on my DashHawk and it showed 38% (which is where it should have been). I was planning to stop and investigate, but after ~40 miles the alert cleared and the fuel gauge returned to normal. I’ll keep an eye-out for other fuel issues, but so far it seems this was just a hiccup.

    As I approached the Denver area I spotted a rain cloud in the distance. I figured it would make for a dramatic background, but before I could find a good place to stop for a photo… I was in the thick of it! At times the rain was so heavy I could feel my tires having a difficult time pushing through the standing water. Fortunately the rain didn’t last long and cleared-out as I arrived at my hotel.

    After checking into the hotel I ventured out to take my daily photo of the G8. I tried a few places but with no success. I found a transit station with a cool bridge, but it was in a bus pick-up/drop-off area. Disregarding the “do not enter” signs I swung around, parked briefly, and snapped a few photos.

    I had originally planned to spend the next two days in a rental car driving to some of the highest roads in the US, but the weather doesn’t seem to be cooperating.

    I’ve rearranged hotels with the hope that maybe the snow will melt, but it’s not looking good. Oh well, I guess this is a good excuse to return to Colorado next year!

  • Road Trip: Day 28

    Posted on September 25th, 2012 tcorzett No comments

    Today I had the privilege of spending my morning driving on The Mother Road… Route 66! I had originally planned on just hitting a few places, but last night I decided to drive as much of the route as I could.

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    Route 66 is a really nostalgic road to drive, with lots of little houses and old farms… my mom would love this area. Compared to the interstate, Rt66 is much more “natural” and flows with the land… but unfortunately all the modern roads make it quite difficult to navigate. Next time I’ll have to pre-load all of Route 66 into my GPS!

    The first stop for today was Gary’s Gay Parita Sinclair Station. I arrived just before 9am and was a little worried that no one would be around, but Gary was there waiting with coffee and doughnuts! I introduced myself and spent the next hour being guided around the garage/station… I even popped the top off some Route 66 Root Beer and sat on the porch sharing stories from the road. Of course I had to take a bunch of photos too!

    Before departing Gary provided some directions to circumvent the detour up the road. This was really helpful, as I never would have found my way back to Route 66 without his help. He also pointed out how to get to a stretch of the route that’s still the original concrete!

    After navigating through the various sections of Route 66 in Missouri I finally made my way to Kansas! Rt66 only travels 13 miles in Kansas, but there are quite a few great places to visit. The best, by far, was 4 Women on the Route.

    Not only did I see “Tow Tater”, the inspiration for ‘Mater from the movie Cars, I had a great conversation with “Melba the Mouth”.

    After leaving Galena I headed to the Rainbow bridge; the last remaining Marsh arch bridge… built of concrete in 1923.

    I’ve now driven Route 66 in every state that it travels through! When I get home I’m going to have to track down one of the Route 66 postmark maps. I was tempted to get one today, but didn’t want to risk damaging it.

    The remainder of my drive was Kansas; and there’s only one thing I need to say about that… there’s a reason it’s the last state in the mid-west to be filled-in on my map! The only good part was the slalom course through the cones in a construction zone.

    Tomorrow is another long day of driving across flat ground, but I will be making my way towards the mountains of Colorado for a few days of twisty fun!

  • Road Trip: Day 27

    Posted on September 24th, 2012 tcorzett No comments

    For the first day in several days I didn’t have a list of scheduled activities. As a result I set my alarm for an hour later than normal… and even then hit the snooze button at least three times. Despite all of that I was on the road before 10am, ready for several hours of interstate driving.

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    There were no planned stops today, but I found a few places along the way to break-up the interstate driving. The first stops were around Springfield, IL and Route 66. After grabbing some breakfast I headed to Shea’s Gas Station Museum, but unfortunately it was closed today (and every Monday). I also tried to go to the Illinois State Military Museum, to get a photo with a tank, but it too is closed on Monday. With no luck at museums I headed to Linclon’s Tomb… they can’t close that!

    Having driven around and circles for over an hour, I tried to get back on the interstate quickly, but was delayed by some farm vehicles. Only in the mid-West do you have to race a tractor from the stoplights!

    I drove several of these roads last year and it was fun to know where I was for a change. I even recognized the section of Route 66 that was under construction last year (and the crazy detour I took). The new bridge looks great!

    Most of the route today was quite boring, but I did spend some time looking at the scenery. Besides all the billboards for tourist traps, one of the most prominent features of the landscape are the large water towers in each town. This is something that’s completely lacking from where I’m from, so it’s kinda cool to see.

    Speaking of water… this whole area is extremely dry this year. At first I thought the brown corn fields was due to being two weeks later in the season, but it’s a result of a record breaking drought. It’s strange to see knee-high corn fields half harvested, soy fields completely untouched, etc.

    Last night I decided that there was no reason for me to stop at the Gateway Arch in St. Louis again this year, but on the road I called an audible and stopped anyhow.

    I know I took an identical photo to last year, but it’s such a nice view! Just for those who want a different angle of the arch… click here.

    I made the drive through St. Louis and headed down towards my hotel for the night. For the most part I stayed on the interstate, but there were a few times I pulled-off to enjoy a stretch of Route 66. I even found a nice Rt66 Antique shop where I bought a map of Kansas… I don’t want to miss like I did last year!

    Tomorrow I’ll finally drive the short stretch of Route 66 in Kansas. This will also fill-in Kansas on my state map… hopefully ending the “what do you have against Kansas” questions.

  • GONE 2012: Day 3

    Posted on September 23rd, 2012 tcorzett No comments

    Today was the final day of GONE 2012. With a morning awards banquet I didn’t get a chance to sleep-in before having to pack-up the hotel. I didn’t have time to eat breakfast, but I did get everything into the trunk of the G8… which is no small feat.

    At the banquet the awards for the various car show and drag racing classes, as well as raffle prizes, were handed-out. I didn’t win anything, but it was great seeing all the winners. Before long the morning was over and it was time for everyone to head their separate ways.

    I planned on making the trip to Pontiac again this year, and hoped there were be a big turnout like last year, but only 3 cars (including myself) made the trip. I’m sure we made for a strange group… a car from California, one from Oaklahoma, and another from New York. Since I was the only one of the group that had been to Pontiac before (and since I had the route in my GPS) I lead the cruise.

    This year we arrived at the Pontiac-Oakland Auto Museum with enough time to really explore.

    After visiting the Pontiac Museum, and getting some more swag, we headed to the alley behind the Route 66 Museum to take some photos of the G8’s with the various murals.

    Far too quickly it was time to say goodbye to the other G8 owners and start my trip home. The next few days I’ll be driving across the mid-west on route to the mountains of Colorado. I have to get to Kansas and drive my last section of Route 66 (filling-in my state map), but after that I might be making some modifications to my planned route. It will take me another two weeks to get back to California, but I’m headed that direction.

  • GONE 2012: Day 2

    Posted on September 22nd, 2012 tcorzett No comments

    GONE was in full swing today… the car show in the morning, cruise in the afternoon, and a dinner at night! With the rain yesterday my car wasn’t looking at it’s best. There was just enough dirt that I didn’t want to do a “waterless wash” so I headed back to Total Detailing Auto Spa. I probably just needed to hose-down the car, but figured a full wash would be nice.

    For the first time in the life of the G8 I took it through an automatic car wash. Yeah, I know others have done it before, but I’ve always hand washed the G8. While the car looked great, a little piece of me died inside… ‘sigh.

    I arrived at the car show and took a few minutes to take care of the little details. I don’t have many appearance mods, so figure the show is more for fun than winning a trophy, but I wanted to put my best foot forward. All the hard work seemed to work as quite a few people commented on how great the G8 “cleaned-up” after my long drive.

    Most of the early afternoon was spent walking around the car show admiring all of the different things that can be done to a G8. It really is cool to see how each owner has chosen to customize their car. Trying to pick a car for each of the show categories was really hard!

    After the car show everyone grouped together for the cruise. The route was the same as last year, but without the stop at Poopy’s for dinner; we also started a little earlier… all so that we’d get back to the hotel before dark.

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    Since I had the route programmed into my GPS I became one of the “locals” who were designated “leaders”. The idea was to break-up the cars into groups of ~10 with a leader to keep people together and on route. I’ve lead quite a few cruises before, so did my best to keep everyone together… it didn’t take long until I had ~30 G8’s in line behind me!

    Leading a cruise can be a little stressful… trying to keep everyone together, not getting lost, avoiding speeding tickets, etc. Fortunately I was able to relax a bit and enjoy the drive. Unfortunately I wasn’t really able to drive “spirited” through the hills, as I didn’t want to leave people behind, but oh well.

    Mid-way through the cruise we stopped-off at a little island for some photos. Driving up to the island I was really impressed to see the previous two groups of G8’s waiting… a crowd of people lining the road watching us drive up. All told there were 51 G8’s parked on the island!

    The drive back to the hotel was nice, and the scenic views were highlighted by the clouds and setting sun. Being in the lead I spent most of my time looking at G8’s in the rear view mirror, but as we approached Bettendorf (and people knew where they were going) they started to drive a bit more independently. Now with cars all around me, driving towards the sunset, I felt right at home!

    We pulled into the hotel just as the staff was rolling-out dinner. It’s been quite cold the past few days, but that didn’t spoil the fun. After some much needed grub some people headed inside to the casino, others took-over a lounge for consumption of beer, and a few even went to a local cruise night.

    Tomorrow is the last day of GONE and consists of an awards banquet and a cruise to Pontiac, Illinois. It’s going to be difficult to say goodbye to everyone, but it will be good to check-out Pontiac again… and at some point I need to start my journey back towards California.

  • GONE 2012: Day 1

    Posted on September 21st, 2012 tcorzett No comments

    Today is the first official day of the G8 Nationals (GONE)! I sluggishly woke-up to take my car to the Total Detailing Auto Spa for my 8am detailing appointment. The guys who worked on my car did a great job with the clay bar and now my paint is actually smooth again! Unfortunately only minutes after leaving the detailer mother nature decided to rain on my parade (literally). On the bright side, at least my paint is clean enough to use detail spray without needing to worry about scratching-up everything!

    Since I registered yesterday, I decided to go back to my hotel and relax a bit. Mid-day I headed to GONE and met-up with several people who I’ve been talking with online for years. It was really great to see everyone and talk about our cars.

    It wasn’t long before everyone got together for the drive to the drag strip. I decided long ago that I wasn’t going to be racing my car this year… I didn’t even bring my helmet/jacket. Since I was just spectating I decided to take the opportunity and grab a few photos.

    After the rain earlier in the day the weather tonight was quite cool. With the cold air the DA (density altitude) was helping to produce great times on track. Unfortunately once the sun went down sitting in the grandstands wasn’t very comfortable. After a few rounds of racing I decided to call it a night.

    Tomorrow is a big day at GONE; first the car show and then the cruise…