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  • 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!

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