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  • 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.

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    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!

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