Imagine having 23 days to travel 9593 miles (15441km), 18 US states, 5 Canadian provinces and seven time zone changes in a 650 horsepower sports car. Your job is simple; find some of Americas most scenic and trying enthusiast routes to put this beast through her paces….and maybe stop to catch your breath for a bit along the way.
From the Shenandoah’s into Blue Ridge, over to 421 The Snake, down to the Tail of the Dragon, through to Angeles National Forest and then negotiating the Pacific Coast Highway, this trip definitely wasn’t for the faint of heart. Now add to that world class sightseeing, close encounters with elk, moose, bear and deer, an unexpected drive through a forest fire and getting bumped from behind by a tractor trailer yet driving away; this Canada/US tour becomes something more than just memorable.
Our ‘test car’ is a brand new 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 built this past May and received less than two months prior to the trip. It is a very limited edition Canadian version of the first year of the C7 Z06 release, boasting 650 horsepower/ft-lb torque. GM claims the new Z06 is as comfortable on the track and challenging road courses as it is taking the time to travel across the country; we couldn’t resist.
For those that like to pack everything but the kitchen sink when they travel, you just might be surprised at the rear trunk space. For golfers…yes your full set of clubs will fit. Considering this is a husband and wife adventure where the journey is more important than the destination, vehicle comfort is a must and a great driving experience is the ultimate goal.
For those auto enthusiasts, this Z06 is an A8 automatic, with a 2LZ interior, navigation and performance data recorder, along with a Stage 2 Aero exterior. Touring seats were chosen in place of competition sport seats for the expected longer driving days, the interior has been enhanced with a Caravaggio custom steering wheel and carbon fiber dash and center console, and Stage 3 Aero splitter ends and rear wickerbill have been added.
Our best mileage was 28mpg, worst was 3mpg while negotiating some hair-raising mountain roads in Angeles National Forest, and the average over the entire trip was 21.3mpg. If you are looking for a complete report on the new Z06 performance, purchase, appearance and configurations, our previous article, ‘Chasing The Corvette C7 Z06 – GM’s Pursuit of Auto Perfection’ has earned some great recognition.
Our trip brought us from Niagara, Canada, through New York, Pennsylvania, and followed the top of the Shenandoah Mountains and Blue Ridge Parkway through Virginia and West Virginia. From there, we crossed over to Bristol, Tennessee and followed ‘421 The Snake Run’ east to Mountain City. ‘The Snake’ covers an area of only 33 miles but traverses 3 mountains and one valley for a total of 489 curves.
We then headed down to the ‘Tail of the Dragon’ which boasts 318 curves in 11 miles, before heading up to the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky. We followed West through Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, and then south through Utah into Arizona where we visited the Northern Rim of the Grand Canyon.
From there, we followed through Nevada to the Angeles National Forest, Hollywood and then up the Pacific Coast Highway through San Francisco and into Oregon. Once in Oregon, we traveled up to Crater Lake National Forest, into Washington and along the 101, crossing to Vancouver Island via Port Angeles where we spent a day on the Island. From there, we traveled through Jasper National Park in British Columbia to Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and finally back to Ontario.
SLOWING THINGS DOWN JUST A BIT
Over 90GB of video and 4000 pictures were taken during this ‘test’ run of the new Corvette C7 Z06, much to much to include in a single report. The following pages will encompass some of the key locations and experiences of our trip and we guarantee it to be a ‘photo and video journey’ very least.