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23 Days, 9.5K miles, 18 States, 5 Provinces & 7 Time Zones – The Ultimate 2015 Corvette Z06 Test Drive

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.

IMG_23591

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.

Engine

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.

Karen, Z06 and Ice Cream

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.

Caravaggio Wheel Dash and Console

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.

IMG_3085THE ROUTE

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.

Corvette Z06 ALLFLASH Pennsylvania Border

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.

Capture

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.

Police Visit the Z06This wasn’t a police stop, but rather, a neighborly stop to welcome us to the Bristol area as we entered Hwy 421 ‘The Snake Run’ and provide compliment on the Z06.

Entering the ParkNext up…. Shenandoah’s, Snake Run and Tail of the Dragon!

  • Norman Hendrickson

    Excellent write up, Les. That is one amazing journey. Color me jealous.

  • Parker Bowen

    Thank you so much for documenting your adventure! I’ve always wanted to do a cross country road trip/adventure. Seeing the glimpses of what it is like truly motivates me to create my own journey some day soon. I love the not having a schedule part! Simply plan loosely, and hop in the car and see where it takes you. I can’t wait. I currently have a c6 Lingenfelter that I might take the journey on.

    Again thanks so much. Rarely do I ever find an article that keeps my attention from beginning to end. This one truly motivates me. I’m glad you and your wife had a great time and a safe journey.

    Take care!

    • Thank you very much Parker and I hope we meet up someday. This was quite the compliment and feel free to share or pass this on within any circles you feel it may be valuable!

  • im so jealous!