2009 Dodge Viper: Making Time From SLC to LA
June 02, 2010
After the WSBK race wrapped up at Miller Motorsports Park (poor Mr. Checa) I decided to head home by driving south from the track instead of taking the interstate route through Salt Lake City. Aside from refraining from jalapenos on my hot dogs, it was the best decision I made all weekend. More after the jump.
Instead of the occasionally-populated and regularly-patrolled Interstate 15, I was practically all alone on the two-lane State Highway 36 before it turned into Highway 6 and then Highway 257, all desolate stretches of two-lane.
As capable as the Viper is on a racetrack, I'd say it's just as much fun on the open road. Get a nice wide open stretch and it just goes, in practically any gear. I didn't test its upper limits, but I didn't feel the need to as it's just as satisfying to roll up and down at considerably slower speeds. Third gear is a bit frantic and requires some restraint. Fourth gear is a good combination of meaty torque and smooth roll on. Fifth gear still goes pretty good and it feels like it will go on forever. Any one of them will pass a slower car in an instant.
The Viper doesn't beat you up either. Sure, the ride is firm, but it doesn't deliver the kind of punishing impacts that make a Porsche 911 GT3 a much less desirable road trip car. And even though the Viper's seats don't have much adjustment, they don't really need it, felt fine after 700 miles.
So what sucks? The old navigation/radio setup isn't very useful, got lost a few times and the maps are hard to see. Also, sixth gear is too tall which makes it kind of useless unless you're going slightly downhill. Gas mileage was pretty good though, got around 17-18 mpg most of the trip, not bad for a V10.
Ed Hellwig, Senior Editor, Inside Line @ 8,476 miles
Best mileage on the trip was just over 23 mpg. I was trying though, lots of highway and sixth gear cruising.
I'm sure the Glendale Motel about an hour north of Las Vegas was a fine roadside stop at one time.
Saw this hay barn just outside of Milford, UT. Guess there was a little indecision on which color to go with.
No, he didn't ask to race me.
It takes more time when you're not on the interstates, but you miss scenery like this.