- Nov 30, 2008
Autoblog Sunday Drive: In the Valley of the Sun, Part I
Click the map above to view this week's Sunday Drive
This week, Autoblog steps out of California for the day, heading due east towards Arizona. That's right, we're headed to Phoenix, and this is the time of year to do it. It may be unbearably hot all Summer, but the Fall and Winter are the reasons why Phoenicians call the Valley of the Sun home. Trust me. There are plenty of good places to point your car in Arizona and we'll be taking a look at a few of them as this series progresses. Today, we head due South for a three-hour tour of great roads and rugged terrain.
We've started our day's journey at the South Mountain Park Scenic Drive, which, at 16,500 acres, happens to be part of the world's largest park. At its peak, the drive will take you 2,330 feet skyward and you'll have an excellent perch upon which to view the fifth-largest city in the United States. All right, we can appreciate the nice surroundings, but we're here to drive. Let's got going.
After a rather boring stretch of about 18 miles East across US-60, you are nearly to the start of our adventurous trip. If it's hot out, we definitely recommend bringing a camera with you, as nearly every single automaker in the world uses the upcoming stretch of highway for hot-weather testing. Keep an eye out for oddly camo'd cars; the last time we drove this road, a fleet of future Audi's roared past us with spy photog's in tow. It's more important to keep your eyes on the road, of course, as the twisties lie dead ahead.
What we're after is the 40-odd miles of AZ-88 (also the name of a nice little bar in Scottsdale) that stretches between US-60 and AZ-188. Along the way, your eyes will be diverted towards some stunning scenery, including two single-lane bridges crossing over Canyon Lake, an abundance of mountains (those would be the Superstitions) and plenty of cacti (those gigantic Saguaro's are native only to this part of the Sonoran Desert in the United States). For the last four miles, you'll be driving alongside the water, headed for Roosevelt Dam. In fact, you'll pretty much drive right over it. When you get there, you've completed our journey. You can turn around and do it in reverse, but if time isn't on your side, you can avoid it all by using the highways to get home.
As always, drive safely. And in Phoenix, it's a good idea to bring plenty of bottled water, sun glasses and sun screen.
Got any good drives of your own? Share the lobe by submitting your own drives in Google Maps format by sending a link to your route to autoblogsundaydrive -at- gmail -dawt- com. Have fun out there!