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The Ol' Civic Takes On The Loneliest Road In America

Illustration for article titled The Ol Civic Takes On The Loneliest Road In America

I go to Denver pretty regularly, but for the last few years all my journeys have been done via Boeing 737. It's about time I traveled via Loneliest Road In America!

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There's something to be said for just hopping in the 17-year-old, 180,000-mile daily driver and heading off on a 1,200-mile solo drive that crosses a challenging series of heavy-duty mountain passes. Starting with the 7,200-foot Donner Summit in California, the little D15 in my beater '92 Civic DX conquered endless passes in the 7,000-8,000 foot range, then slogged its way over the 10,000- and 11,000-foot passes just east west of Denver. It was definitely gasping for breath on some of the steeper grades (the non-VTEC D makes approximately zero horsepower below 3,500 RPM, even at sea level), but that's nothing that constant downshifting can't fix! I'll be sure to keep a lookout for good Mile High DOTSBE candidates while I'm here.

I had the same bullet camera I put in 24 Hours Of LeMons cars rigged up on the dashboard, and I'll try to edit some Loneliest Road highlights together once I've recovered from two days of driving (punctuated by an overnight stop at the Hotel Nevada in lovely Ely, where Pat Nixon once stayed). For now, here's a random bit of footage from my favorite highway in the world:

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DISCUSSION

Murilee,I don't know how you accomplished this. Each and every time I stare at a 6 hour trip across the New York State Thruway (from Buffalo through Albany) and then onto the Mass Turnpike, I just want to shoot myself. And I do this with an Altima! I set the Cruise to 74, and inevitably, within the first two hours, I have to pull off the highway to keep from falling asleep.

The lure of driving from CT to the South has lost it's allure for me, same with going west. I would just as well get on a plane, rather than drive the distance anymore. It might be the car, but I feel the same way in most rentals, so maybe not.