Scenic Texas Road Quick-Trip: Plano – Leonard #Motorama

Today I mapped out a scenic road trip in North Texas from Plano through Melissa and Blue Ridge to Leonard, Texas.

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I selected this route because FM 545 from Melissa to Blue Ridge is noted as a curvy, tight road that serves well for an afternoon drive. I am happy to confirm this, although because it is tree lined and tight, not a good place to see just how fast you can get around the corners so much as a good place to enjoy a drive.

I stopped off and shot this pond in a field just along the road in or near Leonard.

Across from Lea’s, Leonard field-house wall shows Leonard High School’s records.  This is how you communicate to your competitors lol.

Lea’s is very unassuming from the outside.  The building in the middle is Lea’s, and it is sort of tucked in behind the grocery store in the middle of a corner.

I had the lunch buffet, selecting chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes, fried okra, and corn bread.

I rate Lea’s as Bring your Own Beverage — the only diet soft drink they serve is Diet Dr. Pepper.  Next time through I will plan to duck into the grocery next door and get a diet coke on the way.  I shot this pic with my camera phone, so please forgive that part.

I caught this shot to give you an idea of the road on the way; lots of nice 2-lane with or without shoulders and farm land.

Route Summary:

545 was exactly as advertised — tight curvy 2 lane.  Overall the route was a good quick run and made a relaxing tour.  Another day I would make this the first leg, since I was just getting to some good rural driving areas by the time I headed back to 75 via 121.


Cadillac STS-V visit with TexasJim in Grapevine

Ran out to Grapevine Texas to meet with Texas Jim and show him my STS-V.  Jim lives out west somewhere, so Grapevine is 30 miles from me and 35 miles from him more or less.

I managed not to talk to the STS-V Nav system the right way, so Jim actually provided turn by turn navigation to get me in to the parking lot where we planned to meet.  Now I have that spot saved in the nav for another visit.  I love that the STS-V has bluetooth so my pocket cell phone becomes a hands-free phone using the 15 speakers in the STS-V when synced.

I’m still driving the Cadillac around dirty, but he had not seen/Driven the V-Series so I wanted to show & discuss.  When I was test driving the Cadillac CTS-V I had brought it out to show, but because it was a Dealer car I could not offer test drives.  Since the STS-V is my car, I wanted to give Jim a chance to try it out.  He posted his take on the experience here.

Jim’s 2006 Cadillac DTS Performance Sedan still looks great at 100K+ miles.

Jim also took numerous pics of the V.  One feature the STS-V has is headlight washers.  They are actually controlled by the same controls as the windshield washer.   So while I sat in the V and hit the washers, Jim grabbed this shot:

Normally that little panel is flush with the front of the car, but on command it lifts up, clearing the nozzles below to spray the headlight covers to wash them clean.  Charming.

We had a nice visit and talked about Cadillacs, and ran the STS-V up and down the highway so he could get a feel for it.  I think we concluded that it would suit him just fine as a next Cadillac.  Actually his 2006 DTS is still going strong so no rush to a new Cadillac.

I like the way the camera autofocus came out on this shot.   The STS-V was produced at Lansing Grand River by UAW 652.   “One Team, One Goal, World’s Best”; well done.



Shots of the new-to-me STS-V

Here are some shots in day to day driving patina to highlight some of the features of my new 2008 Cadillac STS-V.  I apologize that it is not immaculate, but was just enjoying grabbing some snaps.

Click on images to see larger versions.

The STS-V was made from 2006-2009; this is a 2008 Model.  The 2008 gained a Heads-up Display compared to the 06/07.  The 09 was similar to the 08.  Under 500 of this year/model were produced starting at $78,775.

The V-Series for Cadillac means a performance tuned model that is capable of operating well on the road or track.  That is what a ‘sports car’ used to mean.  This car has a tuned suspension, high performance Brembo brakes, high output powerplant, and extra cooling for all systems so that it can run flat out without misstep.  It has a competition mode for the stabilitrak to yield more control for the Driver in high dynamics. This is a gentleman’s racer.

Cadillac has used a metal mesh as a consistent V-series theme.

Engine Shot – Supercharged 4.4L DOHC VVT V8 making 469hp.  That is a beauty cover, under which the Supercharger sits atop a 4.4L Northstar engine.  For the STS-V the engine actually sits 2″ lower in the chassis for balance.  This also perhaps helped the composite hood fit with only a small power bump.

Each of the STS-V engines, designated LC3, were made by hand by a single Engine Techician.

Here is a dyno graph of the STS-V LC3 engine output:

Tail View; note continued V-theme mesh grill at the bottom

At 17K underside still looks fresh enough.

Nice V touch on the door threshold.  Interior needs a vacuum, but I let that go for the weekend so I could write this for you.

More pics to follow soon with other details.

What do you think of the STS-V?