When the weather is favorable, few things compare to a day of driving on some of America’s most memorable highways. Particularly in sunny Arizona, a quick road trip out of the city is always a perfect way to spend a warm winter afternoon. Fortunately, the recent relocation of an old friend to the historic town of Prescott, Arizona, afforded an ideal excuse to do just that. Our friends at Chevrolet had just given me the keys to a new 2020 Camaro 2SS Coupe, so I loaded up the family and headed north to cruise the iconic Highway 89A.
The road to Prescott features a number of breathtaking panoramic vistas, and the Camaro 2SS proved a fitting choice for the adventure – thanks, in no small part, to its 455-plus horsepower at the ready and a surprisingly comfortable custom interior. Once we were en route, my incurable lead-foot syndrome relentlessly compelled me to mash on the throttle, sending the powerful muscle car into its cleverly integrated Performance Shift mode (a feature which I immediately grew quite fond of). As we quickly made our way up the interstate, I couldn’t help but notice the changes in the surrounding landscape and ecosystems as we traveled further away from the busy city streets of Phoenix. Our first stop was the Sunset Point Scenic Overlook, which offered a much-needed opportunity to stretch our legs and enjoy some impressive views. Kodak moments were abundant at this popular rest stop, and the perfect weather conditions only further enhanced the mood as we eagerly anticipated our day in Prescott.
Once back on the road, the Camaro’s intuitive cruise control system quickly became a favorite feature as we took advantage of an opportunity to enjoy the scenic drive while listening to the included Sirius XM satellite radio. Coupled with the car’s pop-up HUD, the collision warning system delivered just the right amount of heads-up without becoming a nuisance when a quick downshift of the flappy paddles was appropriate for passing slower drivers. The 2SS was also surprisingly fuel efficient for a high-powered muscle car: the vehicle’s eco-driving mode automatically switches the powertrain from a beefy 6.2L V8 to an environmentally friendly four-cylinder configuration during highway cruising or when all that power just isn’t necessary.
The remainder of the drive to Prescott passed by in a flash, and we soon found ourselves in the heart of this charming, bustling town. Myths and legends of bygone days abound in Prescott, with the town once serving as the capital of the Arizona Territory (prior to Arizona becoming the 48th state). A favorite escape for many during the pioneer era, famous figures such as Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday once called Prescott home, and the energy of this quaint mountain community is still pulsing, with old-fashioned food establishments, haunted hotels, and storied saloons, many of which have seen their fair share of gunslinging cowboys and Old West shootouts throughout the years.
After a short visit to check out my friend’s unique living accommodations (a building that was once a small hotel on Cortez St. adjacent to the town’s famous courthouse building and Whiskey Row on Montezuma St.), we jumped back in the Camaro 2SS for a memorable cruise through the vintage town that played such a significant role in the shaping of America’s past. Making time for a quick bite at Raven Cafe and a chance to browse the local gift shop, I decided the drive to Jerome provided the best opportunity to put the new Camaro through its paces along the historic Highway 89A.
The twists and turns of this fantastic stretch of highway presented a fitting test for the 2SS. Snow-capped mountains and dramatic switchbacks worked in harmony with the Camaro’s crackling exhaust and 10-speed gearbox during each flip of the paddle shifters, while the equipped Brembo brakes and 20-inch wheels delivered just enough stopping power during cornering. The journey from Prescott to Jerome was my personal inspiration for this particular road trip, and it certainly did not disappoint. The modern American muscle car felt right at home on this classic American highway.
After a stop along the way to throw a few snowballs (a luxury we rarely have a chance to enjoy, being from the Valley of the Sun), we continued on Highway 89A to the old copper mining town of Jerome. A small but vibrant arts community occupies what was once a genuine Wild West hot spot in the late 1800’s. During its heyday, Jerome grew to more than 15,000 residents before becoming virtually abandoned following the mine’s closing in 1953. Jerome’s history is riddled with ghost stories and tales of unforgettable adventures. The peculiar mountainside municipality became a National Historic Landmark in 1976, thanks to its unique appeal and bizarre background and still remains a must-see attraction for many whimsical wayfarers.
As the air grew cooler and the sun began to set, we said farewell to Jerome and headed back down the 89A in reverse-fashion. After another exhilarating drive and a few more snowballs before arriving back in Prescott, we returned my friend to his cozy digs and made our way back to the city. Fortunately, the Camaro 2SS delivered a super fun and remarkably comfortable 2-hour ride home, leaving just enough time to watch some good old American football to cap off our long day of travel.