By on June 12, 2017

Route 330, Newfoundland

Growing up a million years ago in Canada’s most eastern province, everyone – young, old, tall, short – had a primo spot for their favored recreational activity. Fishing? We all did that … and you’d better believe there was a location or two better than all the others. The old folks used to go berry-picking and everyone knew not to muscle in on Uncle Eli’s favorite blueberry patch.

Me? Then, as ever, I enjoyed driving cars … and I had a favorite spot for that, too.

After snaking its way through the timber woods of Balsam Fir and Black Spruce, the good part of Route 330 opens up to a terrain filled with marsh and lowland trees, tilted at crazy angles in the direction of the prevailing winds. Skirting the frigid North Atlantic along the rocky Newfoundland shore between Musgrave Harbour and Deadman’s Bay, it is dominated by long sweeping curves and straight stretches from which the area earns its name of Straight Shore. Either by design or happy coincidence, this ribbon of tarmac rewards anyone piloting an engine attached to wheels, be it two or four.

Headed west, the waters of the Atlantic Ocean lie to your left, often filled with pack ice well into the month of June. Bring a scarf or hat if you’re planning to drop a convertible top: it’s not uncommon for gale-force northeasterlies to exceed 60 miles per hour.

But none of that matters one whit, not when you’ve a powerful engine, a willing chassis, and the space to wind them out (within legal speed, natch). The pavement isn’t perfect but it’s above average around here. A few dips simply keep you alert, right? At least, that’s what we tell ourselves. Space abounds to haul over to the side and enjoy the scenery or a quick snog with your favorite girl. It’s not like anyone’s around to see what you’re up to. During the sparse summer months in this part of the world, that’s about as good as it got for this young gearhead.

What’s your favorite driving road? There’s plenty of ‘em. Or – like Uncle Eli’s blueberry spot – are you guarding your bit of four-wheel nirvana as a well-kept secret?

[Image: Google Street View]

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46 Comments on “QOTD: What Stretch of Asphalt is Your Little Secret?...”

  • avatar
    Hoon Goon

    Ain’t telling.

  • avatar

    CA 168, running from Big Pine, CA to Oasis CA on the Nevada border.

    I’ve only driven it once, in a rental Fiesta…but that dual-clutch automatic transmission worked exactly like it was supposed to on the ups and downs and sweeping curves. It was always in the right gear for acceleration.

    That and it was clear sky with a full moon…

  • avatar

    Not like y’all will come up here.

    Indian Service Rte 5 between US 491 (Toadlena) and NM 371 (NAPI land set aside.) A little under 30 miles but empty two lane, lots of curves that can practically be taken at speed (damn the suggestion signs) and some decent elevation changes.

    Also has the distinction of being almost un-patrolled.

    I’ve done it in an old F150 while smoking a briar pipe and in sports cars pushing the limit. I’ve enjoyed it each time. Only to be avoided when its time for buses to be picking up or dropping off students.

  • avatar

    Outside of Annapolis, MD there are 2 roads that I will hit one of every time I come home from work in my S2000.

    The first is Governor Bridge road, which has a handful of fun sweepers through some small farms, followed by a fun downhill section that passes by Travis Pastrana’s house (X-games motocross guy). The second is Patuxent River road south of Central Avenue, which follows the Pax river for a long section and has some very fun twists.

    Either one only adds about 15 minutes to my drive, but is completely worth it if I don’t get caught behind anyone. I’ve never seen a patrol car on either one in 6 years of driving them.

  • avatar
    No Nickname Required

    I remember when I was a kid there was a particular road that had a particular little hill. And if you crested that hill at slightly less than triple digit speeds you could begin to send your car, and yourself, into orbit. Unfortunately (or was it fortunately) by the time I was old enough to drive, the county had rebuilt the road and smoothed out the hill.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    The Forks of the Credit through the Caledon Hills used to be, decades ago.
    Now it is so popular that it is bumper to bumper traffic on fall weekends.

    Of course back then, we used to have a quarter mile marked off on the 7th Line (McCowan Road) just south of Highway #7 in Markham. Willing racers would meet at the Harveys on Eglinton Avenue East in Scarboro and then drive up to the 7th to ‘bash’ against each other. Couldn’t do that now as it is part of a subdivision. The Harveys even had special logos made up showing a ’57 Chev being served on a drive-through platter with the saying ‘Home of the Hot Ones’ above it.

    Later the racing area was moved to Altona Road, parts of which are still ‘rural’.

  • avatar

    My favorite roads have changed over the years as So. Cali. roads are filling up badly, even in the wee hours of the morning when local Ride Racer Clubs come out to challenge .
    Central Cali. still has quite a few old Farm to market Roads that are serpentine and often have badly engineered curves, hillocks etc. to keep you on your toes, I enjoy these on various Road Rallies .

  • avatar

    When I lived in San Diego, the way up to Julian, CA was always a fun drive. The stretch were the road is CA 78 and 79 near Wynola was full of turns while you continually climbed up. Also the road to Palomar Mountain State Park and the observatory are very cool.

    AZ-64, the road that leads to the Grand Canyon can be pretty desolate at night if you are interested in perhaps more ‘enthusiastic’ speeds.

    • 0 avatar
      Landau Calrissian

      I am also an ex-San Diegan, and my suggestion was going to be Highland Valley Road. You can get to it from the I-15 exit just south of Lake Hodges, and it goes out toward the Wild Animal Park (I will NEVER call it the Safari Park) or Ramona if you keep going. When I commuted between Sorrento Valley and Escondido, it was easy to make a quick break for it, and didn’t add too much time to my afternoon commute.

      • 0 avatar

        I think that’s the way we used to go to Wild Animal Park, which is what I always called it (maybe it changed names since we moved)when we lived in the city. I worked in Carmel Mountain, and had clients on Highland Valley, Pomerado, etc and into Poway and Ramona. So on a weekend, I’d drive up that way because I was familiar with it

        We moved out of the city and up to North County after the first kid was born, and then we would head out there through Escondido via 78.

        San Diego County in general, has a lot of back country roads in East County that can be fun, as long as you are willing to be patient and be wary of all the pickup trucks.

        • 0 avatar

          Yes, this! It’s not so secret but the stretch of CA78 east of Julian thru Scissors Crossing and out to Imperial County was my go to Road. Living in PB (Pacific Beach, to non-San Diegans) was a long drive to Julian, but oh so worth it.

          Rode my Honda C70 Passport to Brawley/El Centro and back once!

  • avatar

    Geez, it’s been awhile since I have indulged myself in a good weekend drive. It’s getting harder and harder in North Dallas with all the recent growth, and the North Texas area has never been known for twisties. But you can find some good ones here and there if you know what to look for. Most of the famous twisty roads are of course in mountains where roads snake and switchback as elevation changes. We have no elevation changes in North Texas but we do have farms, ranches, and all sorts of property lines. So instead the rural farm & market roads snake between properties in a series of tight 90 degree bends.

    The first route goes from North Dallas to Cedar Creek Lake, a lake that is becoming something of a getaway resort community for Dallas residents ever since Lake Lavon and Lake Ray Hubbard have long become overcrowded. It’s not very twisty overall, but is a quiet and scenic (as scenic as the area ever gets anyways) route that I found when I owned a motorcycle. Take TX 78 to TX 205, take that to US 80 and take that East to FM429 and go South. Then go East on TX243 then South on FM47. Finally go South on TX198 to Gun Barrel City. As an alternate, cut out TX78 and TX205 by taking LBJ to US 80 since 78/205 are far more traffic clogged than they used to be and are rather less interesting as a result.

    FM 455 between Anna and Celina is one of the few interesting roads in the area, again it’s a series of tight 90 degree bends.

    Then there are a few interesting roads in an area bounded by a box North of US380, South and East of US75/TX121, and West of TX78. FM1827 is notable in this area.

  • avatar

    Rt 16 from Gorham, New Hampshire through Maine – on a motorcycle. Repaved some of it – boo.

  • avatar

    Some of the most epic driver’s roads I’ve had the pleasure to take:

    Box Canyon Road – California

    Off of I-10 on the southern edge of Joshua Tree National Park, Box Canyon Road heads south and southwest through the open desert before going through Box Canyon, with rock walls closing in on either side, but with wide sandy washes on each side. The road has the right amount of width, curves, passing areas, and lack of travel that begs to be devoured. It then heads to the shores of the Salton Sea. Take it when temperatures aren’t searing hot, and any forced induction engine is going to love that below sea level O2 supply.

    Route 122-A to Route 122 – Holden to Petersham, Massachusetts

    I think that only Ohio and Connecticut could compete with Massachusetts for state trooper per square mile, but this is a relatively lightly patrolled place to drive as long as you follow the speed limits entering and exiting the picture perfect New England towns. Start in the center of Holden and head out on 122-A north out of Holden to the towns of Oakham and Rutland. 122-A turns back into 122. The road twists and turns, with speed limits going for 20 to 50 MPH. The pavement is well cared for and in the evening or early morning traffic is light. You definitely want to slow down as you hit the town centers, but the spaces between are lightly patrolled. Take it in the fall on an early morning before the leafers clog the roads.

  • avatar

    Highway 93 from Lake Louise to Jasper. Its not really a drivers road, the speed limits are low, but its pretty awe inspiring. Especially when its -30. And the snow is blowing off the peaks. And the sun glares balefully through the snow. And every facility is closed. And your cellphone doesn’t work.

  • avatar

    There are some awesome twisty back roads in Brunswick county VA where I grew up. It was a blast visiting home when I had the RX8.

    Speeding is overrated. I miss having fun on twisters though.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    I have multiple favourite drives and most are dirt.

    My overall favourite is a piece of dirt from Emerald Springs in the Northern Territory to Litchfield National Park near Darwin. Its short’ish around 200 kilometres.

    The drive is brilliant and not really difficult. You will need a proper 4×4 and snorkel as part of the track around one kilometer is driving up a river. To drive out of the river you face a very steep 10 to 15 metre high river bank.

    If some of you watch TV the track goes through the centre of those geomagnetic termite mounds you see in documentaries.

    About halfway there is a camp site near a gorge with a waterfall and swimming hole at its base. A great place early in the morning to soothe yourself after a big night on the p!ss.

    A great way to spend 2 days driving and enjoying life.

    Oh, at the end you are in Litchfield on the escarpment with multiple waterfalls and rainforest gorges. Then on to Darwin to party.

    Why the blacktop?

  • avatar

    Hwy 74 “Palms to Pines” from Palm Springs to the Idyllwild mountains, then down the other side to “The Ortega” Hwy 74 to the ocean.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    Wait… Canada paints the highway number sideways on the road itself?

  • avatar

    Little Tujunga/Sand Canyon.

    Big Tujunga Canyon

    Upper Big Tujunga

    Angeles Forest Hwy

    The Grand-daddy of all driver’s roads in California is: CA Hwy 36 Red Bluff to Fortuna—141 twisty miles through Trinity Humboldt Wilderness, no cell signal, be sure your preventative maintenance is solid, and someone knows where you went to drive. Surprisingly somewhere in the bowels of this traverse from the I-5 to the 101 is a seemingly disused airstrip. I always wanted to stop, but honestly, the road is so good, that the stop is hard to justify.

  • avatar

    I have a favorite stretch on Cape Cod–not telling.

    From when I lived in the DC area, there was nothing nearby that was better than Skyline between rt 66,and where-ever I turned off to see friends 10 miles north of Charlottesville.

    when I visit my best friend outside of Albany (driving from Boston western suburbs), I generally take the backroads through southern NH, Vermont (rt 9) and upstate (rt 7). Vermont is definitely the prettiest part of the trip, but the backroads are narrower, twistier, and more fun in southern NH. Plus, you never know when you’re going to come across interesting classic cars in someone’s yard.

  • avatar
    King of Eldorado

    I like the 108-mile stretch of NM 104 between Las Vegas (NM) and Tucumcari. It’s a nice “shortcut” between Santa Fe and points east on I-40 (Amarillo…), although actually a few miles longer than using US 285 out of Santa Fe to join I-40. A sign at the edge of Las Vegas warns “next gas 70 miles,” and what little traffic there is weirdly includes, considering the semi-arid landscape, boats in tow heading for man-made Conchas Lake, about 35 miles northwest of Tucumcari and the only significant settlement along the way.

    The road is paved 2-lane of variable but satisfactory quality, with just enough turns and elevation changes to keep it interesting while making decent time. The scenic landscape includes rolling grassland just east of LV, craggy western-style buttes, and open range dotted with pinon-juniper. Downtown Tucumcari includes a stretch of old Rt. 66, including the often-photographed Blue Swallow Motel. FWIW, NM 104 passes within a couple of miles of the Church of Scientology’s “Trementina Base,” where L. Ron Hubbard’s works are preserved in an underground vault. It’s visible on Google Maps (satellite view) as an airstrip with two overlapping circles carved into the landscape nearby.

    • 0 avatar

      I’ve always wanted to “make the turn” at Clines Corners and divert from I-40 taking old 66 (US 285) up to Santa Fe.

      I wonder what that drive is like?

      • 0 avatar
        King of Eldorado

        I’m no expert on old Rte. 66, but maps show it tracking now-US 84, not US 285, between I-40 and I-25. I’ve only been on US 84 a couple of times and I don’t recall much about it. I live in rural Santa Fe county a few miles south of town, just off US 285. It’s scenic with rolling ranchland and often antelope sightings, but it’s not really much of a driver’s road. It was widened to 4 lanes about 18 years ago for the safety of trucks hauling nuclear waste to the then-new WIPP disposal site near Carlsbad in southern NM. I think WIPP is not currently accepting shipments, and I haven’t seen any of the distinctive trucks for quite a while.

        Anyway, if you’re coming from the east on I-40 and want to go to Santa Fe, the turn at Clines Corners is the speediest way.

        • 0 avatar

          See I thought it was Clines Corners where the old pre-war alignment of US 66 turned up to head to Santa Fe.

          But now that I dig online I guess it was at Santa Rosa that the road turned to Santa Fe.

          The original 66 Alignment in NM went through Santa Fe and then down through Albuquerque to Los Lunas and then Northwest to Gallup.

          Legend says the rerouting was done by Hannett as punishment for loosing reelection. He blamed the politicians in Santa Fe and wanted to cut them and the city off.

  • avatar

    Naturally, there are a lot of them out here in Utah, and one of my favorites at the northern end is SR-83 between Corinne and Promontory. It’s a surprisingly pastoral part of the state, yet still surrounded by mountains, desert, and the Great Salt Lake. Just as impressive is the 15-mile gravel road down to Spiral Jetty.

    Back home, the drive from Logan, Iowa south to Glenwood is another hidden gem- lots of twistys, and great views over the Missouri River toward Omaha.

  • avatar

    CA-167 from Mono City east to Nevada border and up over some mountains into Hawthorne (as Nevada 359). It is ruler-straight shot between Mono City and Nevada border; one can look back from the border and see all the way to east face of Sierras and start of the route some 30 miles away – the air is that clear out there. The twisties up and over into Hawthorne provide the racetrack after the miles-long drag strip.

    A bonus about this road is Google Maps et al diverts all the Vegas and outdoor-life traffic to the popular destinations along other arteries, leaving 167 mostly abandoned. Last time I drove it, I did not see one other car between Mono City and Nevada border – if one wants to see just how fast their whip can go, that straightaway is basically unbeatable.

  • avatar

    There’s a little piece of heaven called Turnbull Canyon Road,between Hacienda Heights and Whittier in Southern Cal. that’s got more curves then Amber Rose.
    Check it out with Google. There’s several very nice GoPro scenes to enjoy.

  • avatar

    Tantalus road in the hills above Honolulu. Curves, switchbacks, & views.

    • 0 avatar

      Hiked the Makiki Valley Loop Trail last year, had to drive up Tantalus to get to it.

      If I had the right car to do it in, I would love to try it.

  • avatar

    I like to fly down St Thomas line and across the Bauline line on my CBR1000, other than that the stretch between Cappahayden and Portugal cove south is wicked fast if the wind isnt crazy across the barrens. the whole irish loop is fun i guess, sucks when there is traffic though.

  • avatar

    No way would I share on here. Enough of my fav hiking spots have been ruined by yelpers searching for “best hikes.”

  • avatar

    California 25 south out of Hollister. Signed and maintained as a state highway, but it’s actually a twisty little country road full of unexpected corners and elevation changes. A ball to drive in the 2017 Mustang GT.

  • avatar

    22/30 east of Rt 77, north of 70 just outside of Cambridge OH. Sadly, truckers like to get on as a shortcut to Pittsburgh but there are plenty of passing zones. Many elevation changes, plenty of flat straights with great visibility, and there is a bit of a rollercoaster turn with a very sharp change in elevation combined with a descending radius turn. I usually drive my family through there to visit relatives in Pittsburgh, so I rarely get to have fun, but every so often I’ve done it solo and it’s a great time. Just be on the lookout for the slowpokes and trucks.

  • avatar

    Hwy 1A between Cochrane and Canmore Alberta. The best way to get to the rockies. Not really a secret, but most people just stick to the Trans Canada.

    Another favorite isn’t asphalt, it’s mostly gravel. The Peter Lougheed highway from Canmore to the Hwy 40 trunk road. Unbeatable scenery, and stop anywhere for an adventure into the wilderness. Most of the road has a speed limit of 80kmh or 50mph which is about as fast as you’d want to go.

    • 0 avatar

      Good ones Danio.

      Highway 40 buggered up the rims on the Verano though. I’d recommend sticking to slower speeds on gravel secondary roads if you have modern rubber band low profile nonsense rims. Hit the leading edge of a concrete bridge deck that had been washed out a bit, at speed (about 80 kph). Tire took most of the damage, rim wasn’t bent, but it killed the tire.

    • 0 avatar

      @danio3834 – hell yes. I travelled 1a a few years back. A sweet road. I was getting close to Canmore and jutting out of the forest in the distance was a monster Canadian flag and the mountains off in the background. That scene is forever stuck in my head.

      @davefromcalgary – sorry to hear about your misadventure. That is why I like 10 ply tires on my truck. I’ve always looked lustfully at Highway 40. I’ll have to add that to my list of dream roads to explore.

  • avatar

    California Hwy 9 between Los Gatos and Santa Cruz. Some turns, some straights, some beautiful views.

  • avatar

    It was difficult to dig up unpatrolled streets when I was growing up in Chicago, at least for me.

    If I ever wanted to let off some steam in the form of burning rubber, I recall the industrial areas outside of O’Hare airport providing an empty and inconspicuous place to do so on weekends. Even more so over long holiday weekends. Some streets had lots of smooth curves and others were completely straight for miles and mainly devoid of traffic signals. Most of them were paved with concrete and not asphalt if I remember correctly and most were in a relatively good state of repair. Every so often I’d come across a vacant parking lot with the exception of someone doing doughnuts in a souped up beater. Or I’d stumble across a small gathering of people racing. It was easy to get out there because 90, 190, 294 and 290 are geographically nearby.

    I also remember Irving Park Rd around O’Hare being a stretch of road where I’ve come across many 1 on 1 drag races and even groups racing late at night. I never did. I was turned off from it because I’ve driven past some pretty awful accidents on that stretch of road. It’s still a pretty sorry stretch of asphalt but I’ve seen 1 cop there in 15 years and he was almost certainly heading out of Cook County to purchase cigarettes, obviously the absence of law enforcement is the reason people raced there.

    Much of the area has changed from what I’ve observed in recent years. I pass through occasionally to pick up various materials at the commercial warehouses out there. Back then I would have kept the info to myself, I have no need for secrets these days.

  • avatar

    US 1 from Homestead FL to Key West. In the 70’s the bridges linking the Keys were very narrow as they were built on the original railroad trestles. Fun driving in a wide 74 Gran Torino and meeting traffic.

  • avatar

    When we lived in upstate NY there was one stretch I always enjoyed — unless I was behind someone puttering along under 55.

    That was NY-30 from I-88 to NY-67. Near the south end was a long, straight, gentle hill and apart from the slowdowns for a couple of hamlets just a pleasant country drive. And then if you were driving at night, you’d crest the hill and suddenly see the twinkling lights of Amsterdam in the valley below. The Stewart’s Shops at the intersection with US-20 for grabbing half-gallons of Crumbs Along the Mohawk ice cream on the way home just made it sweeter.

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