QOTD: Great Drives
One of the perks of this job is getting to drive on some cool roads in some very scenic places. In fact, I appreciate that particular perk more than the quality of the hotel or dinner -- I'd be fine with a Holiday Inn and Mom's Steaks and Seafood.
I've been lucky enough to drive part of the Pacific Coast Highway, the Tail of the Dragon, Malibu's famed Snake, and the Angeles Crest Highway outside L.A. Yesterday, for the first time in about 10 years, I drove through the famed Valley of Fire outside Las Vegas while testing a Kia.
I didn't get into automotive journalism to drive these roads, but nonetheless, it's nice that I get paid to drive them, instead of paying to travel to drive them. Thing is, while city dwellers like me have to expend time and effort to get to these roads, I know that at least some of you live near famed roads and only need to drive a short distance to get to them. Others of you almost certainly live near great driving roads that aren't famous but nonetheless make for an enjoyable drive. Either because the roads themselves are curvy and fun and/or because the scenery is breathtaking.
Tell us which roads you love to drive, near and far. Could be a highway near your house. Could be one you have traveled far to drive. Could be one you haven't yet driven, but want to one day.
Let us know below.
[Image: Iakov Kalinin/Shutterstock.com]
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Somehow, as an 18-year-old, I didn't crash my dad's Audi V8 Quattro on Swiss mountain roads in the winter. Somehow. It's still not clear exactly how. Despite being a two-ton sedan the thing was marvelous at pretending to be an S1 Quattro while sliding luridly around in the snow, except that the exhaust note was more NASCAR in the next county over.
All you have to do to find a good driving road in Switzerland is get off the freeway pretty much anywhere and drive up the nearest visible big hill, but here's one example:
If there is no traffic, Skyline Drive in Virginia is nice. Did Tail of the Dragon years ago and want to do it again, but concerned that it has been so overhyped that it has to resemble the Atlanta Perimeter at times. Too many roads in SoCal to list - many of the roads between 101 and PCH are keepers. Mulholland Drive at night...wow.
But it might be a lesser known one, but one I loved (especially the destination): WA-504, the Spirit Lake Hwy between I-5 and the last visitor's center (Johnston Ridge) in front of Mount St. Helens. The views will have you pulling over frequently but there's a fun road there as well!
I've been lucky to drive so many good roads in the US and Europe...here are some of the best drives I've been on:
Europe: Switzerland--Grimsel Pass; probably best drive ever for me. Was lucky to do it in a rented Alfa Romeo (Giulietta diesel manual, so nothing too special, but still...) from Interlaken to Lugano. On same trip drove from Lauterbrunnen around Thun and up towards Beatenberg; also just unreal combination of road quality and scenery
Croatia/Bosnia: from Dubrovnik-Mostar-Sarajevo along the gorgeous Adriatic coast and then up and through the mountains; again in a manual hatch (Skoda Fabia) that although basic was a great drive
US: Grand Tetons & Big Sur, mostly for scenery but good roads in many directions. I drove these in an RV or SUV but with the right vehicle would be great.
And many roads around piedmont & Appalachian areas of Virginia (my home state), where you can pretty easily find a great combination of scenery, decent road quality, solitude, and no law enforcement!
Turnbull Canyon , Hacienda Heights to Whittier, SoCal.