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Favorite roads/road trips

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by crimsonace, Jul 23, 2008.

  1. crimsonace

    crimsonace Active Member

    Building on the "All 50 states" thread, where are your favorite places to drive?

    *-It may be the most one of the most interminably boring roads in civilization, but the Pennsylvania Turnpike is really interesting from a roadfan perspective, because it *is* the first superhighway in the U.S. Most of the old-school signs have been replaced, but there are a few quaint things about it ... the original rest-stop buildings, the tunnels, the gated slip-ramps for emergency vehicles to enter/exit when there are 60 miles between exits, the church by the side of the road, the stairs leading to another church from the highway. The entrance to the Allegheny Tunnel (and the others) is very cool. Breezewood is also quite possibly the stupidest interstate-to-interstate junction around ... built in a time when you did not build direct connections between toll roads and freeways (at least in PA). It carries mainline I-70 through a tiny town full of every hotel and fast food joint you can think of.
    *-I-26 in North Carolina. Beautiful country driving through the mountains in Asheville.
    *-US 1 through southern Maine. It seems like 1950 never ended in some of those towns. ME 9 (the coastal route) is even better.
    *-US 40 through the Midwest (especially OH/IN) ... gets a little more dull in Illinois. It is a time capsule of migration to the West. You can see the movement west through the differences in architecture, et al. The original National Road ends at the old Illinois state capitol in Vandalia.
    *-Old Route 66 is a road I'd like to drive. I've done the areas around St. Louis and walked the Chain of Rocks Bridge. I also enjoy I-64/US 40 through St. Louis & the western burbs. It's one of the more attractive urban interstates.
    *-Lake Shore Drive in Chicago. The lake is on one side of you, the city on the other. As you head southbound near Grant Park, it turns and you see the Drake Hotel and the northern end of the Magnificent Mile right in front of you, with the lake to the left. It's one of the most beautiful urban scenes anywhere.

    Least favorite
    *-I-70 in western PA (after it exits the Turnpike). Extremely substandard -- the on-ramps have stop signs because there is no merge room. But you can browse 50,000 hubcaps at the WV state line. You need hubcaps because PennDOT has some of the worst-maintained roads in the country.
    *-I-39 from Rockford to Bloomington/Normal in Illinois. Not the flattest place on earth, but pretty close. No scenery, no humanity -- nothing. Because the road was built about 15 years ago, all of the bridges are the same brown-painted cantilevered over the highway design. Ugly, monotonous, dull ... that said, at least you can avoid Chicago traffic going this way.
    *-The Borman Parkinglot (uhh, I mean expressway) (I-80/94) in NW Indiana headed to Chicago. Always under construction, always seems to be a traffic jam. On the rare cases when it isn't, it's full of nutcases who think they're Dale Jr., weaving in & out of lanes, tailgating, exiting from the left lane at 85mph. It's a preview of Chicago traffic.
    *-They don't call I-80/94 in Chicago the Damn Ryan for nothing. 6 lanes and they still can't figure out a way to get traffic to move on either it or the Kennedy. There are some other notorious spots in Chicago -- the Hillside Strangler (the I-294/I-290 junction) is always good for a traffic jam or 10.
  2. Boom_70

    Boom_70 Well-Known Member

    My favs:

    1 - Van Wyck Expressway from Shea Stadium to JFK - just a beautiful ride on a nice day

    2- Cross Bronx Expressway - From the Bronx River to exit for the Major Deegan expressway. A great way to see the Bronx

    3- Beltway between Inner Harbor and Woodrow Wilson bridge - great view of Washinton area.
  3. pressboxer

    pressboxer Active Member

    U.S. Highway 1 out to Key West. Top down, Jimmy Buffet blairing.
  4. Batman

    Batman Well-Known Member

    1) U.S. 1 from Miami south to Key West. Some of the bluest water you'll ever see in your life on either side, a feeling of adventure from driving to, literally, the edge of the continent, and you have to drive slow enough to soak it all in. Just a wonderful drive.
    2) I know others hate it, but I-10 across West Texas when there's a full moon is almost an unreal experience. That was the first big road trip I did by myself. At one point during that drive, around 10 p.m., I was able to turn the headlights off and drive for a mile or so and still see perfectly.
    I'll never forget parking for the night at a rest stop outside Fort Stockton and laying in the backseat, and seeing what I thought was a flashlight shining in the car. It was actually the headlights from a car on a side road several miles away.
    3) A road trip through Kansas I did once. Went from I-70 to Salina, north to U.S. 24, west to U.S. 183 through Hays, then back east on Hwy. 4 to I-135 and on down to Oklahoma City. The route took me to some of the goofiest tourist attractions this side of a Griswold odyssey. Saw the twine ball, the barbed wire museum, Coronado Heights and Rock City. Just a fun couple of days.

    Least favorites....
    1) The list begins and ends with I-80 across Pennsylvania. I told this story on another thread, but I was driving across it with my parents one time (my dad insisted it was faster than the Turnpike; my dad was a drunken idiot) and I had the cruise control set at 75 mph for two hours. I timed it. According to the odometer we went 100 miles.
    Another time, I saw a sign for Williamsport, 39 miles ahead. Ten or 15 minutes later I saw another sign for Williamsport, 42 miles ahead. That road just sucks ass. There's a mile marker every 30 miles and an exit every 50.
  5. zebracoy

    zebracoy Guest

    Great post. I completely agree on the Pennsylvania Turnpike - that it is scenic and historic, but oh-so-incredibly boring. Ever see the red light flash over the E on your car while driving it? Not sure that there's a scarier sight in the world, knowing that you're 15 miles in either direction from an exit.

    Another drive I've always loved for no good reason is the two-hour stay on the 401 between Detroit and London, Ont. Just the sight of the wheat fields that go on and on to the left and right is remarkable.

    Finally, I'm a sucker for bridges, and the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel and Frankland and Campbell Causeway spans in Tampa/St. Pete are nice as well.

    Drives that suck include Route 1/13 from Wilmington, Del. to the Virginia Eastern Shore, anything having to do with Kentucky and most of upstate New York.
  6. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    How about being somewhere between Barstow and Needles, Calif., and seeing "next services, 36 miles"? ;)

    As far as my contribution to this thread, I'd go with these:

    - PCH between Oxnard and Santa Monica, Calif.
    - PCH between Carlsbad and Encinitas, Calif.
    - I-24 over Nickajack Lake near Chattanooga, Tenn.
    - I-10 over the swamp bridges in Louisiana
    - I-10 past the windmills in Palm Springs, Calif.
    - In March, taking Priest Drive north from Tempe, Ariz., up through the rock formations in Papago Park and continuing on Indian School Rd. Takes you past the spring training stadiums for the Angels, A's and Giants, in less than 10 miles.
    - That I-88 drive from, basically, Albany to Cooperstown last July was pretty gorgeous. (Despite what the N.Y. state troopers may say.)
  7. forever_town

    forever_town Well-Known Member

    For my favorite road trip, I'm going to go with the trip I made with the Big School radio station peeps for a women's lacrosse game at Princeton, N.J. Even though the team we covered walloped an opponent who usually forces them down to the wire, in the end, the trip was about a lot more than a regular season game for me.

    I think I would have gotten some enjoyment out of seeing the camaraderie between two people who work with each other on a regular basis. However, they did not allow me to feel like a fifth wheel even though I was one. That feeling will be what sticks with me when the details about the game and the actual mileage traveled are forgotten.

    For least favorite, I'm going to go with the Capital Beltway during rush hour. Any part of it is sheer torture.
  8. slappy4428

    slappy4428 Active Member

    The 401? That's where insomniacs go to sleep?
  9. Inky_Wretch

    Inky_Wretch Well-Known Member

    Two Ts, in Buffett. And it's a great drive down through the Keys.
  10. Songbird

    Songbird Well-Known Member

    1) "Old Lady 9" in southern Vermont, linking Bennington and Brattleboro, about 45 miles. Fucking-A, it is a boner of a mountainous drive, up and down, winding roads. Nothing comes close, and I've traveled a whole lotta roads.

    2) PCH from Santa Monica all the way up to wherever you want to go. At night, when the full moon bounces off the Pacific Ocean ... unbelievable.

    3) Route 30 in Vermont, from Brattleboro to Townshend. Tight, winding road.

    4) The "Route 4 Corridor" in Vermont from Rio Blanco to Rutland. Another mountainous, curvy, swervy road. Sexy.

    5) In New Hampshire, from Lebanon to ManchVegas, via backroads, 4 to 4A to 11 to Everett Turnpike. I hardly ever listened to anything else besides Oasis during these drives. Smalltown New England is breathtaking when you're all by yourself and the window's down and the volume's up and those goddamn Gallagher brothers are pummeling your mind and soul in the best possible way.

    6) Route 14 in Vermont from Rio Blanco to South Royalton. All about the curvy, swervy.

    7) Route 2 in New Mexico from Dexter to Lake Arthur. It's really just a straight shot, but pastureland New Mexico is relaxing. And I always seemed to get 311's "I'll Be Here Awhile" as I drove into the Arthurian realm.

    8) Loynes Drive in Long Beach. They must have fixed it by now, but 20 years ago this short strip had a sudden dip to it, so when you took it hard and fast it felt like a rollercoaster.

    I'll think of others.
  11. dixiehack

    dixiehack Well-Known Member

    I-10 from New Orleans to Pensacola is incredibly cool, with long bridges, interesting cityscapes, the tunnel at Mobile, etc. Then you get past Escambia Bay and it turns to absolute mind-numbing shit clear through to Jacksonville.

    TN 111 from Soddy Daisy to Cagle. It's a state highway north of Chattanooga, and the one I drive to get to my parents' house. The first half is less than 15 years old, and a virtural straight climb up and down Signal Mountain, with gourgeous sweeping views. Past Dunlap, it reverts back to an old-school two lane trail with some passing lanes, tight, off-camber curves, limited sight distances and more than occasional rockslides.

    After sundown, if traffic isn't bad, the Downtown Connector through Atlanta has that certain buzz you get from driving through a big important city - something not duplicated in these parts for hundreds of miles in any direction.
  12. PCLoadLetter

    PCLoadLetter Well-Known Member

    I have a hard time believing there a more beautiful stretch or road anywhere than PCH north of LA all the way up into northern California.

    And yeah, on a small scale the drive up Priest and through Papago Park is breathtaking. I went to a spring A's game for the first time in a few years and had forgotten what the view is like over the left field wall.

    There's a short stretch of I-15 through the extreme NW corner of Arizona -- roughly from St. George, Utah to Mesquite, Nevada -- that's pretty spectacular. (The adjoining stretch from Mesquite to Vegas is a post-apocalyptic shithole, however.)

    Utah's highway 9 through the Zion National Park is gorgeous. And most of the scenery along the small highways in Arizona's Navajo country is amazing. (Quick vacation tip - don't go to the Grand Canyon. There are 7 or 8 spots within a day's drive of the canyon that are much cooler, starting with Monument Valley.)
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