We’ve all been there. That feeling as you sit behind the wheel with the world spread out before you with nothing holding you back. Kris Kristofferson called it, “Aching with the freedom of the feeling of an eagle when she flies.” Road tripping has to be one of the best ways to relax. Fortunately, the USA is a big place, with many unexplored routes ranging from quiet backroads to miles of high speed highway.
Route 66 (five days) – This historic route once ran from Chicago to Los Angeles; 3945 km. It was referred to as “The Mother Road”. Changes during the Eisenhower Presidency and the commissioning of the Interstate have cut out large sections of this route, and the entire road is no longer drivable. Some areas of it have been restored though, in particular, the one running between Chicago and St Louis. This is not a road for testing your vehicle’s performance, although some more windy sections may pose a good challenge. It is more for what you can see and do along the way. If things like the Berwyn Route 66 Museum, The Pontiac-Oakland Automobile Museum, Gardner Two Cell Jail and Lincoln’s Mill are places that sound interesting, this is a good choice. There are plenty of excellent motels and restaurants along the route so you can sleep soundly and if you’re a foodie, there is the fine-dining scene.
Highway 101 – The Pacific Coast Highway. This is quite a long (2478 km) stretch of road that runs along the West Coast from Tumwater in Washington to Los Angeles. Certainly, not for the faint hearted, it would take about two weeks of travelling to appreciate fully, but you can do five day sections through different parts. There is much to see and do along here, since the scenery varies quite drastically. If you are an outdoor type, this would be right up your alley. There are sand dunes, mountains and stretches of ocean as well as lovely cabins to stay in along the coast. Plenty of good food and natural attractions such as the Hoh Rainforest will make sure that you never get bored.
Interstate 77 – Cleveland to Columbia. This is the shortest of all the routes so far, stretching only 987.19 km just inland off the East Coast. It is more commercialized than the Pacific Coast Highway, and if you like going fast on well planned roads with beautiful scenery to boot, this is for you. Sights such as the Fayetteville Bridge and several state parks in West Virginia shouldn’t be missed. There is also a nice gourmet restaurant chain called Pies and Pints which would be worth going to if you like a good beer.
Bonneville Salt Flats – So you really want to see what your car can do? This is where you should plan on heading, there are great places to stay in Wendover. Access to the salt flats is free, and you can safely floor the accelerator and take her up to the red line. If you time your visit well, you can co-inside with a speed week and get to see what other weird and wonderful machines are being pushed to their boundaries. Event dates are available here. Besides the breathtaking views and the opportunity to meet other petrol heads, the iconic Yellowstone Park is just six hour’s drive away. There’s also lots to see and do in Salt Lake City (about 2 hour’s drive from the flats) such as indie film theatres, spas and theme parks. A word of caution though, if you plan on driving on the salt get your car very well hosed afterwards to prevent corrosion. Your local mechanic will be able to help you with this – if you are in the South Florida area the specialists at Foreign Affairs Motorsport should be able to advise you.
These are only a few of the vast number of routes and places that are available in the US. So what are you waiting for? To quote the Red Hot Chili Peppers, “Let’s get lost in the USA!”