Tom Heath
Tom Heath Webmaster
9/14/10 10:59 a.m.

Tim is back from the Going to The Sun rally in Montana this week, and he's glowing like an expectant mother about what an incredible trip it was. I had just done a major road trip to Colorado last month, and came away with a similar feeling from my trip.

This got me thinking about my favorite roads and how they can be so different depending on where in North America you happen to be driving. The combination of scenery, road conditions, and accessibility all play a part in determining which particular roads are my "favorites", but I'd never thought about which area of the country was most preferred.

I tried to offer enough choices for you all, but I'm sure there will be some "other" votes. Feel free to elaborate or offer further explanation in this thread, I'm curious what our readers think.

rconlon HalfDork
9/14/10 1:11 p.m.

All of the above including Canada. I have been all over Oklahoma, Texas, Missouri, Kansas and Arkansas and am never disappointed when I take my Spider. I have have also used the Spider for memorable touring trips to Colorado and Detroit. With my brother in his Pininfarina Spider, we toured upper New York and Ontario. A classic car is the key to making any trip better.

Cheers Ron

bravenrace Dork
9/14/10 2:56 p.m.

Southern Ohio has some incredible roads.

NCtim None
9/14/10 3:52 p.m.

North Carolina has GREAT sports car routes, especially where I live in the western part.

LeeG New Reader
9/14/10 9:46 p.m.

U.S. Route 52 coming into Dubuque Iowa from Illinois is one of my favorite drives. You'll think that you're doing a hillclimb event climbing up from the lowland alongside the river. There are some decently wide stretches where you can pull off where the road climbs high above the Mississippi Valley. You will be rewarded with some fantastic views of the River and the valley below from the pullouts. Going west out of Dubuque the road gets a little bit twisty and some of the corners are tight. It's onwards and upwards out of Dubuque for quite a stretch. More like a hillclimb event again. Dubuque is nestled in the hills and reminds me of some of the smaller towns in Central British Columbia. Never mind my speculating but it is likely that Al Capone used U.S. Route 52 to get away to his hiding place in the tunnels under the city of Moose Jaw in Saskatchewan back in the days of prohibition.

Jim Pettengill
Jim Pettengill HalfDork
9/15/10 12:54 a.m.

A vote for southwestern Colorado roads here - the Colorado Grand stopped for lunch in my town today, the field is always amazing, but this year was especially so. How often do you get to see not one, but two pontoon-fendered Testa Rossas (the classic old ones) parked side by side in the middle of a 1000-mile long tour? And then the corker - one was the #124 black and red car that sold at auction in Italy last year for $12.4 million!!! Wow!

C and D Jags, Listers, Frazer-Nashes, prewar Alfas, Bentleys, Bugattis, a Healey 100S, lots of Gullwings (including one of the new AMG SLS versions), I could go on and on. The stuff of dreams.

Gary Reader
9/15/10 10:06 a.m.

I’ve mentioned this before, I like to create my own personal self-guided, low cost tours with the theme of New England mountain roads. My summer 2009 tour was 3 mountain roads in southern VT and western MA including Mt. Equinox. My summer 2010 tour was the White Mountains in NH including Mt. Washington, the mother of all New England mountain roads, intimidating but worth the experience. I can’t imagine doing Equinox or Washington at hillclimb racing speeds, but it’s been done. There are hundreds of miles of great well-paved scenic back roads in those areas. Some of the more popular scenic tourist roads are Route 7 through western MA and VT, Route 2 in western MA (a.k.a. the Mohawk Trail), and the Kancamagus Highway through the White Mountains. They’re great historic roads but can be frustrating with the tourist traffic, so I prefer to go off the beaten path instead. For example, in 2009 on my way from the Mohawk Trail in Charlemont, MA to my base camp hotel in Vermont, I drove via MA Rt. 8A north to 112, into Vermont on Rt.100 to the White House Inn on Rt. 9 in Wilmington ( That drive was a gem, and so was the hotel. My plan for a summer 2011 mountain tour is Cadillac Mountain in Maine. From what I’ve read and heard there are some great driving roads in that area of the central Maine coast. I’ll find out.

For local weekend cruises in southern New England I like eastern Connecticut. You can’t go wrong by heading west out of Rhode Island where I live, and into CT on Route 6, or 44 or 114 or 165, and exploring the intersecting back roads. After a few hours I just set the GPS for home. I’m still a map-guy but I don’t like fumbling with a map in a Miata with the top down. Another advantage of cruising eastern CT back roads is the number of vineyards and wineries in the area.

boeingpilot New Reader
9/15/10 10:48 a.m.

Excellent topic! Here in Oregon we're blessed with a plethora of wonderful sportscar roads. There is a great 40 mile loop from my home in Silverton through Silver Falls State Park where you can heel-and-toe to your hearts content. The Historic Columbia River Gorge Highway is a great tour with narrow roads, old bridges and tunnels and nice views of the river. Another nice tour is from Portland to Eugene through the Oregon wine country. Humbug Sate Park on the southern Oregon coast is yet another. So many roads, so little time...

Joe Gearin
Joe Gearin Associate Publisher
9/15/10 11:07 a.m.

I've always found the drive from Monterey South on PCH to be breathtaking. The scenery is amazing, but traffic can be an issue.

Gary Reader
9/15/10 1:22 p.m.

I’m with you on that Joe. I live on the East Coast but I’ve put well over 10K miles on rental cars in California over the past 15 years or so on business trips and vacations, mostly around SoCal. I did the Coast Highway drive from Monterrey to Cambria in ’99 when I went to the Historics and Pebble Beach. I agree, it’s a beautiful drive. Then I cut inland to the 5 freeway for a boring but quicker ride back down to LA.

Another favorite is CA State Route 2 a.k.a. the Angeles Crest Highway above the LA basin from La Canada to Wrightwood. Great road but there’s a lot of traffic on weekends, at least the first half of the drive.

Here’s one I’ve done while staying in Laguna Beach: Drive up the Coast Highway to the 55 freeway to Chapman Ave. East. That first part is a boring drive. Chapman turns into East Santiago Canyon Road. But first have lunch on the deck at Orange Hill Restaurant ( with a beautiful view of SoCal stretching out below. Then back on Chapman to Santiago Canyon Road and out into the twisties. It eventually loops around to El Toro Rd. and Trabuco Road right back to the Irvine commercial district and Mazda headquarters,where the original Cars and Coffee is held on Saturday mornings.

And the Ortega Highway from San Juan Capistrano to Lake Elsinore is a great drive now that the road work is done, but it too can be pretty crowded with sport bikes. However, leaving the Lake Elsinore area continuing east, if you cross the 15 and 215 freeways and pick up Highway 74 again in Hemet farm country, the drive up through the San Jacinto mountains and the San Bernadino National Forest to Idlewild and then back down the other side to Palm Desert in the Coachella Valley is spectacular, and there’s a lot less traffic even on weekends. The views and the switchbacks coming down to the desert floor in Palm Desert are unbelievable. If you plan to stay overnight there are a lot of good choices for lodging in the Coachella Valley before heading back to LA or Orange County. My wife and I have stayed a few times at the Casa Cody B&B in Palm Springs ( Nice place stay, and there are plenty of good restaurants and bars in the area. I’m sure there are thousands of miles of little-known canyon roads in Southern California which the locals could tell us about, and I haven’t even mentioned my favorite roads in the San Diego area, but those are some of my favorites anyway.

Series6 Reader
9/15/10 7:34 p.m.

IMHO-Point of a good road trip is going somewhere you have not been yet and experiencing something new. I like being surprised. I'll drive rather than fly whenever I can and I'll roll the dice on a secondary road rather than an interstate when I can. I wrote a guest column in Autoweek a few years back on the subject.

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