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The best driveway in America

It doesn’t matter if it’s a Mustang, One BMW car or a couch Lamborghini. Every fan of fun driving machines must learn to stress over the obviously silly question: “Where would you like to drive such a car?”

The answer is, of course, “everywhere,” from the mandatory g-slope in your town to some of the world’s most beautiful and challenging driving roads, right here in the United States. And the United States is sure to hit the road again, despite brutal gas prices and a protracted pandemic. More than 50 million people have driven or flown over Thanksgiving, which roughly matches pre-Covid travel levels. Gasoline consumption has been reduced to Lowest level in 25 years in 2020 is increasing sharply.

Sure, there’s no American Autobahn. And among several police departments act more like a revenue agent (boosted by $600 million in annual federal grants to subsidize ticket writing), insurrance company and car prices soar, there are many wet blankets to quell the fun. Yet we continue to drive, interested in new roads and new adventures, or return to the roads we know and love.

With an optimistic eye on tireless travel in 2022 and millions of car trips to come, here are eight of our favorite American driving roads. Some are gems that you will recognize or experience for yourself. Others are less well known or popular to visit, but are definitely worth the trip or detour. As always, take the bends at your own pace, and be safe out there.

NYS Route 73, High Peaks Scenic Byway, New York

Tiny Lake Placid, New York became famous as the undoubted host of the 1980 Winter Olympics, including America’s “Miracle on Ice” hockey victory over the Soviet Union . Today, motorists can enjoy a different form of driving, on the beautiful 30-mile road approaching the 43 highest peaks of the Adirondacks and the highest source of Hudson River at Lake Tear-of-the-Clouds. It is the gateway to the 6 million-acre Adirondack Park, the largest protected contiguous area in the US, larger than Yellowstone, Yosemite, Grand Gorge, Glacier Park and Great Smokies combined. Admission is free, and the “park” doesn’t close at night, so stay there. My last run came in 2017 Camaro SS with manual transmission, sped through these deserted and largely police-free streets.

United States 129, Dragontail, Tennessee / North Carolina

Overexposure has overshadowed some of the Dragon’s lights, including increased scrutiny and heavier fines from some of Tennessee’s best. But this collection of curves at Deal’s Gap, with 318 bends in just 11 miles, can still be a great exercise for cars and drivers – and roughly the same as America to the Alpine stretch in Italy or Austria. Just keep your eyes on the back of your head or the radar detector in front. Avoid weekends at all costs (dawn and sunset are smart bets on other days), jog to warm up, never cheat past the double yellow lines, and you’ll be fine. escape with memory instead of hospital or fix bill.

FM 335, 336 and 337, The Twisted Sisters, Texas

Feel the noise, really. Motorcyclists especially flock to this 100-mile detour in the Texas Hill Country, northwest of San Antonio. But the metal trio of “Farm to Market” Roads 335, 336 and 337 are also pure entertainment for car aficionados. It’s a place to lose loads of curves, even if you keep an eye on free-range cattle, wild boar, or elk. Fill your pitcher at Medina, and your belly at Keese’s BBQ, whose tagline is “A serious trip requires a serious breakfast.” Don’t miss Devil’s Sinkhole in Rocksprings, a 350-foot-deep cavern that hosts 3 million to 4 million Mexican free-tailed bats every night from May to October. And you’d think LA traffic sucks

Highway 1 / Pacific Coast Highway, California

Opened in 1937, Highway first (or the Pacific Coast Highway/PCH) extends 666 miles through the Golden State. Some of the most mystical, fanciful views are near Big Sur, south of Monterey and pebble beach. Before my last drive in 2017, in a Mazda MX-5 Miata, a devastating landslide buried a third of a mile under about 40 feet of debris, forcing the demolition of the Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge. That created “Big Sur Island,” the village divided in both directions for months. Now, the legendary stretch has been fully reopened, which means more tourists in SUVs, but more opportunities to enjoy the return and splendor.

Hells Canyon Scenic Byway, Oregon

Take a full weekend, if possible, to enjoy this underrated gem in Oregon: 218 miles from La Grande to Baker City, which surrounds the Wallowa Mountains. The road zigzags up to Hell Canyon Recreation Area and the mighty Snake River, near Idaho’s western border. This Snake section boasts the deepest river canyon in North America at 7,993 feet – deeper than the Grand Canyon. Keep the tank full, as there are more than 80 miles between the gas station and other services. But the roads and scenery are breathtaking, the fish and wildlife abundant, the towns charming.

Russell-Brasstown Scenic Walk, Chattahoochee National Forest, Georgia

This path may not be on your personal to-do list. It’s not ours until a worthy introduction to our rom-com in a pair of Porsche 911 GTS’. Now, we are in love. The smooth, paved 40.6-mile boardwalk connects Georgia Freeways 17/75, 180, 348, and 75A. Partly part of the better known Six Gap Georgia run. These trails go up and through the clearings in the southern Appalachians, with vistas including Brasstown Bald, the state’s tallest mountain peak. Compared with some mountain destinations like Tail of the Dragon – all the hairpins and hidden corners – Byway has a serious trump card: The lanes traverse for miles in one direction or another, with views. Great to start with. You will never be stuck behind a small truck or resold.

Highway 550, Million Dollar Highway, Colorado

Pikes Peak is better known. But the 23-mile stretch of Highway 550 between Silverton and Ouray offers free fun, better views, and a premium final destination, compared to Pikes Peak and its $15 driving fee. That terminus, after a long descent through Uncompahgre Gorge, is Ouray, the charming Colorado town known as “Little Switzerland.” The highway was originally laid by Otto Mears in the 1880s, a Russian immigrant known as “Pathfinder of the San Juans” because of his wondrous engineering in the construction of mountain roads and railroads. Say thank you to Mears or say a little prayer to yourself as you negotiate this railing, cliff-free highway.

SR 79, Sunrise Freeway, California

California roads offer a wealth embarrassment. But if Mulholland Drive seems too cliché, head east from San Diego. Take the Sunrise Expressway near Pine Valley, and get ready for 26 miles of sweepers, hairpins, and a perfect altimeter through Cuyamaca Rancho State Park. This is where many automakers go to refine and validate their vehicles. And no trip here is complete without a stop at Julian and Julian Pie Company. (Try the raspberry, strawberry, strawberry, and apple pie combo.) If you don’t like the curves, continue north to Palomar Mountain Road, a loop around the mountain that houses Caltech’s famous observatory and its three working telescopes.

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