Right now I am reading a truly wonderful book that I highly recommend. It is Reader’s Digest Most Scenic Drives in America (from now on I’ll be calling it RDMSDIA because I’m way too lazy to type that long a title every time).
As you might have already imagined, RDMSDIA portrays over 120 extremely beautiful road trips, and after reading this book, I want to take every single one of them.
So let’s see, where would I start? Maybe I could begin on the west coast where I could take the North Cascades Loop, a 400 miles circular trek that takes Hwy 20 through te North Cascade Mountains National Park, the Wanatchee National Forest and back up along the Puget Sound.
Much of this road trip was not even possible until 1972, when a highway was finally built through the rugged Northern Cascades.
Next, I might take the Big Sur road trip along the northern coast of California. This road trip has long been on my to-do list, and after reading this book I have to wonder why I have been putting it off for so long.
This trip, which runs from Monteray to San Luis Obispo along Hwy 101 has long been considered one of America’s most breathtakingly beautiful scenic highways.
Another California road trip that cannot be missed is the Redwood Highway, which runs from the California-Oregon border down through the giant Redwood National Park. From there it continues on through some of California’s historic gold rush towns like Eureka, where I may stop to see some of the historic old mansions the tycoons of that era built and lived in. The Redwood Highway ends in the town of Leggett, home of the famous Drive Thru Tree Park.
Another road trip I now feel my life would be incomplete without is the Upper Peninsula Drive through Michigan’s (you guessed it) Upper Peninsula. Of course once you get to Mackinac Island, you really can’t drive anymore because the island’s jurisdiction forbids the operation of a motor vehicle.
So you will have to park your car and take a ferry across to the island. But it is well worth it because once on the island you step back in time to the 19th century. When the ferry docks, you can then take a horse-and-buggy taxi, visit any number of the quaint shops and even witness reenactments of the island’s historic past.
I am running out of space here, but I just have to include a short mention of the Hudson Valley road trip. This trek begins in New York City and follows the Hudson River north. Along the way you will pass through Rip Van Winkle country, see innumerable Revolutionary War sites, pass the United States Military Academy at West Point and circle back once you get to the bridges at Newburgh and Beacon.
But make sure you get back before dark or you just might see the headless horseman of Sleepy Hollow.
The Reader’s Digest Most Scenic Drives in America is a great, beautiful book. But be warned that if your travel lust is easily aroused (like mine) it might also turn out to be the most expensive book you ever buy.
In the meantime, I have to go put gasoline in my car. I feel like driving.
COPYRIGHT © 2005-06, Charles Brown