As an automotive journalist, I have sampled some of the best cars and some even better roads this country has to offer, and here are some that you should check out.
Without a doubt, roads like Pacific Coast Highway, Mulholland Drive and Tail of the Dragon get most of the attention when it comes to iconic driving roads. These places are breathtaking, but you don’t have to travel that far to find some of the iconic American roads.
Sometimes it’s as easy as selecting a destination, and then telling your navigation to get you there without interstates.
Here are several that I have had the opportunity to experience over the years.
Highway 17, Burlington, Vermont
When Mercedes-Benz launched the GLA-Class in the fall of 2014, we traveled to northern Vermont to enjoy the roads and cool air. It doesn’t take long to get out of downtown Burlington, where numerous roads await, including Vermont’s Highway 17.
Just imagine blind curves and tight switchbacks carved through a tunnel of trees emblazoned with red, yellow, and orange foliage. The only downside was the amount of slow-driving tourists staring up at the trees rather than the road.
Seven Mile Bridge, Florida Keys
Florida’s Seven Mile Bridge is proof that roads don’t have to be curvy or have elevation change to be beautiful and exciting. I’ve been along this unique stretch of road numerous times in the past, but my favorite was doing so in a C7 Corvette Convertible.
Plan an early morning or late evening drive to get a spectacular view of the sun coming up over the Atlantic or setting over the Gulf. Doing so in a red-blooded American convertible makes the experience even more memorable.
Highway 550, Silverton, Colorado
Hands down, the best driving event I have ever had the pleasure of being part of in the U.S. was driving the Audi SQ5 performance crossover in Colorado from Durango to Grand Junction.
The tightly wound turns, snow-capped mountain peaks, steep drop-offs, and constant elevation changes were only part of the driving excitement. Driving through Silverton provided a nice rest from the constant barrage of turning the steering wheel, and some of the vehicles scattered through the tiny town revealed an amazing assortment of classic cars and trucks being used as daily drivers.
Woodward Avenue, Metro Detroit, Michigan
To most drivers, Woodward Avenue in Detroit and the northern suburbs is little more than a major thoroughfare in and out of the city, but this street has a rich history with the automobile.
For starters, it is the location for the first stretch of paved road in the U.S. In later years, it was also used as a public test bed for automakers to secretly measure and analyze their upcoming vehicles.
If you happen to be in the Detroit area in mid-August, you definitely won’t miss the Woodward Avenue, which packs Woodward from Detroit to Pontiac with millions of cars and car enthusiasts. My best memory of the Dream Cruise was cruising Woodward in my 1977 Pontiac Trans Am.