Thursday, June 18, 2009

Life is a highway

This last week I've been planning my itinerary for my upcoming trip to Africa which got me reminiscing about the greatest travel tradition of all – the humble road trip. Road trips of course aren't merely about the destination. Their appeal, as is often noted, lies in the journey itself. For me it's the people you meet, the dinky little one-horse towns you stay in and the experiences you have along the way which makes them so memorable. So as I prepare to hit the road again I thought I'd share a few of my all time favourite journeys (all tried and tested of course!):

Route 66, USA
Distance: 4000km
Route 66 is arguably the most famous highway in the world. No other stretch of asphalt has been eulogised so frequently and fervently by movies, songs, books and television shows. In fact, Route 66 has been mentioned in so many songs it’s earned the nicknamed the 'Rock 'n Roll Highway'. Starting in Chicago in Illinois, America’s 'Mother Road' crosses the country through Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona before ending at the beaches of Santa Monica in Los Angeles, California.

Trans-Fagarasan Highway, Romania
Distance: 90km
Said to be one of the highest roads in Europe, the Trans-Fagarasan Highway charges up and over the crest of Romania's Fagaras Mountains. Climbing up to 2000m, the dizzying road twists and turns its way between the jagged peaks of the country's highest mountains - the Moldoveanu (2,543m) and Negoiu (2,535m) - and passes through its longest tunnel (887m). If that’s not enough, you also can stop at the castle of Vlad the Impaler, the revered prince from the Middle Ages who inspired Bram Stoker's Dracula.

Great Ocean Road, Australia
Distance: 243km
Recognised as one of the world’s most scenic drives, the Great Ocean Road hugs the rugged south-eastern coast of Victoria. Starting in Torquay, it stretches westward past the windswept limestone pillars of the Twelve Apostles, to the historic seafaring village of Warrnambool. Built as a memorial to the 'Diggers' of World War I, the rough-hewn road winds along cliff tops, up breathtaking headlands, down to the edge of beaches, across river estuaries and through lush rainforests offering panoramic views at every turn.

Route 62, South Africa
Distance: 450km
I have to admit I have a real soft spot for this road trip. Often overlooked by motorists who tear up South Africa's N2, Route 62 is a stunning inland alternative to the much-hyped coastal Garden Route. Showcasing some of the country's most magnificent scenery, the road, starting just outside Cape Town and running to Port Elizabeth, meanders through scenic spa towns, past vineyards and fruit farms and over breathtaking mountain passes. It's also reputedly the longest wine route in the world with 69 wine farms dotting its path...I'll drink to that!

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David Whitley said...

So the Parramatta Road didn't quite make it then? :)

Gunnar and Sherry said...

Long live the road trip...the only way to travel!

Kim Wildman said...

How could I have forgotten Parramatta Road! It would have to be the world's longest and most frustrating stop-start road... There's definitely a road trip story there!

somepinkflowers said...


i am so ~~happy~~
to have stumbled on to you!


to route 66!

{{ i will be back for more
no~jet~lag travels
over here.... }}

Solo Road Trip said...

"Life is a Highway" is now stuck in my head. I'm a fan of road trips myself and enjoyed the post very much. Love Rt. 66, living as I do not far from it (Oklahoma), but the other trips you've featured really piqued my interest.

Kim Wildman said...

>>"Life is a Highway" is now stuck in my head.

Me too! I can't stop singing it. Maybe I should do a post on the best road trip songs?....

Miss Footloose said...

This post is for my files to help plan future adventures! The South Africa wine-route is especially appealing.

We always like to take the small roads. Actually, the smaller the better, which sometimes lead you onto a goat track up a mountain ...

Thanks and good luck!

Miss Footloose

Kim Wildman said...

Miss Footloose - you muuuuussst do Route 62. I love, love, love it! I am even thinking of tackling part of it again when I am in South Africa in October. Not only is it lined with lovely spa towns and great wineries, but it also has a number of offbeat attractions like Ronnie's Sex Shop and Stanley's Light.

Miss Footloose said...

South Africa, Route 62 it is! It is always good to know a real attraction to give incentive to make the trip!