Watching skyscrapers gradually give way to lush greenery, with bits of adventure thrown in, the experience of a road trip can be like none other! Whether you plan to spend a super time with family or simply wander about and explore with pals, road trips are the ultimate in guaranteeing you freedom, independence and a thrill that is unmatched. In this age of fast-track destination driven vacations, road trips can ensure that you make the journey count too!
The first-ever road trip to have been recorded dates way back to 1888 from Mannheim to Pforzheim in Germany, which is a distance of approximately 106 km. The trip was made by Bertha Benz, wife of Karl Benz, who invented the first patented motor car. And now, with beautiful highways, scenic environs, and advancement in technology, road trips are undertaken by the adventurous, spanning thousands of miles and even cross-country!
Planning the trip
The most obvious thing to do while planning a road trip is to chart out a map! It is ideal to mark the routes and understand traffic-zones. Also, if time is aplenty, planning small detours can prove to be more enthralling and an additional treat to the trip. The next most vital step in planning is to ensure that your vehicle is ready for the long drive ahead. It must be ensured that the tyres, air conditioners, windshield wipers, shockers etc are in good condition and that the critical spares are available with you.
Like every other mode of travel, there are things to keep in mind when heading to the wheel. Utmost care needs to be taken while packing to ensure a comfortable journey for all passengers. The most important are maps, first-aid, water and food. Also great music for the journey can be selected before-hand. Clothing, comprising jackets and blankets are a must, just in case you are unable to find a good place to rest when you need to take a break. Also, there are plenty of travel apps that can help you with finding hotels, restaurants, places for sightseeing and also to keep a tab on the weather! And never ever forget to pack-in your camera and spare batteries, for, what is a vacation without some awesome photographs to boot?!
Enticing Road Trips from around the World
Some of the world’s most scenic road trips offer everything from charm to action-packed thrill!
China – The Guoliang Tunnel Road in the Taihang Mountains in north-eastern China, also known as the Precipice Long Corridor, is cut into the cliff by manual effort and is just 19 feet wide and 13 feet high. A drive down this road is a test of ability and invokes a sense of awe and wonder at this monumental triumph of human effort!
Morocco – The Atlas Mountain Road, situated in northeast Africa in Morocco, is 117 miles long and full of 250 degree hairpin bends. The road takes you up from Marrakech to 6000 feet onto the Tizi-n’Tichka pass from where you are rewarded with a mesmerizing view. From here, the road snakes back down to the desert oasis of Ouarzazate. This roller-coaster of a drive is sure to set your pulse racing!
New Zealand – The Milford Road, also known as Highway 94, is situated in the south-west corner of South Island. Taking you through an other-worldly realm, it winds its way from Queenstown on Lake Wakatipu, through rainforests and the glacier-carved Milford Sound, via the shores of Lake Te Anau and is surrounded by the pristine Ailsa mountains. This trip, that promises unparalleled beauty, deserves a mention on everyone’s ‘do-before-you-die’ list!
Canada – The 114 miles long Icefields Parkway connects the Banff and Jasper National Parks and assures a visual treat of glaciers, caribous, moose and grizzlies! It was built during the Great Depression in 1940. The road gets its name from the Columbia Icefield, which is an expanse of glaciers that melt into the Pacific, Atlantic and Arctic oceans. With an abundance of wildlife, a dreamy landscape and lakes on the way that double the surreal splendor with their reflections, this trip is too good to pass!
Chile-Argentina – The Trans Andean highway astonishes you with the unique kaleidoscope it offers at the two mile long tunnel at Christ the Redeemer International Pass. The two ends of the tunnel showcase completely different landscapes, one of desert and rock on the Argentine side and lush greenery on the Chilean side! All of 226 miles, it connects Santiago in Chile to Mendoza in Argentina. The road climbs to an incredible 11,500 feet on the Andes and is both an important route for commerce as well as tourism. A must-see for its sheer uniqueness!
Virginia-North Carolina – This picturesque highway, called the Blue Ridge Parkway, connects Virginia and North Carolina in the Great Smoky Mountains via a 469 mile long stretch of breathtaking beauty, without any stoppages on the way! The road gets its name from the perpetual of haze of blue that drapes the mountains along this ridge. Come autumn, and the route enchants you with its eclectic hues cast by the trees. This route is a sure-shot heart warmer that fills you with awe along every mile!
Oregon – The Historic Columbia Highway, completed in 1922, moves you back in time! It connects Dodson and Corbett, just 15 miles apart, but takes you through a most magnificent journey past five mountain peaks, seven waterfalls and six state parks! Spring litters the drive with a profusion of colours and winter greets you with spectacular sights of the frozen waterfalls. The drive seems just out of a story-book and is a must-take road trip to experience sheer bliss!
Bolivia – The country boasts of the North Yungas Road that, in the 1990’s, was christened the most dangerous road in the world! However, now with much work undertaken targeted towards safety, it is still the narrow thread-like passage, almost as if atop a vertical 15,000 foot wall, that connects La Paz to Coroico via a 65 mile long road in the Bolivian Highlands. Eerily, the road has a stretch of 25 miles decorated with crosses that goes by the name of ‘Death Road’! It is a favored track for the adventure enthusiast, and features in this list for its adrenaline pumping quirk!
With so much on offer and a lot that is as yet unexplored, what is holding you back? Gather your folks, get packing and hit the road!
Images: hercampus; travelnation.
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