Monday, January 3, 2011

Favorite Roads of 2010

2010 was an amazingly busy year. Amongst all the hustle, I managed to get to a few favorite roads, some new, some old friends. I decided to pick the top 3, along with maps of each. I wish I had pictures to better tell the story, but if the road is good enough, its hard to stop and take the picture.

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Number 3 is a bit of a cheat. Unfortunately, its not available to most of you, as it is a test road on a proving ground. In this case, Nissan's Arizona proving grounds and the road is called the "Marketability Road". In fact, most of Nissan PG is pretty featureless and totally flat. In the case of the "Marketability Road" they dug some small valleys and used the removed dirt to make small hills. The result is a road that combines bumps and curves, dips and yumps in a very entertaining way. Probably the SRT guys with their adaptive damping went the fastest, but even the van, with the addition of some grippy tires, was a hoot.

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Number 2 is an old friend up in Northern California. Cal Hwy 128 from Cloverdale to Mendicino is a wonderful, flowing, curvy road, but the best part is the scenery. It changes from rolling green hills, to forested mountains, to vineyards, to virgin redwood stands, and a rocky coast with cliffs crashing into the ocean. I was lucky enough to take this highway on a beautiful day in March on my new motorcycle, the ZRX.

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My absolute favorite of the year was one of those unexpected finds on the way home from down south. Kentucky Hwy 89 is 30 miles of empty, ever changing, and challenging road that rolls through the Daniel Boone National Forest. I rode it on the KLR in early fall and there were just enough leaves on the road to tell you that no one had been there for a while. My passing blew them away. The road starts narrow and following the edge of a flood plain in a narrow valley with a river wandering along the bottom. A little later, the road picks up a little width and the curves get tighter as it climbs into hills and to McKee, the only town along the route.

Leaving the town, it starts climbing and crosses over two small mountain ranges before flowing into a bigger town and the end of the road.

I hope the new year brings you new adventures and new favorite roads.

1 comment:

  1. Hmmm, I guess I should have taken a spin up 128 when I was out in Sonoma. Oh well, Sonoma Mountain Road was a blast to drive on. Not so much in the Lincoln LS, but more fun in the Hyundai Elantra. Probably the most fun road I drove on in 2010. More fun, even, then the tail of the dragon.