We are certain you have heard it before, in some form at least: “ …our lessons come from the journey, not the destination”. Even though it has different meaning, we will use it literally here. The point of every road trip isn’t about “finish line“, but the ride towards it, which often can be far more interesting.
It is true that airplane is faster way of traveling, but being on the ground just has more “soul“, as scenic nature and famous landmarks are near, and not just dots on ground. That is why we love driving more, even if it takes day, two or even a week longer than it could be.
We love our rides too! Having an awesome vehicle might not be worth much if it isn’t used, but instead just sits in a garage, and it’s only sometimes taken for grocery shopping. We want to see true potentials of our rides, we want to see them busy!
Those are all good reasons to decide to travel on road next time you decide to take vacation, but sometimes it is also fun to travel to see the roads! In recent history people got really creative, and roads add fun (some, because of dangers, add even adrenalin rush) to their main purpose. In this article we will present some of the most amazing routes in world.
Japanese sometime look like they come from another world. There’s more than few examples of this, but one, which we will gladly use in here is Iroha-zaka road. It is a winding route from Japanese cities Nikko and Oku-Nikko and it consists out of 48 curves and two separate one-way switchback mountains roads.
This road was in the beginning used by Buddhist pilgrim who traveled to the Lake Chuzenji on the top of this long climb. Of course since then, this line has been modernised with paved road, but what’s really interesting is that each hairpin turn is labeled with one of the 48 characters in the Japanese alphabet.
Iroha-Zaka on its way ascends more than 1,300 feet (or 396 meters if you are using metric system) which makes it a very long drive, but in the it is highly rewarding. Although, if you have motion sickness, you probably won’t have too much fun driving along it. From far away, it will look impressive either way.
North Yungas Road, Bolivia
This is one road that we wouldn’t like to be on, but there is no doubt that it is one of the most interesting in the world. Just the fact that its popular name in public is either “ Road of fate“ or even „Death Road“ should be enough for you to figure it out why.
Stretching from La Paz to Coroico in Yungas region of Bolivia, this route is 38 or 41 miles long (61 to 69 kilometers) and it is widely popular as the most dangerous road in the world. Driving through Amazon’s rain forest isn’t nearly as nice as it should have been, despite it’s very beautiful view from it, since it ascends to around 15,260 ft or 4,650 metres giving incredible viewing points on surrounding nature.
Instead of looking around, drivers are mostly focused on awful road – one mistake could cause very deep drop off (at least, 1,800 ft or 600 meters) and certain death. Road itself is very narrow (10 ft or 3,5 m), there is no guard rail and in lot of places is in bad shape, so surface could be even slippery mud or loose rocks that could easily cause disaster. On top of all that, there are even weather conditions that could make things harder with fog or rain.
All those elements combined caused lot of people to lose their lives driving along this road – it is estimated that around 200 – 300 are killed in accidents each year. Like many other dangerous locations and activities in the world, this too attracted numerous stupid, um, we meant to say adrenaline rush addicted, tourists ready to drive on this road just for the thrill. Getting famous for its characteristics numerous TV shows and networked featured it in their own way.
Safety isn’t disregarded, though. Contrary to the all of the other roads in Bolivia, this route is driven on the left side, so that driver can get better view of the edge when passing other vehicle. Yungas Road is originally constructed in 1930, but it was modernised in recent history, adding safer alternative route, two lines, rails and asphalt pavement. Except for adrenaline junkies, rarely anyone uses the old route for normal commute. That “North“ in tittle, though, is put, because there is also South Yugas Road, equally dangerous and demanding for driving.
Millau Viaduct, France
Bridges are often incredible engineering projects and sometimes they can be real Wonders of the modern world. Some of them, like Millau Viaduct in France are pushing, up until that moment, every known limit.
This bridge today is the tallest in the world with the height of 1,123 feet (343 meters) and it takes part of France’s A75-A71 highway, connecting Paris and Montpelier, with the total lenght of 8,071 ft (or 2460 meters). It costed a lot too, whole 400 million euros, which is nowadays about 530 million USD! Naturally, not everyone agreed with this idea. Citizens of Millau, for example, afraid of their city being bypassed and seriously hurt (similarly to what happened with Route 66 business), it has also been said that there could be a little longer route, only by couple of miles, which could have costed country three times less.
France decided to stick with the plan and engineered one of the most recognisable bridges in the world and one unforgettable route to travel if you ever get to this part of Europe. Be careful when crossing the bridge though: many tourists and travelers, astonished by the scenic view from the bridge will want to stop and take photos, so surprising and sudden slowing downs of vehicles, or parked cars on the side aren’t that rare. That is why French government decreased maximum speed limit from 130 km/h (81 mph) to 110 km/h (68 mph).
So these are only some of the most interesting routes of the world. You can find couple more here, but please let us know if there is some others that we have to feature in our next article! This guest post was written by Nikola, journalist and avid truck fan, who is editor at http://blog.neotrucks.com/ , the easiest way of finding cars, SUVs and trucks online.