BLOGRONAUT: THE BEST AND WORST DRIVES IN THE U.S.
It’s interesting how small the world becomes after you’ve been around it a few times. This is becoming the case for me in North America. Intronaut just finished what might be our seventh or eighth go ‘round of the US and Canada, and I’m really noticing a change in my perspective in the traveling aspect of touring. 3,000 miles away from home doesn’t feel as far as it used to. The roads, clubs, and people are all so familiar at this point that I might as well be at home in Los Angeles.
On the last tour I thought it would be interesting to write a little something about each of my favorite and least favorite drives that we have made over and over again. I do a lot of driving on tour, mostly because I get car sick if I don’t, but also because I enjoy taking in the scenery. That being said, I also have to take in plenty of dull scenery with the good. And before I come off as too much of a hater, I should say that there is beauty to be found in just about every part of our country, but sometimes we’re a little too tired and cranky to let ourselves see it. Enjoy….
GOOD – Vancouver, BC to Calgary, AB (via Trans-Canada Highway 1)
The Canadian Rockies are like the US Rockies, except in a foreign country and therefore way more interesting and epic to me. There is so much cool shit to look at along this route if you have the time. The legend of Ogi-Pogi (Canada’s cartoony version of the Loch Ness Monster) at the Okanagan Lake near Kelowna, BC is a small detour away, and then Lake Louise at Banff National Park, and of course Glacier National Park. You might even come across a moose before ending up in civilization – or at least the meth addled city of Calgary, AB.
GOOD – Las Vegas, NV to Denver, CO (via Interstates 15 and 70)
We usually start this drive in Los Angeles, but it’s not until you get past the Mojave Desert that it starts ruling. Somewhere in Utah you get engulfed in the most awe-inspiring desert mountains and it doesn’t end until you hit much higher elevation and pass through Colorado’s gnarliest rockies before ending up in Denver, one of my favorite cities to visit. When I retire one day, I plan to spend my time fly fishing the Green River and eating peyote in Moab as often as possible.
BAD – Nebraska (via Interstate 80)
Save time, money, and effort and just tape your eyes open in front of a MASH marathon on TV.
BAD – Salt Lake City, UT to Denver, CO (via Interstate 80)
I’m going to assume you actually wanted to be in Salt Lake City for some reason and need to get to Denver. Do not take the route on I-80 through Wyoming because you will probably die. Ever hear a story about a band hitting black ice and crashing their van? Chances are it happened on this road. From October to April or so, this 300-or-so mile stretch of road is covered in ice and half the cars who drive on it totally eat shit. Flipped-over big rigs like the one pictured are beyond common. In the non-snowy season, you’ll probably just die from boredom.
BAD – Boston, MA to New York, NY to Philadelphia, PA (via Interstate 95)
You got a good laugh about how New Englanders sound like drunk babies when they talk, even though they only speak for the purpose of being passively rude to you. Then your “two-hour” trip to NYC turned into four hours ’cause some “cah had some wicked sick wreck outside the bah dood” and before you know it you’ve paid $20 in tolls just to get to a city where everyone is instinctually even more rude and talks even funnier! Then, on your way to Philly, you sit through more traffic, tolls, and pollution on the New Jersey Turnpike only to realize that Philly Cheesesteaks are totally overpriced for what they are and actually kind of suck (unless you go to Steve’s Prince Of Steaks where they are in fact delicious).
GOOD – Charlotte, NC to Nashville, TN (via Interstate 40)
There’s something about the epic mountains around Asheville, NC that gets my blood a-boilin’ real good-like. From what I’ve been told, this is where the Appalachians and Blue Ridges meet up to make one very inspiring scenic route that would draw tears from bluegrassers and black metallers alike. You can augment the experience by starting and finishing this drive with two different authentic and delicious styles of barbeque.
BAD – Phoenix, AZ to Austin, TX (via Interstate 10)
I was just wondering if part of the reason both Bush presidents had such a hard-on for Iraq was because most of their home state looks exactly like it. Don’t forget to stop and smell the flowers at such places-time-forgot-on-purpose as El Paso, Fort Stockton, and “gelp, hooey.” Just don’t stop for too long, ’cause you never know if the gas station attendant-slash-city-council-chairman is giving you those free fried chicken strips to fatten you up so he can butcher you and sell you as the next batch of said chicken strips. Oh, and “The Thing” is a complete ripoff. Don’t spend the dollar!