I grew up near the motor city, 4 miles north, directly across the street from the 1 square mile GM technology center in Warren MI. This has got to be the reason why I fell in love with the automobile, because my family had no interest at all. Fast forward to adulthood, I've always owned enthusiast cars starting in the mid 90s when I bought my first Mustang. Fast forward again, about 25 cars later, and now I'm in my early 40s. Yes, I still can't let go of my old 86 Foxbody Mustang, but I also have come to appreciate proper balance, steering feel, appropriate body roll and not just Detroit muscle (which will always be cool). Hence the purchase of my 06 Porsche Cayman S. I've taken some epic road trips over the last few years around Colorado, Utah, Arizona, Nevada, and of course, south to the Tail of the Dragon. After the Dragon, all I can think about is my next road trip. I'd love to hear any suggestions that are with a reasonable distance (8 hours) from southeast Michigan. Thanks! @MustangFrank
Since many of us are based in SE Michigan we share your challenge! Best and closest bet is the Hocking Hills region of Ohio. Try rt 78 and RT 555. Also explore the roads Northeast of Marietta. You can get lost there...
After that, Eastern KY, say jump off from Berea, KY and explore that part of the state. I've tried West Virginia but have not had much luck finding good roads that weren't either clogged with traffic (since there are few primary roads), or full of potholes.
Have fun and please share your experience here.
I grew up in Troy so I can relate! I say either north or east. I'm sure you know how beautiful northern Michigan is during the summertime, and 8 hours straight up can get you into the UP. If you're willing to venture east, the Pennsylvania mountains are very picturesque. You can really reach some altitude!
I’m a Motor City man myself (well, Royal Oak area). Driving up the coast of West Michigan is always great. Start in South Haven or St. Joseph and follow the coast up to Traverse City. If you’re still wanting more, continue on to Petoskey. Great stops all along the way. Out of state, Bowling Green, KY has nice roads, even though it’s Corvette country. When the border crossings are open again, the drive to London, Ontario from the Blue Water Bridge is also a nice one.
East TN is the place to be. Start out from Chattanooga, north on US-11, south on US-129, and find Tail of the Dragon. After 318 curves in 11 miles, go down the other side into NC and have lunch at the Tapoco Lodge. Take the Cherohala Skyway home. You'll be tired and smiling after that day trip.
I retired 3 years ago and moved to Florida from Montana. Don't really miss 6 months of winter and snow, but oh do I miss taking my 55 Chevy 3100 on the back roads and thru the canyons with no traffic, just a few critters no and then. Stop and go is my new normal and the critters here are all in a hurry. Glad I have good Insurance !!
I also grew up in Michigan, but the military had a better idea:0). I moved 13ish times between the Air Force & GM. I'm now in Middle Tennessee, south of Nashville. When I was in Connecticut I got off the main highways and thoroughly enjoyed the side country roads. You could drive for hours one way and take a different route back home. I do the same thing in Tennessee. My wife and I use an Atlas, that's the secret to having a great trip!
We choose one way out and another back. We've also done Poker runs, which is really a great time. Especially when we all stop along the way and get our cards and stretch a bit. Then all kinds of people stop and talk, sit in the cars, take pictures and reminisce. It doesn't get any better!
Early June is my absolute favourite time of the year to do "The Drive." This excursion is not about driving to any particular destination, but simply enjoying your car on interesting roads. The route should be on well-paved, winding backroads with light traffic. "The Drive" doesn't have to be on roads new to you. In fact, a familiar loop you've built up over many outings can be most enjoyable. Also, a week day is preferable as it's likely to have less traffic to interfere with "The Drive."
Preparation begins the day before. Check the weather forecast, it must be for clear and calm. Take the car out for a quick shake down and fill it up with gas. After supper, hopefully your car, parked in your driveway will be in shade – do whatever is needed to thoroughly clean it inside and out. Take your time, fuss over the details and enjoy the process. With it now gleaming, the car goes back in the garage. Enjoy the rest of your evening, but don't stay up late, a good night's sleep is essential.
Get up early, shower and have a light breakfast. Put on a comfortable shirt, your favourite worn-in jeans and light-soled shoes. Supple well-worn driving gloves and good sunglasses will enhance your enjoyment of "The Drive."
Go out to the garage and raise the overhead door. Next check tire pressures, oil, coolant, windshield wash. With the pressures and fluids all good, start the car and back it out of the garage. Leave it running. Turn on the lights and check that all are working, including brake and turn signals.
Start off slow and easy, letting the engine come up to operating temperature. Most likely, the first few miles will be in the city, but once it's just you, your car and the road, consider "The Drive" to have officially begun. Have your favourite play list called up and it will be background to the scenery rolling past. I recommend "The Drive" be no more than 200 miles, and I like to include two stops. The first will be mid-morning for coffee. I like a place that has, of course, good coffee and comfortable outdoor seating with a nice view. If there's a fresh cinnamon bun to be had and maybe the day's paper to review, more's the better!
You're now in the middle of "The Drive" – this is where you have the windows down, the tunes are off and you concentrate on how your car responds to your input. I don't have to race to enjoy driving, but if you've got the road to yourself, you can drive at a pace that won't land you behind bars but is swift enough to work the car and test your skill. I like this part of "The Drive" to be no more than ninety minutes in length. Any longer, and concentration can start to wander.
It's now time for the second stop, lunch. It doesn't have to be fancy, in fact, there's nothing better than a Pub that serves a good burger and again has outdoor seating – stay away from the beer! That's for later.
Consider the last part of "The Drive" back to home as the cool down section. Put the tunes back on and just cruise along. If you find yourself slouching comfortably behind the wheel, that's OK. Your thoughts may not be about driving, but how the rest of the day will play out. Perhaps it'll be a nice dinner with your significant other or maybe you'll take in movie or a concert.
Swing into your driveway, but don't put the car away. There should be a lawn chair, and a cold beer situated where you can enjoy both, plus admire your car and wind down all at the same time.
Epilogue: Those astute readers will have picked up on the fact I have not mentioned the type of car needed for "The Drive." Any car will do, as long as you enjoy driving it.