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.
If you get to Central Texas, try the 3 Sisters. It's not Tail of the Dragon, but not too bad either. And you may see an exotic (McLaren, 911GT3, Mercedes AMG, Ferrari...) or two on the way.
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 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!
I drove RT 191 from Springerville, AZ to Morenci, AZ. It had so many turns it made me motion sick after 2 hours of non-stop turning at 25mph. I was in a lotus. I could have gone faster, but the road rides the continental divide. I didn't want to go faster. 3 or 4 hours for 117 miles and it's well over 318 turns.
I am relying months later, but I just looked up this route because I'm planning a trip to Phoenix soon. You're right. This looks amazing. I'll have to try and Turo a good sports car when I am there. Since my original post, I have been taking trips to great driving roads throughout the country. Nothing else to do right now.
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 !!
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.
I can't argue with anyone who suggests the great roads in the Smokey Mountains. But for great roads and scenic beauty, the Finger Lakes of western New York State is worthy of a nod. Toss in a number of fine wineries, charming villages, and skilled craft creators and you get a combination that is unmatched east of the Rockies.
I concur with your fellow Michiganders that you are already in a great state for road trips. One of the best road trip caravans I have ever done was with a couple from Grand Rapids Michigan. Cruise all the lake shores and the many other attractions in Michigan.
For some of the best motorcycle (and therefore Porsche) roads check out this website:
https://www.motorcycleroads.com/ It will provide you with a lot of wonderful roads that you and your Porsche will love. Even my Fox has enjoyed several of these roads.
Be aware though that the police are also very aware of great driving roads and will often be present and watching for us goof balls when we stray across the centre lines.
M-119 Tunnel of Trees, north of Harbor Springs, MI. For more of a road trip: Smoky Mountain National Park / Gatlinburg TN area has a bunch of awesome twisties.
I don't mean to brag or anything, but Montana has many wonderful drives that are typically wide open and wonderful. In particular is Hwy 89 which runs from the northern boundary of Yellowstone National Park to the Canadian border. The mountains and plains along the way are spectacular. However, word of caution, don't drive in early to mid June as ranchers use many of the two lane highways to move cattle from pasture to pasture ( a few miles at a time. I don't know about you, but trying to get cattle poop off the bottom of your classic is like trying to get dried concrete off your shoes. Cheers and Drive Well.
I was waiting for someone else to mention the ultimate American Road Trip, Route 66.
In terms of 'Driving Roads', Route 66 doesn't cut it since it is now mostly Interstate 40 & 44, but there are still some off-interstate roads through small towns that are considered Route 66. Route 66 may no longer be about The Road, but it sure qualifies as the great Road Trip experience. There are still several of the historic attractions to see (eg. the Blue Whale, Cadillac Ranch, the Bluebird Motel, etc.) and lots of books available to guide you to the rest.
When my family drove the route in 1995, I set out to collect all of the Route 66 road signs for each of the 8 states along the old route. There are lots of different styles of the signs, and you can buy them as a set, but I wanted to collect one particular style and I wanted to buy it in it's 'home' state. That turned out to be the secret sauce that made our Route 66 adventure our best Road Trip ever.
In order to find the style of sign I was after we had to stop at many Route 66 antique shops in each state. Every shop was the kind of adventure that we could have only hoped for. There were so many elderly and interesting people in all those shops that had lots of stories to tell and items to show us. Every shop was an adventure, in addition to the adventure of finding them. I remember our Route 66 trip as mostly a series of attractions, shops, and people, much like the adventures of Buz and Tod who spent a relatively small amount of their time actually on The Road.
Besides the many 'official' attractions along the route, there are many other wonderful attractions not too far from the route that should not be missed. Many of them (Grand Canyon, Four Corners, Mesa Verde,, etc.) are reasons for a road trip all on their own.
A couple years after our trip I put together a picture mural of our road signs and my favourite pictures from the various adventures and attractions. This mural is still on the wall in our family room and calling me back to the Road every time I stand and look at it.
After posting my Route 66 report from our 1995 road trip, I became curious about what the Route looks like today, and whether it still makes for a great road trip. I found my answer in this YouTube video, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H0bA72fjHMQ that goes well beyond my small report.
Yes Route 66 still makes for a wonderful family road trip adventure.
Eventually the borders will fully open and from Michigan you have Canada. Whether you cross in Detroit or Port Huron you are in for a few hours of driving that is very similar to rural to small-urban Michigan. How much time you want to spend can guide your route selection from there.
Routes along Lake Ontario can be scenic (old Lakeshore Highway). At one point you will even get to do a ferry that is more like a barge that can handle a few cars. Keep on this route you eventually get near the St. Lawrence Seaway where you can see the flooded (for the seaway) town locations, Upper Canada pioneer village and neat towns like Belleville and Kingston which the old parts are all limestone construction. Very different feel and look than most of Ontario. Probably most fun if you have a couple of days and do a stopover in Kingston.
Or... you hit Toronto via the 400 series highways (similar to interstate). 2 hours north of Toronto you will hit Muskoka, where the geography turns to Canadian Shield and mostly evergreen. Off the main highway, Muskoka is full of twisty roads with scenery. Hit up the crazy road to Torrance Barrens Dark Sky Preserve (look that up if into oddball parks).
If you have time, driving the loop to Manitoulin Island and taking the ferry to Tobermory can be fun.
If you have days and days... take highway 17 up along the coast of Lake Superior. Stop at the Terry Fox Lookout.
If you really have time, keep going and experience the big sky in the prairies. Everyone should drive through the badlands of Alberta at least once...
I have a '66 Pontiac and a buddy has a '66 Corvette. We've said for years that we'd like to someday take our cars south (we live in Idaho) and cruise Route 66 in our '66 classics. We talked about it really seriously when we were both also 66 years old, but it didn't happen. Possibly it's ALL just talk - fun, but just talk. But when I read stories like yours, it kind of fuels that fire up again. 😊
Growing up in Connecticut, my best friend father use to go every year to Maine and I've been to a few road trips with them heading I-95 North and so on with my friends family during the early 90's with his father Land Rover Discovery. Just the woods and endless forest ride in the summer gives you so much appreciation of mother nature while enjoying yourself in any ride of choice for that matter.