Guest Blog: Get Out and Drive…While You Still Can

Thanks to Michael Schlee for guest blogging today.  Mike is a correspondent for, and  His blog is on a subject very near and dear to our hearts here at Some guy about cars and we're thrilled to share it.  Enjoy!

Greetings from the north!

It’s Mike from Canada.  I’ll be guest blogging for Steven today.  If all goes well, he may even let me do another one down the road.  Alright, on to business.

Many people in the world assume Canada and the United States are very similar.  Some even assume we are the same country.  “Oh, you’re from Canada? That’s in the United States, right?”  This isn’t a hard concept for me to grasp as many North Americans will be the first to assume Australia and New Zealand are the same.

For all our actual differences there are two factors that tie our two great countries together; lots of wide open spaces and a passion to drive over them.  The Great American Road Trip should be renamed the Great North American Road Trip.  There is a reason most of us get a smile on our face when we think of the Wagon Queen Family Truckster and it is not only because of Chevy Chase.

Shortly after Europeans settled on this land, roads began linking the East to the West, the North to the South and township to township.  With North America being a massive chunk of land, roads needed to be built everywhere and anywhere to connect the continent.  After then invention of the automobile, this heavily intensified.  It spawned the creation of some truly amazing routes like the 8,030 km (4,990 mi) Trans Canada Highway.  And who hasn’t heard of Route 66, Mulholland Drive, Pacific Coast Highway or the Blue Ridge Parkway?  Driving one of these routes for a car enthusiast can be a religious experience.

However, not all is well in the land of road trips.  Several factors are working against the mystical road trip and things are only going to get worse.  High gas prices mixed with quick, cheaper travel alternatives (airplanes, train, etc) have already replaced the automobile as choice #1 in a long distance trip.  Even if you are determined to ignore the naysayers and take your car on vacation, there are less and less interesting roads to travel every year.  Modern technology and heighten safety measures are saving lives, but dulling down roads.  Historic roads continually get bypassed by new byways and small towns are all but forgotten.  And don’t even get me started about the notion of a self driving car or ‘pay per mile’ vehicle usage…

Now, there are still epic drives available to a determined motorist.  Take the examples I listed earlier.  Anyone of these roads will remind us what motoring was like when it was still fresh, new and an adventure every drive.  Last year I travelled every inch of Route 66 that was still left in existence from Chicago to Amarillo Texas as part of the Route 66 Rally.  I wouldn’t want to trade the experience for anything in the world except for maybe being able to travel it decades ago when more of the original road still existed.  This year, the Rally North America organization is heading to the Blue Ridge Parkway July 18-21 and I’ll be able to cross another road off my bucket list.

But let’s leave the USA for a second.  There are plenty of roads in Canada that are picturesque and/or thrilling drives.  Starting out east there is the famous Cabot Trail in Nova Scotia.  I’ve travelled this twice and would go back in a heartbeat.  Northern Ontario and Northern Quebec offer some great twisting tree lined highways.  Heading west it is best to skip over the prairies; unless endless wheat fields are your thing.  In Alberta and BC there are countless roads that drive through the Mountains and can literally take your breathe away.  Sea to Sky Highway 99, Crowsnest Highway 3 and the aforementioned Trans Canada Highway 1 are all worthwhile drives.  But even these have been ‘smoothed’ out over the years and lack a bit of their original visceral appeal.

In two weeks time I’ll be back driving through the mountains of BC followed by the Blue Ridge Parkway the week after.  That should satisfy my driving itch for awhile. 

So I’ll leave you with this simple question.  What roads are you planning to drive?  Get out there and travel them before they are gone.


Post a Comment

Popular Posts