Your best/most memorable road trips, and the cars that took you

Discussion in 'Cars in General' started by Eunos_Cosmo, Nov 11, 2019.

  1. Eunos_Cosmo


    United States
    Kind of inspired my own recent turo-centered trips and some comments in @homeforsummer's thread, I had an idea for this thread. Basically, give your top-whatever road trips, including the rough route (could be google maps, if you want) and what car accompanied you. You could post a picture of the car too. For me:

    #1. Italy (general route) - Alfa Romeo 159 JTD Sport Wagon, 6 speed manual. (~2,000km)
    I'll see if I can find pictures later...but how could you not love this setup? The car was fast, comfortable, economical, and absolutely beautiful to look at, inside and out. It cruised wonderfully on the autostrada and was fun in the mountains, especially with all that low end torque. I don't think I could think of a better way to tour Italy, outside of something truly classic...but that might have become annoying. This was in 2007, before GPS navigation was completely ubiquitous, and we (my family) navigated entirely by map. I did at least 1000km behind the wheel. If I lived in Europe, I would probably own one of these cars.
    #2. USA - Michigan, Texas, California (general route) - Mazda 1.5, 5 Speed manual. (~5,000km)
    This one was less about the scenery (though the deserts of New Mexico and Arizona were stunning) and more about the significance....finishing school and then moving out west to take a job. Existentialism in the desert. The Mazda wasn' ideal car for this. Loaded up with all my crap it was probably closing in on 3,200lbs and with only 100hp to move it. Through it all, it did an admirable job and never skipped a beat. Got close to 40mpg the entire way, despite the fuel tank needing a refill every 300 miles. :banghead: This was completely solo and no cruise control either. The biggest stint on this trip (though not my biggest stint in this car) was Fort Worth to Tuscson...a cool 920 miles. My solo one day record is 1012 miles.
    #3 USA - Vermont (just all around, no particular route) - Chevy Silverado 4.3 V6, Automatic (~1,000km)
    Last fall my gf and I took a trip to Vermont to see the fall. There wasn't anything particularly remarkable about either the car or the place, but it was somehow just very special. Vermont in late fall is a quiet place, and it sometimes felt like we had the whole state to ourselves. Apple orchards and lots of sheep. The truck was not expected (I booked a subcompact :lol:) but it proved to be a very comfortable touring machine. It felt like pleasureboating more than driving, but that has it's own appeal. If you ever want to slow down in life, head to Vermont.
    #4 USA - Hawaii (basic route) - Fiat 124 Spider, 1.4T, Automatic (~300km)
    Already did a pretty in-depth report on this one. The place is wonderful...the car had some issues. On the whole, it didn't distract from the greatness of this trip and I never got tired of looking at the little roadster (even if I absolutely got tired of driving it).
    #5 USA - Texas to Colorado - Subaru Legacy Spec B, 2.5T, 6 Speed Manual (~2400km)
    Me, my brother, and our buddy (with the Legacy) going to the Pikes Peak Hill Climb. This wasn't the first trip we made to the climb (first couple of times were in a '94 Integra LS that almost didn't move at high altitude), but the Subaru was definitely the best car we did the drive in. A superb tourer with good power and lots of comfort.
    #6 USA - Central Texas - Hyundai Genesis (G80) 3.8 V6, 8 Speed Automatic (~650km)
    See here. Chuffing lovely car. Wish I had more time on this trip, only one day worth of exploring really. This is a car you can do 1,000 miles a day in no problem.
    #7 USA - San Francisco to San Diego - Porsche Boxster (~1,500km)
    A mainly coastal trip from SF to SD and back. It was nice, but I don't have strong memories of it being great. I think its probably because we were on the 101 for most of the trip, and that's a little boring. San Diego was lovely of course. The Boxster was flawless, apart from a dead battery at the start of the trip. Its impressive how much stuff you can put in this 2-seat mid engine roadster....far, far more than a Miata. [I think what separates a decent road trip vehicle from a great road trip vehicle is the perceived effort. The Genesis and Subaru Legacy (and Chevy Silverado, come to think of it) all felt completely effortless. The Boxster, Mazda2, and Fiat 124 all felt like they were either trying hard...or required a bit more effort/attention from the driver. Either one of those makes road trips less enjoyable, IMO. In the Boxster's case, I think it's the somewhat heavy and not quite right feeling clutch.]
    #8 USA - San Francisco to LA - Nissan Altima
    This was a great trip partially let down my a crappy rental Altima. Me and my brothers and my nephew, and my first time visiting the Golden State. Sadly, the "road" part of this trip was pretty forgettable. If the machine had been better, I'm certain this would be higher on the list. (There was another quite-similar trip in a rented Toyota Rav-4 from San Diego to Las Vegas to San Francisco. I will lump that one into this one. Great trip, mediocre car).
    #9 USA - San Francisco to Las Vegas to LA to San Francisco - Mazda 2 (~2,000km)
    This was a fun trip...but having 4 people in the little Mazda for this long of a trip, at that altitude, in the summer (110F+), really felt like it was stressing the car. The driving aspect of this trip was not enjoyable and I felt stressed most of the way. But once we were in Vegas, it was great!
    Special mention: When I was a kid (so I didn't do any of the driving) my family did a trip from Maine, USA to as far south as Mexico city. This was done in a 1995 Ford Winstar minivan with a 110lb German Shepherd onboard. Route. This was a 10,000km behemoth. I doubt I'll ever break this record...or want to. :lol:

    There have been more, but those are the ones that immediately come to mind. Share yours!

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  2. Joey D

    Joey D Premium

    United States
    Detroit Suburbs to Tail of the Dragon - 2012 Ford Focus: This was pretty spur of the moment. My grandpa has just passed away and it had been a roller coaster of a week getting ready for the funeral and dealing with family and whatnot. My friends had been planning a trip to the TotD for a few months, but I was in between jobs so I didn't have a ton of money and I figured I should probably sit the trip out. They were all leaving the day after the funeral and I was kind of disappointed I wasn't going with them. My mom pulled me aside, handed me a wad of cash and said my grandpa would want me to take a road trip in his memory.

    So at 3 am the following morning, I threw a few things in the back of my car and set off. It was pretty uneventful until I actually got off the highway and tried to find the cabin. It was midday but it was storming so hard it looked like night, I could barely see the road, and I was impossibly lost with no cell service. It took me something like 4 hours to figure out where I was and get my bearings. Once I made it to the cabin though, everything was great and my buddies and I had an excellent time driving the roads and just enjoying the south.

    Grand Rapids to Tail of the Dragon - 2011 Volvo C30 R-Design: Even though I was already courthouse married (long story) my actual wedding wasn't for a few months, so this trip was supposed to be my bachelor party. I left three days before I needed to meet everyone at the cabin we rented and along the way, I made stops at Norte Dame, Louisville, Corvette Plant, and more bourbon places than I can remember. I also had a brilliant idea to stop off at a Volvo dealer in Louisville and get the Polestar tune on my car because it felt slow.

    After getting to the cabin, we all went exploring the roads that were loved to drive. At every stop, my buddies gave me so ridiculously oversized gift ala Top Gear. I remember getting a longbow, a wooden knight that took up the whole rear hatch of my car, a stone chicken, and a huge cast of Slim Jims. We also stayed in Pigeon Forge so my buddies thought it'd be funny to take me to one of the most touristy shows they could find. We ended up at some lumberjack show where, of course, I was made a fool of.

    Grand Rapids to Utah - 2015 Toyota Tacoma: Not so much a road trip as a moving trip, but I still made the most of it. On the first day, I drove from Grand Rapids to Platte River, Nebraska and was absolutely dead. The second day though, I made a detour through Rocky Mountain National Park and into Steamboat Springs, which was pretty cool. I eventually made my way out US 40 through Vernal, Utah to check out Dinosaur National Monument before making my way to Salt Lake City, my new home. While the trip itself wasn't overly eventful, it was incredibly memorable since I had my truck loaded with all the crap I could fit in it to start a new life in a new state.

    Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado - 2013 Volvo S60: I actually wrote about this for GTPlanet. I wanted to explore the southern part of the state and over Pioneer Day weekend I set off to see what I could find. I ended up visiting a bunch of National Parks, seeing Four Corners and buying a carload of beer. Really made me have a new appreciation for Utah as a whole by getting to see more of it.
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  3. homeforsummer

    homeforsummer Premium

    In no particular order...

    USA: Route 66 > CA Highway 1 ('07 Mitsubishi Outlander, '07 PT Cruiser): Conversation with a couple of friends snowballed into booking tickets to the US and the decision to do Route 66 in 2007. None of us knew much about it beforehand other than that it was a famous route. Other than the first few nights, we generally turned up at motels along the route and got whatever was available. Navigated by map as this was before the days of smartphones and widespread GPS and internet! Largely followed the full R66 path from Chicago to LA, but made the Santa Fe detour and also detoured to the Grand Canyon. After three weeks, one of my friends had to fly back as they could only get three weeks off work, so the remaining two of us hired a different car (the PT) and drove up and down between San Francisco and San Diego, camping rather than getting motels. Have loved spending time in the US ever since, which unsurprisingly led to subsequent trips...


    USA: Chicago > Cleveland OH > Iowa > Nebraska > Colorado > Yellowstone > Idaho > SLC > Grand Canyon > Vegas ('13 Hyundai Elantra): Another largely unplanned trip, this time in 2013. Eastern detour was to go and see Fall Out Boy in Cleveland, then headed west from there. Drove through the corn belt, into the Rockies, up to Yellowstone, then down through Idaho and Utah and around the Grand Canyon, before ending up in Vegas. All in all, took about two weeks, and led into...


    USA: Vegas > Yosemite > San Francisco > Monterey > Santa Barbara > LA > San Diego > LA (90s Chevrolet Astro camper van): ...this trip. But swapping from the Elantra to an old Astro felt like a big enough difference for it to be a separate road trip. Spent two weeks bouncing between campsites and every few days, motels so we could get a proper shower! Was my first time visiting Yosemite, and it's become one of my favourite places in the world. Got some great deals on campsites as it was off season (early October), saw some amazing sights, and despite a tendency for overheating the Astro was great. Well, terrible, but a very special thing to see California from.


    USA: LA > Pinnacles NP > Yosemite > Sacramento > Yosemite > LA ('17 Tacoma TRD Pro): Got an invite to the LA show a few years back and asked my hosts if they could extend my flight by a couple of weeks as I wanted to do some features. Borrowed a TRD Pro from Toyota, shot it in the desert, then went and visited a few car people around the LA area. After our photographer flew home I just drove around California between museums and national parks, going hiking. Visited Yosemite twice to do different trails.


    Iceland: Route 1 ('17 Mazda MX-5): I think this was also in 2017 but I've lost track so can't be sure. Drove an MX-5 around Iceland for a feature, with a bunch of other journos in similar cars. It's about 800 miles around the main ring road on the island. Managed about 600 of those miles with the roof down, before rain got the better of us. Absolutely stunning country, and the MX-5 was a cool thing to see the island from.

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  4. Eunos_Cosmo


    United States
    I really need to get out to Utah. My explorations have slowed substantially since I started my "adult" life, unfortunately. I have a ton of just California destinations on my unexplored list (I've been here for 5 years and haven't even gone to Yosemite yet :indiff: ) Part of what has held me back is a lack of a suitable car....ugh.
  5. KM964


    United States
    I really only have one to share.

    Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) to Corning, NY (‘18 Hyundai Veloster)
    This roadtrip was not supposed to happen at all. I had booked airfare through United months in advance. My reason for this trip was going to the Ferrari Club of America National Meet, which was in Corning, NY that year. My grandfather had passed the day prior, and I already had enough on my mind. At DFW, my flight to EWR got delayed because of a mechanical issue. And because of said delay, I missed my connection at EWR. So I had to scramble to the rental car center. My options were limited because I needed a rental company that also had an office at Corning Regional Airport. After no luck with Hertz, Avis, and National, Enterprise came through with a car. I got a dark blue Hyundai Veloster, and was off in no time. The scenery changed drastically - at one point I could look to my right and see One World Trade Center and the rest of the Manhattan skyline. As I ventured into western New Jersey it changed to lush greenery; it changed moreso to lush green hills and mountains once I crossed into Pennsylvania. I didn’t get to my destination until well after dark, but the next morning revealed just how beautiful upstate New York is. As frustrated as I was, I didn’t give up. I also felt like my grandfather was riding with me in spirit. The Veloster I had may not have been a remarkable car in any way whatsoever, but for 24 hours it was my saving grace.


    Attached Files:

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  6. MatskiMonk


    United Kingdom

    The coastline of mainland Great Britain, August 2006, ~4500 miles
    Rental Vauxhall Astra, 1.9 CDI.

    Took two weeks, if I find my write up I'll post it up. It was a most excellent trip.


    The Route...


    .. okay so, it varied a little bit, but that was the general idea. I made that image using a route plan I made in AutoRoute Express... anyone remember that?

    The Chariot of many odours...

    Picture 161_jpg.jpg

    So, in late 2005 I asked a simple question, how long is the coastline of the UK. Whilst looking into it, I started to wonder what it would be like to drive it. One thing lead to another, and a plan was hatched. A good friend agreed that he'd accompany me on the journey, and we set a date for the following summer. I actually did very little research beyond figuring out roughly where we'd end up each day. Nothing was pre-booked, there was no Sat-Nav or Smart Phones. I'd planned on using the E30 320i I had at the time to complete the trip, sadly, whilst queueing for 6 hours to leave the British Grand Prix in June of '06 the engine lunched itself and the car was scrapped. Come August, I still didn't have a car so I decided to rent one, and thus ended up with a brand new, lead-mileage Vauxhall Astra. I checked, many, many times that the mileage plan was unlimited, and ponied up several hundred pounds, plus deposit, and the next day we set off.

    I'd decided that I wanted to start the Journey from the Reform Club in London (Phileas Fogg style), so the first leg was a 90 mile trip south into London, for a quick photo, then on to Brighton on the south coast which was the start/finish line for one lap of our island. My plan was to do it in 14 days, actually we took 15, stopping short of Brighton on the 14th day since I hadn't really allowed for the trip back home (via the Reform Club again), and we knew we'd be ****ed. Generally the days consisted of packing up the campsite, finding somewhere for breakfast, finding somewhere for lunch, finding somewhere for tea, then finding a suitable camping spot, then getting drunk... and we tried wherever possible to have a look around any village/town we stopped in.

    It was a fantastic trip. Both my friend and I commented at the time that it was the kind of the thing you wouldn't be able to do in the future... the advent of Smart Phones was still a year off, so things like google maps weren't available to us on the road, we literally had to hunt for suitable camping locations at the end of each day, we didn't know where the petrol stations were... these days, all that info is in your pocket... back then it felt like an adventure. Again, we had no Nav, so it was done using an Atlas and Road Signs.. it was a proper analogue trip. We both also thought that the rising fuel costs of such a trip, and also the ever increasing prevalence of Speed Cameras in the future would take all the fun out of it. Even at '06 prices we spend about £430 on Diesel (IIRC)... I'd actually be totally up for doing it again... it was 2 weeks that felt like 2 months -- but in a good way. Sadly my mate got married, had a kid, and is now about to die of a brain tumor... so if I were to do it again (and every now and then I get the urge to), it will be a solo voyage... though these days, I suspect I'd have google lady's voice to keep me company.

    Also.... took me 4 hours to clean the interior of the car. 2 guys camping for 2 weeks took its toll.

    The total mileage was about 4510, with 4126 being 'coastal' mileage....


    I suppose if we're going for memorable, writing my car off on the way back from the Nürburgring in 2015 is probably up there for bad reasons too. Still got my Hatzenbach limp because of that.
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2019
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