Why it's all worthwhile
A couple of weeks ago I posted 'Our Epic Road Trip Failures'. After writing that post I thought "yeah, but what about the real magic moments", and there have been plenty. Again I tried to limit myself to 10, so here they are again in reverse order.
Okay, my slightly sadistic side comes out here - who would enjoy driving around France's capital. Mastering the 'interesting' roundabout at the Arc de Triomphe, before heading down the Champs-Élysées and arriving at the Place de la Concorde is fantastic, as is the totally amazing city - Oh, Joie de vivre
Since a small child, I have enjoyed watching Grand Prix cars blast around Monaco; This glamorous Principality is a haven for the rich & famous. So when in the South of France the chance to drive the circuit, albeit in its road form is one not to be missed. From the sweeping hairpins to 'The Tunnel'. It is well known the police on Monte Carlo take a dim view on speeding, so with this in mind a blast through the tunnel is limited to first, and a light touch in second - Childish, but enjoyable.
So this made it onto our 'Our epic road trip failures', and yes it was a touch hairy, but the landscape is remarkable. That 17 mile route around the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, is truly magnificent. It is where you can see millions of years of natural shaping of the earth. Breath-taking.
Driving through Provence, in the south of France, is an assault on the senses - especially around Les Baux-de-Provence. There's the great landscape, the wonderful aroma of cedar, juniper & cypress and the chorus of birdsong (one reason to mute your road trip soundtrack!) - Take me back.
For anyone who loves driving this has to be on your bucket list. Not only is it a fantastic road to drive, but it links some pretty amazing places together. This was our 2006 West Coast tour, and my chosen vehicle was the extravagant Hummer H2. We started in San Francisco, before heading south to L.A. A genuinely fantastic route.
Since our last visit in 2006 it's now possible to bypass the Hoover Dam entirely - but why would you? This marvel of engineering, with elegant Art Deco styling elements, is not to be missed. It has to be one of the wonders of the modern world. (Oh, and you can do the time travel trick between Mountain Standard Time & Pacific Daylight Time: Forward one hour - back one hour)
With the sun beating on your face, cruising the coastal road between Saint Tropez & Cannes is amazing - but it comes into its own as you hit the Corniche D'Or where you have the topaz blue waters on one side, and the dust-red rocks on the other. The road nicely flicks as it follows the intricate shoreline - Does it get any better?
Trying to pick one from Namibia was always going to be difficult. Three weeks on a truly epic road trip, and I have chosen the moment we came across a pride of lions escaping the African sun.
I put this at number one because it made me feel just a little like James Bond. Okay, so the opening sequence of Quantum of Solace was filmed along Lake Garda, but on Lake Como, you pass Villa del Balbianello, where Bond convalesces in Casino Royale, and further up the western shore you come across Villa Gaeta Terrazzo - the home of Mr White in the same movie.
As some may have noticed, there are none from the UK. It's not that we don't have some awesome routes, oh we do. However, most of ours were before the year 2000, and are pre-digital. So guess what? I'm going to rediscover them, and the ones I missed. Look out for that post sometime in the future.