Roads that mean something to you

(There might have already been a thread like this, but oh well! I’m starting another.)

I discovered the other day that I have a strong attachment towards the New Jersey Turnpike! I didn’t actually drive on it — I went to see my friend in Philadelphia, so I got off the road right before I would have gotten onto the New Jersey Turnpike if I’d been going farther north. But the act of denying myself a ride on the Turnpike made me feel so suddenly sad. It’s weird how strong the feeling was!

I’ve made a whole bunch of trips through New Jersey over the course of my life either to go to New York to do the things one needs to go to New York to do, or as a leg on the much longer journey to visit my dad in Boston. The last few times I drove through I stopped at the Vince Lombardi Service Plaza, so now that feels like it’s turned into a tradition. Another time I had tried waxing all the hair off my body the night before, but being a failure at waxing, I ended up with a big ol’ rash over my entire body. I didn’t want to wear long sleeves, because it was hot, and also the feeling of the textiles against the rash bothered me. I stopped at a Burger King off the Jersey Turnpike at some point to get a veggie burger (whenever traveling I always feel the need to consume all the trash I wouldn’t normally eat). While there everyone in line stood the now-customary 6 feet away from me, though this of course was long before Covid-19, so I felt like a big freak as I walked away with my burger and sat alone on the far side of the restaurant away from everyone else. I wanted to scream the whole time “It’s not contagious!” but that would just make me an even bigger freak. I could definitely sympathize with how people who have very visible chronic skin conditions and other illnesses might feel.

There were a few trips my dad and I took back and forth from Boston. Those are always nice, since they’re my one chance to sit down with him for a prolonged period and have an actual conversation. One time we were going to Maryland from Boston past midnight (“there’ll be less traffic!” my dad said). By the time we reached the New Jersey Turnpike he was on the verge of falling asleep. Without warning he pulled over onto the side of the road and said “your turn,” and I was like “ok?” and got out to switch with him. Though one of us must of have knocked into the high beam controls and put them on accidentally, so for the next five minutes I drove on the highway with the high beams on like an idiot, confused why on earth all the other cars were doing strange things like suddenly slowing down, getting behind me and flashing their lights.

On those Boston trips the Jersey Turnpike always felt nice because on the way there it felt like the point where the journey was really starting, after about an hour and a half of driving through Maryland and Delaware, and on the way back it felt like the sign that I was almost home. I liked approaching New York and seeing massive expanses of industrialization surrounding the city. It always felt like the harbinger of something big and ominous.

Anyways, I’m sad I was so close to it without a chance to actually get on it! But I figured I’d make this thread and see if other people have any roads that they feel some sentiments for. I have a few others that I could talk about too later on.

A few years ago I took highway 101 down the coast all the way from Seattle to LA. It took about 5 days and those were some very memorable 5 days. I grew up in the midwest and so I did a lot of interstate driving, and the impression you get from interstate driving is you do a lot of waiting and you kind of arrive at the same slate of hotels, fast food resturants, and gas stations. However, crawling down the coast at 30-50 miles, you really feel like you‘ve gone somewhere and arrived at destinations rather than simply waiting to get there. I would come around bends to see the entire cost laid out before me, and I would have to stop to get a photo or to just drink in the scenery. The longest most intense stretch was trying to get to Ft Bragg off 101, which was a very intense set of roads twisting all the way to the coast. Adding to the anxiety was on this stretch there was a bunch of people pulled over because someone’s truck went over the guardrail into the forest. Finally I was able to break through and came to the ocean yet again.

I had planned to visit friends in Petaluma *later that day* and so I had to get back on 101 from Ft Bragg, which meant another absolute Touge drive up through the mountains. at several points I pulled over to let locals take the road up at speeds I was incapable and unwilling to do, it was mentally exhausting.

Anyway I'd like to someday do that again. My sister lives in the Bay Area now, and at some point I will too, so I won't get to once again do the very beautiful Pacific Coast Highway unless I make a whole trip out of it, which I should.

@marlfuchs2#9766 That sounds fantastic! After this pandemic is over I need to con my friend in Portland to take a week off work and do something similar with me. I’ve somehow never actually been to California! Just Washington and Oregon. There have been, like, five separate occasions where I was about to go to California (not for fun stuff, just boring stuff, unfortunately) and each time some sudden change of plans prevented me.

@marlfuchs2#9766 I just did an early morning coastal drive up the 101 on Monday. It was gorgeous, woke up at 5am to meet the sunrise out there.

As a kid, I developed fond memories of a small road with farm houses on either side, that ran underneath big deciduous trees that would cast shade over the road in the summer, and in the fall were home to masses of crows and other birds. To me, it always evoked the feeling of going away on a family trip. In my head, I called it “The Magic Road.” When I was twelve or so, I brought this up to my parents, but they couldn't fathom what road I was talking about. A few weeks later, my dad was driving me to a hockey game, and I said: “This is it! This is the magic road!” It turns out that the magic road was only ten minutes away from our house, in the next town over. They still bring it up sometimes to poke fun at me.

Before I could drive a car, I really had no idea where anything was. I think the first time I looked at a map of my city was when I was a teenager. I remembered bits and pieces of many locations, but had no idea how they were related. When I started driving, I found it incredibly fascinating to learn how these places were interconnected. This is why I like games where the map is not very good, like _Deadly Premonition_. The End.

@marlfuchs2 yeahhhhh that‘s that west coast living there, it’s hard to go back after that. You have to drive a really long time in California before you get to the bits where there‘s nothing, and it’s only in the center of the state.

Anyway I've got a bunch of good roads in mind, but here's one. When I was in college in Los Angeles I found out about this place called "whole foods" (lol, but it had only recently opened in LA) where you could get vegetarian stuff, so I took my 68 pontiac tempest with a huge subwoofer in the trunk and had a solo night drive out there on the 110 freeway, which if you don't know is a twisty windy freeway that is super fun to drive on with no traffic. The arroyo seco part of the freeway was the first freeway in the united states, and there are all these "15 mile per hour" exits because they were designed for god darned model Ts.

Like I said, it's fun without traffic, and usually there's traffic! but today for whatever reason there wasn't, and it was pitch black out, and part of my hand-scrawled directions to get to this place were to drive to "the end of the freeway" which was something I'd never done or experienced before. So I'm driving on the 110 freeway with the Brain Powerd soundtrack absolutely blasting, driving round these lovely curves, culminating in "the end of the freeway" and even in the moment I was like "I am having an experience."

I guess it also felt important because in those days I was making $6.75/hour and couldn't get that many hours per week, and every trip ANYWHERE in my gas guzzling tempest was a Financial Decision.

Another road I like is the forested twisty turny touge-like-but-not-too-mountainous road that goes off the road by the dam near the place I grew up in El Sobrante. Hitting the turns in my "4 wheel steering" 3rd gen prelude while listening to trance music felt like some Initial D biz for sure. I wouldn't do it today, but I'm glad I did it then.

[edit: brain powerd sucks super bad btw, but the soundtrack is cool]

@Syzygy#9777 It had never occurred to me to look for other ways to get into NJ! I‘m looking at a map now, and I guess there really aren’t that many bridges across the Delaware river.

It reminds me of the German mathematics professor that I'd TAed for in college. He advised us all to memorize the location of every possible crossing of the Potomac river, should DC ever be evacuated. He then proceeded to recite to us the name of each and every bridge along the entire MD-VA border.

I really like driving from Erie to Boulder (Colorado) on either Arapahoe or Baseline. On Arapahoe cresting over the hill to see the mountains on the horizon, particularly in the morning, is so gorgeous that for the first couple years we lived here I added my own angelic chorus each time I saw it. On baseline there's just some wonderful winding lakeside road with a mountain view including Mesa Lab.

I would say some of the roads heading north from IL to northern MI/UP. Probably alone in this experience but as a Chicago resident who likes hiking/backpacking, northern MI+MN are really the only places worth going that don‘t require plane travel. So I enjoy the experience of driving north from the city up into the “north country.” Somewhat of a significant change wrt to the UP in particular as it is part of the “canadian shield ” geological formation, meaning that the soil, terrain, and flora are more are of a piece with the canadian wilderness rather than the upper midwest. M22 is the route with the most FIB bumper stickers (I’m one of the good ones) if I have to pick one. You also have the advantage of buying apples and sour cherries in season without the insane whole foods markup. Plus you get to head through the factory town/quasi fabian semi failed utopias that dot the great lakes region. I'm biased of course but I do like the inland sea and darkening forest atmosphere

Also I suppose if we're talking urban roads there are a few in chgo that have lots of personality and personal meaning. Division or Stony Island for eg

Highway 11 that runs through north Missouri for me, for sure. It‘s a very winding and hilly road with multiple one-way segments and there’s no cell service. I always took it during college going to and from my parents house in my white 1999 four-door Toyota Camry, and I always listened to the White Stripes album Elephant, Pink by Boris and The Crane Wife by the Decemberists. There are so many bugs in the summer that you're just massacring them in huge numbers and by the time I made it back my windshield would be completely covered

When I was in my twenties I worked nights near Baltimore in Maryland, and every morning I drove north to where I was living at the time, out in the rural parts that used to be north of Baltimore (this was in the 90‘s, so I suspect it’s all been suburbanized by now). A lot of the roads out there were super weird and creepy, with lots of extremely ancient houses and barns that were in various states of falling down! Anyway, it's kind of of topic, but I was working upwards of 60 hours, and I was always reaaaal tired when I was driving home, and… a few times I arrived home without remembering any of the drive at all! My suspicion has always been that it was a combo of being super familiar with the drive and being real tired, so I got scared that I was getting close to falling asleep at the wheel! I never did, and I stopped working so many hours not long after that!

The other memorable road for me was one I was on when I visited the south island of New Zealand a few years ago. We drove all around, and in addition to driving on the wrong side of the road from what I was familiar with, in a rental camper van, a lot of the roads there are extremely narrow with sheer dropoffs on one side and sheer rock faces on the other! It was a lot of fun, and beautiful, but extremely anxiety-provoking!

There‘s a few around my parents’ place that I'm fond of but I probably have to say this set of roads that created the school route to my high school which I drove for most of year 13. It was only a 10 minute drive but went past multiple beaches (2-4 depending on the route) and had lots of elevation change going from sea level to “New Zealand sheer rock faces”. Later, when I was in uni whenever I was driving home at night I would boost around the roads in a VW Polo with not much bhp, so it felt quite fun to go 70kph around residental streets. Now I always take it when heading home and cruise past the beaches.

I got an image to explain it but had to edit it to not dox my family

red was the most common route for me in school with a little maroon mixed in.

Red->blue->green is the optimal beach route, also my boost track, lots of good roads.

Purple->red is the optimal route but has traffic lights and heaps of traffic (I think it was rated worst road in the city).

When I was 20 I got in trouble at Berkeley Bowl for stealing an 8 dollar bottle of wine. (Exodus's memory of whole foods being a “new” thing is what reminded about that place.)

I was born in berkeley california and as an adult have been to berkeley bowl two (2) times exactly. everybody loves it but something about that place stresses me out!!! (I think it's the thin-ness of the aisles!?)

Oh yeah, I haven't been back there since like 2008 but yes its absolutely got those weird cavernous aisles that you can get lost in/lose track of yourself in. The only reason IIRC to go there is the produce, its probably the single most stunning display of produce I have ever seen. The rest of the store…. (and their white wine)… meh.

State Route 299. My father's favorite hiway, and mine as well. Goes through the Shasta Trinity National Forest. True freedom. I lived in the woods there, and visited some towns in the mountains with populations as low as 200. Bigfoot country. I played a lot of video games in those woods.

would go for a vg adaptation of blue highways where can I pitch this…

@yeso#10663 video game adaptation of David Lynch's Lost Highway

One of the things I like to do with one of my buddies is travel to a country, rent a car and just drive around for the entire trip! We‘ve driven around a few countries, and they’ve all been weird or unique in some way. Iceland was probably the best though. It‘s was extremely intense, your terrain changes every 30/60 minutes or so. Here’s a photo my friend took!