For almost as long as there have been cars, there have been road trips. In those early days, road trips were described as Sunday drives with the family and relaxing drives to the country. Riders embarked upon road trips for a sense of peace and to unwind, but somewhere along the way the road trips became epic. From a Vegas road trip with the buddies, to the cross-country adventure with the family, and even the occasional run for the border to evade police, a road trip isn’t even worth mentioning if it isn’t epic.
So grab your beef jerky and Mountain Dew and prepare for your next road trip adventure. Here are a few roads to travel and a few stops to make along the way to inspire you the next time you feel the urge to hit the road.
North Yungas Road, Bolivia
This 43-mile road that connects Bolivia’s capital city and the rain forest of its northern region will definitely spike your adrenaline. The road is also known as Camino de las Yungas, Coroico Road, or Death Road. It has been christened the world’s most dangerous road. Hundreds of motorists die here each year, and the markers along the road are a testament to that.
Karakoram Highway to China and Pakistan
If heights excite you, then take a drive on the Karakoram Highway, or KKH, which travels between China and Pakistan through the Karakoram mountain range. It traces the ancient Silk Road, a network of historic Asian trade routes, and is known as one of the highest international paved roads. Completed in 1979, it’s been open to the public since 1986 and has become a destination for adventure tourism. You’ll be traveling to an elevation of 15,397 ft. That’s high enough to give you some killer views and possibly make your stomach drop just a bit. This road is often referred to as the Eighth Wonder of the World because of the difficulty of constructing it.
Manali-Leh Highway India
While KKH may be high, its paved surfaces can give you a sense of comfort. For a road trip that offers a little higher fear factor, check out the Manali-Leh Highway in India. This road sits at an average elevation of 13,000 ft., with its highest section at an elevation of 17,480 ft. at Tanglang La mountain pass. Driving this road, however, requires some skill and nerves of steel. At points it crosses snowmelt and small streams without bridges. Drivers often face damaged sections of road, and in some areas the road is subject to landslides with just the slightest rain. However, if you can stomach this 300-mile highway you will be rewarded with stunning vistas, outrageous natural rock formations, and no doubt, a great story to tell your friends.
It’s not always the road itself that makes the trip; sometimes it’s the crazy driving. If you have that friend who can’t lay off the gas pedal, then maybe you should suggest pulling off to the side of the road to indulge that need for speed in a more appropriate place. In just a few hours you can be hugging the turns of a racetrack in a controlled environment. Read: you won’t get a ticket. Check out a school like Skip Barber’s Racing School, where you will get a lesson in driving and then time behind the wheel. Hey, you’ve got to make a pit stop anyway right?
At some point on a road trip you want to get out of the car but that doesn’t mean you don’t like going really fast. If you need to stretch your legs—and maybe your lungs—make a pit stop and participate in some zorbing. Zorbing involves climbing into a giant plastic bubble and rolling down a hill really fast. With the right slope of land you can reach speeds of up to 30 mph. The activity began in Rotorua, New Zealand and has spread throughout the U.K. Roll down a hill or walk on water, either way, after a stint of zorbing you’ll be happy to get back into the car.
If your road trip takes you across state lines for a significant number of miles you may have the opportunity of running into a storm. So why not give in to your inner adrenaline junkie and chase that storm? Just don’t do it alone. Tag along with a storm chasing company like Storm Chasing Adventure Tours, and let the racing winds and wild rain of a powerful storm get your adrenaline going. Getting whipped by the wind while watching the power of Mother Nature in action may give you all the fodder you need to retell your epic road trip story.