What’s the Most Memorable Road You’ve Driven?

Roads don’t have to be fast, or shaped a certain way, to leave a lasting impression.

byAndrew P. Collins|
QOTD photo
Andrew P. Collins


Not all amazing roads require a particular type of car to leave a lasting impression. That's why today's prompt is about an unforgettable—not (necessarily) the "best"—road you've been on. We want to hear about the roads that made major memories, wherever on Earth they may be. So what's the most memorable road you've driven?

For consistency (and for the sake of leaving future question prompts for other days) let's keep it to proper, regular roads and not off-road trails or race tracks. Well OK, I know I said "wherever on Earth" three sentences ago but if any Apollo-mission astronauts hop into our comment section and want to recount a Lunar Roving Vehicle drive on the moon, we can make an exception.

I feel lucky to be challenged to answer this prompt myself. I've dedicated a lot of my life, ultimately, to having adventures. As a result, there are many spectacular roads I can replay on my eyelids.

Southern California is where I've had the most fun driving with a vengeance, Africa has shown me the most interesting animal encounters, and Australia has let me experience solitude I didn't realize was possible. But I think I have to call out South America for the most gobsmacking moments I've spent in a car.

There are more than a few roads down there that take you through extreme elevation changes over a relatively short distance—and that always makes for a big delta in climate and conditions, which tends to be a good context for making memories. Many of the remote roads in places like Peru and Chile are also extremely skinny, which makes passing oncoming vehicles (or pedestrians, or animals) particularly taxing.

If I have to zero in on one, I'll go with 24A in Peru, north of the city of Huancayo. I was there in 2017 with a bunch of German Land Rover executives and a few lucky Land Rover owners—I think they'd won the trip in some kind of competition. I scored an invite under the pretense of reviewing the then-current version of the Discovery.

The road folded back on itself so many times that much of it had to be taken at a walking pace. And when you wanted to look back on where you'd been, you looked straight down at your feet.

Some of it was about as wide as an aisle at Walmart with a vertical cliff on one side and hundreds of feet of drop on the other. Much of the traffic we encountered was livestock. And the settlements we drove through were so isolated that I still to this day wonder what it's like to be born and raised in one.

That was not a road we took quickly, especially in a convoy of heavily loaded SUVs. So I can't say it was a spirited driving experience. But it's one I'll never forget.