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Awesome Road Trips that Won’t Get You Arrested

November 15, 2013

Road tripping is exhilarating, offering a profound sense of purpose to even the most disenchanted designated driver. A road trip is like landscape tapas, serving up share-size portions of the most obscure and extraordinary geographical dishes the world has to offer. Any of you who’ve seen classic road trip movies and everything they entail will have noticed the common denominator: everyone’s getting arrested.

These standard road trips are rife with criminal activity and tend to spiral right out of control faster than you can say “brake”. But if you’re looking to plan a road trip itinerary which doesn’t involve jail time, you’ll be happy to know that it can still be awesome in spite of its inherent morality. If you’re stuck for ideas, look no further. What you’re about to witness is the ultimate breakdown of the most gloriously fulfilling and culturally rich road trips on the planet.

Road to Hana, Hawaii

If you’re looking to feel positively dwarfed by nature’s splendour, the road to Hana is probably the road for you. Bask in the pulsing cartoon pigments and very cheeky meanders this 52 mile serpent of a road has to offer (with a suitably mellow soundtrack) and it’ll be hard to believe you haven’t stepped through a portal into paradise.

There’s something beautifully primitive about the road to Hana, provoking such an overwhelming sense of escapism that it’ll probably be a little difficult to readjust to your metropolitan roots when the time comes. But for now, go Hawaiian and let your 21st century headache dissolve into this primitive palette, passing botanical gardens, waterfalls and – yes, we’re serious – the Garden of Eden as you go.

Authentic Old West, New Mexico

If you’re a person, and therefore a Breaking Bad fan, New Mexico is probably a secure numero uno on your road trip to-do list. For the sake of our objective, kindly keep the meth to a minimum – this untamed desertscape is any desperado’s dream, offering hazy sunsets and buckarooing good times by the bucket.

Heading for that sepia horizon, you’ll pass the old outlaw hangouts of Santa Fe, ghost towns, dinosaur tracks and, of course, all manner of naughty Mexican cuisine. The sense of liberation and gunslinging goodness provided by this authentic Old West road trip really is hard to beat. This one has the official Heisenberg seal of approval.

Gobi Desert, Mongolia

Those of you looking for an off-road, overland adventure, the Gobi’s got what you need. This earthy palette of burnt umbers and sandy golds is a grand feast for the eyes, with night skies so cloudless it seems like you could touch the very stratosphere.

Here you’ll find an array of exotic animals, including ibex, camels and even snow leopards if you’re lucky, making this road trip a certified safari for the observant traveller. On top of that, you’ll find a landscape wealthy with culture, as you visit tiny nomadic communities along your journey – meeting the natives here offers profound cultural insight and will likely make you envious of those able to spend their lives in this dreamy, slow-moving sandscape.

Navajo and Hopi Lands, Arizona

If a culture awakening is on your agenda, you’ll be stunned and legitimately enlightened by an adventure through the Navajo lands of Arizona. Things are pretty traditional around these parts, with Hopi artisans selling their signature homemade rugs and jewellery at the trading post, and families carrying water back to their villages.

There’s an inherently tribal vibe across the Navajo lands, sure to fill any engaged road tripper with a sense of spiritual contentment. Indeed, it can be all too easy to renounce contemporary civilisation after you’ve taken a tour of these tranquil southwest plains.

Central Greece

History doesn’t get much juicier than this. A road trip through central Greece pretty much sells itself, but here are a couple extra incentives in case you’re not quite convinced yet. The otherworldly beauty of ancient Greek temples; the staggering enormity of Mycenae palace; the sweet ‘300’ flashbacks to be found in Sparta; the bends and braids of the road to Kalamata – it’s all good.

Our favourite spot of all is the glorious Delphi, where leaders sought pre-war consultation from the oracle, but this road trip promises invigorating levels of historical value from beginning to end, and looks damn good when the sun goes down.

The Bourbon Trail, Kentucky

The whole “not getting you arrested” thing is pretty much dependent on the overlap between bourbon and driving. This has the potential to be an adventure of epic proportions if you pace yourself and stay on the right side of the DUI legislations. Rolling through bourbon country is the best excuse we can think of for consuming an inordinate amount of whisky – especially since your adventures can later be described to friends as ‘educational’.

Driving this way offers views of the furious white-water rapids and scents of wild mint plants growing by the roadside. Factor in the innumerable bourbon establishments en route and you’ve got yourself quite the cocktail. Visiting distilleries throughout your Kentuckian journey means that you’ll come away with enough whisky-based trivia to really sell the educational aspect.

Karakoram Highway (Pakistan to China)

This highway is the world’s most high altitude international road. Road tripping at these heights means the mountaintops are close enough to taste, with a spectrum so gloriously melancholy it’s impossible not to get a little introspective. This route is only officially open between late spring and early autumn, so plan your road trip carefully if you want to experience the awe-inspiring ‘rooftop of the world’ first-hand.

The KKH takes you all the way from Pakistan to China, past breathtaking panoramas and rugged landscapes so vast and overwhelming it can be hard to grasp. Nature is a wild and mighty beast, and this is never quite so clear as on the Karakoram Highway.

Pirate Route, Jamaica

Okay, this one could totally get you arrested if you over-commit. Road trippers with the Spanish Main on the brain should get in touch with their inner marauder and mosey down Jamaica’s pirate route, but pillage only as and when necessary. Here you’re in what was once universally acknowledged as pirate territory, fit to burst with all manner of buccaneers, freebooters and filibusters.

Traces of this exciting history are visible still in the quiet fishing villages and harbours you’ll find along the way. When Montego Bay’s in your sights, it can be all too easy to find pirate ships drifting by on the hazy Caribbean horizon.


Happy trails.


About The Author

Jon Le Roux is co-founder and company director of The Car Loan Warehouse. Being a mad engineering and motorsport enthusiast, I spend more hours than is healthy, watching, reading or talking about cars, boats, motorbikes…..basically anything with an engine.