Update: Chuckles has persuaded me to head east instead of north or southwest. I may continue to the Outer Banks, but I suspect that’ll prove too much driving; I’d rather save that time for the mountains.

So, if anyone has more recommendations for that area, I’d appreciate them. The Cumberland Gap Tunnel, Blue Ridge Parkway, Highland Scenic Highway, U.S. 250, Routes 60 and 32 are on my short list.

I may drive some forest roads near Slade in the Daniel Boone National Forest on the way back, but those can be fairly intense/muddy, and with all the rain recently, not sure I’d want to tackle those alone.


I’ve asked a similar question before, but this time I have a little runway before I depart. The company at which I’m currently contracting has a week off for the 4th of July, so I’m trying to decide what to do with that.

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I want to get out of state to someplace with interesting back roads. Ohio has some surprisingly interesting roads (see below), but so much flatness. Illinois has the Shawnee National Forest, but I’d like to have some urban areas around too, and southern Illinois is almost as depopulated as Chernobyl.

Middle of nowhere, Ohio. Any time I’m on a public road that looks nothing like a public road, I’m probably happy.
Photo: The author

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Kentucky and Tennessee are great, but I’ve spent time there before. They’re my fallbacks.

I’m thinking this time I should either go to the U.P. or the Ozarks. Both seem to have plenty of interesting forest roads to explore. The U.P. has spectacular waterfalls, but I’m guessing also has kitten-sized mosquitos right now, and I’ll of course be topless. I think I’d rather go there when the snow is melting and the water is really flowing.

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But I know nothing about the Ozarks.

Of course, as cool as it’s been, a beach in South Carolina sounds nice too. Or another donut tower at the Blue & White in Tunica, Mississippi.

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So many options, so little time.

Suggestions? I’d say roughly within the circle below.