My Scenic Drives: Embrace the open road

Seriously though, what is more fun than listening to Marty Robbins and driving south on Rt. 1 from Pacifica to Monterey, CA?  Seriously.  I defy you to tell me something more fun.  The cool Pacific breeze flowing through your hair, Marty on the hi-fi, some two-day old Donettes (y’know, the kind that has that faint hint of coconut flavoring), and gas station coffee on the dashboard; heaven, indeed, is a place on earth.  This drive is something you could call scenic.  It is a scenic drive, and dare I say it, one of the most scenic drives in the US.  Top 5.  I guess the Oregon Coast is pretty awesome too.  Anyway, these are wonderful things, and everybody should try them because they truly soothe the soul.  This is why I am very keen on My Scenic Drives.


My Scenic Drives helps you – you guessed it – plan your scenic drive based on your location.  My Scenic Drives seems to still be in a beta-ish phase, and the drives are currently relegated to Washington and Oregon – not bad states, though.  (California will be up in a couple of weeks.)

So I entered in the address of my favorite bar in Seattle (and no, I don’t see any contradiction between dark, seedy dive bars and beautiful scenic drives) and clicked “Find a Drive.”  It worked!  The Google Map transformed from a, err, Google map, to one with coiling brown rivers – yes, the drives – super-imposed on top, shooting out from Seattle like scenic capillaries from a rainy, coffee-loving human heart.  At the same time, a bunch of alluring drives popped up on the left-hand part of the screen: “The Rockport Loop,” “Chuckanuat Drive,” “Whidbey Island,” etc.  (If I didn’t know any better, I’d think they were the names of new dramas starring Shannon Tweed on the Lifetime network.)  Anyway, each drive – the aforementioned brown rivers – had it’s own hyperlink, so I clicked on one that jutted eastward to the town of Ellensburg (“big city amenities and small-town charm.”)  I clicked on the drive and found out the drive had a name: “Mountains to Sound Greenway (I90.)  The drive came with all the necessary information (below): an overview (passing through the Cascades), mileage, duration, seasons (it’s do-able for all seasons), and the roadways involved.


Better yet, there was a thorough description of the drive:

“Completed in 1978, I-90 is one of the country’s most traveled mountain highways. It connects Puget Sound over Snoqualmie Pass to Central Washington. If you live in Seattle or the surrounding areas, this is usually a great mountain scenic drive back home. The road is typically open all winter, although some portions do require chains.”

These people did their research.  So, a couple of comments:

  • I discovered that the drives were relegated to Washington and Oregon only after entering my California address and getting an error message.  I would enter copy to the effect of “My Scenic Drives currently serves the states of Washington and Oregon, but don’t worry, we’ll add more soon!”  (Similar copy is on the home page, below the text boxes, but it would be best to get out ahead of this by mentioning it at the top.)
  • On the home page, I tried to click “Suggest a Drive,” but couldn’t.  Most likely because I had to enter my location first.  It’d be nice to have folks suggest drives without having to enter their location.  (If that’s possible, I apologize.)
  • It could be cool to give each drive more catchy, pithy names.   “The Rockport Loop” and “Chuckanuat Drive” each sound equally alluring, but there’s nothing to differentiate the two.  How about, “Escape from the City,” or “A Taste of the Country,” or “The Old Man and the Sea,” or “High, Lonesome Plains” or “Hobo’s Delight.”  You know what I mean?

We live in an age of anxiety, war, and the omnipresence of high fructose corn syrup.  People are stressed out.  As a proponent of scenic drives myself (did I mention I like Marty Robbins?) I firmly believe that if everyone took some time every now and then to take a scenic drive (as well as get bi-weekly massages, and eat less red meat) Lord knows there’d be a lot less wars.  My Scenic Drives is doing it’s part.  Now get out and drive, y’all!

  • James Cowlin

    Here’s another source of information for one of the most scenic drives in America: US Route 89 between Mexico and Canada. The website is The Road Trip Guides divide the highway into 19 segments each with a map, road description, list of special attractions and photographs. There is also a guide to especially scenic drives. And the best part is that anyone can contribute information about their favorite section of highway 89.

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