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MG TD TF 1500 - Best Roads in North America

Each year my wife and I take a lengthy trip in our 1949 MG TC. In 2010, we will be taking the TC around North America, somewhere in the neighborhood of 10,000 miles. Being in the initial route planning stages, I'm looking for suggestions on the best routes through various regions, and any "not to be missed" roads or sights.

I've been to most of the 50 states (not always in M.G.s), but my cross-country trips are usually by plane or interstate. This will be primarily a back roads trip!

What are the best roads in your area? (they don't always have to be paved!)

Route as planned so far (very tentative):

Leg 1: Highway 1 (Pacific Coast Highway) from Southern California to the Vancouver area.

Leg 2: East to Glacier National Park, then south to Yellowstone (Montana) and Mount Rushmore (South Dakota). East to Great Lakes region.

Leg 3: Around Great Lakes and northeast to upper New England, perhaps Maine or Nova Scotia.

Leg 4: South along the Atlantic coast through New England to the Virginia area.

Leg 5: (Summer option) Turn northwest to avoid the heat of the deep south and southwest, then continue west to Colorado.

Leg 5 (Spring option) Continue southwest through the southern states, then turn north in New Mexico to Colorado.

Leg 6: North along the Rocky Mountains, crossing somewhere between Denver and Wyoming. Visit various national parks in Utah (I never get enough of them!) then west through northern Nevada (Highway 50) to the mighty Sierra Nevada Mountains.

Leg 7: Highway 395 (Sierra Highway) south along the Sierras, continuing south back home.

--------------------

During last year's trip, running the TC at Bonneville Salt Flats: http://www.mgnuts.com/events/gofwest2007/page4/images/speed_demons.jpg

Steve S

My favorite is the blue ridge parkway. http://www.blueridgeparkway.org/
Cheers,
Guenter
Guenter

Leg 3 should go up into Canada at Detroit...you could go north to Tobormorry, then across Geogian Bay(north channel) on the Ferry and back around through Muskoka down to Southern Ontario...along the South shore of Lake Ontario, up the Niagara River Parkway (and stop here for coffee) and past Niagara Falls to cross the border at Buffalo NY.
If you skipped the north route and came along #3 hwy from Detroit to Buffalo, you would also see some lovely country.

Leg 4 should include the whole Skyline Drive, Blue Ridge Parkway, even if it gets a little warm down in Tenn.... you would never regret it?
gblawson(gordon)

If you plan to get to Cape Cod, Massachusetts Route 6A from the canal to Orleans is a nice windey road lined with sea captains homes.
SEAMUS
F. HEALY

Steve,

I've done a lot of these routes over the past 35 years in various MG's. You're really in for a great time! I agree with Guenter, Gordon and Seamus on their recommendations. I would suggest going north from the Toronto (not going across at Buffalo) along 401, Queen's Highway, to Montreal and then up through Quebec City, following the St. Lawrence Seaway. Re-enter the U.S. in New Brunswick and then track to Seamus' recommendation near the Cap Cod Canal near Wood's Hole. Work your way down the East Coast following the Blue Ridge, and try to route yourself through Memphis. If you are a music fan, Memphis has plenty to offer and much more. From there, be sure to take in Route 61 down through Mississippi. This is the heart of blues country, and much of the historic south.

Tom
Tom Balutis

Do not go thru Michigan, we have the worst condition roads in the whole country, followed by Illinois.
Ontario has great roads and little traffic in the rural areas.
We have just done a couple of tours in KY and TN and found some great driving on super smooth blacktop with. great scenery.
colin stafford

When in Colorado you might come through Crested Butte! We would love to show you around town. You could take 285 from Denver, over Monarch Pass (fun but doable), through Gunnison and on up to CB. About 4 hours (okay, add a few in the TC). From here I would recommend westward via state hwy. 82 from Blue Mesa lake - a road made for your car (and maybe James Bond)! You could go up to Grand Junction (and visit LaVerne?) and Wyoming from there. I would say skip Utah and Nevada, especially in the summer!!! Aside from the heat, the winds can blow that car right off the road! But if you enjoyed Bonniville you might like it(?).

Just Google "Crested Butte, CO" - there are various web sites with pretty pictures! There are many festivals in the summer you might enjoy and the fall colors are legend.

Ed
TD #8686
efh Ed

Rt. 180 in North Georgia. A long series of banked back and forth curves, with a sharper than 180 curved and steep hairpin. Many other nice roads nearby, with well-banked corners. Great views also!!!
George Butz

Ed, last year we drove the TC to Park City in July. We passed through the California and Nevada lower deserts, Valley of Fire and up into Utah in 115-degree heat. We actually enjoyed ourselves! Of course on the way home we took a more northerly route, around the deserts. :)

Gordon, I've been pondering the idea of taking the northern route around the lakes. This is an area I'm completely unfamiliar with. Would you recommend it over going back down into the states as far as roads, scenery and sights?

Thanks everyone for the great info!
Steve S

If you are going up to Vancouver BC? Then you should head through the Rockies on the Canadian Hwy 1 and stop in both Lake Loise and Banff AB, through to Calgary then head South to Cardston Alberta cross over back into the States into Glacier National Park and go up over the "Road to the Sun" that is one of the MOST spectacular drives you will EVER make!
Regards
Rod M TF 3006 - coming apart nicely:)
Rod Murray

The country from Detroit to Toronto (you do not want to be on the 401 in a T car) to Buffalo (a triangle) is all beautiful flat farmland...lots of roads to get either east or north on without traffic and a bit of fun driving. You don't really see Canada (central/north) until you get north of Toronto (about 50 miles north)...then you hit country similar to northern Michigan or Minnesota except it is dotted with granite outcrops (coming straight out of the earth's crust).... Going that northern route around Georgian Bay is a nice quick method of seeing 'Canada'.
If you really want a trip...go north around Lake Superior and come back down the north shore...nothing like it in the world ...and if you are doing it in the summer, you will still be in pretty damn hot weather (no snow for 1500 miles to the north in the summer time). That would bring you down either through Muskoka or across on the Ferry to Tobormmory (reverse of my first suggestion) and down through the Bruce Peninsula...then down into Southern Ontario.
There again, Pennsylvania has some gorgeous roads... hard to plan it all in one go without traveling thousands of miles and a few years on the road....!!!!

gblawson(gordon)

Thanks for the ideas. Gordon, if I'm reading you correctly you're saying that both routes are nice? I demand that you decide which you like better! ;)
Steve S

Hi Steve.

Sounds like a wonderful trip. When you arrive in Vancouver you should visit Octagon Motor Group (service and parts - MG's).

I have some suggestions for the drive from Vancouver to Glacier National Park. Upon my return from vacation (end of Nov/08) I will send you instructions setting our what I believe is the most interesting drive from Vancouver to Glacier.

Send me your E-Mail address and I will get you the info/suggestions.

regards............Gary
Gary Rombough

If you have never been, then take the northern route... the Morgan Club of the UK did it a few years ago (this is the 'up the Bruce Peninsula, across on the ferry and back down around Georgian Bay).... great trip.
gblawson(gordon)

Thanks Guys. Gary, I learned long ago to never list an email address on this site. The antiquated software is incredibly insecure and spam bots will plague any email address posted here forever. But... visit my web site and you can email me from the main page. http://www.mgnuts.com Thanks again!
Steve Simmons

Steve,

If you'e going to take the Skyline Drive (starts in Front Royal VA - just west of Washington) and continue on with the Blue Ridge Parkway (ends nr. Cherokee NC), allow at least 3 full days - over 500 miles. While these are absolutely gorgeous drives, they are also very popular and are only 2-lane with speed limits at 45 mph or less. Throw in a few RVs and slow gawkers and you will get quite frustrated. Best time to go is in September. I've only done the entire route once in my 50 years of driving my T to/from FL.

Just south of Gatlinburg TN in the Great Smokey Mountain Park are some absolutely fabulous drives for a T-Series. The Laurel Creek Road, and of course the (in)famous "Tail of the Dragon".

Closer to my neck of the woods are the less populated areas of Northern Vermont and New Hampshire where thare is also some great driving. I manage to get there every few weeks in the summer, because the roads don't have the heavy traffic of the more popular tourist areas.

It goes without saying that if you plan to come to Montreal, the Montreal MG Car Club, would love to have you as a guest.

Gord Clark
Rockburn, Qué.
Gordon A. Clark

Thank you Gordon. That's invaluable information about the traffic. We will probably be coming through in the Summer months so hopefully most of the traffic will be later when the leaves have fully turned.
Steve Simmons

If you are on the Skyline Drive/Blue Ridge Pky, don't forget to climb MT Mitchell. It's the highest peak east of the Missippi. Yes, ever higher that MT Washington, but the climb is not as dificult, and the weeather is not as harsh.

The picture is us on the Blue Ridge



Steve Wincze

There is also a bit of the Skyline Drive on my Youtube film of my trip to Gatlinburg: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aXsygMsqgMs
gblawson(gordon)

While you are in North Carolina ( On the Blue Ridge Parkway or near) be sure to detour to travel "The Tail of the Dragon", the most exciting 11 miles you will ever experience in a T-Car, more steep and tight turns than are on any other stretch of road in the US. At the end you even can get a decal to prove you made it over the "Tail".
Mote that no trucks are allowed as the turns are too tight and grades too steep for any of them. Ideal for real T cars and drivers!
Don Harmer

While I'm sure Tail of the Dragon is a fun and twisty road, there are dozens even more crazy than that around the country. In fact, there are several roads in my area alone that are just as twisty. If counting turns per mile, I have one nearby that is almost exactly equal in distance and number of turns except that it also gains over twice the elevation!

If I recall correctly, TOTD has about 14.5 turns per mile. Believe it or not, part of my normal 25-mile commute traverses a canyon where at it's most curvy is between 13 and 14 turns per mile over a 2-mile section. Of course I could take a less challenging route to and from work but there's no fun in that!

We may drive TOTD just to say we've seen it, but if the traffic is as bad as I've heard then we will probably skip it. Maybe we can catch it on a weekday morning ro something when it isn't packed with cars, motorcycles and highway patrol!
Steve Simmons

In 1977 We ended up on the Tail of The Dragon in a 32' motor home. I will swear to this day that I could read my liscence plate on some of those curves. We did not realize until many years later that that stretch of road was famous.
Sandy
conrad sanders

Hi Steve:

One more thought on your route . . . If you choose the northern route consider driving the “Parkway” between Banff and Jasper which is considered one of the most scenic roads in the world. A four hour (at TC speeds) drive east would put you in Edmonton where you will be welcome to stay at our place. You are also invited to enjoy the hospitality of the Edmonton Classic Sports Car Club who has pledged to host an evening of Noggin and Natterin’ in your honour and to provide a Sports Car escort for your next leg of the journey.

We also extend a challenge to other individuals and groups to offer similar support for your intrepid journey.

The attached Pix was taken at Jasper last year but do not be put off by the snow - it was very early in the year.

Godspeed in Safety Fast
Jc


John Crawley

Thank you John! We actually are planning to drive from Banff to Jasper. In fact we were considering staying in the actual towns of Banff and Jasper. Edmonton seemed like a good next stop but if it's only four hours then perhaps we will continue onward, stopping there only for lunch.

That's the problem planning a trip through some unfamiliar areas. You never know which roads will take longer than planned, and vice versa.

As of this moment I'm thinking of passing through Canada by this route:

Day 1 - Stay in Forks, WA, then into Canada from Port Angeles to Victoria, then to Whistler for the night.

Day 2 - 12 to 8 to 97 and overnight in Kelowna.

Day 3 - 97 to 1 to Blaeberry.

Day 4 - 95 to 93 and into Banff.

Day 5 - 93 into Jasper.

Day 6 - East to Edmonton.

Day 7 - South on 2 to Twin Butte.

Day 8 - CA6 to US17 and 89 through Glacier and into Bigfork, MT.

And so ends the Canada leg unless I decide to go north around the lakes, or unless there is a "must visit" location I've missed.
Steve Simmons

Steve, if time permits, do the ride on the glacier crawler thing between Lk. Louise and Jasper- totally cool (it really is- bring a warm jacket!). Also, a short but steep hike from Lake Louise up to the Lake Agnes Teahouse has some of the most spectacular views you can imagine- try to do it in the morning because the light will be better!!! Can't remember the names of the other incredibly blue and vibrant two lakes in the Lk. Louise area, but you can drive and park right by the lakes. In my opinion, the scenery there is the best in the whole area! We saw all of that stuff on the drive up to Jasper- leave Banff early and you can do it in one day. George
George Butz

Steve:

On US89 go to St Mary's and then take the "going to the sun" road to West Glacier then go East from there.
This road is 52 miles of the twistist road this side of the Himalayas and is simply SPECTACULAR. It opens in June and is Registered as one of your Counties historic roads and is not to be missed.
Regards RodM
Rod Murray

Bit of a detour Steve but I can highly recomend hwy 40 between Banff and Calgary and in particular Peter Lougheed Provincal Park.

LaVerne
LED DOWNEY

Rod, as Going to the Sun Road is the only road through Glacier, we will definitely be taking it on our way south.

LaVerne, the only way we can take that road is if we backtrack south through Jasper and Banff, which I suppose wouldn't be a bad thing. But then we miss seeing new areas such as Edmonton. Maybe it's better that way? Hmmm...
Steve S

I would pass on the major cities (Edmonton)...you would be going pretty far north. Once your out of the foothills (heading east), its a couple days of pretty flat country....think that holds true both north and south of the border?
You might want to drop down a bit back into the states...hit the Dakotas ... go through Deadwood, etc?
gblawson(gordon)

Thanks Gordon, at this point we are planning to head east once we reach Montana, and not turn north again until we're on the other side of the lakes. I just don't see much reason other than curiosity to take the northern route around, and that isn't enough of a reason!
Steve Simmons

Sounds like a good plan Steve... not much to see west of the Ontario/Manitoba border in Canada anyway........just some flat prairies, tar fields and some hills!!!
gblawson(gordon)

Steve

Being a loyal maritimer, I couldn't read the thread without saying that your trip would not be complete without a loop through New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Prince Edward Island and even the cabot trail around Cape Breton in Nova Scotia would be great additions to your trip. I live in Fredericton NB and have a TD, if you come this way I would ensure that the local english car club would make your visit one with lots of company. You could travel to the souther tip of NS and get back to Maine on a great ferry from there as well.

Joe Hine
53 TD
Fredericton, N.B.
J.D. Hine

Thank you for the kind offer, Joe. As of now, our plans do include at least Nova Scotia if not NB as well. I hadn't considered Prince Edward Island. I'm sure it's beautiful. It will be put on the list of places to consider!
Steve Simmons

Steve, at some point before I croak I intend to take my TF across country. I'm looking to see country that I haven't seen before. North east and upper central USA. Perhaps lower eastern Canada as well. My goal would be to avoid the metropolitan areas and stay off the interstate highways. I don't think camping will be in my plans. So the point is I'll be interested to see your route. Pick a good one and perhaps I'll follow your lead.

LaVerne
LED DOWNEY

I hope you like to zig zag. :)
Steve Simmons

Zig Zags.. Used to use them frequently in my late teens and early twenties but prefered the pipe. Thats another story. Over the years riding with my dad was always an adventure because you never went home on the same road you took to get you there, even if you were just going to the grocery store. Zig zag is ok because the place I'm trying to get to isn't on the map if you know what I mean.
LED DOWNEY

Steve: I have one more suggestion for you! When you go through Vancouver and are heading East on Hwy 1 continue on it up through the Frazer Canyon (still hwy 1) rather than going over the Coquihalla Pass (spelling?)through to Kamloops.(Both roads end up at the same place) This route also has some spectaculer scenery and will be gentler on the old car:) Also you should post a schedule so that some of us can meet you while you are enroute.
Regards
Rod Murray
Rod Murray

Thanks Rod, since I was planning a night in Whistler, I had plotted a course up the 99, through Whistler and then down the 12 to the 1, then 8, 5A, 97C and into Kelowna. If there is a better route (or better places to stay) then I'm all ears!

It will be some time before I have a schedule laid out but I will remember, when that day eventually comes, to post something here.
Steve Simmons

Steve,
Your route through Whistler and north on #99 and on to Kelowna is spectacular. An interesting route from Kelowna takes you East on h'way #33 on a good secondary road [paved] south to h'way #3. East on #3 to Cranbrook and up #93/95 to Radium. Follow #93 to h'way #1 and then to Banff. From Banff you will backtrack 30 miles on h'way #1 and up to Lake Louise which will only take about 45 min. You can then carry on up to Jasper which is about 3/3 1/2 hours depending on the number of stops you will want to make. It has to be one of the most beautiful drives I have ever made on 2 or 4 wheels.
This route will keep you off the #1 h'way [mostly] which has a lot of heavy truck traffic, yet on good paved roads with great scenery. What a great adventure you have planned and if this recommendation is acceptable, I shall have the pleasure of meeting you as I live only 12 miles outside of Banff.
George Raham
TD 4224
G. L. Raham

Steve:

If you haven't already done so, be sure to check out both the 'Going-to-Sun-Road' and the 'Glacier National Park' websites. Both will direct you to the NPS (Nationl Park Service) link loaded with a ton of need-to-know information, i.e., the opening date; 2008 road construction details; the 75th Anniversary party in late June, etc, etc. etc. A spectacular 50 miles with a 'WOW' factor of 10 outta 10 ... and that's BEFORE you cross the Continental Divide!
Ron Linden fifty3mg 24972
R.G. Linden

Last summer I drove my '72 midget from South Florida to Lake of the Ozarks MO for the 50th anniverserary of the "spridget" I drove a few miles on the Natchez Trace which runs between Nasville TN and Natchez MS. It's a beautiful parkway without the hairpins and thrills of TOTD. It's a federal road almost akin to a National Park.
Phil ("72 Midget, always looking for the 'right' 54TF)
Phil

If you are coming down our way in upstate NY, as you zip down from Toronto and Buffalo, route 20 is a great road that you can take towards Albany. It will get you to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, which is an interesting day to say the least. The road has a max of 55 and most of the way is less than that. Rolling hills, apple orchards abound. Also several good MG mechanics in the area if you get into trouble.
Rob
Rob Silverman

And, if you stay on #20, you end up near Watkin's Glen...and if it a race weekend you can combine the trip with a race! The Glen itself is something to see as well....!!!
gblawson(gordon)

And if you are out as far as upstate new york, it would be sad to miss Vermont's Route 108 through Smuujgler's Notch from Jeffersonville to Stowe Vermont, and Route 100 south of Stowe as far as you want to go.

Enjoy.

Mike
Michael Munson

This thread was discussed between 05/11/2008 and 11/12/2008

MG TD TF 1500 index

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