Four Strange Roads to Drive On
When you’re out roadtripping with your RV, you’re bound to see all kinds of unique, interesting, and just plain weird sights. Roadside attractions may tempt you to new adventures, while strange billboards seem to be made to catch your eye. So it should go without saying that the road you’re driving on probably isn’t the most exciting thing about your trip, right? Wrong. Depending on where you are, you might just come across some of the most interesting roads in North America – and all you have to do is drive on them.
A few of North America’s strange streets that are worth the detour:
Civic Musical Road
Near Lancaster, California, there exists a one-of-a-kind stretch of road: the Musical Road. According to Roadside America, this unique drive – created as part of a Honda TV commercial – has grooves in it that resemble an oversized record, so that when your tires roll over it, you can hear the William Tell Overture. Accounts from those who’ve driven it advise to stay in the left lane and keep near the speed limit in order to get the full effect. If you’re looking to conduct the Musical Road symphony yourself, you can find it on Highway 14 north of Lancaster, at Avenue G between 30th and 40th Streets West. (Note that this isn’t the original location of the Musical Road; apparently the locals were so annoyed by the constant music that the road was actually paved over, but then resurrected in 2008 in a much less populated area.)
The World’s Most Crooked Road
Nicolas Karim | Flickr
The state of California is home to another unusual and interesting road, this time with the title of “World’s Most Crooked Road.” Whether or not that claim’s been proven, it’s hard to argue that Lombard Street in San Francisco isn’t one of the world’s most zigzagging roads. On a section of one-way street moving downhill, the road has eight – yes, eight – sharp turns (also known as switchbacks), making for a precarious descent. Amusing Planet explains the street’s crookedness as essential:
“The switchback's design was born out of necessity in order to reduce the hill's natural 27% grade, which was too steep for most vehicles to climb.”As with many of San Francisco’s steep hills, this one-way block between Hyde and Leavenworth Streets is also hazardous to pedestrians due to its steep incline. While this is not a road suitable for your RV (unless you have a small Class B touring van), if you have a toad (dinghy) vehicle and want to drive down the "World's Most Crooked Road," be sure to observe the 5 mph speed limit – though it’s doubtful you’d be able to drive it any more quickly.
Judge Harry Pregerson Interchange
Viewed from overhead, this Los Angeles interchange looks like a Salvador Dali painting, or an optical illusion at the very least. Instead, this snarl of roads is known as the most complicated interchange in the country. Oddee explains it as "a stack interchange with layers of bridges making a complicated network of roads allowing smooth flow of traffic though both the interstate highways." Oh, and it also allows entry and exit in all directions between the I-105 and the I-110. A 1989 Los Angeles Times article described it as the "biggest, tallest, most costly traffic structure yet built by California Department of Transportation" – but you may recognize it more as the backdrop for the scene in the movie Speed where the bus jumps over a gap in the freeway.
Barney Moss | Flickr
Although it’s classified as a hill and not a road per se, Magnetic Hill in New Brunswick, Canada is a strange feat of science that has amazed travelers for decades. It’s simple, yet baffling: Be it a car, truck, or van, any vehicle placed in neutral at the bottom of this Moncton hill will begin to roll upwards. People have even observed that the rivers running alongside Magnetic Hill also seem to flow upwards against the pull of gravity. While some would prefer to preserve the magic and believe that mysterious forces are at play, it’s been debunked as a simple optical illusion created by the rising and descending terrain that surrounds the hill. Still, it’s worth the trip and the admission fee to see if your eyes are truly deceiving you.
Off the Beaten Path
Some people might think that all roads are created equal, and are all likely boring – but the most intrepid road trippers will know better. Whether you go off the beaten path or find a uniquely strange street right in the middle of town, it can be worth it to do a bit of exploring and see what kind of interesting and weird roads await you. After all, sometimes it’s the road you’re traveling on that makes for the most interesting destination.