road trips

Chasing the Dragon in the South


Motorcyclists in the South all flock to one place — the dizzying Tail of the Dragon highway. JASON HARPER goes deep in the hills of Tennessee to check it out

Is it odd to lust after a road? To lie in bed late at night musing about pavement as smooth as Halle Berry’s skin, outrageous curves worthy of Salma Hayek? Is it even odder to actually travel far and wide just to find such a road? As a friend asked me, “Who the hell gets on a plane just to arrive at a road?”

Well, I do. But when I show up at the head of Highway 129, near the borders of North Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee, after an 800-mile trip, I discover that I’m not the only freak.

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World’s Best Road Trips

With gas nearing $4.50 a gallon, you’d think the romantic notion of a road trip had gone the way of woody station wagons and the Beach Boys’ svelte physiques. But no: The highway still calls to travelers, with AAA predicting even more would-be Kerouacs hitting the highway this summer than last. Whether you’re embarking on a classic Stateside sojourn such as Death Valley or going farther afield (Morocco’s High Atlas mountains, anyone?), driving allows you to actually take that road less traveled. And we promise you’ll never be forced to take off your shoes before embarking-unless you plan to stick your bare feet out the passenger window at 65 mph.


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Bridging the new Eastern Europe


I’m sitting in a little wine-and-coffee bar in Warsaw, listening to Polish conversations burble all about me, drinking Rioja, and talking with Zbigniew Rytel, a local TV journalist and a friend of a friend. The space is packed, and the two of us are penned around a small, wobbly table. Zbigniew is telling me why many Poles support the Iraqi war. After kicking the Socialist habit 15 years ago, he says, his countrymen are disinclined to agree with anything perceived as left-leaning. Continue reading…

Backtracking Colorado’s Backcountry


Warning. This is the last chance to turn around or pass a vehicle for miles. NARROW road with steep drop-offs. If you are not on foot, bike or ATV, turn around NOW!

So reads the sign in our rearview mirror, growing smaller as my father and I drive down the narrow dirt path it warns against.

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