4 Best Road Trip Destinations for Car Enthusiasts
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The ongoing Coronavirus pandemic has seen the resurgence of the great American road trip. Not only are they a fun-filled family activity complete with tons of sightseeing opportunities, they let people travel while respecting safety guidelines.
Road trips can also be more economical than other forms of travel, especially if you have a camper van to stay in.
If you love cars, here are four automotive-themed destinations from Popular Mechanics that will rev up your next road trip with an injection of car history.
Cadillac Ranch: where auto meets art
Located in Amarillo, Texas along Route 66 and visible from the road, Cadillac Ranch is a unique shrine dedicated to Cadillacs of a bygone era.
It features 10 classic Cadillacs half-buried in sand for a fossil-esque look. These classics, manufactured between 1949 and 1963, pay tribute to the tail fins and flashy chrome trims that were so popular at the time.
The attraction was set up in 1974 by a group of hippie artists from San Francisco called "The Ant Farm," along with Amarillo billionaire and "silent partner" Stanley Marsh 3, according to Roadside America.
The cars are sequentially arranged by their year of manufacture and face west, apparently to emulate the angle of the Great Pyramid of Giza. The 1949 Club Sedan is first in line, and the tour finishes with the 1963 Sedan de Ville.
Now, the cars are barely-recognizable battered shells of their former luxurious selves, their frames spray painted with vibrantly colored graffiti by passersby, and missing parts that have been stolen, perhaps for souvenirs, over the years.
Interestingly, The Ant Farm permitted the graffiti years ago, and ultimately even encouraged it. You can bring your own spray paint to the site today, and add your own creations to the growing mosaic of Cadillac art.
The Bonneville Salt Flats
According to Visit Utah, the Bonneville Salt Flats are a 46 square mile one-of-a-kind landscape in Utah's west desert. Composed of thick white salt crusts, this immaculate, unearthly landscape is uniformly flat and dazzlingly white.
Due to its unique characteristics, the Bonneville Salt Flats are a popular destination for international car racing. Known as the Bonneville Speedway, the track has seen cars reach incredible record-setting speeds–630 mph in 1970–which stood until 1983 as the one-time land-speed record.
The salt flats are home to various motoring events, but Speed Week, held in August, is the largest. This grand racing event pits hundreds of drivers drawn from multiple categories against each other as they attempt to break speed records. A May endurance run of 100 miles also takes place every year.
Unfortunately the salt flats are starting to deteriorate, so Popular Mechanics recommends you plan your trip here sooner rather than later.
Indianapolis Motor Speedway is an iconic racing destination
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is home to the famous Indianapolis 500, a yearly car racing event held on Memorial Day weekend which welcomes almost 300,000 fans.
Built in 1909, this car racing circuit is more than a century old. According to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway official site, the first Indianapolis 500 took place in May of 1911, and the tradition continues today, making 2021 the 110th anniversary of this event!
Besides the Indianapolis 500, other high-profile racing events held on this Speedway include the Indianapolis 8 Hour, Indy Autonomous Challenge, and NASCAR's Verizon 200 at the Brickyard and Xfinity Series, and IndyCar Grand Prix, among others.
There’s something for everyone at the National Corvette Museum
The "Gateway to All Things Corvette," the National Corvette Museum pays homage to America's favorite sports car. Located off I-65 in Bowling Green, Kentucky, the museum features a wide range of Corvettes, including prototypes, mint classics, racing delights, and rare finds.
Besides the fantastic exhibits, motoring enthusiasts enjoy the whole Corvette Experience at the nearby Motorsports Park, where you can take one of the museum's historic Corvettes for a spin (for a fee starting at $299).
Or, for a more affordable price of $10, you can try out the museum’s racing simulator for an adrenaline-inducing virtual experience in an actual C6 Corvette!
The museum is open seven days a week and makes an excellent destination for the entire family. Kids can enjoy hands-on activities in the newly renovated KidZone, and the whole family can refuel at the onsite restaurant, the Stingray Grill.
If you’re thinking of taking a road trip, make sure you’ve got the best car insurance coverage to protect you and your family.
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