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The process diary of film director Glendyn Ivin

7 Most Epic Road Trips. Ever.

Glendyn Ivin

I’ve had some great road trips in my life, and making the film sent me on a few more. The idea that that Last Ride was a ‘road movie’ never really kicked in until I began the long search for locations throughout the deserts of South Australia. During pre-production I clocked up over 20,000 kms just sitting in the passenger seat watching the most inspiring landscape pass before me. And then of course we approached the making of our ‘road movie’ as a road trip ourselves, taking the cast and crew on an epic 5000 km journey through that same inspiring landscape.

In celebration of the road trip I have made a list of what I reckon could be the 7 MOST EPIC ROAD TRIPS. EVER.

So whether you are planning a road trip, by car, motorcycle, bicycle or hitching, the most important thing to remember, as we all know, is that it’s the journey, not the destination that makes a great road trip.

1. The Alaskan Highway (2,237 KM)

The Alaskan Highway, stretches from Dawson Creek to Delta Junction, Alaska and Yukon. It was built during World War II and is one of the most well known roads in the world. You can read the full history about the road on wiki. This road trip is epic for two reasons. Weather conditions & long distance between each town. Prepare for cold weather and a lot of driving. So unless you feel like eating road kill you should stock up on some substantial snacks for the long and beautiful drive. Along the trip you can expect a lot of forest views and with a slight detour you can check out Liard Hot Springs and take a quick dip the temperature is around 42°-52°C (107°-126°F). Next up is Sign Forest at Watson Lake with over 45,000 sign posts that you can check out.

You can also expect to see a lot of wildlife like elk, grizzly bears, marmots and moose alongside the road. And if want to see some reindeer then make a quick stop in Yukon.
Check out the free GPS Maps
Photo Source

2. Route 66: Chicago to California (3,945 KM)

The mother of all roads, Route 66 is not for the faint hearted. It’s a long, long drive so do it in comfort not style. Route 66 was built in 1925 and starts in Chicago and heads through, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California and ends in Las Angeles. This is as epic as it gets.

Although the road was decommissioned in 1985 for the Interstate 40, this road is the ultimate road trip. There’s seriously a lot to see and do in 3945 KM so here’s a summary of some places to stop at.

• Dixie Truckers Home (McClean, Illinios) – The oldest truck stop on Route 66 around 70 years old.

• Devil’s Elbow (Missouri)

• Oklahoma City and a few numerous towns (Oklahoma)

• Cadillac Ranch (Amarillo, Texas)

• Blue Swallow Motel (Tucumcari, New Mexico) – The oldest motel on the Route 66

• Grand Canyon (Flagstaff, Arizona) – It’s the Grand Canyon!

• Sitgreaves Pass (Arizona) – Windy and dangerous roads with magnificent views

• Santa Monica Pier (Santa Monica, California)

Check out the free GPS Maps

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3. Drive New Zealand's South Island (440KM)

Not one of the longest drives but the scenery you get to see is simply amazing. You should take at least 7 days to complete the south island drive, or long enough to soak up its truly magnificent views. The road starts in Milford Sound and takes you south then back north ending at Wanaka. With plenty to see, touch and do from the jagged Fiordland mountains, rugged southern coast and sandy beaches. There are plenty of rolling green pastures and forestry, including mountain ranges with spectacular views that might remind you of Frodo’s epic journey in Lord of The Rings. New Zealand’s has some of the most exotic wild plants and birds in the world along with some of the best national parks, marine life, and natural blowholes. The best thing about this trip is that you can see almost every scene from inside your. But stop often and get out amongst it.

I did this road trip in a campervan a few years back, but I would love to go back and do it by bike.

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4. The Great Ocean Road: Geelong to Warnambool, Australia (300KM)

Possibly one of the world’s most spectacular scenic routes in the world with amazing coastal views, towering rock edges, plenty of surfing hotspots, lush forests and long beaches. The route starts in Torquay and ends at Allansford. You could finish the trip in one day however take a few days to enjoy some of the more notable attractions.

• Twelve Apostles – Famous rock formations

• London Arch Port Campbell National Park

• The Great Otway National Park –Bushing walking & wildlife

• The Great Ocean Walk, Apollo Bay

• Bells Beach – Patrolled beaches for swimming and surfing

• Warrnambool, Logans Beach – Whale watching

• Portland – Fishing, colonial / historical buildings & maritime museums

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5. Ring Road, Iceland (1,330KM)

The Ring Road of Iceland looks nothing short of amazing. With 1330KM between start and finish this road trip will truly satisfy anyone looking for a truly epic drive. Iceland is filled with wide range of natural phenomenon. Some of the most notable attractions include:

• The Blue lagoon – Geothermal heated waters

• Pingvellir National Park

• Gullfoss – Waterfall

• Haukadalur – Biggest gaysers Strokkur and Geysir

• Reykjavik – Laugerdaslaug Pool, thermal baths and pools

• Husavik (Lundeyor Heimaey Island) – Whale watching / Puffin Spotting

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6. Africa’s N2 Route 62 (850KM)

Also known as the world’s longest wine route (Garden Route) it is one heck of a drive especially tailored to the wine drinker. Bring it! Cape Route 62 is also known for its Mountain routes with twisty roads spanning for hours on end. Some of the main attractions on this route includes:

• Bloukrans Bridge, Plettenberg Bay

• Local Wineries – 69 wine farms, 11 brandy cellers, 20 port selling estates

• God’s Window Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve

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7. Amalfi Coast, Italy 64KM

Italy is my favourite country in the world and this is one of the shortest but most beautiful road trips to take. The Amalfi Coast also the scene of many movies including James Bond, consists of beautiful and narrow coastal roads with an endless array of cliff hugging highways overlooking the blue Mediterranean sea. In the city itself there are many historical buildings, churches and amazing cuisine.

• The Emerald Grotto – Cave

• Villa Rufolo (Ravello) – Historic Site

• Villa Cimbrone (Ravello) – Look out point

• Torre a Mare – Medieval Towers

• Scavi di Pompei

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BONUS: Flinders Rangers

Australia has already contributed to this list with the Great Ocean Road. But the Flinders Ranges deserve a special mention all of their own. Last year I clocked up around 25 000 km’s around this part of South Australia making the film. It truly is an inspiring place and I seriously cant wait to get back there again.

It proved to be the ultimate stage for our road movie to play out on, with so much variation and accessibility. We could be shooting in lush towering forest in the morning and be surrounded by treeless mountains in the afternoon.

The really special thing about the Finders is that it’s not really on the way to anywhere, you have to go their specifically. The real beauty starts just outside Port Augusta (about 3 hours north of Adelaide) and then you can choose your own adventure. I would recommend heading up through Quorn and into Wilpena Pound. From here there are countless roads and dirt tracks to explore. Heading through the middle of the range, cut through one of the stunning Gorges to Parachilna and up as far up as Leigh Creek gets you right out into the deserts and beyond, big mountains, big skies. There is no place like it on earth like it.

Hans Heysen is one of Australias most well known painters. When he first visited the Flinders Ranges in the 40's -50's his whole style and approach to painting was effected. He felt a deep love for the ranges and you can see it in his paintings from that period.

I can relate to that in many ways. It's really cool how geographic locations can have strong emotional and physical effects on you.

Have you got a road trip to suggest? I want to consider it!