Agustin Jimenez
Technical Editor
October 14, 2015
Photos By: Courtesy of Ford, Mustang-360 Archives

Grand Canyon, Arizona to Moab, Utah

The Grand Canyon is one of the most stunning sights in the world so it’s no surprise that it made our list of epic road trips but it’s not just the Grand Canyon’s nearly 2 billion year-old exposed canyon walls that brings something to the table. One of the biggest attractions for any gearhead looking to hit the road for hours on end, in what can be considered one of the most awesome backdrops in the world. It’s literally like a scene out of Wile E Coyote and the Road Runner except the only thing you’ll be chasing is the picturesque horizon as you make your way to Tuba City where you can check out real dinosaur tracks. Monument Valley is definitely one of those spots you’ll want to stop at to take pictures because it really is unlike anything else. Just past Monument Valley you’ll see a cool rock formation to the east known as Mexican Hat (because it resembles a sombrero). From there you can make your way North towards Highway 191towards Moab, Utah where you can fill the rest of your day with any number of outdoor activities.

Tail of the Dragon – North Carolina/Tennessee border

This is a world-renowned destination for performance enthusiasts since the road features no intersections or traffic entering the road. The infamous road is a two-lane stretch known since 1981 as "The Dragon” and one road that is definitely not for the faint of heart. It takes serious skill and commitment to drive through the 318 tight and winding turns in only 11 miles of road. It is a very popular stretch of road amongst bikers for obvious reasons so you can imagine why this would be one of the bucket list roads you’d want to blast through in a Mustang. Of course it would have to be up for the task of carving through tight hairpins and long sweeping twisties. Fair warning, you should proceed with absolute caution down the Tail of the Dragon as there is a 30 mph speed limit and at any given time, one bad move could result in dire consequences.

If you want to give your Pony a good workout while up on the wheel, you can find this epic drive, head to U.S. 129 at Deals Gap in Tennessee and enjoy the cruise across the Great Smokey Mountains National Park as you cross into North Carolina. Some of the Dragon's sharpest curves have names like Copperhead Corner, Hog Pen Bend, Wheelie Hell, Shade Tree Corner, Mud Corner, Sunset Corner, Gravity Cavity, Beginner's End, and Brake or Bust Bend. The road earned its name due to the curves resemblance to a dragon's tail. Known as Tapoco Road in North Carolina and Calderwood Highway in Tennessee.

Route 66 – Chicago to Los Angeles

You can’t possibly have an ultimate road trip list without the famous Route 66 thrown into the mix. Heck, there’s even a Pixar movie that revolves around this historic U.S. road. U.S. Route 66 is also known as the Will Rogers Highway and colloquially known as the Main Street of America or the Mother Road, because it was one of the original highways within the U.S. Highway System. Established on November 11, 1926, the highway became one of the most famous roads in America and originally ran from Chicago, Illinois, through Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona before ending at Santa Monica, California, covering a total of 2,448 miles. It is truly an icon of Americana that has been immortalized through both songs and movies.

Route 66 served as a major path for those who migrated west, especially during the Dust Bowl of the 1930s, and it supported the economies of the communities through which the road passed. Unfortunately the golden age of this road has long since passed after it was bypassed by the newer Interstate Highway System. Route 66 underwent many improvements and realignments over its lifetime, and it was officially removed from the United States Highway System on June 27, 1985 after it had been replaced in its entirety by segments of the Interstate Highway System. Portions of the road that passed through Illinois, Missouri, New Mexico, and Arizona have been designated a National Scenic Byway of the name "Historic Route 66," which is returning to some maps. Many of the iconic stops that feature neon lit motels, general stores and nostalgic service stations that will take you way back in time. This is the perfect road trip to do in an older generation Mustang like a Four-Eyed Fox or even a classic drop top pony.

Pacific Coast Highway - Santa Cruz to Santa Monica

This is the perfect road trip for a drop top ‘stang during the summer days in California. The trip winds its way from the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk all the way down to Santa Monica Beach in Southern California. What makes this trip so epic is the awesome views that the landscape has to offer. Breathtaking views of the California coastline will fill your windshield as you cruise down the long winding road for 360 miles. There’s also plenty of cool places to stop and stretch your legs along the way, such as the Monterey Bay Aquarium, the Bixby Bridge near Big Sur (one of the tallest single span concrete bridges in the world), Hearst Castle in San Simeon, Pismo Beach (the only beach you can legally drive on in California), the Santa Barbara Zoo and the awesome beach view in Ventura. While this isn’t a drive that will necessarily challenge a driver, it is one that you’ll want to approach with a laid back attitude while cruising with the rumbling soundtrack of your Mustang’s engine as the waves crash on the beach.

Blue Oval Road Trip to Mustang Week

This one is really more of a dream that would make for one of the most epic road trips; our fictional trip would start several days prior to Mustang Week at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan. From there the route would take you down I-75 around Lake Erie out to Ohio State Route 2 towards Summit Motorsports Park where you would make some passes with a large group of like minded Mustang enthusiasts. After settling bragging rights, the trip would head south down Ohio State Route 13 for about 94 miles to catch some late afternoon as well as under-the-lights racing action at National Trail Raceway in Hebron, Ohio. Here’s where it gets interesting, after a good night’s sleep, you would hit the road south down I-75 towards the next track 341 miles away at Beech Bend Raceway Park in Bowling Green, Kentucky. This part of the drive would separate the trailer queens from the street/strip monsters. Of course the added challenge of slightly warmer temperatures would definitely affect some strategies, but it would make for some exciting racing action at the end of the day.

After spending the night in Bowling Green, the following morning would move the party east about 296 miles away to Thunder Valley in Bristol, Tennessee. You can see that our genius plan would mean hard miles on the road followed by heads up drag racing. The next day, the show would continue on 162 miles southwest on North Carolina State Route 16 towards zMAX Dragway in Concord, North Carolina. While the morning would kick off with a relatively short road trip, it would definitely bring on the heat. Luckily this would be the last drag race stop of our trip, but it certainly wouldn’t be the end by a long shot as the last leg of our epic road trip would culminate in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina just in time for the Meet and Greet on Sunday before Mustang Week. All said and done, this would rack up 1,230 miles and over 21 hours of driving and we’re not even including the multiple passes that you would no doubt make throughout the week on the most epic Mustang drive of your life.