Travel your favorite roads

By Pete Grass,P.E., CAE

What did you do on your vacation this summer? More specifically, did you drive there? If you did, I hope you traveled on one of your favorite roads. Those are the ones that you catch yourself smiling on, the ones that hold memories that often pass to another generation, that have stories. These are favorite roads. And there are a lot of them!

AI went along on a few trips this summer too—through our initiative. AI created the website as a place for the public to share their favorite road and to tell others about it. We probably all have a favorite road—whether it be to a favorite vacation spot, the road home, a drive we take up to the lake, down to the ocean or to the mountains. I?ll also bet it is an asphalt highway. It’s just right— smooth, safe and fun to drive. Here are a few notables from this summer:

Corky and Marcia Bailey along with their dog Taylor traveled more than 7,800 miles through 22 states in about a month’s time as they journeyed on their “2011 Great Western Adventure.” They wrote a blog about the experience along the way and we posted it on Reading it makes you want to get out on the highway. Planned as a trip to visit family and friends, and to spread the ashes of Marcia’s parents, you have all the makings of a memorable, unforgettable journey. Learn more about it in the July 2011 archives on and get a peek at what their trip was like.

Giants? Despair Hillclimb is a signature event in the Wilkes-Barre region of Eastern Pennsylvania. Since 1906, this uphill, curving public road is briefly closed to traffic for the purpose of running one of the oldest, continuously-run road races in the country—and the oldest in Pennsylvania. Notably, it was repaved in June this year using the latest in warm-mix asphalt technology supplied by several Asphalt Institute members. Race teams were eager to try it out. Along with regional media covering the event, was there—helping the public understand the benefits of asphalt pavements while showcasing what our industry can provide with today’s technology. Check out the many YouTube videos by searching “Giants” Despair “Lives On” or view a clip on the Asphalt Institute?s YouTube channel.

Lastly, we were on hand in Orlando, Florida to help present the Asphalt Pavement Alliance Perpetual Pavement award to the Florida Department of Transportation. This award recognizes top performing asphalt pavements in the country and Florida’s SR 45/US41 NB joins five other award winners for 2010. In all, 75 awards have been presented nation-wide since 2001. The Perpetual Pavement award highlights the unique ability of asphalt pavements to perform at very high levels with little costly maintenance. You can learn more about the award program at

So what is your Favorite Road? I know you have one! Probably more than one. Early one morning last summer, the Asphalt Institute was the featured guest on America’s Truckin’ Network (broadcast nationally each night from midnight to 5 a.m. on XM/Sirius channel 166 radio and with trucker talk show host Steve Summers. We literally talked roads for five hours with those that know them well. Listening to the stories of favorite trucker routes from across the country, you gain a new appreciation for roads and what they do for America. Makes you proud to be part of this industry and makes you want to take a trip. Tell us about yours on

Travel your favorite roads