The speed and agility of modern cars are wasted on too many roads. In same way that off-road vehicles can't be tested by peastone driveways, souped-up sedans can't be pushed to their limits on suburban cul-de-sacs. In order to drive – truly drive – a car, modern commuters have to head out of their way to one of the rare stretches of American asphalt designed to push vehicles to their limits. These winding, curving sections of tarmac not only give great cars a chance to show off the muscle under their hood, but also give great drivers a chance to remind passengers why the American road was once considered the purest embodiment of freedom.
Cherohala Skyway (Tennessee and North Carolina)
Though it's frequently tackled by motorcyclists as part of a giant loop that includes the far more infamous "Tail of the Dragon," the Cherohala Skyway actually claims more lives than its seductively named counterpart. And while body counts usually doesn't lure us to roads, here's what we do dig about the 43-mile scenic byway that links Tellico Plains, Tennessee with Robbinsville, North Carolina: It soars nearly 6,000 feet into the North Carolina mountains then plunges deep into the lush forested outback of Tennessee. This one-two punch of elevation changes keeps you calculating your braking points and apexes, just like you're on a race track. Add "Tail of the Dragon," which starts at Deal's Gap, and you've got yourself one entertaining afternoon of vehicular flogging.
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