Alaska

Seven Scenic Roads Too Terrifying to Drive

Posted November 10, 2013 by SmarterTravel.com

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Forget about your seat belt: You might want to strap into a parachute for some of these dizzying and dangerous roads. We hear there are some killer views. (Literally!)

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North Yungas Road, Bolivia

Maybe it's the dizzying heights that will scare you. Or maybe it's the shocking lack of guardrails. Or maybe, just maybe, it's the 300 drivers who reportedly plummet to their deaths each year that will give you pause before you tackle this narrow death trap with a view. The careening adventure cyclists probably won't help, either. Toss in a healthy dose of wet weather and accompanying fog and you can see where "Death Road" got its nickname. Forget about wearing a seat belt—you might be better off with a parachute.

Find Your Way There: North Yungas Road connects Bolivia's Amazon region with La Paz.

Watch: Drive the North Yungas Road vicariously here.

 

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Irohazaka Road, Japan

A thing of hyper-winding beauty, Japan's Irohazaka Road features a staggering 120-degree bend and 48 frightful hairpin turns. To complicate matters, American drivers must also be prepared to navigate the drive on the opposite side of the car—and probably in a stick shift, to boot. But hey, at least there are guardrails!

Find Your Way There: Irohazaka Road is actually two roads, one going up and the other going down, on Route 120 near Nikko, Japan.

Watch: Drive the Irohazaka Road vicariously here.

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Spreuerhofstrasse, Germany

Squeezing in at a mere 12.2 inches at its narrowest, Germany's Spreuerhofstrasse is not for the broad-shouldered or wide-girthed set. Its claustrophobia-inducing measurements were established in the 18th century, and today it holds the title of narrowest street in the world. Sadly, this record-breaking street may soon cease to exist due to a water-seepage issue that has caused the already-constricted walls to bulge.

Find Your Way There: Spreuerhofstrasse is in Reutlingen, Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany.

Watch: Walk the Spreuerhofstrasse vicariously here.

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Guoliang Tunnel, China

If Germany's Spreuerhofstrasse is anxiety inducing, China's Guoliang Tunnel is borderline hyperventilation worthy. This three-quarter-mile-long tunnel was literally carved along the side of and through a mountain. Speed, altitude, and incoming traffic don't help the hair-raising situation, either.

Find Your Way There: The Guoliang Tunnel is near Guoliang Village in the Henan province of China.

Watch: Drive the Guoliang Tunnel vicariously here.

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National Highway 110, China

What's scarier than rush-hour traffic? Try a 12-day traffic jam. Back in 2010, a two-mile-per-day pace on this highway was attributed to an influx of vehicles on a single road. Ironically enough, the main cause of the congestion was a large number of trucks transporting building materials to be used for highway expansion. Stranded drivers took to card playing and reading to keep entertained. For nearly two weeks. Traffic on National Highway 110 remains routinely congested to this day.

Find Your Way There: National Highway 110 runs from Beijing to Yinchuan, China.

Watch: Drive National Highway 110 vicariously here.

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James Dalton Highway, Alaska

Alaska's unforgiving landscape is for neither the weak nor the unprepared. In fact, the James Dalton Highway is so desolate that you'll come across just three towns (combined population: 60) over the length of this roughly 400-mile-long road. Expect minimal roadside assistance.

Find Your Way There: The James Dalton Highway is mostly a utility highway frequented by trucks serving the area's oil fields. It runs along the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System, starting north of Fairbanks and ending just shy of the Arctic Ocean.

Watch: Drive the James Dalton Highway vicariously here.

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Atlantic Ocean Road, Norway

Norway's Atlantic Ocean Road topped The Guardian's list of the Five Best Road Trips in 2006. The road features eight architecturally interesting bridges and viewpoints that will take your breath away, and it even passes by scuba-diving resorts. But the 5.2-mile-long stretch also has a dark side: storms—lots of 'em. When the fierce Norwegian Sea whips its fury upon windshields, visibility drops and danger rises. So file this one under "scenic but deadly."

Find Your Way There: The Atlantic Ocean Road runs across a partially inhabited archipelago and connects Averoy with the mainland at Eide.

Watch: Drive the Atlantic Ocean Road vicariously here.

 

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This article was originally published by SmarterTravel under the title Seven Scenic Roads Too Terrifying to Drive. 

 Follow Patricia Magaña on Google+ or email her at at editor@smartertravel.com.

 

Airline Fees: The Ultimate Guide

Posted May 14, 2013 by SmarterTravel.com

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Two dollars for a soda? Ten bucks for an aisle seat? If you're confused about airline fees, we can help.

With our Airline Fees: The Ultimate Guide, you'll find a one-stop reference chart for every major airline fee from every major domestic carrier.

Best of all, you can download the airline fees chart in PDF format at no charge. Because unlike the airlines, we don't make you pay for things that ought to be free.

Click on the image above for a free download of Airline Fees: The Ultimate Guide.


A Naturalist's Nirvana in Denali National Park

Posted March 26, 2010 by Jamie Moore

Denali Most private vehicles are banned from Denali National Park's six-million-acre wilderness. But don't let that stop you. Pull on your walking boots, grab a bike, take a bus, or go old-school on a traditional dog-mushing expedition, and see what happens when you leave your four-wheels behind. McKinley's Creekside Cafe feeds you the best Alaskan halibut you'll ever taste. Camp Denali's cozy cabins keep you warm. And Mother Nature supplies unlimited entertainment.

Eat
McKinley Creekside Cafe
: The views of Carlo Creek and the Alaska Mountain Range may distract you from the menu, but not for long. The gourmet portion sizes are colossal at this favorite cafe. Start with buttermilk pancakes and a side of reindeer sausage ($8.99) or grilled meatloaf, eggs, and homefries ($11.99). Return in the evening for the house specialty: deep-fried Alaskan halibut ($14.99). For dessert? A micro-brewed beer and a generous serving of Alaskan-crafted sunset.

Stay
Camp Denali
: This resort gives new meaning to the word "camp." It's one of the best lodging options hidden in Denali's vast wilderness. Cabins have wood stoves, homemade quilts, meticulously clean outhouses, and views of surrounding mountains. The food is so good that a souvenir cookbook features in-camp recipes. And the camp has exclusive "historic operator status" so guides can show you sites few hikers have seen before. Add in workshops, evening programs, and unlimited use of resort amenities and it's a true all-inclusive, Alaskan style. The uncommon experience starts at $505 per night.

Play
Dog-Mushing Tours
: Mush your own dog team into the heart of Alaska's pristine wilderness. You'll see the true nature of the park by following excited huskies across frozen lakes, past moose, caribou, foxes, or wolves. Day trips start at $125. Make an overnight of it and your evening entertainment is a light show courtesy of the Aurora Borealis. If you're lucky, you'll fall asleep snug in a cabin or heated tent to a chorus of huskies and maybe a few harmonizing wolves. Mush!

You can use our tool to compare airfares to Anchorage or Fairbanks, the closest major airports, from multiple travel providers.

(Photo: iStockphoto.com/Paul Tessier)

Alaska Airlines Shares Codes With Fiji

Posted June 4, 2009 by Nicki Krawczyk

Fiji_suva_map I tried a gentle warning. Critics scoffed, even laughed. But things aren’t so funny now, are they? No, they’re certainly not—not now that Alaska is in cahoots with Fiji and well on its way to world domination!

So, last week, I let you in on Alaska and Hawaii’s Conspiracy to Bring Down the United States. This week, an astute colleague alerted me to another development in the story. Fiji-based Air Pacific has just entered into a codesharing deal with Alaska Airlines that will allow Air Pacific customers to book Alaska-operated flights between Vancouver and L.A. under an Air Pacific flight number.

A codesharing deal? What could possibly sound more underhanded and nefarious? Let’s see, where have we heard of codesharing before…oh, gee, I don’t know, maybe: Double agents who “share” code with evil organizations to bring the world to its knees! I’ve seen Quantum of Solace, I know how sneaky the underworld can get.

Alaska is obviously enlisting as many small island chains as possible to create a web of bases to surround and conquer the United States. With the addition of Fiji to the Alaska-Hawaii alliance, they have successfully created an Evil Barrier slicing the Pacific Ocean in half. And when the United States is under attack and they call for help from Japan, just what do you think will happen?

    United States: “Japan! Help! Alaska and its evil cohorts are invading our shores! Send reinforcements!”

    Japan: “We’d love to help, but we can’t get to you—someone has created an Evil Barrier!”

And one Evil Barrier will certainly lead to another until the U.S. is completely surrounded by a Loop of Iniquity and Malevolence. Friends, this Alaska situation is dire. Today’s airline deals could be tomorrow’s road to ruin! Which nation, territory, or even state will be the next to fall under Alaska’s wicked spell? Just hope that it’s not yours.

(Photo: www.nomad4ever.com)

Alaska Airlines Adds Routes to Hawaii

Posted May 28, 2009 by Nicki Krawczyk

Alaska airlines Okay, get this: Alaska Airlines is adding service from Oakland, California to Kahului, Hawaii and Oakland and Kona beginning in November, plus expanding service between Seattle and Honolulu. Suspicious, wouldn’t you say? Alaska and Hawaii, two states who, heretofore, have never done much fraternizing are all of a sudden flying back and forth by way of California.

Coincidence? I think not. It’s blatant collusion. I propose to you: “Alaska and Hawaii’s Conspiracy to Gang Up on the Mainland” Fact: People in Alaska and Hawaii hate it when tourists go there and say things like “We’re from the U.S.” as if Alaskans and Hawaiians aren’t, too. Fact: Alaska and Hawaii were the last two states added to the union and, as such, missed out on historical moments like the launching of both fruit flies and mice into space as well as the invention of M&M's. Fact: Alaska and Hawaii are the farthest states away from Washington, D. C. and, as such, their representatives have to travel a really long time to get there and undoubtedly miss out on all kinds of congressional parties because of jet lag. Conclusion: Alaska and Hawaii are probably hopping mad and ready to take out their vengeance on the mainland.

And now, now, it appears that we've got all kinds of mingling and moving and perhaps even rampant skullduggery going on between Alaska and Hawaii by way of Alaska Airlines. There’s something big going on, people—I recommend you keep your eyes open and your mouths shut. Sure, this could end up being a nice little weekend getaways route for the people of California and a pleasant jaunt to paradise on a nice airline…until Alaska and Hawaii unleash their nefarious plans. You heard it here first. And you’ve been warned.


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