America’s Best Roads: 4 Honorable Mentions

1. I-70 through Kansas
Interstate 70 bisects the United States, crossing ten states from Baltimore all the way to Utah. But it’s the stretch through the plains of Kansas that’s a trucker favorite, for all the reasons you might expect: It’s smooth. It’s flat. And there’s hardly a curve for miles. Boring? Maybe. “But it’s easy driving, and that’s what we care about,” says Steve Fields of Independence, Missouri, a trucker for 25 years. Plus, if you time it right, you’ll catch one of the state’s famous sunsets, which seem even more breathtaking after hours of staring at the relentlessly consistent landscape. (What Fields remembers one driving partner yelling to him in the back of the cab: “Wake up, Steve, there’s a curve in the road!”)

2. I-40 across New Mexico and California
“The sunsets out there are amazing. Every color you could ever think of in the sky. It’s not just the western sky lit up like in Kansas. It’s the whole damn sky.”
Trucker Matt Boose, Eudora, Kansas

3. I-44 and I-70 in Missouri
Several truckers mentioned the roads in Missouri as the most improved. “Three or four years ago, they put cable barriers in the median. I was pretty skeptical at first, because I thought there was no way those things could stop a car at highway speeds. But I’ve seen it time and time again keep a car from crossing the median. I’ve actually seen it stop tractor-trailers. The state has also installed rumble strips on most highways, even rural highways. And they spent a lot of money developing new overpasses and underpasses. Those changes have saved a lot of lives.”
Wal-Mart driver Gary Leu, Shelbina, Missouri

4. I-84 in Oregon
“This is one of the most beautiful highways there is, especially going westbound toward Portland. You ride alongside the Columbia River for much of it. Then you’ve got the mountains of Oregon on one side, Washington state on the other side, and snowcapped mountains up ahead with the sun glistening off of them. To me that’s just a little piece of heaven right there.”
Trucker Clarence Jenkins,  Charleston, West Virginia

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