Phil Klein  /  AP File
Cars travel along Highway 1 above the Big Sur coast near Monterey, Calif.
updated 6/23/2004 12:53:40 PM ET 2004-06-23T16:53:40

There is a sign on California's Route 1 as you head south past Monterey: "Hills/Curves/Next 63 Miles."

That's what we want to see.

Here we are in a country that has more paved road than anywhere else — not to mention dramatic vistas, mountain ranges and other terrific scenery from coast to coast, plus the freedom to go wherever we please — and how do we approach driving? We buy Toyota Camrys and take them on straight-shot expressways for 40 minutes each day to and from work.

Signs such as the one near Monterey delight serious drivers. They are the antidote to commuter traffic (even if Route 1 has some traffic of its own with which to contend), and remind us that driving can be exhilarating, especially if you equip yourself with the right car and treat twisty roads properly: as challenges.

Even though the newspapers are riddled with reports about rising gas prices and the ways in which consumers are responding to them, summer driving season happens each year — no matter how disagreeable OPEC seems to be at the moment. The season begins in April or May, depending on whom you ask, and it's the reason we buy convertibles.

In fact, this list of the best roads for summer driving is a double celebration. With each great road we have selected, we have paired a convertible we consider appropriate for the location. Since the chosen roads tend toward the northern side of the country (look out for our tour of great southern roads in October's feature on the best winter roads), we feel that they are best experienced in convertibles. That's because northern convertible owners have to endure driving with the top up for so many cold months, and because convertibles are the most fun kind of sports cars — and this list is all about fun.

Granted, summer driving season also brings an increase in the amount of motor homes plugging up two-lane roads, especially around state parks. This can make you mad, but it's all the more reason to drive a convertible: so you can zip around those behemoths.

To find out the best roads on which to floor it this summer, click here for the slide show.

© 2012 Forbes.com


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