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roads to remember

My Favourite Drive: Colm Leahy takes a Mustang through Yosemite and onto Vegas

A surprise trip for his 30th took him from San Francisco to Coachella Music Festival.

shutterstock_552174034 Shutterstock / Maks Ershov Shutterstock / Maks Ershov / Maks Ershov

Journeys, even everyday ones, can mean a lot. Colm Leahy is the owner and director of Pass My Test. As someone with a passion for motoring, Colm told about the drive that means the most to him.

First up, describe the drive.

So about five years ago for my 30th, my wife booked a trip to ‘Portugal’ but the day before we went, she gave me a card with pictures of San Francisco and Las Vegas in it and told me that she had planned a surprise trip there.

We landed in San Francisco and went to collect our car. The lady behind the counter asked me for my license and I realised I had left it in the glove compartment in my car at Dublin Airport so my wife had to drive.

We had booked a fairly unimpressive car for $98 and I saw that there was a white Ford Mustang convertible five-litre. I asked about it and it turned out was only $20 more… so we said we’d have that instead.

shutterstock_426085921 Shutterstock / Dancestrokes Shutterstock / Dancestrokes / Dancestrokes

We put the top down and drove from San Francisco to Yosemite National Park. The views of the canyons were amazing, we saw two bears outside the motel before we got there. The driving there is brilliant. The roads are very narrow which is a bit scary but great.

While we were there, we climbed these mad-looking rock stairs – it was unreal. We stopped at the very top and just said to each other, ‘this is brilliant’.

Is there a view along the way that sums it all up?

shutterstock_522844633 Shutterstock / Bill45 Shutterstock / Bill45 / Bill45

We then drove into Vegas in the Mustang and arrived just as the sun was coming down. We could see the skyline – it’s just a straight road in and you can see the lights, and we pulled in just where you can start to see the Strip.

The drive is about six hours through the desert with the sun blazing down on you the whole time. I actually got sunstroke when we were there and I was in bed for two days.

After that, we held onto the car and drove to Coachella which took us four hours. We parked the car up and went to the festival to see Calvin Harris and Daft Punk for a few days before we headed back to the airport.

What makes the drive so special?

I think it’s just the open road and being in America where the roads are much better and there’s so much more to see. When I think of all those waterfalls and canyons, I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

More My Favourite Drive: Ken Price explores the mountain views of Connemara

More My Favourite Drive: Paddy Comyn takes a mountain road to a sheikh’s palace

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