The 280 freeway in the Bay Area is easily the most scenic and beautiful express highway I’ve ever driven on. It travels through 50-60 miles between San Jose and San Francisco, along the western, undeveloped side of the Silicon Valley. It usually takes a tad longer to get from the Silicon Valley to The City if you decide to take the 280, but it’s always more pleasant and worth it for the view.
I’ve traveled this highway hundreds of times, and for about three months on a near daily basis, and as far as freeways go it’s still by far my favorite. Today I finally realized why, and it’s worth noting.
Not only does it cut through picturesque countryside, but there is not a single billboard ad along any of it.
This is far from being a minor point, many freeways north of San Francisco cut through undeveloped green hillsides, but they’re not nearly as pleasant or relaxing, and it’s the ads. How on earth a heavily trafficked freeway in one of the richest areas in the nation (traveled daily by many gadget freak techies with disposable incomes that are also prone to advertising) can be free of any ads is beyond me. To drive each day free of advertising doesn’t seem like much, but you show up to your destination calm and refreshed. You can hold a conversation in a car without being visually jarred every 30 seconds and you can look out the side windows and see nothing but uninterrupted rolling hills.
You wouldn’t think it’s that big of deal until you realize it. I don’t even have to tell you, it’s a living example. Do an experiment the next time you have a party in the Bay Area. Give half your friends directions to your place via the 101, the other half via the 280, and see who has a better time when they show up.
You can thank me later.