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California Bucket List

Here’s your daily travel guide to the best adventures and experiences in the Golden State. Each of these essential California adventures has been tried and tested by a Travel section staffer or contributor.

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Family-friendlyHigh Sierra

Break up the drive on the 395 with a burger and shake at Frosty Chalet

 (Chris Erskine / Los Angeles Times)
(Chris Erskine / Los Angeles Times)

Why: Everyone needs a pit stop or two along Highway 395, the often-drab drive from L.A. to the Eastern Sierra. Could be a beef jerky joint or a tackle shop. My latest favorite is Frosty Chalet, a slice-of-life fast food stop in Lone Pine featuring some of the best milkshakes in the Owens Valley.

What: The charming, family-friendly Frosty Chalet has had a life. Born in the late '40s, with timber reportedly salvaged from a train depot, it was saved from ruin fairly recently after being dormant for eight years. 

“It’s a nice old piece of Americana.” 

Fred Brown

Repurchased five years ago by Freddie Brown, who’d owned it previously with her late husband, it is now run by her son, Fred, and his wife, Jaynie. “It’s a nice old piece of Americana,” said Fred Brown.

The reopening was a relief for the generations of travelers who remembered the spot from childhood trips. Still primarily a summer and fall venture, the restaurant is open May 1 through the end of October. There's indoor seating, but if the weather is right, the outdoor picnic tables are the place to be. 

Where: 532 N. Main St. (Highway 395), Lone Pine, Calif., 210 miles and a little more than three hours north of downtown L.A., in Inyo County. 

How much: The one-third-pound double-cheeseburger ($6.25) is the most-popular item, but don’t dismiss the Bible-thick roast beef sandwich. Brown says he’s added a grilled cheese ($4) that’s popular with vegetarians. He uses a standard burger bun but serves it upside down so the bread toasts just right.

Whatever you do, don’t skip a milkshake ($5.25) or sundae ($4.25), made with high butter fat ice cream.

Cash only.

Info: Frosty Chalet; (760) 920-4940

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