Advertisement

Put this 140-mile road trip on your post-pandemic list — but only if you’re prepared

The historic Mojave Road runs through California's Mojave National Preserve.
Four-wheelers navigate historic Mojave Road in California’s Mojave National Preserve.
(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times; photo illustration by Jade Cuevas / Los Angeles Times)

By Rachel Schnalzer
Design and illustrations by Jade Cuevas

Good morning, fellow adventurers. I hope you’re able to get outside and safely experience the beauty of winter in Southern California. With regional stay-at-home orders continuing, we must confine our travels to a hike in the mountains, a walk along the beach or even a stroll around the block with members of our households.

Have you discovered an outdoor spot you’d like to share? Let me know — I’ll include it in an upcoming edition.

Advertisement

🛣️ Drive storied Mojave Road after stay-at-home orders lift

Anything can happen as you drive California’s Mojave Road, says Times contributor David Kelly. I was captivated by his account of traversing the 140-mile stretch of desert from the Colorado River past Camp Cady, near Barstow.

On his journey, Kelly drove through a Joshua tree forest, experienced the road’s oddities (a collection of toy frogs and gnomes) and confronted the possibility of drowning in the desert. “It promises solitude to the desert rat, excitement to the off-roader and camaraderie to those seeking adventure together,” writes Kelly. “I can’t wait to do it again.”

Want to take this journey yourself after stay-at-home orders lift? Kelly offers tips at the end of his story.

Four-wheelers seeking to drive the entire length of historic Mojave Road must cross the Mojave River.
Four-wheelers seeking to drive the length of historic Mojave Road can cross the Mojave River near Afton Canyon.
(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times; photo illustration by Jade Cuevas / Los Angeles Times)
Advertisement

☀️ Take in sunrise at Charmlee Wilderness Park

Who’s up for a sunrise hike? Times assistant travel editor Mary Forgione and Times travel writer Christopher Reynolds recently recommended Charmlee Wilderness Park as a good place to start your day.

The Malibu park was damaged during the Woolsey fire, but it is now open to the public after months of repairs. Charmlee Wilderness Park offers over eight miles of hiking trails, though some may still be undergoing repairs.

If the Ocean Overlook Loop Trail is open, I recommend it for sweeping views of the Pacific.

Silhouette of a park bench against a gradient of colors mimicking a sunrise.
If you’re an early bird, try venturing to Charmlee Wilderness Park for a sunrise to start your day off bright.
(Jade Cuevas / Los Angeles Times)
Advertisement

🏔️ Spot snow on Joshua Ranch Trail

The sight of snow-capped mountains while driving east on Interstate 10 is one of my favorite things about winter in Los Angeles.

That’s why, when I came across this photo on Reddit, I knew I had to include it in Escapes. It’s titled “North LA County, where desert meets mountains.” A plump Joshua tree stands in the foreground, with snowy hills peeking over the horizon. What’s more Southern California winter than that?

The photographer said the photo was taken on Joshua Ranch Trail, a 7.3-mile loop in Palmdale. Search for the Sgt. Steve Owen bench on Google Maps to find the path.

Joshua trees are silhouetted against a snowy mountain.
(Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times; photo illustration by Jade Cuevas / Los Angeles Times)
Advertisement

Enjoying this newsletter? Consider subscribing to the Los Angeles Times

Your support helps us deliver the news that matters most. Become a subscriber.

🏄‍♀️ Wave-watching at County Line Beach


What do you do when you feel like doing, well, nothing? Visit County Line Beach in Malibu to zone out and enjoy the view.

County Line is well known for its waves, so you’ll probably see surfers riding — or getting wiped out by — the swells. I recommend stopping at Neptune’s Net, a long-standing seafood restaurant across Pacific Coast Highway, for take-out fried clams and scallops.

A motorcyclist rides along the Pacific Coast Highway in front of Neptune's Net in Malibu, Calif.
A motorcyclist rides along the Pacific Coast Highway in front of Neptune’s Net in Malibu.
(Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times; photo illustration by Jade Cuevas / Los Angeles Times)
Advertisement

📰 What I’m reading


Lab staff processes COVID-19 rapid tests at the onsite LAX testing lab on in Los Angeles, CA.
COVID-19 rapid tests are processed at the onsite LAX testing lab across from Terminal 6.
(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

💻 Can’t adventure IRL? Here’s one way to expand your horizons

Snorkeling in the Channel Islands’ kelp forests is one of my go-to California adventures for visitors and locals alike. And thanks to the National Marine Sanctuaries, you can experience what it’s like to scuba dive through the islands’ underwater arches.

With the “360 Sea Lion Encounter” tour, you’ll be able to spot curious sea lions and bright orange garibaldi swimming in their native waters. Be sure to click and drag your mouse around the video to get the full experience

Hat tip to Kristin McCully, a reader who teaches marine biology at Mt. San Antonio College. She recommended this underwater adventure as well as several others you’ll see in the next few weeks.

Advertisement

Illustration of a sea lion swimming
National Marine Sanctuaries’ “360 Sea Lion Encounter” lets you frolic among playful sea lions.
(Jade Cuevas / Los Angeles Times)

📸 Reader photo

Mary Breckenridge crosses Mono Pass with her horse and mules.
Mary Breckenridge crosses Mono Pass from west to east with her horse, Surprise, and two mules.
(Katie Falkenberg / For The Times)

🎸 Road song


Care to escape the world for a while? Travel 2,480,000 light-years to another galaxy by listening to “Andromeda” by Weyes Blood.

Advertisement

The dreamy, enchanting track is one of my go-to songs for solo drives around L.A. Safe and happy trails to everyone.

Spiral of colors splay out with the lyrics "Andromeda's a big, wide open galaxy...”
Take a trip beyond Earth with Weyes Blood’s funky track “Andromeda.”
(Jade Cuevas / Los Angeles Times)


Advertisement