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This stunning NorCal road takes you from wine country to the redwoods

Car on a highway that runs through redwood forests.
California 128 takes you through Sonoma County’s wine country to the coastal forests of Mendocino County.
(Christopher Reynolds / Los Angeles Times)

By Rachel Schnalzer
Design and illustrations by Jade Cuevas

Good morning, fellow Escapists. The final days of summer are upon us, and it’s time to nail down the last of our seasonal travel plans. I hope you’ll find some inspiration in this edition of Escapes.

From Northern California’s coastal beauty to a lake with serious Hollywood history tucked inside Malibu Creek State Park, these destinations should help keep you cool — as well as entertained — on your next trip. As always, my in-box is open for recommendations you’d like to share.

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🛣️ Cruise one of California’s most beautiful drives

Unique accommodations. Tasty eats. And lots and lots of redwoods.

Northern California is a treasure trove of memorable adventures for travelers hoping to eke every bit of enjoyment out of summer. Times travel writer Christopher Reynolds ventured north twice over the last few months and turned his experiences into a list of “22 fresh coastal travel ideas,” beginning south of Mendocino County and ending just below the Oregon border.

One of his recommendations: driving California 128 through the Anderson Valley. “It takes you from the hot and hilly Sonoma County wine country into the dense forests of Mendocino County,” Reynolds writes.

Wine lovers will be in for a treat. Reynolds suggests stopping at a few of the many wineries along the way, such as Navarro, Goldeneye and Roederer.

A quick word of caution from Reynolds: Before you travel to Northern California, check on local water shortages and forest fire conditions.

Red wine grapes
California 128 takes you through the wine country of Sonoma County.
(Getty Images )

🐔 Eggs from a vending machine?

Next time you pass through the Santa Cruz area on a road trip or surf outing, swing by the Glaum Egg Ranch for an unusual grocery experience.

Instead of purchasing eggs from a farm stand, visitors and locals can buy eggs from a kitschy vending machine. In addition to fresh eggs, the vending machine treats customers to an animated chicken show, which varies from season to season.

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The machine is tied to the farm’s deep roots in Aptos. It was invented by Marvin Glaum, the youngest son of the Glaum Egg Ranch’s founder, who joined his family business some 70 years ago.

A flat of 18 eggs costs $4 — and come prepared with four $1 bills (not coins) for the vending machine.

illustration of egg vending machine
(Jade Cuevas / Los Angeles Times)

🚣 A refreshing alternative to Tahoe, Big Bear and Arrowhead

Worried about late-summer crowds at Southern California’s most popular lakes? Times contributor Melinda Fulmer recently profiled three off-the-beaten-path lakes — Huntington, Bass and Shaver — you might try instead of heading for uber-popular Big Bear and Arrowhead.

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If the idea of visiting a “mini-Tahoe” sounds appealing, Fulmer recommends Bass Lake, which offers travelers warm water and water skiing, boating, fishing and other activities.

Just 30 miles south of Yosemite’s southern entrance, Bass Lake is an ideal stop for anyone heading to the park. Plus, hiking options are within steps of the lakeshore; Fulmer suggests the “Way of the Mono” trail, which offers information about the Indigenous history of the region.

Interested in visiting Bass Lake? Fulmer recommends travelers consider crashing at the Pines Resort, Miller’s Landing Resort or the Forks Resort, as well as grabbing a beer at the South Gate Brewing Co. in Oakhurst.

A sailboat on a lake surrounded by wooded hills
A sailboat on Huntington Lake in the central Sierra in June.
(Melinda Fulmer)
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🌳 Stay cool on this L.A. hike

Love hiking but dread the scorching heat during the summer? Not to worry — Times assistant travel editor Mary Forgione recently compiled a list of “10 shady hikes to escape the tyranny of the L.A. sun” that provides well-covered alternatives to your favorite sun-soaked trails.

One such shady hike is to Century Lake Dam in Malibu Creek State Park. The three-mile out-and-back trail is an easy jaunt with less than 1,000 feet of elevation gain and some colorful tidbits of L.A. history.

The dam was created in 1903 to serve as a duck pond for wealthy Angelenos, Forgione reports. In 1946, the lake was purchased by 20th Century Fox Studios, which used it to film “Planet of the Apes” and other movies.

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Forgione provides details on the hike, as well as plenty of other shady hikes, in her story.

Illustration of green shade trees with a girl and the sun peeking through.
(Amy King / Los Angeles Times; Apple)

📰 What I’m reading

  • What’s it like to visit In-N-Out’s hamburger museum in Baldwin Park? Julie Tremaine describes her visit in SFGATE.
  • Ski towns need workers, but ongoing housing crises make it impossible for staff to live where they work, says Lily Krass in Outside Online. (The article was first published by Skimag.com.)
  • Is it safe to plan international travel right now? Shannon McMahon, writing for Condé Nast Traveler, spoke to experts to learn more.
  • “The Nez Perce are no longer leaving their story to others. They’ve become tour operators,” reports Julia Duin in the Washington Post.
  • Want to support small businesses as you travel? Kristin Braswell explains how in AFAR.
The drive-through at an In-N-Out.
In-N-Out celebrates its history with a small hamburger museum in Baldwin Park.
(Carolina A. Miranda / Los Angeles Times)

📸 Photo of the week

A field of tall dry grasses with mountains in the distance
Great Basin rye grass provides habitat for sage grouse near Mammoth Lakes.
(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)
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🎸 Road song

Song: “Night Drive” by Ari Lennox (Hat tip to our designer, Jade Cuevas, for the suggestion.)
Favorite lyric: “Purple in the sky, cruising Highway 85”
Best place to listen: California 85 near San Jose, of course

illustration of a Polaroid photo of a night drive
(Jade Cuevas / Los Angeles Times)


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