Advice on scenic drive from Calexico / Mexicali to LAX
Replies: 6 - Last Post: Sep 27, 2012 11:41 AM Last Post By: dotca
Sep 25, 2012 3:02 PM
Advice on scenic drive from Calexico / Mexicali to LAXHello All,
We will be driving from Mexicali / Calexico to catch our flight home from LAX. Well our flight home is the following day so we don't mind taking our time getting back to LA. We will be armed with a GPS but we are looking for some good via points.
We have a convertible rented, and we don't plan on hiking or stopping outside of a few scenic vista stops and gas/fuel. We are in our 20's btw. If there are decent museums or welcome centers we would probably stop at those. We'd love to see some animals as well.
Any suggestions on the most scenic ride home? We are already driving LA - San Diego - San Diego - Mexicali and this is our return portion of the trip. We would like to avoid interstates as long as it's reasonably scenic. Are there any stretches without speed limits? Being from Canada we've never seen a real desert, so a certian portion of the nothingness will be of interest.
Seems like the most logical route would be via
Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
Cleveland National Forest
Salton Sea / Josuha Tree
mt san jacinto
Palomar Mountain State Park
I gathered these using Google Maps.
Also any tips for LA - San Diego and San Diego to Mexicali would be apprecaited.
Anything else we should consider driving through the desert? Obviously a hat, sun screen and a significant amount of extra water just in case.
Also how are gas stations along the route? Is it fairly well marked if there is an extended period of time without petrol stations? We will be travelling on a Sunday. We will have cell phones but hey you never know.
Looking forward to exploring SoCo!
Sep 25, 2012 8:03 PM
Sep 25, 2012 8:25 PM
2What time of the year will you be there? Possible things to see/do in the general area , besides the ones you mentioned, include visiting Pioneertown, an old Western movie set which was also a town http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pioneertown,_California. Its located by Yucca Valley. There are several hot springs you can check out in S Cal. Check out hot spring websites. An interesting diversion is Salvation Mountain, located in Slab City, just East of the Salton Sea. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salvation_Mountain. The Patton Museum on Highway 10, is pretty nice and has a nice collection of tanks, etc. Ithttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_George_S._Patton_Memorial_Museum Lots to see and do around Palm Springs, too numerous to mention. Check out there tourism website. Also many Indian Casinos are in and around S. Cal
Sep 26, 2012 7:44 AM
3Wow awesome suggestions, and so quick too. Thanks guys!
Some great suggestions, we are interested in Pioneer town (though were a tad disappointed it wasn't a true pioneer town but oh well). Can we just show up and look around? Or is there addmission fee / gift shop type of BS?
My friend and I have both travelled Europe extensivly so the military museum isn't of much appeal, also no casinos, I prefer to lose my money at the bar. Are there any animal sanctuaries or something similar? We'd love to see a real road runner... meep meep.
We plan to do this drive on Sunday October 5th
I got another suggestions from a crosspost over at tripadvisor.
If you really want to feel like a tiny speck in a gigantic desert, take I-8 west to Ocotillo, then go north on County Route 2. This eventually will rise up over unbelivable vistats as you get close to Borrego Springs. There is an excellent visitor's center there. That drive is spectacular. You could then head west on County Route 22 and connect up with CA-78 to Julian, then on to the coast and up to LAX. I made a similar trip earlier this year. It was really fabulously scenic
Looks like it's about 344 miles to do the above detour through Octillo / Borego Springs / Pioneer Town / Santa Monica. Is this route worthwhile, or is there a similarly scenic drive that would take us to Pioneer town while still enjoying some desert vistas. Any comments on fuel stations on Sunday's? Any worthwhile stops around Salton Sea?
I should also mention that the rental car strictly forbids us from unpaved roads. So no all terrain mustang :(
Also the parks / forests I mentioned above, I litterally gathered through looking at green spaces on google maps. If someone has a more logical, equally scenic route that's a bit more direct on the way to Pioneer Town we are all ears.
Sep 26, 2012 2:47 PM
Sep 26, 2012 3:11 PM
5Last time I was in Pioneer town was a while ago, but back then it appeared to be more like a ghost town on the side of the road, with no entrance fee, ticket takers, etc. I dont even know if any of the builldings were open, or sold stuff. Though it may be different now, though I doubt it. Heres a few of my pics from my trip (ps use the slideshow option to look at them http://www.flickr.com/search/?w=22352052@N00&q=pioneertown&m=text
Wildlife of Anza-Borego is protected, so you may have a good chance of seeing something there. They even have big horn sheep, though you usually have to work at seeing one of those. The Living desert in Palm Springs is a zoo and botanical garden http://www.livingdesert.org/ The only animal refuges I am familiar with are further to the East, along the Colorado river, north of Yuma, though I'm no expert on the area., so there may be others. These however are a bit out of your planned route. However there is some great scenery there in that area. The Chocolate Mountains look delicious on the route to Picacho State Recreation Area. A few of my pics http://www.flickr.com/search/?w=22352052@N00&q=picacho+-ruth+-me&m=text
If you chose to go there you would also then pass on Highway 8 through the Algodones sand dunes http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Algodones_Dunes, and Felicty, the "center of the world" a new agey "town" with some good photo ops http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Felicity,_California
Cant really comment on your crossover post. There are probably lots of good scenic view points. Anza Boreggo is your best bet for that "being alone in the wilderness" feeling. For scenic overlooks, I liked Fonts Point, overlooking the Carizzo Plains. Heres a few of my pics from my trip 20 years ago (ps use the slideshow option) http://www.flickr.com/search/?w=22352052@N00&q=fonts
I've personally never known gas stations in Cali to be closed cause its Sunday, though some mom and pop places may close in the evenings. With a rental car you will probably get good mileage, so I wouldnt worry about running out. And there will be several places like Yucca Valley and Palm Springs with 24-7 gas station. Just fill up when you see an oppurtunity.
Sep 27, 2012 11:41 AM
6Thanks once again for the suggestions. Looks like we've narrowed down our route. We will catch County road s2 as it's the most logical way through the park headed north, and they call it the "Great Southern Overland Stage Route of 1849" so seems like its a tourist oriented road. Then we will catch 78 through Borrego Springs and see the visitors centre. We will then catch Co Highway S22 towards 86 and head north and see Pioneer town.
Any comments on Salton Sea / Salton City? Doesn't look like there's much there, just want to make sure we arn't missing anything.
Any lunch / early dinner suggestions in Borrego Springs?
Thanks for the bear suggestion, but we have plenty of bears up here in Canada, and I've had the cough "pleasure" cough of seeing them try and steal some food from our campsite.
Looking at the gas situation, we only need to fuel up once to make it, so I'm no longer concerned. I just keep picturing one of those old school 2 pump gas stations with a "gone fishin" sign out front or something. Though it is the desert, so maybe I don't need to worry about fishing.
Thanks again for all the help folks.
Also any detours or scenic routes from San Diego to Calexico / Mexicali would be also appreciated.
Thanks so much!
Oh and thanks for sharing the pictures, especially the 20 year old ones. Those were cool man.
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