It’s Summer – Time to Drive
The weather is nice, but the drought is not. So, instead of staying home and watering my lawn, I’m out on the highway with my BMW M2 Competition. It’s been 11 months of ownership for this little beast, and I’ve just clicked past 3,000 miles. Part of me wishes it was 30,000 miles, but A) that’s not reasonable; and B) I haven’t had the time to drive nearly as much as I’d like.
There are so many cool roads to travel on in Southern California – and many of them are not thought about too much. We live right next to them, so they become part of the backdrop instead of a target for a Saturday or Sunday early morning drive. Here’s my list of some of the really fun drives…
#5 – Rim of the World Scenic Byway
This is a 100 mile long run – starting in Phelan and ending in Mentone. This side road travels through the San Bernardino Mountains and there is some terrific steep terrain. If it’s a clear day, you’ll be able to see Lake Arrowhead and Big Bear Lake from the top of the run. Fantastic ride.
#4 – Mulholland Drive
I grew up near this twisty road and today, it’s still a challenge to drive properly. The road is named after William Mulholland, the engineer who brought water to Los Angeles – and increased the reasons for people to live here (anyone see China Town?). You can start off the 101 Freeway at Cahuenga Blvd and head west, ending about 21 miles later just west of Encino Hills Drive. If you’re in a really fun mood, you can drop down to Pacific Coast Highway for the right back east.
#3 – Kings Canyon
This is 56 miles of fun that weaves between the Sequoia National Park and Yosemite National Park. This is not a good road to drive from December through March, due to weather, but an awesome experience at any other time of the year. It’s remarkably scenic – with fantastic granite formations, huge Sequoia trees, and rugged steep cliffs. This is a great place to drive – and to photograph as you go.
#2 – Pacific Coast Highway
World renown, this is a road that the masters love to drive. Formula One star Lewis Hamilton has enjoyed it with his Shelby Cobra, amongst others. It is the cornerstone of California scenic drives. Traditionally known as Highway 1, it stretches 655 miles connecting Southern California with Northern California. The great news is that you can do the road in sections, perhaps 100 miles a day. It’s a week filled with great vista, twisty fun, and fantastic scenery and sunsets.
#1 – Sunrise Scenic Byway
This is one of the shortest routes – only 24 miles in length, but it’s spectacular and is perfect for an early morning or late afternoon run. If you’ve got a convertible, it’s even better (don’t forget sunglasses and sunblock). This road scales the slopes of Mount Laguna, overlooking the Anza-Borrego Desert. It is a mix of forest and desert, and there are some spectacular places to stop and enjoy the view of the Pacific Ocean.
There are literally dozens of great roads to drive, and these are my current faves – but know that each new adventure is designed to create a longing to do another. As the host of the BimmerPod podcast, I’d like to see if we can get enough people to do a travel run every month or so. Who’s in?