The Long & Winding Road – Trip Report

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to post interim reports from the road as I traveled some 1,200 miles in a loop from Las Vegas through Death Valley and then on to LA, the Pacific coast highway to San Diego for a few days and then back to Vegas through Joshua Tree and the Mojave. So everything is on this one post.

I’ve been to Death Valley a number of times since it is a long day trip from Vegas, which I’ve been to probably 30 times. This trip had some “new” in it because I entered from the south (Armagosa Valley) and left from the west towards LA. Death valley has so many interesting sights but Dante’s View is easily one of the top ones.


From Dante’s View


Dante’s View crest trail

The view from Zabrieskie’s Point is also nice. Notice how the rain the has created furrows.


Sand Dunes in Death Valley should be no surprise. What was a surprise was the very mild temperature for this time of year – only 94. (Even San Diego was about 10 degrees cooler than usual.)


The photo below of the road outside the west entrance to Death Valley shows how
“alone” you are out in this part of the country. And of course there’s no cell phone service…


After spending the night just north of LA, we drove down the Pacific Coast highway to Oceanside.

Since I’m a foodie, I had to indulge in some pastry in Laguna Beach.



from the San Clemente Pier

It’s only about 40 miles from Oceanside to San Diego. But the plan was to spend most of the day hiking in Torrey Pines (a California park, which my  $10 senior citizen lifetime federal parks pass is not good for and so I had to pay $10)  and then relaxing in La Jolla, just north of San Diego, before going there so we wouldn’t have to back track.


One of the many trails in Torrey Pines.


We hiked down to the beach


Torry Pines

La Jolla is a small upscale town known for the seals which frequent La Jolla Cove.


I’ve been to San Diego twice, so I didn’t see much that was new. Coronado is always a nice diversion, especially the ferry landing area.


San Diego skyline from Coronado ferry

Coronado is home to the historic and very upscale Hotel del Coronado.


We did stumble upon a great restaurant in the Gas Lamp District that I recommend: The Crab Hut Louisiana Seafood Restaurant. Authentic food and reasonable prices. My spicy jambalaya had andouille sausage bits, chicken, crayfish tails, shrimp, and clams. The cajun wings had a nice bite and the draft Abita Purple Haze is an authentic Louisiana beer. The shrimp and crawfish boil was authentic, according to Robin, who is  Louisiana born and raised.


From San Diego, it was on to Joshua Tree, which is best known for three features: the Joshua tree, funky rocks and Cholla cactus.



Joshua trees and funky rocks


Cholla cactus garden

After an overnight in the town of Joshua Tree, we drove back to Vegas through the Mojave National Preserve. On the way to the Mojave, we traveled a bit on historic Route 66 and also saw the Amboy Crater.


Extinct Amboy crater is estimated to be 70,000 years old


Mojave National Preserve

We arrived in Las Vegas in the late afternoon and enjoyed some R & R before the flight home the next day.




3 responses to “The Long & Winding Road – Trip Report

  1. Looks like a fun trip. I have enjoyed some of your spots and have fond memories. ie Laguna Beach, La Jolla and Torrey Pines.

    Just not a Vegas person.

    • Torrey Pines was my favorite and is one of the most scenic palces I’ve been to. For California, off the top of my head I’d say that only Big Sur is more scenic and I’ve seen all of the California coast except for the portion between the southern end of Big Sur and northern LA.

  2. I also enjoy Point Reyes.

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