Saturday, February 1, 2014

Road Trippin’
with Steve McCarthy

In California, we are blessed with some of the best backroads driving in the world. The variety is endless. Long tire-shedding desert roads to see just HOW fast she’ll go, tight, twisty mountain roads for the handling freaks, and some of the most gorgeous and varied scenery imaginable. Constant Reader will know that in particular, we have a fondness for the Central Coastal area. The number of drives we’ve chronicled here may seem obsessive, but, there are so many variations on the theme that it will be a long time before we run out. So, with that in mind, let’s take a look at yet another variant.

To lessen the amount of boring freeway, let’s start this one in Sunland at the base of Little Tujunga Canyon. There’s a Coco’s restaurant there that provides a decent breakfast and  a good kick off. From there, it’s up and over Little T (think a mini-Angeles Crest), thence through the Sylmar/Santa Clarita area and to an old favorite, Hwy. 126. DO BE CAREFUL on 126. The CHP patrol this like hawks! In Santa Paula, head north to Ojai. If you time things right, check out the California Oil Museum. It’s in the original headquarters for Union Oil and has great displays, often featuring car and motorcycle themes. It’s worth the stop. Ojai is another neat little town with good food and regular art fairs. We like Bocalli’s at the east end of town. Outstanding Italian fare and usually crowded on the weekend.

Instead of heading back to 101 in Ventura, head over Casitas Pass towards Carpinteria and it’s delights. For this jaunt, we skim the north edge along the foothills and go through Montecito. Wave to Oprah and others as you make your way through.
Instead of continuing through Santa Barbara, head for the hills and you’ll find Camino Cielo. Aptly named as it’s a road in the sky. This runs along the ridge in the mountains behind Santa Barbara and is spectacular AND narrow.  Head down Painted Cave Rd. and be sure to stop at the Chumash cave. Honest to God petroglyphs! Cross Hwy 154 and head down another of the narrow twisty side roads and eventually hit 101.
Normally, I don’t send people on major highways, but this stretch of 101 IS beautiful. Right on the coast, the view is quintessential (note I did NOT use “iconic”, you’re welcome) California Coast. There is a rest stop at Gaviota that makes a good pee break. Just past the tunnel, exit on Highway 1 to Lompoc. This is another favorite. Nice long sweepers with a few twisty bits to keep you honest. Again, the CHP DO patrol this regularly! Before Lompoc, you’ll find Santa Rosa Creek Rd. This is another little gem that winds it’s way through lovely farmland, and gets narrow over a couple of ridges of hills. It will empty out in Buelton, and lunch.
And where else but another Classic California Stop, Pea Soup Anderson’s. This is the original. The food is great, the soup superb and loaded, a meal in itself. The menu has the usual stuff, but try some of the Danish dishes. You won’t be disappointed!
From here, head back west on Hwy 246 and hop over the hill via Drum Canyon Rd. Another test of your Armstrong Power Steering. This will take you to Los Alamos and a great antique barn in the old railroad freight shed. After this, you’ll pass Vandenburg, Casmalia Hill and around Pismo Beach, head inland to San Luis Obispo. Up the Cuesta Grade and off the highway again through the ranch lands and eventually to San Miguel.
San Miguel has ONE, as in ONLY one motel, the Western States Inn. It’s nice enough and reasonably priced. Eateries include a Basque place that is quite good, but check feeding times. Like all Basque places, it’s family style and EVERYONE eats together AT dinner time. The same owner has a place for breakfast called “Don’t Cook Bacon Naked” (how can you pass that up?) and there’s a BBQ place called The Ranch. All good choices. Take the time to check the mission. It’s been recently renovated and is a great example of the Original California.
Next month, we’ll explore the surrounding area and hit a few new roads and some old favorites.

Coco's Bakery Restaurant
10521 Sunland Blvd
San Fernando Valley, CA 91040

1. Head west on Sunland Blvd toward Wyngate St 0.3 mi
2. Slight right to merge onto I-210 W 3.1 mi
3. Take the exit toward Osborne Street 0.2 mi
4. Turn right onto Foothill Blvd 0.1 mi
5. Turn left onto Osborne St 0.6 mi
6. Continue onto Little Tujunga Canyon Rd 13.0 mi
7. Continue onto Sand Canyon Rd 0.8 mi
8. Turn left onto Placerita Canyon Rd 5.1 mi
9. Turn right onto Sierra Hwy 1.3 mi
10. Turn left onto Golden Valley Rd 3.0 mi
11. Continue onto Newhall Ranch Rd 6.2 mi
12. Continue onto CA-126 W 5.7 mi
13. Turn left onto CA-126 W/E Telegraph Rd 26 ft
14. Turn right to stay on CA-126 W/E Telegraph Rd
Continue to follow CA-126 W 22.2 mi
15. Take the CA-150/10th St exit toward Santa Paula 0.2 mi
16. Turn right onto CA-150 W/S 10th St
Continue to follow CA-150 W 19.8 mi
17. Turn right onto CA-150 W/Baldwin Rd
Continue to follow CA-150 W 15.1 mi
18. Turn right onto CA-192 W/Casitas Pass Rd
Continue to follow CA-192 W 3.6 mi
19. Turn right onto CA-192 W/Foothill Rd 2.9 mi
20. Turn right onto Foothill Rd CA192 1.5 mi
21. Slight right onto Toro Canyon Rd CA192 0.6 mi
22. Continue onto E Valley Rd CA192 4.5 mi
23. Turn right onto Sycamore Canyon Rd CA192 1.7 mi
24. Turn left to stay on Sycamore Canyon Rd CA192 0.3 mi
25. Turn right onto Foothill Rd/Stanwood Dr
Continue to follow Stanwood Dr   CA192 1.1 mi
26. Turn right onto El Cielito Rd 0.3 mi
27. Turn left to stay on El Cielito Rd 358 ft
28. Turn right to stay on El Cielito Rd 0.2 mi
29. Take the 1st right onto Gibraltar Rd 6.9 mi
30. Continue onto E Camino Cielo 8.4 mi
31. Sharp left onto Painted Cave Rd 3.1 mi
32. Continue onto San Marcos (Cross CA 154) 3.6 mi
33. Turn right onto Cathedral Oaks Rd 0.7 mi
34. Turn left onto N Patterson Ave 0.7 mi
35. Turn right to merge onto US-101 N WATCH FOR CHP!!! 27.1 mi
Take the California 1 exit toward Lompoc/Vandenberg Air Force Base 0.3 mi
37.  Turn left onto CA-1 N 16.4 mi
38. Turn right onto Santa Rosa Rd 16.8 mi
39. Continue onto Avenue of Flags
Destination will be on the right 0.5 mi
198 mi – about 5 hours 23 mins
Pea Soup Andersen's
376 Avenue of Flags
Buellton, CA 93427

40. Head northeast on Avenue of Flags toward 1st St 184 ft
41. Take the 1st left onto 1st St 430 ft
42. Turn left onto Central Ave 495 ft
43. Turn right onto Hwy 246 W 5.8 mi
44. Turn right onto Drum Canyon Rd 9.1 mi
45. Continue onto Centennial St 0.3 mi
46. Turn left onto CA-135 N/Bell St
Continue to follow CA-135 N 14.6 mi
47. Continue onto CA-1 N/Cabrillo Hwy 22.5 mi
48. Turn right onto Valley Rd 1.3 mi
49. Turn right onto Fair Oaks Ave 0.4 mi
50. Turn left onto Traffic Way 0.3 mi
51. Sharp right onto W Branch St 0.8 mi
52. Turn right onto Huasna Rd 1.6 mi
53. Continue onto Lopez Dr 2.7 mi
54. Turn left onto Orcutt Rd 8.0 mi
55. Turn right to stay on Orcutt Rd 1.0 mi
56. Slight right onto Johnson Ave 1.7 mi
57. Slight right onto San Luis Dr 0.3 mi
58. Take the 1st left onto California Blvd 0.2 mi
59. Take the 3rd right onto Monterey St 0.5 mi
60. Keep left at the fork and merge onto US-101 N 7.7 mi
61. Exit onto CA-58 E/El Camino Real toward Santa Margarita 1.7 mi
62. Turn right onto CA-58 E/Estrada Ave 0.3 mi
63. Turn left onto CA-58 E/J St
Continue to follow CA-58 E 1.3 mi
64. Turn left onto CA-58 E
Continue to follow CA-58 E 3.5 mi
65. Turn left onto CA-229 N/Webster Rd 9.0 mi
66. Turn right onto CA-41 N 0.1 mi
67. Take the 1st left onto Creston Rd 3.0 mi
68. Slight right onto Geneseo Rd 2.1 mi
69. Turn right to stay on Geneseo Rd 3.8 mi
70. Turn left onto Union Rd 5.7 mi
Turn right to stay on Union Rd 341 ft
Take the 1st right onto CA-46 E                                                                                 0.3 mi
73. Take the 1st left onto Airport Rd   5.1 mi
74. Turn left onto Estrella Rd 3.3 mi
75. Turn right onto N River Rd 1.8 mi
76. Continue onto 14th St 0.2 mi
77. Turn left onto K St
Destination will be on the right 0.3 mi
121 mi – about 3 hours 1 min

Western States Inn San Miguel
1099 K St
San Miguel, CA 93451