California Adventures … Not the Disneyland Park

The quirkiest and most trendy pit stops for a perfect road trip up California Highway 101


The view at sunset outside of Pappy & Harriet’s (53688 Pioneertown Rd, Pioneertown, CA 92268).

   The car is packed to the brim with necessities. Snacks are dispensed in every cup holder. The perfect playlist booms through the car stereo. This annual family tradition of taking a summer road trip is reinvented to include the quirkiest and most trendy pit stops off the California Highway 101.

  Beginning in Joshua Tree, one must visit artist Leonard Knight’s Salvation Mountain (Beal Rd, Niland, CA 92257). Composed of adobe, straw and paint, this mountain appears like a mirage with its technicolor appearance amongst the desolate desert. When hungry, head to Pappy & Harriet’s (53688 Pioneertown Rd, Pioneertown, CA 92268) a  music venue and restaurant located in Pioneertown, an old movie set that served as a wild west town.

  Heading north towards Los Angeles, conclude the first day of the road trip at the Mission Tiki Drive-In (10798 Ramona Ave, Montclair, CA 91763). Bright and early the next day, travel deep into Griffith Park to explore the Old Los Angeles Zoo (4801 Griffith Park Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90027). This zoo was in operation from 1912-1966 and now resides for visitors to observe the distraught, graffiti cages.

  Reaching Central California, specifically San Luis Obispo, have lunch at the Madonna Inn (100 Madonna Rd, San Luis Obispo, CA 93405). This obscure hotel looks like a Barbie Dream House composed of 110 rooms, all with a different interior design.

  Approaching Silicon Valley, finish the day with a haunting nighttime tour through the Winchester Mystery House (525 S Winchester Blvd, San Jose, CA 95128), which inspired the 2018 thriller film “Winchester.” It tells the haunting story of Winchester Repeating Arms Company’s heiress Sarah Winchester, who believed the victims of the Winchester rifles haunted her and led her to expand her house in wacky ways to calm the spirits.

  North of Silicon Valley, view San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge mid morning as the sun starts to warm the bay at Fort Point (Long Ave & Marine Dr, San Francisco, CA 94129). Located directly below the bridge, this fort was built from 1853-1861 for protective measures, abandoned in 1886, reused for WWII in 1933-1937, and opened to the public in 1970.

  From historical landmarks to modern pop culture hotspots, shop the stores within the neighborhood of Haight-Ashbury. A haven for hippies in the 1960s and 1970s, the neighborhood has kept its hippie roots through an assortment of vintage clothing stores, obscure book stores, kitchy cafés, and world renowned record store Amoeba Records (1855 Haight St, San Francisco, CA 94117).

  Becoming one with nature, travel out of the bustle of the bay and into quaint oceanside town of Fort Bragg. Home of Glass Beach (Glass Beach, Fort Bragg, CA 95437), watch the sunset on the third day of the road trip as the sun slowly hits the micro pieces of glass that creates a magnificent glow, unable to be recreated with any Instagram filter.

  Once California is completed, continue heading north in search of new adventures in the Pacific Northwest.

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