Northwest US

Northern California Drives

Special Thanks to: Keith Jarett (1991 Red Acura NSX), Craig Young (2001 Blue Jaguar XK8 Convertible), Michael Linenberger (??), Daniel Tobe (??)

Disclaimer: I cannot personally guarantee the accuracy or fun-factor of these drives, but have simply compiled the information I have received from various people. That said, I hope these drives will prove enjoyable for all.
North Bay Drives

Drive #1

Start on 101 North from San Francisco and cross the Golden Gate Bridge. Take the exit for Highway 1 to Stinson Beach. This is a great stretch of road with a lot of nice turns along the Marin Headlands. Just watch out for bicyclists on the non-existent shoulders. At Stinson Beach, stop for breakfast/brunch at one of the cafes with outdoor seating or take a walk along the beach. (Just be sure to brush the sand off before you get back in that nice clean car of yours!) Continue North on Highway 1. This stretch is straighter and a little less scenic but also provides relatively open road.

At Olema, turn right on Sir Francis Drake Blvd. This road has some nice twists and turns and will take you back through Fairfax (artsy Marin town) to San Rafael. Get on 101 South for just a few miles then exit on CA 131 to Tiburon. Drive out to this small town of restaurants and shops and have a late lunch or early dinner at Guaymas, a Mexican restaurant with spectacular views of SF and Alcatraz (when the fog doesn’t get in the way).

Drive #2

101 north to Santa Rosa, 12 west to Sebastapol, turn North to Gurneville (v. funky town, get gas here), west through Monte Rio (ditto) to Jenner on coast, US 1. Have lunch in Jenner at bar overlooking the ocean (I forget
name, but it is at north end of Jenner, pretty obvious). All of this (except 101 and 12) is really interesting. North on 1 to Stewarts Point Rd (near Sea Ranch)… Rt 1 along this route is best of north coast stuff. East on Stewarts Point Rd, this is a tiny, long, and interesting road (essentially free of human dwellings)… eventually takes you past Lake Sonoma, into the Dry Creek wine region, then on to 101 south (go to sleep on the way home on 101). If it’s dinnertime, have dinner in Healdsburg…. cute wine town… under-visited, good patio restaurant on south side of square.

Drive #3

Last Friday I drove 500+ miles to check out some coastal back roads near Mendocino. The rain and fog slowed me down a bit, but then it cleared up nicely, revealing that my car was as dirty as it has ever been. There were two exceptionally nice roads to go along with plenty of poorly surfaced and/or non-scenic back roads. Highly recommended are Flynn Creek Road (running north from 128 at Navarro) and CA highway 16 south from CA 20 east of Clear Lake. Flynn Creek road ends at Comptche, an NSX-friendly anagram if there ever was one. I took Orr Springs Road east, which is just a bit too rough for NSXing except for the very fine eastern end. If you take it anyway, follow Anapolis Road to the coast; it’s excellent.

Other road details:
CA highway 128 north from Boonville was fine, and I suspect that it’s good driving all the way from Cloverdale. I’ll find out next summer when I return to try Philo Greewood Road, the rest of 128, and Compteche-Ukiah Road. At least the latter two look promising.

CA highway 20 looks interesting on the map. It might be too, if you wait until someone drops neutron bombs everywhere and you and the gas station attendants are the only ones left. Until then, forget it.

The eastern several miles of Skaggs Springs Road (near Lake Sonoma) are excellent, but the road gets too rough and narrow after that. Also unsuitable, but challenging in its own rough-hewn way, is King Ridge Road. It reminds me of Santa Rosa Creek Road near San Luis Obisbpo, but without traffic. Near the north end of Kings Ridge Road, a huge round structure with a spire looms behind 50-foot redwoods. It’s a Buddhist retreat, and they are serious about keeping visitors out. At least I inferred that from the 10-foot fences lining the road.

Except for Anapolis, I can’t recommend any of the back roads between Jenner and Sea Ranch, and I drove them all. Going north, the next good road is Ten Mile Road, which is much faster than Stage Road. Fish Rock Road is dirt, though construction underway may change that. Mountain View Road has two excellent ends connected by a very rough middle. It’s torn up for burying fiber. The information superhighway is making a mess of the real highway here.

One other observation: the scenic route parallel to 101 between Cloverdale and Healdsburg looks like an excellent idea. The part of it that I drove was superb, and there were plenty of passing opportunities. Either I’m very lucky or I’m getting to be a better and safer driver, because I had no scares and no CHP encounters on this trip either. The closest call was braking from 80 to 55 for a parked cruiser that was apparently surveying the traffic coming the other way.

Drive #4

Getting up nice and early is a help. I actually was able to see the first instant of sunrise over the hills as I headed north from Concord.

Take highway 505 and 5 to Red Bluff. The second Red Bluff exit puts you on Highway 36 east. If you get there before 9AM on a weekday as I did, you will find very little traffic once you leave town. But regardless, the road has many good passing zones and long stretches with two lanes in the uphill (eastbound) direction. The westbound direction does not have these two-lane sections.

There is an interesting-looking turnoff for 172 around the mountain, but don’t bother. It’s gloomy and a bit dusty. Highway 36 is better in all respects. Turn north on Highway 89 and get out your $10 to enter the Lassen National Park. Both the road and the scenery here are perfect.

The girl at the park entrance said “you’re driving my car”. I just smiled. She recommended a photo stop just past Kings Creek. There is a meadow with a stream next to the road, and Mt. Lassen in the background. As I prepared the shot, an F-16 flew overhead, the first I’ve ever seen in the air. He made a 90-degree turn as if to prepare for another pass, but then he was gone. Earlier, I took a photo of a valley vista while standing on 2 feet of packed snow across the road.

As you exit the park, turn east on Highway 44. I have not driven this 13-mile stretch, but I’m sure it’s good. I took 44 west to Redding, through fairly populated areas, and 299 back east to 89. Maybe it was just the fact that it was 12 PM on the Friday before Memorial Day, or maybe it was the intermittent road closure for guard rail replacement, or maybe it was the dozens of RVs, but I did not enjoy 299 nearly as much as the other roads. Scenery consisted largely of clear-cut hillsides, but there is one really pretty valley on the right about 5 miles from the summit.

When you get to Highway 89, turn right to stay on Highway 44 east. I actually drove the stretch south from Burney to Highway 44, and it’s scenic and nice, but hardly empty. If you happen to visit Burney and see a teenager driving a circa 1989 pearl white Audi 80 or 90, say hello. He’s the guy who flagged me down to tell me about a few local roads: Cassel Fall River Road and Goose Valley Road. I drove the former, and it reminded me of Redwood Road in the East Bay but without the traffic. Please give the guy my email address so I can thank him. Highway 89 south from Burney is a bit like a trip back in time to the middle of the 20th century, with plenty of old houses in good repair.

Back to the recommended loop. At Old Station, turn right to stay on Highway 44. Over the next 10 miles or so, you may catch a glimpse of Mt. Shasta and you’ll see large prairie-like meadows in empty valleys surrounded by hills of redwoods to the left. From 44, about 5 miles past the Crater Lake turnoff, turn right on A21, Mooney Road. This is the widest, fastest, emptiest 2-lane I have ever seen outside the desert. Curves are generally marked 45 mph. With redwoods lining the road and no houses anywhere, it feels like you are riding through Sherwood Forest, though much more quickly than Robin Hood could. For high-speed driving pleasure, this road is probably the best part of the whole loop.

When you reach Westwood, turn right onto Highway 36 west. This part of 36 carries local traffic and is not particularly fun. It reminds me of eastern Tennessee. Follow it about 26 miles until you see the left turn for Highway 32. Then the fun begins anew.

Highway 32 starts in a narrow canyon, just wide enough for the stream (Deer Creek), the road, and a single row of redwoods between. It’s beautiful. Two loaded-up compact pickups pulled over for me in quick succession, and I was off to the races. Somehow people just know that you want to go faster when your car is this low and wide and this red. Assuming you don’t get caught in traffic, Highway 32 will be the highlight of your trip. I highly recommend taking this section downhill, because the speed differentials will be less and therefore you will be less likely to catch up to slower traffic. Highway 32 gets wider and more open after the initial descent, giving passing opportunities should you need them.

Highway 32 dumps you in Chico. I had intended to add the following loop, but ran short of time due to my 299 excursion: Highway 99 south to 149 south to 70 east 5 miles to Cherokee Road. Cherokee Road south to Oroville, then 162 east all the way up the mountain to Quincy. Left turn on 70 west back to 149. I’m saving this one for another weekend this summer.

With my remaining time, I took a few side trips off I-5 and I-505. From Corning I drove west to Black Butte Road. It’s a bit narrow and rough; try Newville Road from Orland instead. The farmland scenery is wonderful, similar to Walnut Creek without the people, but the real fun starts once you turn left (south) on Road 306 at Newville. This is an open road in excellent condition that goes on and on and on. It reminds me of Highway 25 with better scenery, although the road is not quite as good.

At Stonyford I ran out of map and had to do the rest from memory, but I made the correct turns for Maxwell Sites Road to Maxwell. These roads are sometimes bumpy, but plenty entertaining. Anyway, Road 306 makes it worthwhile.

By the way, I saw two or three CHP cars on these particular back roads. I don’t know if it was the holiday weekend, but it always pays to identify oncoming cars and not just blow past them. With roads this empty, you can easily afford to do so. With the CHP’s increasing rural use of radar, my co-pilot Mike Valentine spotted about 75% of the CHP cars on this trip.

The short cruise on I-5 south provided a reminder of just how comfortable the NSX is for cruising down the highway. At this point I had already driven 700 miles in about 12 hours.

At Williams, I took 20 west to 16 east (actually south) down Cache Creek. It was as scenic as ever, and the Cache Creek campground (the prettiest developed campground I have ever seen) was full. Highway 16 takes you past a casino and back to I-505. It has a few passing zones, one of which allowed me to clear a sedan and the Miata that was following it with a burst of speed that required 4th gear. 🙂 A good end to another 14-hour day of driving that took me through 844 miles of this beautiful state.

The next morning I found that not only had a few dozen butterflies played kamikaze with my nose mask and windshield, but there were some grasshoppers. I never saw them when I was on the road, but now there were about 30 in each of my Dali A/C Condenser shields. Make that 50, since the others were tucked under the bra. I just hosed them off, grateful that they were not in the condenser fins like they were in 1999. I’ll send a photo of the grasshopper-filled shields to Mark Johnson for his web site. If you drive California country roads in the summer, you have to buy these things. Besides, they improve the looks of the car.

East Bay Drives

Drive #1

Start at the Embassy Suites, just west of 680 on Calaveras Road. Remember to zero your odometer on departure, and always read one line ahead for the mileage and direction for the next turn.

0 Zero your trip odometer! Turn left out of the rear parking lot entrance onto Hillview Ct., then make another left onto Hillview Drive.
0.2 L at the light onto Calaveras Road.
3.9 L to remain on Calaveras. Easy to miss! There’s no stop sign, and if you go straight, you’ll be on be on Felter Rd. Calaveras road is narrow. If you see non-NSX traffic or you’re approaching a blind curve, for goodness sake slow down! Some of those other drivers won’t keep right on the blind turns. They may not realize it, but they are counting on you and all other oncoming drivers to be alert.
18.4 Straight at stop sign, remaining on Calaveras. Go under the freeway
19.2 YL: Bear left at the stop sign.
23.3 Cross bridge and see satellite dishes on the right. Turn is coming up!
23.7 R onto Palomares Road. Slow after the turn to let everyone catch up. Watch for bicyclists on Palomares Road, and look carefully at each and every driveway entrance, of which there are many.
28.2 Slow for this blind uphill turn. You may have to stop completely for a bicyclist in first gear.
33.7 L at stop onto Palo Verde Rd.
34.0 L at stop onto Castro Valley Blvd. Keep left at first light.
35.8 R on Crow Canyon Road. Keep left!
36.3 L on Cull Canyon Road. Cement divider precedes turn!
36.5 L on Heyer.
36.8 Jog left across Center
37.6 R at light onto Redwood Road.
39+ Pass golf course entrance on left. You now have 9 miles of unpopulated twisties to play with. Be alert for motorists and bicyclists!
46.9 R onto Pinehurst Road. Don’t miss this turn! No stop sign!
49.7 YL: Bear left to remain on Pinehurst Rd. (follow the Oakland/Canyon arrow)
50.6 Jog left here, and beware the driveway straight ahead that looks like the road!
52.5 Point of interest – At the first 10 mph hairpin turn you’ll see a park gate. Bring your family here on a cold day in December to see an amazing sight: Walk 100 yards past the gate and you’ll find tens of thousands of ladybugs clustered low on the bushes for warmth. After this hairpin, the road is narrow and debris-laden. Take it easy!
53.3 This 10 mph hairpin is correctly marked!
53.8 YR at the 5-way intersection, onto Skyline Blvd.
54.5 Straight at 5-way intersection.
55.5 R at onto Grizzly Peak Blvd. No stop sign!
56.5 Stop at viewpoint. To the left is the area of the Oakland hills which burned in 1991. About 1,200 homes in all were lost, as the wind blew flaming debris down the valley on both sides of Highway 24, down to Highway 13 and beyond. All the houses on the left are new, except the large one on the hilltop.

For optional longer route, see below. Otherwise keep reading here:
58.0 R on Fish Ranch Road . Descend hill and follow signs to 24 Eastbound.
58.8 Road bends to left for 24 East.

Optional Longer Route
58.0 Continue straight on Grizzly Peak Blvd at Fish Ranch Road.
59.5 R on South Park Drive, just after passing the Steam Trains. [South Park Drive is closed in winter, and you will then have to continue north and turn right on Golf Course Road before going down the hill to Wildcat Canyon Road.]
60.9 R on Wildcat Canyon Road.
64.7 Continue straight across Camino Pablo. The road name changes to Bear Creek Road
73.4 R on Alhambra Valley Road
78.4 Continue straight at stop. The road changes to Reliez Valley Road.
80.6 L onto Grayson Road.
81.3 L onto Taylor Road, and continue a few miles until you reach I-680, which you can enter southbound from the right lane.

Drive #2 – Castle Air Museum / Sierra National Forest Road 81 tour

Starting point: I-580 in Livermore
Alternate starting point: James Lick High School at Alum Rock Road and White Road going up Mt. Hamilton Road and on to San Antonio Valley Road

0 exit Vasco Road south
3.4 R on Tesla Rd
4.1 L on Mines Rd
7.7 L to stay on Mines Rd
32.7 L on Del Puerto Canyon Road actually, this is a good place to detour south on San Antonio Road for several miles, then make a U-turn and return to Del Puerto Canyon Road
57.4 Cross under I-5; gas available
61.1 L on Hwy 33
61.8 R on Las Palmas Road Radio banter: “Look at all those palm trees!”
? Enter CA 99 south after a couple of traffic lights
97.7 Exit from the left lane, sign says to Castle Museum
99.9 L on Santa Fe Drive
100 Immediate right into museum parking lot; park in front of SR-71

Return to CA 99 the same way you came

102.6 Re-enter CA 99 south
140.4 Exit CA 99 and get gas here or in the next several miles
142.4 L on CA 145
158.5 L on CA 41
167.3 R on W Fork Rd
? Bear left onto W Fork Rd
189.3 L on Forest Road 81
212.7 Stop at Mile High vista point
238.5 U-turn at end of road
286.6 R on North Fork Road at end of FR 81

Return the same way, via North Fork Road, 41, 145, and 99
After 17 miles on CA 99 north, you can turn W on 152 to return to San Jose
Otherwise continue past Modesto and take CA 120 west to I-205 to I-580

Group time estimates: 2.5 to 3 hours from San Jose to Museum, over Mt. Hamilton
Touring the museum: 2 hours including lunch
Museum to top of FR81 and back to CA 99 and 152: 5 hours, including stops
About 1.5 to 2 hours back to the Bay Area from that point
Solo times will be a bit shorter

South Bay Drives

Drive #1
101 south to Hollister, pickup 25 south, take that for a while (interesting road, past Pinnacles National Monument). Cut west over toward King City on Bitterwater Road. Turn right at the gas station onto G15 north.

After 10 miles, turn left at the stop onto G16. Continue west through Greenfield. This road eventually (see Coastal Loop below for details) turns into Carmel Valley Road, through the Santa Lucia Mtns, behind Big Sur, and into Carmel… this last segment is beautiful. Once at Rt 1, come home anyway you want. A nice variant on way home from Carmel: cutover to 101 through Watsonville, over the Mtns … nice redwoods. Very cool drive overall, bit long.

Drive #2
Start from I-280 in Woodside. Take CA 84 West. If you’re starting early, stop for breakfast at Buck’s in Woodside. They are known for being “the place” to have that power breakfast with your venture capitalist but, given the current economy, you can probably get a table there almost any morning. Continue on 84 West. This is a great two-lane road with a lot of nicely banked curves. When you get to Skyline Blvd. (CA-35), check out the gathering of Harley riders that takes place most weekends at the convenience store on the corner. Turn left and take Skyline Blvd. South along the summit of the foothills. You’ll get good views of both the Bay and the ocean at various points along this stretch. Unfortunately, you might also get stuck behind slower drivers and there are limited opportunities to pass to several miles. Take a right on CA-9 and head South toward Santa Cruz.

Optional Big Basin Drive-Thru. There’s a beautiful drive through Big Basin Redwoods State Park but the road is barely a lane and a half for much of the way and I had a number of near-panic moments passing cars and SUVs going the opposite direction. From CA-9, turn right (actually, you go straight since highway 9 turns left at this intersection) and take CA-236 towards Big Basin. CA-236 is about 10 miles long and takes you through the park and rejoins CA-9 at the town of Boulder Creek.

Back on CA-9 headed South, you can stop and check out the rustic charm of the local taverns in Ben Lomand or Felton. Highway 9 finally ends at Highway 1 just outside of Santa Cruz. If you have time, take a side trip to the Boardwalk to ride the rollercoaster and eat corndogs. Otherwise, head North on Highway 1 toward Half Moon Bay. This can be a beautiful drive along the coast or a maddeningly dreary drive through the fog.

Optional Side Trip to Butano State Park. Butano State Park is canyon full of redwoods with an easy 4-mile hike through the main park. From Highway 1 headed North, turn right on Gazos Creek Rd. This turns into Cloverdale Rd. Turn right into the entrance to the park. Pay the fee and pick up a trail map from the ranger station. When you’re done communing with Nature, either return the way to came back to Highway 1 or turn right on Cloverdale instead and take this to CA-84. At CA-84, turn left to get back to Highway 1 or turn right to return to Woodside.

Back on Highway 1 headed North, there are two options for getting back to your starting point on I-280. Option 1: turn right on CA-84 at Pescadaro and take this nice, winding road back over the hills to Woodside. Option 2: turn right on CA-92 at Half Moon Bay and take this back to I-280. CA-92 is a wider, faster road than CA-84 but less fun. On the other hand, Half Moon Bay has some nice restaurants and shops if you want someplace to take a break.

Drive #3
From the Bay Area, get to CA-17 headed South to Santa Cruz, either from I-280, I-880 or CA-85. CA-17 is a scenic, windy road through the Santa Cruz Mountains. Unfortunately, it’s also the main commuter route between Santa Cruz and San Jose so you will have to contend with rush hour traffic during the week and trucks most days. At Santa Cruz, take Highway 1 South toward Monterey. There are some really nice stretches of road between Santa Cruz and Monterey, particularly around Aptos. When you get to Monterey, you have several options for side trips, notably the 17-Mile Drive through Pebble Beach. Continue South on Highway 1 through Carmel to Big Sur. Big Sur is 30 miles South of Carmel and a perfect place to stop for lunch. I recommend the Sierra Mar restaurant at the Post Ranch Inn (on the right side of Highway 1 as you’re headed South) or Cielo at the Ventana Inn (on the left side of the highway). Both have great views of the ocean and excellent food. Return to the Bay Area the way you came or take any of the roads that cut over to US-101 for a faster trip. For a longer day, continue with the Coastal Loop described in Drive #5.

Drive #4 – Country Drive Starting from Monterey Area
The more scenic Coastal Loop drives lasts 4.5 hours, so get to bed early for that one. Late risers can choose the 2.5-hour Short Inland Loop. Each of the detailed route descriptions has turn-by-turn directions, with both cumulative and incremental mileages to each turn or point of interest.

Coastal Loop
This is in my opinion the finest half-day loop in the state. I have gotten up at 4 AM many times just to drive it. Get to Seaside by 7:00 AM if possible. Don’t forget that full tank of gas! The departure point is the large parking lot diagonally opposite the Embassy Suites Hotel.

Miles Incr. Miles Location
0 0 R out of shopping center lot onto 218, get in left lane, go under freeway
0.3 0.3 L onto CA 1 south
7.2 6.9 pass Rio Rd intersection: secondary pickup point
30.7 23.5 see Big Sur River
34.2 3.5 pass Big Sur Station
44.7 10.5 pass Pfeiffer Burns St Pk
48 3.3 pass Esalen Institute
59.9 11.9 pass Limekiln St Pk. Keep an eye out for the left turn in 2 miles!
62.1 2.2 L on Nacimiento Rd. Poorly marked. Cattle guard! Maintain your spacing for this scenic, but debris-laden road.
66.2 4.1 See redwood trees
69.3 3.1 Top of hill. Watch for oncoming traffic on this one-lane road!
75.1 5.8 Continue straight at Ponderosa campground
78.2 3.1 Cattle guard! Enter Fort Hunter Liggett. A well-paved roller-coaster road.
84.6 6.4 YR bear right
86.6 2 Cross bridge. Do not Ford the stream in your Honda!
86.7 0.1 R; sign says Jolon ->
87.5 0.8 R on Mission Rd.
90.6 3.1 No need to stop at check point (unmanned)
90.7 0.1 L on G14 = Jolon Rd.
106.9 16.2 pass big vineyard
108.4 1.5 First gas = Chevron on left (next in 3 miles)
108.5 0.1 Optional regroup on shoulder
108.8 0.3 R onto 101 south
109.9 1.1 R onto second exit = Canal St.
110 0.1 R at end of ramp, immediate L into 76/Keefer’s Motel parking lot 10-minute rest/gas stop. Burger King is across the street.
110.1 0.1 R onto street
110.2 0.1 R onto 101 south
110.9 0.7 R exit freeway at First St.
111.1 0.2 L on First St.
111.8 0.7 pass Broadway
112.1 0.3 L at stop onto G15
122.2 10.1 L at the stop onto G16
124.6 2.4 cross over freeway
125 0.4 pass center of Greenfield flat and straight, but watch for driveways!
130.9 5.9 cross bridge and turn L to stay on G16
131.9 1 turn L to stay on G16
137.6 5.7 R on Carmel Valley Rd to stay on G16
148.1 10.5 Optional viewpoint stop
168.9 20.8 R on G20 = Laureles Grade
174.9 6 L on CA 68 west
179.4 4.5 R on CA 218 to Seaside, Del Rey Oaks
181.4 2 cross Fremont Blvd (straight)
182 0.6 L into Embassy Suites lot

Short Inland Loop
Don’t forget that full tank of gas! (Actually, 2/3 of a tank should suffice for this particular drive.) The departure point is the Embassy Suites Hotel parking lot, not the parking lot across the street.

Miles Incr. Miles Location
0 0 R out of Embassy Suites lot onto CA 218
0.6 0.6 cross Fremont Blvd (straight)
2.6 2 L on CA 68
7.1 4.5 R on G20 = Laureles Grade
13.1 6 L on Carmel Valley Rd = G16
33.9 20.8 Optional viewpoint stop
44.4 7.5 L on Arroyo Seco
50.1 5.7 YR to stay on G16
51.3 1.2 R across bridge to stay on G16
53.8 2.5 enter Central Valley (flat!)
57 3.2 pass center of Greenfield
57.4 0.4 cross over freeway
59.8 2.4 L at the “T” onto G15
67.2 7.4 G15 becomes CA 146
70 2.8 L on East St (146); sign says 101
70.3 0.3 L on Front St ; sign says King City
70.4 0.1 R, then straight for 101 south
155.4 85 R first exit, then YR bear right onto Arroyo Seco Rd
156.6 1.2 R onto Ft. Romie Rd.
164.9 8.3 pass cactus farm
167.7 2.8 L on G17 = River Rd.
175.2 7.5 L on River Rd
184.5 9.3 L onto CA 68 West
189 4.5 R on CA 218 to Seaside, Del Rey Oaks
191 2 cross Fremont Blvd (straight)
191.6 0.6 L into Embassy Suites lot

Long Inland Loop
Don’t forget that full tank of gas! The departure point is the is the Embassy Suites Hotel parking lot, not the parking lot across the street.

Miles Incr. Miles Location
0 0 R out of Embassy Suites lot onto CA 218
0.6 0.6 cross Fremont Blvd (straight)
2.6 2 L on CA 68
7.1 4.5 R on G20 = Laureles Grade
13.1 6 L on Carmel Valley Rd = G16
33.9 20.8 Optional viewpoint stop
44.4 7.5 L on Arroyo Seco
50.1 5.7 YR bear right to stay on G16
51.3 1.2 R across bridge to stay on G16
53.89 2.59 enter Central Valley (flat!)
57 3.11 pass center of Greenfield
57.4 0.4 cross over freeway
59.8 2.4 R at the “T” onto G15
69.9 10.1 R at stop on Bitterwater, which becomes First St.
70.2 0.3 pass Broadway
70.7 0.5 R onto 101 north. Stay right, for first exit
71.7 1 R exit Canal St.
71.9 0.2 Park at any gas station and/or fast food. 10-minute rest/gas stop. Carl’s Jr. is nearby, I think..
72 0.1 Leave rest stop
72.1 0.1 Enter 101 north
73.4 1.3 R exit onto Jolon Road
77.6 4.2 go straight at intersection
79.4 1.8 L on San Lucas Rd.
86.3 6.9 L on Lockwood-San Lucas Rd.
86.4 0.1 cross under freeway; road becomes CA 198
101 14.6 L on CA 25
110 9 Pass Lonoak Rd. (stay on 25)
111.3 10.3 “car art” on the left!
119 7.7 L on G13 (King City sign)
133.4 14.4 R on G15
134.1 0.7 straight at Airport Blvd
143.5 9.4 straight at G16 junction
150.9 7.4 G15 becomes CA 146
153.7 2.8 L on East St (146); sign says 101
154 0.3 L on Front St ; sign says King City
154.3 0.3 R, then straight for 101 south
155.4 1.1 R first exit, then YR bear right onto Arroyo Seco Rd
156.6 1.2 R onto Ft. Romie Rd.
164.9 8.3 pass cactus farm on left
167.7 2.8 L on G17 = River Rd.
175.2 7.5 L on River Rd
184.5 9.3 L onto CA 68 West
189 4.5 R on CA 218 to Seaside, Del Rey Oaks
191 2 cross Fremont Blvd (straight)
191.6 0.6 L into Embassy Suites lot

Drive #5 – Pacific Coast Highway (CA)

California coast, highway 1, late spring, early summer… my preference is from Pacific Grove through Big Sur, Santa Barbara, etc. Very nice. Of course, heading North of San Francisco on 1 up through Bolinas, Jenner, Ft. Ross, Mendocino, etc is nice, too.

Long Drives (Multiple Days)

Drive #1 – “Best of Northern California” Loop

Here is a 2-day loop that I recommend and may drive myself next summer in conjunction with the 2002 Fortuna Redwood Autorama. The route is: Red Bluff to Fontana on Highway 36 on Day One, with time left over to check out the show there. Day Two is the return on Highway 36 to 96 to Yreka, then Old 99 to Gazelle, Gazelle-Callahan Road to Callahan, Highway 3 to 36, and 36 east back to Red Bluff.

Several variations are possible: For the drive to or from Red Bluff, you can add a loop onto California Highway 16 (Capay to Williams) and a loop on County Road 306 (Maxwell to Newville, and then over to Orland or Corning). The 2000 California Mille included both these loops, which are described under the single-day Mt. Lassen drive. Another variation is to add an intermediate day for coastal tourism, or to combine half the 36/96/3 loop with a run up or down Highway 1. But you can’t go wrong if you drive it as listed.

Drive #2 – Multi-day Drives from Monterey

Overnight in Carmel to get a 7AM start on Highway 1, which is necessary to beat the coastal traffic. Drive Highway1 south to Nacimiento Road to Mission Road to G14 south. These are two of my favorite roads in the state. Right on Chimney Rock Road, right on Vineyard Road, right on 46, left on Old Creek Road, south on 1 to Morro Bay for overnight.

41 north to 229 south to 58 west to Pozo Road to Pozo. Park Hill Road back to 58 east to La Panza Road. 41 north to Shadon. Shell Creek Road south to 58 east to McKittrick for a stop. Highway 58 is perhaps the best high-speed two-lane in the state.

Highway 33 north to Coalinga. Coalinga-Los Gatos Creek Road to Highway 25 south to 198 west to Oasis Road to San Lucas Road to Jolon Road north to 101 south one exit to King City for a stop.

Bitterwater Road (Lonoak Road is narrower and slightly bumpier, but OK as an alternate).to Highway 25 north to Panoche Road to Little Panoche Road to I-5 north. Exit at Del Puerto Canyon Road west. Right on San Antonio Valley Road which becomes Mines Road and ends near the southern limits of Livermore. Or take an even more scenic left turn on San Antonio Valley Road for the beautiful valley drive and climb up Mt. Hamilton if the car is up to it (pun intended).

I have not added up the miles, but I’ll bet it’s at least 800 or 900. It’s extremely scenic and varied. If you need more miles, look at San Lucas Road, Vineyard Canyon Road, and Cholame Road near Paso Robles. These let you loop through Parkfield, which has a bent bridge crossing the San Andreas Fault. I would avoid 166, which has traffic and is fast but not very scenic. Tepusquet Road is too narrow, in my opinion. To the southeast, 33 from Ojai to Lockwood Valley Road is nice, as is Cerro Noroeste and 33 north to Taft.

Great NSX Drives!