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Drive from LA

Discussion in 'Getting There & Getting Around' started by treegle, Jul 27, 2014.

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  1. treegle

    treegle Tourist

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    On our next visit the wife and I will be flying to LA and staying in Santa Monica before driving to Vegas. I know some people say the drive is quite boring, but as Brits, we're doing it for the novelty factor and just to be able to say we've done it.

    What are some recommended stops on the way? We'll be driving midweek during the day and want to stop once or twice for lunch and maybe another for a quick refreshment break. We won't be in any particular rush.
     
  2. ultima-forsan

    ultima-forsan Tourist

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    Hey, I can't really recommend stops but I did Santa Monica > LV few years ago and I loved it. I'm from Canada so I never saw a desert before so I loved it a lot. Even if it took 4 hours to get there, it was pretty fast since I wasn't bored.
     
  3. samanthaelizabeth

    samanthaelizabeth Low-Roller

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    Stop at the Worlds largest thermometer in Baker. It is about 1/2 hour before state line. They just lit it up again after being out for a few years. It was sad driving to Vegas when it was not lit up, as it is a big part of our memories of driving to Vegas. Have fun!
     
  4. sindustry

    sindustry VIP Whale

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    The usual stops for those travelling from SoCal are, Barstow, Baker, and Primm. There is a small outlet mall in Barstow and a bunch of fast food. Baker is usually where everyone stops for a potty break since all the rest stops are always closed. There is an Alien Jerky novelty store there and a bunch of fast food. Primm is right at the border and the first sign of Nevada casinos. Across from Primm is a series of Solar arrays and towers. It looks like some kind of secret government facility for aliens, but from what I have been told, its just solar arrays. Primm is where you stop to pee when you pass Baker, thinking you can make it to Vegas without stopping.
     
  5. treegle

    treegle Tourist

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    Regardless of what it is, I will try to get a photo or two to show my kids and will tell them it's where they do alien-autopsies. :)
     
  6. mkcoroner

    mkcoroner Low-Roller

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    ...yes, do this drive during the day...lots of beautiful scenery...
     
  7. lasvegas_limo_driver

    lasvegas_limo_driver Vegas Guru at Infinity

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    I was driving our of santa monica to Vegas almost every weekend and honestly there isnt much touristy stuff to look at on the immediate roads. You will have to get off to see most things. biggest tip is be passed the i10/i15 freeway before about 1, cause most days the traffic starts piling up
     
  8. Joe

    Joe VIP Whale

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    We used to fly to San Diego, stay a few nights, then drive to Vegas. We never found the drive boring. Much different scenery then we are used to.
    We were always anxious to get to Vegas, so we only made one stop for a bathroom break.
     
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  9. Tylersville

    Tylersville Tourist

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    I've done this trek twice. We stay in Vegas for a week so we like to rent a car and drive to Valencia in the SCV to spend a day at Six Flags riding their awesome collection of roller coasters. This usually means a 7am wakeup, four-hour drive one way and four-hour drive back after a long day at the park. The drive back is in the dark and can be exceptionally boring. But just when you think you aren't going to make it, you turn the corner and the strip lights up before your eyes and you are instantly energized!
     
  10. skinny malinky

    skinny malinky Low-Roller

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    I've made the drive from LA to Vegas many times. Be aware that traffic is unpredictable and it could take you over an hour just to get from Santa Monica to the eastern edge of LA. I really like the desert, so I like the view along the way.

    As far as stops, there's not a whole lot. There's a "ghost town" in Calico; I haven't made that stop yet, but probably will eventually. You can read up on that on trip adviser or yelp. There's also an archaeological, early man site near there. That's moderately interesting, but there's not much to see. It won't take up much of your time though, and it's free, so it's a low risk proposition.

    If you're shoppers, there's the outlet mall near Barstow. Standard American stores there, but there are decent prices to be found and they tend to be less crowded than the outlet stores in Vegas.

    I rarely stop for food on the drive, so I don't have much to add there. You'll see signs for the Mad Greek Cafe; it's just diner food for the most part, with a few Greek offerings. Decent enough food, but nothing exciting.

    You'll also drive through part of the Mojave National Preserve, so there are some hiking trails not too far off of the highway were you can explore the desert a little more. Be careful if you're doing this in the summer; the heat will be extreme and you'll get dehydrated quicker than you think since it's so dry. Oh, and make sure that you stick to the trails; don't wander off and get lost. I haven't hiked this particular area, but I'm sure it'll look a bit different than your UK terrain. :)

    Good luck and safe travels.
     
  11. ken2v

    ken2v This Space For Rent

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    I have no idea how many times I've driven the 15 between So Cal and Vegas and other points north. Loads.

    I'm a big fan of the desert. Been traversing it and vacationing in it and out camping in it and exploring it for a good measure of my 53 years. Sadly, America's truly spectacular desert scenery is not in California (or Nevada). And more sadly, the direct route from LA to Vegas on the 15 misses almost all of the truly good stuff that is out there in the Mojave. However, for someone not from these here parts, even the interstate way will be fun.

    My vote if this is an opportunity that only comes along every, oh, 20 years, is to detour. You can go northerly from Baker, skirting Death Valley and coming in to Vegas from the west through Pahrump. The even more stunning trek would be to go east from Barstow and then exit the 40 at Kelbaker Road n/b to Kelso, then n/e on Kelso Cima Road. From Cima, take Cima Road north through the largest stand of Joshua trees anywhere and then catch the 15 before the final climb and on to Vegas. From Cima it's also possible to take Morning Star Mine Road toward Nipton then back to the 15 just short of Primm, but that's not as scenic. (You also can skirt the Providence and New York mountains on a fun road but that takes a bit more in the way of directions. Let me know if interested.)

    Any of this will add time. Not a whole lot in the grand scheme if just cruising through and if you can go a bit of time w/o a slot handle in your hand. You easily can make a day trip of it getting back, as well.

    This is not necessarily an off-the-beaten-path route, but you won't find kitschy roadside curiosities nor much of anything in the way of services.
     
  12. treegle

    treegle Tourist

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    Thank you all for your tips and advice.

    A special thank you to Ken though. This looks like the winner! I owe you a beer. :beer:
     
  13. ken2v

    ken2v This Space For Rent

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    Ahh, thanks, but enjoy that brew yourself! Always a pleasure to help one of our cousins check out cool parts of the states.
     
  14. maxdaddy254

    maxdaddy254 Tourist

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    Stop in Baker at the Mad Greek for a malt or shake. My fav is the strawberry.
     
  15. Mattwall

    Mattwall Tourist

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    Nothing is more exciting than driving to Vegas.
     
  16. 8Summer8

    8Summer8 Tourist

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    My two cents is to stop at In-n-Out for burgers.
     
  17. Hobofrank

    Hobofrank Prime Minister of Idiocracy

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    it's basically 3 of these from Valle Spain, it's immense


    <img src="http://www.me-newswire.net/blog/pic05364_lw.jpg">
     
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