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  1. Default Aussie wanting to travel from San Diego to Las Vegas

    Hi folks,
    My wife and I are from Sydney Australia and we are planning to visit America at the beginning of December 2007. We are hiring a car in Los Angeles and driving down to San Diego to spend a three nights there.
    I was hoping to get some information about driving from San Diego to Las Vegas at this time of year. We are wanting to drive west out of San Diego via highway eight and then somehow head north towards Las Vegas via highways 78, 10, 72, 95 and 93

    The route that and other websites give is to head north out of San Diego and then via west of Los Angeles, then north west towards Las Vegas.

    Can someone please tell me about conditions on these roads at this time of year and roughly how long this might take?

    Mark Atmore

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default It is a beautiful time of the year

    Quote Originally Posted by viduka View Post
    My wife and I are from Sydney Australia and we are planning to visit America at the beginning of December 2007.
    Welcome to the Great American RoadTrip Forum! December in southern California is very nice and a great time to travel (it could be wet and cold, too.)

    Here is an overview of the scale of LA to get you oriented

    Here are some ideas about that route from San Diego to Las Vegas
    Can someone please tell me about conditions on these roads at this time of year and roughly how long this might take?
    All excellent roads -- depending upon how often you stop and look around, it could take 8-10 hours. The most direct route is I-5 to I-15 and that would take about six hours.


  3. Default Good Quality Roads...

    Hello viduka,

    I think I can follow that route, and taking in the December time period puts you into the cool part of the year. The desert at that time can be cool to warm, with night time temperaturs below freezing in some locations (and depending upon specific weather in that month). Since that's the start of the "rainy season" here (as much as there is one in SoCal), you may see some rain, although if you watch the weather forecast you should have 1-3 days warning for that possibility. I'd expect (depending upon where in the route you are) to see temperatures from the 60's-70's F during the day and down to the 30's at night.

    The route you selected seems to be an intersting one -- Starting by going up over the Laguna Mountains east of San Diego. Note you will be going through mountains with peaks in the 5-7,000' range, such as Mt Laguna. Temperatures in these areas can be 20-30 deg F colder than down on the desert floor. Julian is an old mining town which has become a bit of a tourist town.
    What's interesting about the route from here, is that once you head east you come abruptly down the escarpment from the mountains into the desert. This can be a very abrupt and spectacular drive -- there's a lookout tower near Boulder Park on I-8 which has very good views over the desert, but the route you selected is one of the more gradual. Somewhat north of Julian, on S22, there's a spectacular descent down from the mountains to Borrego Springs. (All good roads by the way -- but can be winding roads as they head down the escarpment, losing several thousand feet of elevation in a few miles).

    Anza Borrego State ParK near Borrego Springs is the largest California State Park, and there's a very nice short (< 5 miles round trip) day hike into Borrego Palm Canyon. This takes you from the desert floor up a canyon into a real palm oasis with huge palm trees and running water, and sometimes bighorn desert sheep. But you do need to be careful of flash floods if its stormy in the mountains.

    Another slight alternative to your route would be to head north from the Indio Area through Joshua Tree National Park, entering through the southern entrance near Chiraco Summit, east of Indio on I-10. There's an entrance charge of $10 I believe, but this will take up to 29 Palms. From 29 Palms you continue north out of 29 Palms on Amboy Road, to the little town (2 houses and a cross road) at Amboy. This is near the Amboy Volcanic Crater, which is a near-historical volcano and lava fields, on old Route 66 (National Trails Highway).
    Again you can continue either east on old Route 66 to Needles or hook north to I-40 superhighway. Or you can continue north on Kelbaker road through the Mojave National Preserve, past the Kelso Dune, and the old railroad town of Cima (now the MNP headquarters), and onto Las Vegas. Again, the road is a 2 lane paved road in pretty good condition -- but the services through this section are few, and you should have gased up the car in 29 Palms before heading out, and have packed a picnic lunch (and I'd be careful about getting off the road into loose sand as well....)

    I've been on these roads within the last 2-3 years, and they were in good condition other than a couple of bumpy spots (recent repairs...)

    This would probably be a 2 day trip -- with an overnight stop in the 29 Palms to Indio/ Palm Springs area.

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