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  1. Default 12/25-1/1 LA, Joshua Tree and Santa Barbara

    Hello and happy holidays! Since my post yesterday (advice for an East Coast road trip - thanks, AZ Buck!!) we bit the bullet and bought tix to LA for the trip we were craving: Joshua Tree and the SoCal coast. I will let you know the itinerary I was thinking about but in general and ways to cut costs would be great. We will be renting a car and I was able to get $226 (inc. supp. liability since we don't have car insurance-do I need it??)-- any other deals you know about would be great. Also, since we will not be checking out cooler, any thoughts on where to get a cooler for cheap ($10-20)would be fantastic. I was thinking we could get a bunch of stuff from Trader Joes and picnic most meals, maybe eat out once/day.

    12/25: Arrive in LA at 3pm, I am building in 2 hours for delays and picking up the car. We can either try to find friends to crash with or start the drive out to Joshua Tree. If we do this are there any hotels or restaurants along the way? And what might be the safest route for night time?

    12/26: If we are not already at the park we will try to get there by noon or 1. We hope to do some hiking and sightsee in the park. We love biking so if anyone knows of reasonable bike rental places that would be great.

    12/27-12/29ish: I am dying to go a sound bath at the Integratron which I will hopefully get scheduled for 12/27. Otherwise on these days we want to hike and explore. How far is Salton Sea or the dry lake from Joshua Tree?

    12/30: We would like to spend the 30th and 31st with friends in Santa Barbara. I think we could do the trip to SB from Joshua Tree in 5-6 hours? Depending on if we leave on 12/29 or 12/20, scenic route recommendations are needed. My husband is foreign and hasn't been to Cali and I want to show him the coast on the journey at some point.

    1/1: Our flight is at 3pm at LAX so I assume we should leave SB at 10.30am latest in case there is traffic. Speaking of which, anything we should know about traffic patterns?

    Thanks so much!
    Last edited by AZBuck; 12-03-2008 at 08:37 AM. Reason: Link to previous trip planning added

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Plans Change - Even During the Trip

    $226 for a car rental with insurance included is actually not a bad price at all. And if you don't have insurance of your own, it certainly seems worth it to me to have coverage. Coolers can be gotten anywhere, if you have the time to shop a bit, discount stores like Target are a good place to look but if not, you can usually find very cheap but serviceable styrofoam coolers at 7-11 or Circle-K type convenience stores.

    If you haven't done it before, navigating L.A. can be a bit of a challenge, so keep it simple. Take I-105 out of the airport (In LAspeak, that's "the 105") all the way (about 18 miles) to I-605 (San Gabriel Freeway) north for about a dozen miles to I-10 (San Bernadino Freeway) east. There will be plenty of lodging options all the way to Palm Springs.

    The Salton Sea is 25-75 miles south of Joshua Tree depending on where exactly you depart the park and how you drive there. I've been to the Salton a few times and I'm surprised that there are resorts there. It is very brackish and subject to frequent fish die-offs which do not make for an attractive shoreline or pleasant aroma. The Integraton is in the opposite direction, maybe 40 miles north of Josua Tree (the town).

    While it's only around 250 miles from Joshua Tree to Santa Barbara, almost all those miles are along crowded Los Angeles Freeways. 5-6 hours sounds like a reasonable non-rush-hour estimate, but if traffic backs up, all bets are off. Similarly, it's just a bit over a hundred miles from SB to the airport, but in the morning the 101 into L.A. can get quite backed up. Still, I think you'll be fine with a 10:30 departure. Your friends will know the local traffic patterns and rush hour times far better than I do.


  3. Default Alternative routes to Santa Barbara?

    Hi Buck! Thank you so much for your reply.

    Based on what you were saying about the drive from Joshua Tree to Santa Barbara, are there any alternative routes you might suggest? I am willing to do a longer drive if traffic is less of a threat.

    Alternatively, we could drive at off hours, just not sure what those would be. Or we could split up the drive into two segments.

    Thanks in advance for your help!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default The 'Long' Way Around

    There is a way to get from Joshua Tree to Santa Barbara without going through L.A., but it will require a bit of navigation. Start out by heading north on CA-247 (up towards Integraton) then switch over to CA-18 in Lucerne Valley and follow that to Victorville. Take I-15 south a few miles and then CA-18 west again until it joins with CA-138 into Palmdale. Next pick up CA-14 southwest towards Santa Clarita. A short jog on I-5 north will bring you to CA-126 west which will take you to the coast at Ventura and then up the coast on US-101 to Santa Barbara. Have a look at that on a good map and see what you think. I have driven it and I don't think that I want to vouch for it being faster if all the freeways are clear, but it is an interesting drive and only about 25 miles longer than the direct route through L.A.


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