Spice Up a Boring Drive
July 13, 2010 1:41 PM   Subscribe

So I am soon going to be driving from Tucson, Arizona to Los Angeles, California. The drive is long, and will most likely be boring, So I have come here to metafilter to ask if there are any natural features, roadside attractions, interesting things I can stop and see along my route.
posted by bthrbt to Travel & Transportation (11 answers total)
Well of course you need to stop and get Date Shakes at Hadley Fruit Orchard. Mmmm...datey.
posted by lizjohn at 1:50 PM on July 13, 2010

The Cabazon Dinosaurs!!!
posted by .kobayashi. at 1:56 PM on July 13, 2010

I don't have specific directions, but I did that drive once and it's really beautiful...and not too long.
posted by Lutoslawski at 2:07 PM on July 13, 2010

Joshua Tree is actually kind of great.
posted by escabeche at 2:35 PM on July 13, 2010 [2 favorites]

The most boring part of this drive is the hour or two west out of Phoenix and the hour or two heading into Los Angeles from the outer reaches of suburbia. The desert part is some of the prettiest driving ever.

There's a sweet roadside flea market as you head into Quartzite--I've scored a ton of awesome mid-century glassware there. You could swing up and hit Joshua Tree, too--although you'll see plenty of the trees themselves in the vicinity of the park.
posted by padraigin at 2:44 PM on July 13, 2010

Also, and this isn't directed at your question, exactly, but it's good advice: pack a couple bottles of ice water. There's some hot empty stretches of road thataways, and you'll want it, just in case.
posted by .kobayashi. at 2:53 PM on July 13, 2010

Explanding on lizjohn's comment: You are going to be driving through the only area in the U.S. where they grow dates. Which means you can sample the indigenous culinary specialty, the date shake. Do not pass up this opportunity.

Also, you're going right through Palm Springs. Are you interested in, I dunno, mid-century modern architecture? Or Hollywood stars?

More unsolicited advice: I did this trip recently and bypassed Phoenix by taking I-8 to Arizona 85 (I think. It was on the highway signs as an alternate route.) Anyway, I avoided a lot of traffic, which may be useful to you depending on when you leave.
posted by purpleclover at 3:48 PM on July 13, 2010

Consider taking the 8 instead of the 10 and check out San Diego on the way up. It'd only tack on an extra 30 minutes or so to your trip.
posted by speedgraphic at 5:19 PM on July 13, 2010

There is a tank museum along the way. Would be way cooler if you could crawl in the tank but still an interesting roadside attraction. It has interesting WWII memorabilia and provides a nice car break. Oh and tanks are pretty rad.
posted by occidental at 5:29 PM on July 13, 2010

I was also going to chime in recommending that you consider I-8... I love that route. The San Diego --> Los Angeles section of that drive can be iffy (traffic!), but you could also jog back up to the 10 at El Centro, taking the 86 past the Salton Sea. You'd miss the Cleveland national forest, but not the Sand Dunes. 86 meets back up with the 10 in Indio, so you could still get your Date Shakes, too.
posted by everybody polka at 9:18 PM on July 13, 2010

on the I-8 route:
-seconding date shakes in Dateland
-there are historic sites in Yuma of some interest, including the Yuma Territorial Prison
-Algodones sand dunes are impressive!
-eating delicious tacos at Mexicali Taco in El Centro
-the drive through the coast range mountains on the I-8 is pretty scenic
Just make sure not to drive north out of San Diego on the I-5 any time between 4-7pm (rush hour's a mess).
posted by scrambles at 12:53 AM on July 20, 2010

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