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Old 04-24-2008, 01:37 PM
bonsai bonsai is offline
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Best "DRIVING" roads in California?

I'm headed to Yosemite next month and I can't wait to hit the smooth, curvy roads leading into the West Entrance of the park.

That got me thinking. Are there any other good "driver's" roads on the way up to Yosemite? And what are your favorite driving roads in California?

I love Skyline in the Bay Area (I think it's called Skyline ridge or something). There's some incredible driving roads in Big Bear/Arrowhead area.

Any others?
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  #2  
Old 04-24-2008, 02:29 PM
Penforhire Penforhire is offline
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In So Cal you can find great roads around Palomar Mountain. Closer to LA there is the Ortega Highway (just too short, over-patrolled, and due for construction shutdowns) and Angeles Crest Highway (nirvana!).

ACH has almost no diminishing radius turns and is 70+ miles long (though with a middle closure for years now, landslides I think). Just seven miles up from the West end is a variation by turning onto Angeles Forest Road and from there you can head in several directions on good roads, say toward Elizabeth Lake Road (and Harley's Rock Inn) and various canyon roads (two thumbs up for Bouquet Canyon!).

The Malibu canyon roads (many to choose, some to/from the Rock Store) are fun but tight, similar to Glendora Mountain Road. You'll also see the most exotic cars per mile near Malibu.
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Old 04-24-2008, 02:31 PM
AJQ AJQ is offline
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Down South

If you've got a convertible (or if you want to make use of the sun roof), you can take a nice drive along the Coast Highway from Carlsbad down to La Jolla in north San Diego County. There's a fair amount of stop and go along the way but plenty of shops and restaurants and parts of it are right along the water - great for you young guys with a date. (Would have been good for the "old" BJ, pre-family man, to strut his stuff) I would not recommend this drive as a road track or performance drive however, too many distractions.
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Old 04-24-2008, 02:48 PM
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North of the Golden Gate:

Hwy 175 between Hopland and Lakeport (Mendocino and Lake Counties)...15miles of narrow, twisting lanes and fairly steep inclines. Not for the faint of heart. Icy/Slippery in winter.

Hwy 128 west from Highway 101 (Sonoma/Mendocino Counties)....not quite as curvy but beautiful. Takes you out towards the NoCal coast. Wine Tasting in the area.

Hwy 29...Calistoga to Middletown (Napa/Lake Counties)...features good inclines and YES!!! Passing lanes!!! Wine tasting at both ends of this drive. Icy/Slippery in winter.
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Old 04-24-2008, 03:15 PM
eljefe68 eljefe68 is offline
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I am a Bay Area native now banished to the flat lands of Texas, but I do remember all my beloved roads there.

In the Bay proper, Hwy 35 (Skyline Drive) is great road, especially if you take it all the way from Hwy 92 to Hwy 9 (or vice versa). Just beware San Mateo County Sheriffs. Also in that area is Hwy 84 - take it all the way from 280 to Hwy 1. That road has no passing lanes, but locals are savvy to pull over if you are faster. In San Jose, if you want to make yourself carsick, try the road to the Mt. Hamilton observatory.

I give a second to SonomaDriver's recommendation of Hwy 29 from Calistoga to Middletown. I had many a glorious run on that road in both my 79 Scirocco and my 88 Prelude. Some decreasing radius turns keep you on your toes, and YES! passing lanes.
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Old 04-24-2008, 04:58 PM
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CARMEL VALLEY ROAD - FTW! Sick twisties and really great elevation changes between Carmel and greenfield. Amazing!
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Old 04-24-2008, 05:08 PM
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Any of the smaller Sierra passes. 120 (crosses Yosemite), 108, 4, 88.
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Old 04-24-2008, 05:55 PM
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Hwy 1 from Muir Beach in Marin up through to Rockport near the north end of Mendocino County. I did it in a company car last week and could barely keep my eyes on the road due to the stunning coastal views.

Try not to attempt in the heart of summer because of the added turons and likely blanket of dense fog.
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Old 04-24-2008, 06:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eljefe68 View Post
I am a Bay Area native now banished to the flat lands of Texas, but I do remember all my beloved roads there.

In the Bay proper, Hwy 35 (Skyline Drive) is great road, especially if you take it all the way from Hwy 92 to Hwy 9 (or vice versa). Just beware San Mateo County Sheriffs. Also in that area is Hwy 84 - take it all the way from 280 to Hwy 1. That road has no passing lanes, but locals are savvy to pull over if you are faster. In San Jose, if you want to make yourself carsick, try the road to the Mt. Hamilton observatory.

I give a second to SonomaDriver's recommendation of Hwy 29 from Calistoga to Middletown. I had many a glorious run on that road in both my 79 Scirocco and my 88 Prelude. Some decreasing radius turns keep you on your toes, and YES! passing lanes.
Great recommendations... I'd also add Mines Road in the East Bay starting in the Livermore area. Few cars and wonderful curves!
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Old 04-24-2008, 07:01 PM
Michael Schott Michael Schott is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GarySL View Post
Hwy 1 from Muir Beach in Marin up through to Rockport near the north end of Mendocino County. I did it in a company car last week and could barely keep my eyes on the road due to the stunning coastal views.

Try not to attempt in the heart of summer because of the added turons and likely blanket of dense fog.
One of the greatest roads I've ever been on. It's rather dangerous as it's really nothing but low speed hairpin after hairpin. And as GarySL says, the views are amazing. This would be a great drive in a 3 series or on a sportbike.

Thanks, Mike.
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Old 04-24-2008, 07:08 PM
Spicey Spicey is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by P. Panda View Post
CARMEL VALLEY ROAD - FTW! Sick twisties and really great elevation changes between Carmel and greenfield. Amazing!
Carmel Valley Road is great. The only spot their is really cops is by midvalley (safeway) and when the road hits 35 and goes by a couple of wineries after Laurallas (SP) grade. The grade is also a great road it cuts from Carmel Valley to Laguna Seca.
If you prefer the coast scene going down Highway 1 is great. It is even better at night when there are fewer people and RVs.
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Old 04-24-2008, 09:20 PM
c.dude c.dude is offline
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where's the route 66
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Old 04-24-2008, 10:03 PM
Brent L Brent L is offline
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hwy 18 is awesome

Quote:
Originally Posted by bonsai View Post
I'm headed to Yosemite next month and I can't wait to hit the smooth, curvy roads leading into the West Entrance of the park.

That got me thinking. Are there any other good "driver's" roads on the way up to Yosemite? And what are your favorite driving roads in California?

I love Skyline in the Bay Area (I think it's called Skyline ridge or something). There's some incredible driving roads in Big Bear/Arrowhead area.

Any others?
I agree that in so cal, hwy 18 from san bernardino to lake arrowhead, running springs and on to big bear is awesome - but like any great road is littered with complete idiots that do not understand how to drive and make it very dangerous to have fun on.

the lower part is a four lane with super high speed sweepers of every variety with a great sticky surface. there are some nice triple digit mph areas. the variety of pulling up the hill verses flying and "coasting" down it add variety.

the upper part is much more tight, 2 lane and much more dangerous but a total blast to drive - when empty.

I have been driving HWY 18 since 1976 and know it like the back of my hand. back then, no cops and little traffic. today - opposite.

I live at the bottom of Angeles Crest Hwy (La Canada side) and have grown to be un-moved by the constant sound of rescue vehicles and helicopters that run up there daily to scrape up the remains of inexperienced racers. The cops are totally hard core up there. It is a haven for street bike racers and auto mfr's with blacked out new cars in development testing etc.
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Old 04-24-2008, 10:22 PM
boothguy boothguy is offline
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Certainly not SoCal, but I've maintained for a long time that California Highway 1 between San Simeon and Carmel is The Greatest Two Hours in a Sportscar Driver's Life. And I've yet to see another stretch or road, short or long, to make me re-think that title.
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  #15  
Old 04-24-2008, 10:38 PM
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L Seca L Seca is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bonsai View Post
Any others?
Well, here are a few in my back yard
Carmel Valley Road (G16), Carmel Valley to Greenfield
Mission Rd & Nacmiento Furgusson Rd, Jolon Rd to Hwy 1
Hwy 1, Morro Bay to Carmel
Hwy 1, Santa Cruz to Pacifica

And here are some more I have driven and loved:
Hwy 1, San Francisco to Leggett
Hwy 198, San Lucas to Coalinga
Hwy 58, Santa Margarita to McKittrick
Mt Hamilton Rd/San Antonio Valley Rd/Del Puerto Cyn Rd, San Jose to Hwy 5
Badwater Road (Death Valley), Indian Village to Park Boundary
Hwy 120 (Tioga Pass Road - Yosemite), after summer opening
Hwy 49, Mariposa to Yosemite Junction
Hwy 33 & Lockwood Valley Road, Ojai to Frazier Park
Cerro Noroeste, Hwy 33 to Mil Potrero Road
Hwy 2 (Angeles Crest Hwy), La Canada to Wrightwood
Latigo Cyn Rd, Malibu
Tuna Cyn Rd, Malibu
Piuma Rd/Schueren Rd/Stunt Rd, Santa Monica Mtns
Mulholland Hwy, Santa Monica Mtns
Hwy 243, Banning to Mountain Center
Hwy 36, Hwy 1 to Red Bluff
Hwy 89, Hwy 44 to Truckee

I have to stop now and go for a drive.
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  #16  
Old 04-25-2008, 06:28 AM
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MrBones MrBones is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bonsai View Post
I'm headed to Yosemite next month and I can't wait to hit the smooth, curvy roads leading into the West Entrance of the park.

That got me thinking. Are there any other good "driver's" roads on the way up to Yosemite? And what are your favorite driving roads in California?

I love Skyline in the Bay Area (I think it's called Skyline ridge or something). There's some incredible driving roads in Big Bear/Arrowhead area.

Any others?
I drove that road at night in a rental minivan-scared the crap out of me!
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Old 04-25-2008, 08:14 AM
Aldwyn Aldwyn is offline
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Route 23... from 101 in Thousand Oaks, head south on 23 to the PCF. Talk about twists and turns for 12 miles!

If you live in the north part of LA County, you may want to take that road at some point just for a joy ride! Make sure any passangers in the car dont get motion sickness before you leave...
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  #18  
Old 04-25-2008, 09:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent L View Post
I agree that in so cal, hwy 18 from san bernardino to lake arrowhead, running springs and on to big bear is awesome - but like any great road is littered with complete idiots that do not understand how to drive and make it very dangerous to have fun on.

the lower part is a four lane with super high speed sweepers of every variety with a great sticky surface. there are some nice triple digit mph areas. the variety of pulling up the hill verses flying and "coasting" down it add variety.

the upper part is much more tight, 2 lane and much more dangerous but a total blast to drive - when empty.

I have been driving HWY 18 since 1976 and know it like the back of my hand. back then, no cops and little traffic. today - opposite.
Agreed, especially the lower part with the four lane sweeper. If you have a good set of tires, it can really put them to good test. On some long stretcher, I can hit over 125 mph easily with my E36 M3 and even my humble SLK (with the top down) years ago. Not anymore since the CHP is quite active in recent years. Be very careful and don't get too carried away and you should still have a lot of fun.

I'm not too crazy on the upper part because it's narrow and tight and no matter how clear it is, you always catch up with some slow traffic that's crawling at 30 mph. You end up getting stuck behind them for 15 min before it opens up again for maybe 2 min. It can be quite frustrating.
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Old 04-25-2008, 11:10 AM
bonsai bonsai is offline
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Wow, you guys are awesome.

I love Highway 1 - especially around Big Sur, thanks for reminding of that treacherous but amazing piece of road.

Those canyons around Malibu and Santa Monica are incredibly challenging as well, especially when you're always looking out for the random patch of dirt dusting the apex of a hairpin. But, Mullholland is ridiculously torn up these days. You can't get any appreciable speed on that road for fear of hitting a new pothole (or one of the numerous old ones) and denting a wheel.

It really is a shame that once great driving roads like those around San Bernadino are clogged with traffic and cops.

I'll make sure to have my fun on the 120 into Yosemite. How's the cop situation in them there parts?
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Old 04-25-2008, 11:12 AM
bonsai bonsai is offline
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Originally Posted by rjmill View Post


I drove that road at night in a rental minivan-scared the crap out of me!
Oh man, minivan + twisties = no good
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  #21  
Old 04-25-2008, 11:18 AM
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Dave 330i Dave 330i is offline
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Originally Posted by Aldwyn View Post
Route 23... from 101 in Thousand Oaks, head south on 23 to the PCF. Talk about twists and turns for 12 miles!

If you live in the north part of LA County, you may want to take that road at some point just for a joy ride! Make sure any passangers in the car dont get motion sickness before you leave...
I lived in Thousand Oaks between 1973 and 2004. Decker Cyn Rd is no fun. Been through there many times. The road dips down for 2nd gear turns. It's work and no fun at all. In that area, the section of Malibu Cyn between Mulholland and ocean has nice twisties. Hwy 23 between Moorpark and Fillmore has twisties in Grimes Cyn.
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Last edited by Dave 330i; 04-25-2008 at 11:25 AM.
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Old 04-25-2008, 11:27 AM
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Dave 330i Dave 330i is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by L Seca View Post
Well, here are a few in my back yard
Carmel Valley Road (G16), Carmel Valley to Greenfield
Mission Rd & Nacmiento Furgusson Rd, Jolon Rd to Hwy 1
Hwy 1, Morro Bay to Carmel
Hwy 1, Santa Cruz to Pacifica


And here are some more I have driven and loved:
Hwy 1, San Francisco to Leggett
Hwy 198, San Lucas to Coalinga
Hwy 58, Santa Margarita to McKittrick
Mt Hamilton Rd/San Antonio Valley Rd/Del Puerto Cyn Rd, San Jose to Hwy 5
Badwater Road (Death Valley), Indian Village to Park Boundary
Hwy 120 (Tioga Pass Road - Yosemite), after summer opening
Hwy 49, Mariposa to Yosemite Junction
Hwy 33 & Lockwood Valley Road, Ojai to Frazier Park
Cerro Noroeste, Hwy 33 to Mil Potrero Road
Hwy 2 (Angeles Crest Hwy), La Canada to Wrightwood
Latigo Cyn Rd, Malibu
Tuna Cyn Rd, Malibu
Piuma Rd/Schueren Rd/Stunt Rd, Santa Monica Mtns
Mulholland Hwy, Santa Monica Mtns
Hwy 243, Banning to Mountain Center
Hwy 36, Hwy 1 to Red Bluff
Hwy 89, Hwy 44 to Truckee

I have to stop now and go for a drive.
You must have come across Hwy 17 between Los Gatos and Scott Valley.
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  #23  
Old 04-25-2008, 11:38 AM
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Im going to have to try some of these roads. Everytime I go to Big Bear or arrowhead, there are too many cars in front of me to have a "spirited" drive.
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  #24  
Old 04-25-2008, 11:43 AM
Brent L Brent L is offline
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Smile agreed

Quote:
Originally Posted by mkh View Post
Agreed, especially the lower part with the four lane sweeper. If you have a good set of tires, it can really put them to good test. On some long stretcher, I can hit over 125 mph easily with my E36 M3 and even my humble SLK (with the top down) years ago. Not anymore since the CHP is quite active in recent years. Be very careful and don't get too carried away and you should still have a lot of fun.

I'm not too crazy on the upper part because it's narrow and tight and no matter how clear it is, you always catch up with some slow traffic that's crawling at 30 mph. You end up getting stuck behind them for 15 min before it opens up again for maybe 2 min. It can be quite frustrating.
the upper part of 18 used to be great but it is tight and very dangerous.

when i was a kid, i was coming down 18, at the very bottom in my 1975 280Z (clean, stiff suspension, bushings, sway bars, koni's, headers, cam etc) and exiting the last right hander at the bottom, right before the final left. it is an increasing radius turn, and the z would hit 113 at red line in 3rd (5 speed trans in a car geared for 4 speed so very tall) and i passed a CHP who had just finished writing someone and was getting back in his car when i blew by him.

it scared the pants off of my 18 year old arse, and i imediately took the first right hand i could make and then zig zaged all the way through san berdoo, to the 10 freeway.

i have often said the four lane would make a great race course and have done my best over the years to do my part to make it into one
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  #25  
Old 04-25-2008, 03:31 PM
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L Seca L Seca is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave 330i View Post
You must have come across Hwy 17 between Los Gatos and Scott Valley.
Many times. It would be fun without traffic, but it's almost always jammed with commuters, and there is constant CHP radar speed enforcement.
When I am headed for The City, I usually take Hwy 1 through Half Moon Bay. It's shorter in distance, and you can go faster. Plus it's beautiful. I once saw a line of pelicans flying over the water there, level with the road. The flock seemed to go on for miles - hundreds of them. Memorable! However, I did receive my last ticket (15 years ago) along this stretch in my e28 M5.
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