I’ve been writing a lot about road trips lately, and everything I’ve seen, but I had to create a list of road trip attractions along the way on these trips. These are the things that had me pull off to the shoulder, or park and explore or just shake my head moments. These are mostly in the southwest, as most of my travels in the 12 months have been through California, Nevada, Utah, and Arizona. I’d love to see your comments about where we need to get the next “I pulled over for this moment”. This is my collection of weird stuff I saw on road trips and some of the most beautiful scenery.
These are in no particular order.
1. Cabazon Dinosaurs
As you drive from Los Angeles to Palm Springs, California you may think you are seeing a mirage out in the desert. The first time I drove past the large dinosaurs in Cabazon, I had to make an exit and turn back around to confirm I saw what I thought I saw. Two of the dinosaurs are visible from the highway and are accessible with nearby parking. To see the remaining 50 dinosaurs previously featured in movies and tour through the area, there is an approximate $13.00 admission fee. That includes the staircase to walk up inside Mr.Rex to his mouth.
2. Antelope Poppy Reserve
(and more dinosaurs)
Antelope Valley is famous for its orange poppy reserve, and the incredible blooms that occur each spring (March-April) for a brief time. Located in Lancaster, California, there is an annual poppy festival to celebrate these blooms.
Annnnddd…because it’s me, as we were driving past the reserve, these two dinosaurs were just dancing on the side of the road. Did I mention it was April and 90 F degrees?
Bonus: If you are in Lancaster, check out the Musical Road on Avenue G in between 30th and 40th Street West. If you drive 55 mph and roll down your windows, you might be treated to a song from the road!
3. Seven Magic Mountains
I-15 Highway outside of Las Vegas, Nevada
Seven Magic Mountains is an art installation of a series of bright-colored, stacked boulders 25 stories high that draws Instagrammers from everywhere. They are fun to photograph, but here is what they don’t tell you: it’s crowded. What’s tricky trying to get a photograph without a lot of people. It’s windy, and when I went in March, it was also very cold. It’s a rocky walk to get from the parking area to the rocks themselves. No facilities, you are in the desert, and usual common sense applies. But they are worth pulling over for.
Just for fun, here’s my Instagram post:
I always see these amazing Instagram photos and the women are wearing some glam outfit and look all sexy. Then there’s me. Up at 2:30 this morning. Driving all day. It’s freaking windy as hell & freezing. I have my winter coat on and my bulky sweater rolled up so it doesn’t hang out. The lips are raw and hair is tangled from the wind. I’m damn cold. Dig me.
4. The Virgin River Gorge & The Narrows
I-15 Highway from Nevada through Arizona to Utah
After exploring Red Rock Canyon State Park in Nevada, we continued on our Epic Road Trip to Zion and Bryce Canyon. To get there, we drove out of Mesquite, Nevada on Highway 15 and through a corner of Arizona about 30 miles long to St.George, Utah. It passes through “The Narrows”, limestone cliffs about 500 feet high and then into the Virgin River Gorge. This small stretch of highway had some of the most jaw-dropping scenery I’ve encountered. Luckily, we drove through at the most opportune times in early morning light and golden hour–no filters used on these photos.
6. Alien Fresh Beef Jerky
You’ll see the signs long before you reach Baker. At first, you’ll think it is a joke, but then realize this 1800 square foot warehouse is all about an alien experience. It began as a roadside stop for healthy snacks but now has even expanded to selling online “Abducted Cow Pineapple Teriyaki”. But wait, there’s more, there is a UFO Hotel coming! Currently under construction.
7. Shoe Tree on The Loneliest Road in America
Highway 50, Nevada
So here’s the story behind the original Shoe Tree: a couple was camping under the tree, and got in an argument. She threatened to go home, and he replied with “then you’ll walk home barefoot!” stormed off and drove to the local bar (Middlegate, Nevada-see the other post for more!). The husband was convinced to return to her, and soon others started to join in, throwing their shoes up in the tree as well. Vandals cut down the original shoe tree December 2010, but a new shoe tree was designated in 2017, now located between Middlegate and Cold Springs.
8. Zzyzx Road
Mojave National Preserve, California
Formerly Sida Springs, Zzyzx California is now an unincorporated area. Named because it wanted to give it the distinction of being the last road to be listed alphabetically (why not, I guess). Now iconic as being used in songs, album titles, movies, and other media. In reality, the almost 5 mile stretch of road has more remnants of historic wagon trails and early railroads. To visit here, you’ll have to learn how to say it, because it’s also won the award of most difficult road name to pronounce (Readers Digest).