Finding the Face of Moab, Utah in Film
For decades, Moab's arresting landscape has been the stage for some of the film's most otherworldly scenes—from John Wayne Westerns to desert planets in Star Trek. On Page 44, see how to make it the scene for your own adventure. (Without driving off a cliff, that is.)
Hollywood's bright lights give way to shooting stars over the Mojave. Here's our favorite route to dust up the desert road to Vegas.
LIFE IS A HIGHWAY,
and if you should ride it all night long (as we suggest), you might as well enjoy the view. Taking Interstate 10 from Southern California begins an uncanny meditative desert detour. (Also, for the record, you should call I-10 “The Ten” to sound like a local.) With the right turns, this drive will carry you through a barren, beautiful landscape that astounds and contrasts with its seductive opposite: the kaleidoscopic vision of Vegas—ablaze with all its man-made trappings. Goodbye, City of Angels; hello, Sin City. Here's how to best prime your drive to hit the highlights along the way.
Escaping the City of Angels Los Angeles
is known for its bright lights and shining stars, but one major downside to the City of Angels is its traffic. You'll be on “The Ten” for a good two hours on your way to Joshua Tree, and it's pretty much jam-packed from now to eternity. But you can best avoid that problematic bit of purgatory by avoiding the evening rush hour. As in, avoid it at all costs. It is the prime time for a jam and the biggest obstacle between you and the meditative spell of the desert. North Los Angeles County has commuters by the thousands, so time your departure to skip their company.
Don't Get Fooled by Desert Rain Surprise
Summer is monsoon season, which means that even though 90-degree days are transitioning into cool fall nights, weather from LA to Las Vegas can vary drastically. Like more than you would think … you know, for a desert. Make sure you're prepared by packing removable layers and keep some waterproof footwear and a coat in that RV—even if it makes you feel like a doomsday prepper.
Sharing the Road with Semis
Interstate 10 was built as a truck route to connect LA to the rest of the country. It's 2,460 miles long and runs through eight states going coast to coast—Pacific to Atlantic—Cali to Florida. So be prepared to share the road with semi-trucks. Getting some steering stabilizers will definitely help deal with bow waves as they pass.
A Little Taste of Time Travel
Peggy Sue's is an original 1950s diner and a can't-miss relic of the past. Situated right off Route 66 and Route 15, the diner serves as the half-way point from LA to Las Vegas. With menu items like the Tina Turner Tuna Sandwich, the Big Bopper BLT, and the Audrey Hepburn, who could resist stopping off to grab a bite?
A Hike Through a Desert Oasis
Joshua Tree is just too cool to drive by, so take Exit 117 onto CA-62 W. The national park offers three-hour tours with local naturalists (very different than the Gilligan's Island variety). Hiking on the Lost Palms Oasis Trail, near the south entrance of the park, will give everyone of every age the chance to see some unforgettable unique desert fauna and flora.