Sometimes you get so used to a drive or route that you normally take on a trip that you forget to take in the sights that await you. My husband and I took a much needed long weekend couple’s trip to Las Vegas last weekend for the I Heart Radio Music Festival. We love driving together but have not been able to do it as often since having children. The trip was the perfect time to enjoy a long drive in the new 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata while taking a scenic drive from Southern California to Las Vegas.
The trip was filled with new discoveries and things to do on a road trip to Las Vegas.
We were taking the Mazda MX-5 on a test drive and the mountain drive up to Silverwood Lake was the perfect opportunity to put the Miata to the test. The drive through the mountains is a minimal detour that provides maximum driving enjoyment and beautiful scenery. Silverwood Lake itself is so much larger than I anticipated and provided for some stunning photos before we continued on the way.
The drive from Southern California to Las Vegas is a quick one; the perfect reason to take a little detour to get your kicks on Route 66. Parents with children that enjoyed or are still enjoying the Cars movies will appreciate the feel and all that makes Route 66 what it is. If your children are along for the ride, even better because they will love seeing the historic road. There is a quaint little shopping plaza a few miles down the road that takes you back in time and helps travelers and locals truly feel the presence of Route 66.
Elmer’s Bottle Tree Tranch
Continue a bit further down Route 66 and you will find Elmer’s Bottle Tree Ranch.
What is Bottle Tree Ranch you may wonder?
It is a tree ranch where leaves are frowned upon because what better to make trees out of than bottles. You will find bottles of every kind and be left wondering just how Elmer made his little ranch happen. Kids will be fascinated with the ranch and it provides for a great stretch break on your road trip as well. If you want to get really creative and extend the stretch break, take a pair of binoculars for each child and play a unique game of “I Spy” at Bottle Tree Ranch.
Calico Ghost Town
Like my husband and I, you may have passed Calico Ghost Town many times and never realized what was hidden in the hills. As you drive along the I-15 you can see “Calico” on the hillside written in rocks. We have seen it for years – and finally stopped to learn a bit more.
Little did we know that an entire mining adventure was waiting for us that is over 130 years old. Back in the day, Calico was booming with mines that produced $86 million in silver and $45 million in Borax. Then the price of silver dropped and Calico struggled to maintain given its tiny population. In the end, only the ghosts of the day remain, but Mr. Walter Knott helped ensure people would not forget by donating Calico to San Bernardino County so people can continue to visit it.
Calico Ghost Town is also a great stop for your road trip as it offers a chance to walk around, grab a bite to eat, and peek in shops while soaking up a little bit of history.
Most likely you have driven passed this highway exit sign on your way to Vegas and probably wondered how you really pronounce “Zzyzx”. Next time you do, take the exit and follow it down a desolate road to discover a little California history. In the mid 1940’s radio evangelist Curtis Howe Spring filed a mining claim on the public land and Zzyzx Mineral Springs Resort was born. It grew over three decades and was a popular retreat for the rich and famous. I don’t want to tell you the whole story so you can enjoy the trip down Zzyzx Road on your own, but one really has to wonder – do the springs still hold the healing powers they once did?