Near LA: Orange County, Ventura County, and the Desert
Donut Derelicts: 9015 Adams Ave, Huntington Beach, CA 92646 - Celebrating American horsepower and hot rod culture since 1984, this Saturday morning ritual regularly features dozens of hot rods. But get there early (between 7AM and 8AM is the prime time) and drive something American.
Cars & Coffee: 3 Glen Bell Way, Irvine, CA 92618 - This is Donut Derelicts' more refined, bigger cousin. Also held early on Saturday mornings, Cars & Coffee is simultaneously more inclusive, welcoming all kinds of interesting cars and exclusive–this is the spot to see the newest hypercar or best vintage sports cars. Police are usually on hand to freely distribute citations to people performing burnouts, etc. so drive conservatively, at least until you're around the corner.
Hemet to Banning: The first part of this drive covers about twenty-two miles. Head east on CA-74 and then turn left on CA-243 towards Idyllwild. From Idyllwild, continue north along CA-243 for another approximately twenty-five miles to Banning. The scenery is pretty impressive, but the amount of curves make it difficult to sight-see. It also features a lot of elevation changes. Warning: ice and snow may be present into the spring months, even when warm.
Ride to the Sea (Jalama Road): Lompoc - Jalama Road begins about six miles south of Lompoc, CA off of Route 1. Once on the road, head west for fourteen miles and the road will dead-end at Jalama Beach County Park. This road is full of gentle curves from start to finish but a few that are much tighter. There are also a lot of elevation changes and even though the pavement is poor in some spots, the road goes practically nowhere and hence traffic is fairly light. Most of the road is in good shape though.
Ortega Hwy 74 to Lake Elsinore: This thirty-two mile drive takes you through the Cleveland National Forest between San Juan Capistrano, CA and to Lake Elsinore, CA. You'll pass through amazing mountain/valley scenery as you make your way through the forest. When you finally reach the summit, near the end of the drive, you'll enjoy a breathtaking view of Mt. Elsinore as CA-74 sits thousands of feet above the lake and its valley. 74 then quickly descends down to the lake and town. Warning: ice and snow may be present into the spring months, even when warm.
Ortega Hwy 74 from Hemet to Indian Wells: In Hemet, get on CA-74 and head east all the way into Indian Wells, about fifty miles. The road features wonderful scenery, with pine forest on the Hemet side transitioning to desert on the Indian Wells side. Just note that services aren't very common but there are nice hiking trails and camping. Warning: ice and snow may be present into the spring months, even when warm.
Santa Paula to Ojai to Carpinteria: Ventura County - It's a tree lined road, that passes by a river, then through the mountains, and out to a beautiful valley. It features twists much of the way from start to finish. There are also many views of Lake Casitas on the way! Take CA-126 east to Santa Paula and then take the CA-150 off-ramp to Ojai. Continue following CA-150 until it joins with CA-33 in Ojai. Stay on CA-150 and follow it through the hills, past Lake Casitas where it ends on the 101 freeway in Carpinteria. Take the 101 freeway south to LA or head into Carpinteria for some nice beach town grub.
Image Sources: yelp.com, petersen.org, neptunesnet.com, adamsmotorsportspark.com, worldclassmotoring.com, justacarguy.com, stephandben.com, racintoday.com, slototo.jimdo.com, discoverhollywood.com, laweekly.com, manoftheworld.com, conejoculture.blogspot.com, 41agp.com, differentspokes.com, irvseaver.blogspot.com, kcet.org