The latest Weekend Driver and a sunny day to enjoy it

I couldn’t have ordered a better day for my latest Weekend Driver column to run in the San Diego Union-Tribune… it’s a trip up Mount Soledad and over to La Jolla Shores in a stylish Nissan Altima.

This time of year, fog is the usual weather for La Jolla, no matter how hot it is in the rest of the county. But, I’m told, it’s sunny, clear and hot in La Jolla so the view should be close to what I saw last month when I took the drive.

The story is posted for a short time online, and the link might not even work for you, but it doesn’t include the directions; you’ll have to buy today’s paper for those.

Happy Father’s Day and enjoy your trip. ⚙

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Centuries of North County history along latest Weekend Driver route

The latest Weekend Driver column in the San Diego Union-Tribune runs today, Sunday, April 17. It’s a 17-mile trip around North County, from Oceanside to Vista, with a whole host of great picnic and other family spots.

The ride for this issue was a sharp 2016 Honda Pilot, which felt at home in this area where it seems everyone drives a large SUV. We visited Mission San Luis Rey, Guajome Regional Park, the old Guajome Adobe, the Antique Gas and Steam Museum, Brengle Terrace Park and Wildwood Park. Grab your lunch and head out, as there are plenty of places here for a great picnic, family fun and even overnight camping… in a cabin.

By the way, the link to the story only lasts a short while, so pick up your copy today!

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Soulful Joshua Tree: Latest Weekend Driver published today

The latest Weekend Driver column in The San Diego Union-Tribune “Soulful Joshua Tree Visit,” is in today’s paper.

It’s a cruise through Joshua Tree National Park, which this week was expanded by President Obama and with good reason. It’s a beautiful, unique place to visit in Southern California, just about two hours north of San Diego.

My ride for this day trip was a sharp 2016 Kia Soul, one of my favorite vehicles. I managed to squeeze a ride through the park in a break in the big storm we had in January.

Read all about it today. If you’re a subscriber or in San Diego and pick up a copy, check it out on page S-12. The paper doesn’t put my stories online in the usual manner, but this link might work for a little while; my apologies if it’s no longer working.

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It’s the latest Weekend Driver: Mazda 6 on twisty Valley Center roads

The latest Weekend Driver column is in today’s San Diego Union-Tribune. I take a sharp Mazda 6 mid-sized sedan (with a six-speed manual transmission, no less) on some twisting roads in the San Diego County community of Valley Center.

The question I most frequently get about my column, “where do you find all the roads,” is partially answered here. For this drive, I just exited the freeway and kept driving, something anybody can do for a fantastic San Diego day trip. I hope you’re a Union-Tribune subscriber; if not, pick it up at a newsstand. ⚙

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Website, newspaper column win SD Press Club awards

This website and the San Diego Union-Tribune column have won 2015 awards from the San Diego Press Club, one of the largest journalism and public relations organizations in the United States.

Both received third-place awards in the annual “Excellence in Journalism” awards at the club’s annual meeting on Oct. 27.

It’s the first time receiving the awards and the first time they’ve been entered. The website was founded way back in 2003 and the newspaper column has been published in the Union-Tribune since 2000.

Just goes to show you that lots of folks like going on and reading about San Diego day trips. Thanks so much for the recognition from my journalism peers!

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Rockhouse Canyon Trail is the latest Weekend Driver

A trip up Rockhouse Canyon Trail in the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is the latest Weekend Driver column in the San Diego Union-Tribune.

An isolated canyon just a few minutes east of the town of Borrego Springs, the easy, yet sometimes bumpy, desert road was swallowed up easily by the test vehicle for this new column, a Jeep Wrangler Willys Wheeler Edition.

Check out the latest in the 15-year run of Weekend Driver in the San Diego Union-Tribune.

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Latest column in today’s paper: Beetle Beach Run

If you’re not a subscriber, run out and buy today’s San Diego Union-Tribune, where you’ll find the latest Weekend Driver column, “Beetle Beach Run.”

We’re exploring the spots to get cool and be cool on San Diego Bay, pretty timely considering we’re in the middle of a big summer heat wave.

And getting us there is a 2015 Volkswagen Beetle TDI convertible, equipped with a six-speed manual transmission no less. Frankly, if you’re looking for a really fun, economical convertible, I’d heartily recommend the Beetle. Just get used to having teenage girls wink at you and the jokes about its looks, this is a really fun car for San Diego. It’s a blast with the top down, can take the twisty curvy mountain roads on a back-country day, and gets great mileage on diesel.

I know I had fun driving it. My 88-year-old mom even had a blast when we went to the Sonic drive-in for burgers with the top down.

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Let Dad take you on a great drive for Father’s Day

Let’s face it, lots of Dads like to drive. Why not let Dad take you on the twisting, turning, beautiful drive smack in the middle of San Diego County, around Ramona?

Where can you find the route for such a fun day? In today’s San Diego Union-Tribune, of course. It’s the latest Weekend Driver column, located on page S-12, inside the Offers section of the paper today, June 21, 2015, Father’s Day. At $2.50, it can be less than one of those lattes that Dad loves so much, and you can probably pick up a paper with the latte.

I developed my love for exploring back roads as a kid, riding around in the back seat while my Dad drove us around on the very roads that I’ve been writing about for the Union-Tribune since 2000. Today’s San Diego day trip is in an area he loved to explore, around Ramona and the Wild Animal Park. He emigrated to the US from France after losing his family during World War II. His goal was to make it to Southern California, and I’m glad he did.

And I think he’d have had a blast driving the Subaru BRZ that I tested on this trip; however, there’s not much room in the back seat.

Happy Father’s Day to all you Dads out there and hope you enjoy your journey.

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It’s a new Weekend Driver column Sunday in the Union-Tribune

Join me on a heart-pounding stretch of twisting pavement this Sunday in the San Diego Union-Tribune as I take a Subaru BRZ on twisting roads from the San Pasqual Valley to Ramona and back.

One of my favorite routes, I drive over Bandy Canyon and Highland Valley roads that kink and curve over the mountain ridges, then back over the beautiful state Highway 78.

My ride for the day is a Subaru BRZ, its version of the historic joint effort with Toyota to develop a pocket racer available at your local dealer. It was a blast. Perhaps for Father’s Day, you can convince one of the local Subaru or Scion (it’s the Scion FRS, too) to let Pop have an extended test drive.

This is one San Diego day trip that could be your last, so please take it easy on the highway and drive very carefully.

The Sunday paper’s less than most people pay for a cup of coffee these days and look for the story inside the Offers section, adjacent to the ads for our local fine car dealers.

And by the way, this marks 15 years that I’ve been writing the Weekend Driver column for the Union-Tribune. Thanks to all you readers and Auto Editor Mark Maynard for the opportunity to share my favorite roads and cars with all of you!

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Great time at Exposition Road Race centennial; take it yourself

It was a great showing for the centennial of the 300-mile road race around then-undeveloped Pt. Loma neighborhoods. Back on Jan. 9, 1915, the Automobile Club of Southern California and the Al Bahr Temple of the Mystic Shrine sponsored the race mapped out a nearly six-mile course around the point.

This 300-mile race attracted the top drivers of the day, making 51 laps around the nearly six-mile course. Barney Oldfield, Eddie Rickenbacker and Bob Burman were the Jimmy Johnson, Kevin Harvic and Jeff Gordon of their day.

The event attracted, by my count, about 50 cars that were on the road when the Exposition opened in January, 1915. They met at the San Diego Automotive Museum in Balboa Park on Jan. 10 for the commemoration of the event, with nearly 30 taking off for the trip to Pt. Loma.

If you’d like to take your own trip around the route, here’s how.

  • Find your best route to the San Diego International Airport. Continue west to Nimitz Boulevard.
  • Right at Rosecrans Ave. The start/finish line (by my reading of the ancient map, provided by the event’s 2015 sponsor, the local Horseless Carriage Club of America chapter) was at today’s Elliott Street. A grandstand that held 10,000 people was built there.
  • Left at Lytton Street. Continue onto Chatsworth Boulevard.
  • Left at Catalina Boulevard.
  • Left at Talbot Street.
  • Left at Cañon Street.
  • Left at Rosecrans Street.

This is a nice route that runs through the lovely Pt. Loma neighborhood. Enjoy seeing the homes, mostly built in the 1920s, and the gently curving roads.

Not much of this was developed in 1915 and photos show the streets were dirt.

Enjoy photos of the cars as they crossed the Cabrillo Bridge in Balboa Park.

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