Take a ‘Jaunt to Julian’ — San Diego’s Favorite Day Trip

It’s San Diego’s favorite day trip, a Jaunt to Julian, and it’s the latest in the Joyride Guru series of Kindle travel tours.

Generations have enjoyed this former gold-mining town’s old-time charm and character, as well as its apple pie. The area also has some of the most enjoyable roads in the region. Author Jack Brandais covers all this in his new Kindle short-read book, Jaunt to Julian, now available on the Amazon Kindle format.

To a San Diego local, “Julian” and “apple pie” inspire images of a trip to the mountains—a charming town, twisting roads, apple pie, occasional snow, and a lot of smiles.

The historic mining town, dating back to the 1850s, is as well known locally as the world-famous San Diego Zoo. It’s one of those places visited by natives and newcomers alike.

While the beach and bay might be the way the world sees San Diego, part of its self-image is this town of about 1,500 people at 4,200 feet in the Laguna Mountains, just over an hour’s drive from central San Diego. If you haven’t been there, you can’t call yourself a San Diegan; it’s the classic San Diego day trip.

Jaunt to Julian
Jaunt to Julian

The eighth title in the Joyride Guru series is now available on the Amazon Kindle format for just $2.99. Free Kindle apps run on all smart phones, tablets and desktop computers; Kindle pads start at just $99; check out the Kindle Store.

Brandais has been writing about great San Diego roads for more than 30 years, the last 15 years as the “Weekend Driver” columnist for the San Diego Union-Tribune.

The drive includes side-trips on some great, twisting country roads in the area, places to hike, picnic, camp, explore old gold mines and, of course, where to get apple pie. He also has tips on visiting Julian when there’s winter snow. A map, plus a link to a Google map, are also included. The Kindle format makes it easy to take with on a drive, with no clumsy pages to turn.

This is the eighth book in the series. In June, Off-the-Grid Journey, a trip through the Blair and Little Blair valleys in the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, was No. 1 Best Seller in Amazon’s 15-minute Travel Short Reads category. Books in the series are:

  • Beautiful Badlands: Drive from the ocean to the desert, through the city, mountains, and the desert town of Borrego Springs, ending at Fonts Point for spectacular views of San Diego County’s unique ecosystem.
  • Crazy Couser: Scary curves make inland North County run one of San Diego’s best. It’s a twisting, curving 20-mile route that parallels Interstate 15 from just outside Escondido north to Pala Road. It requires careful and attentive driving along roads that are narrow with blind driveways and hairpin curves. There are frequent stretches where the road has little or no shoulder, as well as encroachment by everything from trees to boulders to guardrails.
  • Curves, Dirt and Cuyamaca: Enjoy a 45-mile loop in the central portion of the Laguna Mountains in eastern San Diego County through natural open space and Cuyamaca Rancho State Park. Includes challenging curves on SR-79 through Cuyamaca, 18 miles of public, unpaved road; all-wheel drive or 4-wheel drive recommended. It’s a must for anyone who lives or visits San Diego County.
  • Off the Grid Journey: Take a trip on an easy, off-pavement drive on the western edge of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, good for off-road novices with all-wheel-drive vehicles. Spectacular desert vistas along 8-mile driving route in sand.
  • Jaunt to Julian: The classic San Diego day trip is the drive to Julian, elevation 4,200 feet. Generations have enjoyed this former gold-mining town’s old-time charm and character, as well as its apple pie. The area also has some of the most enjoyable roads in the region.
  • Journey to the Stars: Wander up Palomar Mountain in northern San Diego County via two twisting paved roads or a historic dirt byway. Route passes a historic mission, an open-space park, agricultural areas, and casinos.
  • Quintessential California: Get off of Interstate 5 and enjoy a drive through the coastal communities of Oceanside, Carlsbad, Leucadia, Encinitas, Cardiff-by-the-Sea, Solana Beach, Del Mar, and Torrey Pines. It’s been thrilling drivers since before there were automobiles.
  • Towering Old Highway: The well-preserved former U.S. 80 in eastern San Diego County has all the charms of driving on an old country highway. Generally devoid of traffic, it has gentle curves with spectacular vistas in terrain ranging from high desert to mountain pines to California coastal hills. Desert View Tower is a must-see that isn’t like anything on Route 66.

“These drives include written directions that come in handy as some of the places you’ll visit are out of cell range,” said Brandais. “It’s nice to get away from everything, but it helps to be able to return.”

To find all the Joyride Guru books, visit Jack’s author page at Amazon.com.

Orange-Riverside County Off Roading In a Hybrid — Weekend Trip

Mariner on the road.
Mariner on the road.

Mercury might be gone, but for awhile it sold an upscale version of the hybrid Ford Escape, the Mariner. Back in 2006, I took one on the rugged mountains separating the coast from southern Riverside County.

Clean Climbing takes drivers on a ridge with spectacular views east and west, down some twisting, rocky and rutty roads, and talks about the unique experience of crawling down a hill with no engine.

This area is at the top of the Ortega Highway, the east-west twisty route from San Juan Capistrano to Lake Elsinore. Too much traffic for most, but get off the road and it’s one of those wonderful Southern California wilderness areas. Enjoy Clean Climbing.