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Road Trips: Route 66 and Beyond

Prepare to get your kicks as host Soterios Johnson discusses Golden State road trips with four knowledgeable guests.

There are more than 386,000 miles of road in California, according to the Federal Highway Administration. This extensive network of highways and byways crisscross the state and make road tripping an ideal method to explore the Golden State.

On this episode of the California Now Podcast, host Soterios Johnson explores itineraries with several seasoned road trippers. He first talks to Active NorCal founder Zach O'Brien, who says there is endless adventure to be found amid the natural wonders in the North Coast and Shasta Cascade regions. From active volcanos to hidden waterfalls and ghost towns, a road trip across the northern part of the state can be an outdoor enthusiast's dream vacation.

Next, Johnson chats with Traveling Newlyweds bloggers Alli and Bobby Talley, who share their favorite foodie finds, dog-friendly hotels, and attractions in the Inland Empire and Central Coast. And finally, Johnson connects with author and historian Jim Hinckley, whose knowledge of how to get kicks along the old Route 66 corridor is downright encyclopedic.


Inland Empire
With its inviting destinations and uncrowded wilderness, this region feels like an insider’s secret amid the bustling excitement of Southern California. Surprising alpine scenery around the mountain crest from Lake Arrowhead to the peaks of Big Bear, with star-studded skies in the center of Joshua Tree National Park.

Get ready to explore a land of hidden oases and canyons, towering snow-capped mountains, and sweeping panoramas that conjure tales of early California and the Old West while giving way to modern escapes and amenities. Unlike anywhere else in the state, or for that matter the world, the California Deserts are a theme park unto its own.


Zach O'Brien, founder of Active NorCal

Traveling Newlyweds bloggers Alli and Bobby Tally

Jim Hinckley, author of Jim Hinckley's America


Active NorCal founder Zach O'Brien says the diverse natural wonders you'll come across while road tripping in California’s far north are unparalleled.

Shasta Cascade

McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park

Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway


McCloud Falls


Hedge Creek Falls

Lake Siskiyou

Heart Lake

Alpine Drive Inn

Yaks on the Five

Lassen Volcanic National Park

Lassen Peak

Bumpass Hell

Manzanita Lake

Kings Creek Falls

Red Bluff

Carlito's Mexican Restaurant


Old Shasta

Whiskeytown National Recreation Area


Trinity Alps Wilderness

Willow Creek

Blue Lake

Mad River Brewing Company

Sue-meg State Park (formerly Patrick's Point State Park)

Traveling Newlyweds Alli and Bobby Talley share a few tips for California road tripping with kids and dogs.

Bravo Farms Kettleman City

La Quinta

Kimpton Hotels


The Landsby

Skyview Hotel

Bob's Well Bread

peasants FEAST

Copenhagen Sausage Garden

Los Olivos

Los Alamos

Santa Ynez

Dreamcôte Wines

Demetria Estate

Full of Life Flatbread

Costa Mesa

Big Bear



Author and Route 66 historian Jim Hinckley says that if you embark on a road trip along Route 66 with an open mind, you'll discover more than you could ever imagine.

Route 66

California Historic Route 66 Association

Emma Jean's Holland Burger Cafe

EZ66 Guide for Travelers

Route 66 Navigation


El Garces

Valenzuela's Cafe

Fender's River Road Resort

Mojave Desert Preserve

Amboy Crater National Landmark


Harvey House Railroad Depot

Mother Road Route 66 Museum

San Bernardino

McDonald's Museum

San Bernardino History and Railroad Museum

Wigwam Motel

Mitla Cafe

Jessica's Cafe

Sycamore Inn

Magic Lamp Inn


Heidar Baba

Bradbury Building

Grand Central Market

About the Host

Soterios Johnson, formerly the local host of National Public Radio’s Morning Edition on radio station WNYC, moved from New York City to Davis in 2016. By combining his journalistic instincts with his personal curiosity, Johnson uses the California Now Podcast platform to develop a deeper understanding of his adopted home.

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