California Road Trips - 50 Life-Changing Adventures - 33

12

California's
Military History
California's military bases have played a vital
role in national defense for more than 150 years.
On this drive from San Diego to Concord, you'll bear witness to an

CONCORD
SAN FRANCISCO

array of the country's military bases and get an inside look at the daily
lives of pilots, sailors, and ground troops stationed there.
From the flight deck of the USS Midway Museum, San Diego's navy
town role is on vivid display as ships cruise into port and aircraft take
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA ROAD TRIP

CASTLE AIR
MUSEUM

off from Coronado's Naval Air Station North Island. Tour the massive
carrier, the longest-serving vessel of its kind in the 20th century. You'll
FRESNO

go inside everything from the towering captain's bridge to sailors'
quarters. Just a 10-minute walk away, you can eat like a naval aviator,
or at least the movie version of one, at the Kansas City Barbeque,
where several of the most memorable scenes in Top Gun were filmed.
Back at the Midway, it's a five-mile drive along the water to Liberty
Station, an urban district created from the 1920s-era Naval Training
Center. Grab a bite in Liberty Public Market, where more than 30 vendors fill the former mess hall.

FORT TEJON
STATE HISTORIC
PARK

BAKERSFIELD

Northbound on I-5 through Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton,
you might see helicopters practicing maneuvers before you continue
through Orange County to San Pedro. Offering a unique perspective
on the busy Port of Long Beach, the Battleship Iowa Museum lets you
tour a ship that hosted multiple presidents. Barely half the 887-foot

BATTLESHIP
IOWA MUSEUM

AMERICAN
MILITARY MUSEUM

Iowa's size, the nearby San Pedro-built SS Lane Victory merchant ship
set sail during World War II and the Vietnam War.
Spend the night in the Art Deco splendor of the Queen Mary, an

SAN DIEGO

USS MIDWAY
MUSEUM

iconic luxury liner that served as a troopship during World War II.
As you leave the coast, the trip changes focus from the Navy to the
infantry. Running along the Los Angeles River, you'll share the 710
freeway with trucks leaving the port on the 30-mile drive to South El

Museum. Not only did the Hornet serve during World War II, it also

Monte's American Military Museum, home to the West Coast's largest

played a critical role in the space program when it picked up the first

collection of tanks, jeeps, and ambulances.

two Apollo moon landing crews after their splashdowns.

Back on I-5, you'll gradually escape the city before climbing

There have been plenty of great views along the way, but nothing

through the rugged mountains of Angeles National Forest on the way

like the panorama from the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. Cross

to Fort Tejon State Historic Park, roughly 85 miles northwest. Dating

it to San Francisco to visit the Presidio, a military installation since

to 1854, Fort Tejon preserves adobe buildings and tells the story of

1776. Visit the Civil War-era Fort Point, a masterpiece of seacoast

one of the military's more unusual experiments: the U.S. Camel Corps.

fortification, or stop by the Walt Disney Family Museum, housed in the

Into the Central Valley, I-5 runs past the cotton and alfalfa fields of

historic buildings. Then establish a luxurious bivouac at two beautiful

this vast agricultural region. Along State Highway 41, keep your eyes

hotels in restored Army buildings: the Lodge at the Presidio and the

open for fighter jets out of Naval Air Station Lemoore before con-

Inn at the Presidio. You can also stay at Sausalito's Cavallo Point at

tinuing up Highway 99 to Atwater's Castle Air Museum. The museum

Fort Baker, formerly an Army post. Many of the rooms are in onetime

displays vintage fighter jets and bombers, plus you can tour an Air

officers' residences with views of the Golden Gate Bridge and city.

Force One that served six presidential administrations.
About 75 miles away, wind turbines spin in the rolling hills as you

Head 50 miles northeast to your final stop: Concord's Port Chicago
Naval Magazine National Memorial commemorates a tragic World

make your way to the coast. Along San Francisco Bay in Alameda, vis-

War II disaster and pays tribute to the city's role in civil rights history.

it another historic aircraft carrier at the USS Hornet Sea, Air & Space

(Reserve at least two weeks in advance-this is an active Navy base.)

33



California Road Trips - 50 Life-Changing Adventures

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California Road Trips - 50 Life-Changing Adventures - Cover1
California Road Trips - 50 Life-Changing Adventures - Cover2
California Road Trips - 50 Life-Changing Adventures - 1
California Road Trips - 50 Life-Changing Adventures - Contents
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