Posted by: GeekHiker | February 6, 2011

Un-Super Bowl Sunday

I love Super Bowl Sunday.

Because of the football game?  Oh, hell no.  I could give a rat’s patootie about the football game.

No, I love Super Bowl Sunday because it’s like a de-facto holiday in L.A.  So many people are sitting on their couches downing snack foods and yelling at their TVs that the freeways are practically empty.  Not only does it make it a perfect day for a day trip, it allowed me to get from Orange County back to L.A. doing 80 mph.

That’s just all kinds of cool.

This year, I decided to do a little loop road trip.  I first headed out to Lake Elsinore to to pick up the Ortega Highway.  I’d been wanting to travel the section between Lake Elsinore and the ocean through Cleveland National Forest for some time and had never done so… well, that’s not quite true.  I have driven it once before.  I’d actually done it on my return from Julian last fall, but arrived so late in the day that I ended up driving most of the highway in the dark, followed by locals who knew every curve of the pitch-black highway and tailgated me mercilessly.

This time, the drive was much more spectacular.  I started by picking up lunch in town, enjoying the pleasant 78 degree heat, then headed out.  The highway leaves Lake Elsinore and starts climbing immediately, giving a view over the lake and the distant, snow-capped San Bernardino Mountains.

Un Super Bowl Sunday 01
Looking out over Lake Elsinore and the distant peaks of the San Bernardinos

Behind me, hang gliders soared on the rising thermals.

Un Super Bowl Sunday 02
Hang glider soaring on the thermals overhead

It never ceases to amaze me about the west: to be in the warmth while looking up at the snow.  Weather is all about elevation.

I headed up the highway, stopped and ate lunch in a picnic area, then walked across the highway to the Visitor Center.  There, I picked up a couple of hiking guides, and the volunteer pointed out a short, 2.1 mile trail just a couple of miles down the road.  It sounded perfect, so I hopped in the truck and headed down the road.

Since this was basically a road trip, I didn’t bring the GPS to track the trail and do a write up.  But I can say that the trail, the San Juan Loop Trail, is a great little trail.  2.1 miles long, with a 350 elevation loss and gain, drops down from the highway to San Juan Creek, then climbs back up, briefly following the highway and passing the edge of Upper San Juan Campground.

At the canyon bottom, the trail also touches the creek in a couple of places, with shady trees and rocks for lunching or reading.

Un Super Bowl Sunday 03
Starting down the San Juan Loop Trail

Un Super Bowl Sunday Pano 01
Old oak tree towering over the rushing creek

Un Super Bowl Sunday 04
A quiet section of San Juan Creek

Returning to the car, I headed down the highway, then out to the coast.  My goal: Ruby’s Shake Shack at Crystal Cove, which I had visited before.  I arrived just in time to enjoy a dark chocolate mint shake:

Un Super Bowl Sunday 06
Crystal Cove and a shake (cell phone shot)

And watch the sun dip below the ridgeline of Santa Catalina Island:

Un Super Bowl Sunday 05
Sun setting behind Santa Catalina Island

All in all, quite the relaxing day, especially being able to drive all the way home at highway speeds.

Considering I spent most of my evenings last week AND all day Saturday studying, I think I’m allowed to have one of those every so often.  🙂



  1. Ahh, Geekhiker, welcome back! 🙂

    Beautiful post and pictures. Makes me want to move to California!

    I’m glad you took some time for you. Coz you totally rock at life. 🙂

  2. Wow! I’m way jealous. And I don’t recall ever being jealous of a road trip in LA!

    Great post. I, too, enjoy Super Bowl Sunday. Not for the game, but for the shopping. EMPTY malls and stores! 🙂

  3. Wow, just, wow! That sunset picture is just spectacular! The lone boat in the foreground totally brings out the immensity of the ocean. Sounds like a really good day (and hike). I too like Super Bowl Sunday for exactly the same reason. Glad that you took a break and had fun!

  4. beautiful sunset photo!!

  5. Nice pics. Congrats on FP

  6. In my part of the world the roads are pretty empty on Sundays before noon. Every Sunday — not just Superbowl Sunday. That’s when I like to drive around town. It feels almost post-apocalyptic. Of course somehow the streets are all empty, but the restaurants are all full.

  7. Wow! That is gorgeous I could care less about the football game and I didn’t watch it (except for the anthem) but I don’t do anything else quite so interesting with my day. Congrats on being freshly pressed! 🙂

  8. Wow, stunning road trip. I’d take that over football anyday! Thanks for sharing.

  9. can we turn superbowl monday into a non defacto holiday all over the united states?

  10. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Freshly Pressed and Andy Android, Laura Hargreaves. Laura Hargreaves said: #blogs Un-Super Bowl Sunday: I love Super Bowl Sunday. Because of the football game?  Oh, hell no.  I could give… […]

  11. Don’t let the secret out about SuperBowl Sunday! I love it – we enjoyed an uncrowded afternoon at the Science Museum with the kids yesterday! Your photos are beautiful!

  12. u’re cool.
    i sat and read in a cafe during the Superbowl. it’s pretty grey out here in NYC. i thought about the time difference on the West Coast and wondered if people had more of an issue going inside when there’s still daylight to be soaked.

  13. Looks like a fun trail. I’m not much into football, but the weather in my area prohibits most outdoor activities this time of year.

  14. Oh Crystal Cove is gorgeous! I used to live in LA… how envious am I over your balmy 78 degrees… freezing my butt off here in the dreary and bleak London winter…

  15. You had me at the sunset picture…how lovely…

  16. LOL, a traveler’s DREAM!! 80 mph with no one to get in your way 🙂 Nice pics!

  17. beautiful. venturing into nature on a superbowl sunday mustve been awesome.

  18. That last photo of Santa Catalina island is breathtaking — I feel like I just went on a short cruise. Thankyou!

    Yes, yes, you deserve the break. This one and many more. 🙂

  19. Beautiful! I lived in Newport Coast and must say: Crystal Cove is one of my favorites! Great post; insightful. Awesome shots! Thank you for sharing and congratulations on being FP!

  20. This seems like you hated football and loved showing off.

    I’m jealous of your Sunday.

  21. Love your post! Suddenly makes me wish I didn’t watch the superbowl yesterday.
    Congrats on being freshly pressed!

  22. oh great post i thought i was the only one, the museums were free, shopping was bliss, no crowds, i had the most wonderful artsy silent day. Thanks super bowl see ya next year…not.

  23. WOW.. Great pictures! So Cool. Love your site

  24. The writing as well as the pictures was beautifully done. I can see the “Why” on being chosen for the “Freshly Pressed” program. We live 40 miles north of the DFW area. We basically have been snowed and iced in here for four days. I feel many things were not handled well by our area on the Superbowl, but at the same time, I believe it is awesome that we never rendered terrorist the opportunity to make an example of their cause on the backs of the Superbowl in our area.

  25. Wow the pictures are amazing. Of course I am slightly jealous of CA’s great weather… Philly was cold yesterday even with the sun out.

  26. Nice post with great pictures. And a fun adventure if i could call it that.

  27. Great post! During the game, we enjoyed exploring tidepools and the beautiful coastline along Laguna Beach. Lowtide and gorgeous weather (77 degrees) made it a fantastic outing. For us, Superbowl Sunday is like a holiday away from humans!

  28. Any day spent hiking and exploring your environs is a day worth living – a beautiful day trip.

  29. awesome! glad to see you spending sunday so wisely. the weather in nor cal has been equally amazing. can’t wait to go out and explore :]

  30. Sounds like a lot of fun. Dark Chocolate Mint Shake, especially. 🙂

    I had a similarly blissful, while not nearly so adventuresome, outing with my Little Brother yesterday and was thrilled by the lack of traffic and general emptiness of the destinations we visited. Superbowl Sunday is definitely like a holiday up here in Northern California too!

  31. So glad you did this GH, I could give you a hug right now!
    What wonders an awesome hike and relaxing day can do for your spirit, mind, energy and senses. Lovely pictures. Sounds like a perfect day. Mucho Bueno, GH.

  32. Looks like you had an amazing day!

  33. beautiful pictures and just sounds like the perfect day…excellent stuff =)

  34. You take some beautiful pictures!! (What camera did you use?)
    I totally agree! I don’t care for Football but getting to my security job yesterday around 2:30PM was so easy. Traffic was surprisingly very light (and this is in Las Vegas) going in:, and when I headed home before 11 it was the same way. I think next year I’ll get that day off just to do some stress free shopping as well.

  35. Mmmm, dark chocolate mint shake. Sounds like a great day to me!

  36. you always manage to make me regret moving out of California! Enjoy the nice weather.

  37. Mmmm – I’m still stuck on the Chocolaty mint… Yum, it’s my favorite flavour! I wish they made shakes like that in NZ.

  38. Beautiful pictures. I’d skip the Super Bowl too if we had some of that great California weather. Nice to see there are still some people whose lives don’t revolve around football.

    Congrats on being freshly pressed!

  39. I live in LA too and I went flying on Super Bowl Sunday (took off at Santa Monica airport). There were no planes in the air and it was so peaceful!

    I also went hiking in Palos Verdes on Saturday. Follow Crenshaw until it ends. The hike overlooks the bluffs and the ocean. Beautiful! I’m sure you have been there, but if not I would definitely recommend it.

  40. Fabulous, I live in LA too and driving around is such a pain. Next time I’ll keep in mind when to drive around. Also, when the Lakers play, it’s a good time to be out and about 😉

  41. Although, I was one of those enjoying the SuperBowl….I know what you mean! I am a home grown Angeleno and love Los Angeles. Southern California is beautiful. Thank you for sharing your day with us!

  42. That sunset photo is amazing. Good on you for being able to capture a view as magnificent as that! You must be glad football has no claims on your time :p

  43. Hell, I agree with you on everything! I live in LA too, you know, so I know the freeways. It’s a driver’s misery, and a driver’s blessing when the freeways are empty. Trust me, there’s a jam at 6 am on some of those freeways. Meh.
    Sounds like you had a great trip! Amazing photos and congratulations on being Freshly Pressed!
    Ashley, aka TheEverydayMuser

  44. Sounds like a gorgeous day and the best way to spend “Football” sunday.

  45. I like to go out to eat at a normally crowded restaurant on Super Bowl Sunday. There is no wait for a table, and the waitresses are in no hurry to bustle you out. It’s divine!

  46. I’m jealous. For real. My dream spot to live is on a beachfront, desolate of people. I’d love to just relax on the balcony.

  47. This seems to be a popular post 🙂

    I love days like you had. Sounds perfect. Exactly what you needed, I expect. The boat pic is breathtaking.


  49. Meh. I’m currently on bed rest, can you imagine how jealous I am?! But I’m very glad you had a great day outside! *high five*

  50. And so, you’ve become a mainstream blogger?

  51. i went snowboarding on superbowl sunday 🙂 the mountain had a great deal to attract people, and was still essentially empty. combined with the 10 inches of snow they got overnight, it was fantastic! applaud the non-superbowl superbowl sunday!! (and the shake)

  52. Holy mackerel, man – where’d all these people come from?! Damn!

    I’m glad to see a hiking post on here after all your recent days trapped inside. What a beautiful day to get out, too. I’m sure it rejuvenated that little hiker niche in your soul.

  53. yeah, what mel said – are you becoming the next dooce?

    your day sounded great – and just what you needed. the sunset photo is gorgeous. and now i want a shake too!

  54. Wow! That is gorgeous I could care less about the football game and I didn’t watch it (except for the anthem) but I don’t do anything else quite so interesting with my day. Congrats on being freshly pressed!

  55. Legendary post, I enjoy this spectacular site,I found you along freshly pressed!

    Please do check my personal fascinating training blog.

  56. super bowl i sooo awesome

  57. […] it: this year’s Un-Super Bowl Sunday didn’t have the same epic road-trip quality of my last Un-Super Bowl Sunday.  That one was so epic it managed to get me highlighted on WordPress’ Freshly Pressed […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: