Replica of plank road.
Replica of plank road.

Hard to believe, but because of the shifting sands, the first permanent road across the eastern part of the Imperial Valley was made from planks. And on a breezy day a few years back, I went looking for it, then retraced its replacement, what became US 80, back across the desert.

It’s a bit of a drive for this holiday weekend, but if you’re up for getting away from the festivities and want to find a place as far from a white Christmas as possible, check out Plank Road to Concrete Slab: The Highway Through the Desert. It will take you about 2-1/2 hours from San Diego to get there on today’s modern Interstate 8, probably four to get back. From the edge of the dunes, we bump over the Evan Hewes Highway, through Holtville, El Centro and Plaster City with the freeway in sight most of the time… but there’s not much traffic here. You’ll also explore what was a big passenger train junction at one time, where folks would catch a ride on “The Impossible Road” … but that’s another story.

A great way to spend a day. Happy holidays from Weekend Driver and enjoy Plank Road.


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