My grandma used to love what she called the “winter hot spell” — a January or February week or so when, usually after a big storm, the winds would turn around and blow from the east.

Here in these parts, we know that as a Santa Ana condition. Just when your feet get to be permanently cold, out comes the sun, the humidity drops and out come the shorts and t-shirts.

In my case, the Miata’s coming out of the garage today, the top will go down, the 25-year-old engine will fire up, and I’ll head for the hills.

My San Diego day trip will probably be up to Pine Valley for a burger at Frosty Burger. At the elevation of 3,736 feet, the temperature is expected to reach 67 degrees today, a bit less than the 77 today at the coast.

So what does the Joyride Guru recommend for a winter Santa Ana day trip? Well, anything works. Winter hot spells are especially great for drives for reasons that include:

  • Green: The rugged and rolling mountains and hills of our region are generally pretty brown in the summer, but green up very quickly after a rain. We’ve had a lot of rain, even some snow. A drive during the hot spell, which is supposed to run into next week, will give views that might look more like Ireland than Southern California.
  • Water: Our little creeks are mostly dry in the summer but turn into raging torrents during storms. In between, they’ll be babbling along. There’s also places where roads just go through; they’ll be a few inches of water to drive through today on places like Boulder Creek Road.
  • Open roads: Traffic probably won’t be an issue today on most of my Joyride Guru series roads. It almost never is.

So get off the couch today and get out of town. Or take a drive before the Super Bowl tomorrow; it starts at 3:30 and there’s plenty of time for a drive before the Big Game.


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