We LOVE leisurely road trips. There’s nothing like the freedom of exploring at your own pace. The Los Angeles to Las Vegas run is a trip we here at Senior Stoner do often. Over the years we have developed some favorite stops. Some, sadly, are no more, like the Roy Rogers Museum that used to be in Victorville, or some of the casinos in Jean, Nevada. But there are still plenty of stops along this desert drive and plenty of beautiful sweeping vistas to gaze at along the way.
Cannabis Tourism: California and Nevada: The State of Weed
While Los Angeles, and southern California in general, sport a constantly evolving landscape of medical marijuana collectives, dispensaries, and delivery services, due to changing regulations and law enforcement harassment, marijuana is nonetheless never difficult to obtain here if you are a California resident with a medical marijuana card. After all, it has been “legal” here since 1996.
Tourists and out of state visitors to Los Angeles should check out AHHS (Alternative Health and Wellness Center) in West Hollywood, as rumor has it they will accept out of state medical marijuana recommendations (yes you must be from a legal medical marijuana state and have a valid doctor’s recommendation from that state). They are also multiple High Times Cannabis Cup winners and have arguably the best selection of cannabis and cannabis products in all of Southern California.
Nevada, on the other hand, is in the infancy of its medical marijuana program with lots still to be worked out. The good news for tourists is, Nevada offers medical marijuana reciprocity with other medical marijuana states, meaning your state’s medical marijuana card/recommendations will help protect you in the silver state and allow you to purchase cannabis there, providing you can find a dispensary.
As of this writing in late 2015, friends in Las Vegas tell me there are less than a handful of dispensaries open for business. Yes, they will accept your out of state medical marijuana recommendation, so tourists can fly to Las Vegas and easily and safely score weed. However, be prepared to pay premium prices. As the Las Vegas marijuana scene is still so new, prices are outrageous. Our source paid a whopping $27.00 for a pre-roll!
Sadly, Las Vegas itself is surprisingly conservative when it comes to marijuana. I have had my purse searched at casinos when going into industry parties and the police were at the ready. The men and women in blue were also on site at recent Las Vegas cannabis and hemp festivals, strictly enforcing a no-consumption policy. They had no hesitation being general buzz kills and making an example of anyone who dared light up, even outside. So while you are having fun in Las Vegas, please be careful, be aware, and be discreet.
Luckily, there’s rarely a problem scoring a smoking hotel room in Las Vegas so you can at least have a 420-friendly sanctuary to escape to. The same goes if you are making this trip in an RV.
Let’s Hit the Road!
Before leaving, make sure all your vehicle lights are working and your registration and license plates are current (don’t give the police a reason to stop you). Roll up a supply of pre-rolls or make sure the vape pen is filled for stops and breaks, and let’s get this Senior Stoner road trip rolling!
Your best option when leaving the city of angels is to find Interstate 15 and head north! The first leg of the journey will take us to the town of Baker, 177 miles away, where great Greek food, beef jerky, space aliens, and a healthy side dish of kitsch awaits, but there are a couple of worthwhile optional stops along the way before we get there:
Make a stop in the town of Hesperia for some high desert off roading and hiking fun. This link can give you lots of local options.
Lots of people like to stop here to eat at the McDonald’s which is housed in a refurbished railroad car. We say, skip that, there are far better dining options a little further down the road. However, Barstow is worth a stop if you are in the mood for shopping, as you will find a HUGE outlet mall with all your favorite brands. For more information check out this link.
The Ghost Town Road exit off of Interstate 15, about 10 miles north of Barstow, is good for a short stop or a more leisurely exploration, your choice. For one thing, the I-15 Truck Stop at this exit almost always has the cheapest fuel between LA and Las Vegas. If you’re hungry, Peggy Sue’s Diner is a blast from the past that serves up some terrific, hearty casual fare in a kitschy 50s setting complete with old fashioned soda fountain.
Old west history buffs will want to make a stop at Calico Ghost Town. Now maintained as a park by the county of San Bernardino, Calico is an authentic silver mining town that has been around since 1881 and once boasted over 500 silver mines. When silver lost value in the 1880s, Calico was largely abandoned.
Walter Knott, of Knott’s Berry Farm fame purchased the property in the 1950s and restored it to pretty much how it looked in its heyday. Calico became a state historic landmark in 2005. In addition to the town, there are shops, restaurants, camping, and outdoor recreation activities, including great OHV trails. Check out Calico’s website for a calendar of special events, and more information.
In our opinion, Baker is the best pit stop on the trip from LA to Las Vegas. Gazing at the “world’s tallest thermometer” will only take a second, but it’s always worth a glance for classic roadside Americana’s sake. Sadly the Bun Boy restaurant, which used to be at its base and that served terrific strawberry pie, is no more. However, you can still get a good meal at The Mad Greek restaurant, across the street. In additional to traditional Mediterranean fare (the gyros are our favorite), they have a fabulous bakery that will satisfy any sweet tooth. Wash it all down a California desert favorite – a date shake.
Don’t leave town just yet. No visit to Baker is complete without a stop at the Alien Jerky shop. This kitschy roadside stop began life as a small stand selling beef jerky, but it has evolved and morphed into a full fledge tourist attraction! Take photos with the aliens and UFOs outside the shop, read the posters to explore the history of UFO sightings and alien encounters in the nearby area, and leave with a bag of tasty jerky snacks that help curb the munchies throughout the rest of the trip.
The next optional stop is right after the California/Nevada state line in Primm. There’s more shopping here at the designer outlet mall, and also your first opportunity to gamble! The casinos have thoughtfully built a sky tramway so you don’t even have to drive from one to the other. Roller coaster fans will also enjoy the fun one that snakes in and out of Buffalo Bill’s Casino. If you’re tired, these border town casinos are usually a more economical place to spend the night than Las Vegas. For more information check out www.primmvalleyresorts.com.
Next Stop LAS VEGAS BABY!!!
Our Las Vegas picks could take up a whole story in and unto itself, so look for that coming up. As to everyone’s favorite herb, as of this writing in late 2015, friends in Las Vegas tell me there are several dispensaries open for business, but prices are steep. Write in and let us know what you find!