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Monday, December 31, 2018

Looking for Smiler's Point on California State Route 74

It's A Mad Mad Mad Mad World brought Eric and me to  California State Route 74.  It's opening scene, filmed on this road, kicks off a manic search for loot from a burglary.

Eric & I pause at the end of
our off-road drive before
driving west toward

Mile Marker 87.26... Internet searches say that it's near Mile Marker 88.  

parking lot has a new
group of visitors.

Mile Marker 88.25...

I see the outcrop where
Smiler Grogan's car 
left the road up ahead.

Just past this "pile of rock" is where
Smiler Grogan, played by Jimmy

In the 1963 film the
guard rail was wooden.

What a view!

There's a lot more civilization
down there in 2018.

Eric & I approach a
near circular curve.

This is a fun drive.

I'm surprised that there
are so few motorcycles
on the road.

A peek at the road ahead.

Another curve....

Eric loves this drive.

Mile Marker 91.50...

There are a lot of curves
in just over four miles.


closed the Santa Rosita & San

The Palm Desert sign includes
pictographs to represent
the area's history.

Off-Roading Near Coachella Valley Vista Point

Eric and I left Coachella Valley Vista Point and continued our drive west on California State Route 74.  We found a dirt road with no signs near the pavement.  Let's go explore....

As we climbed upward there
were no signs & no
locked gates.

Pretty close to the top
of the world...

The dirt track winds around
large rock formations.


Sadly, you'll hear that
I am a scardy-cat.

It's been years since Eric and I have done any serious off-roading and I have to "toughen up."

We're on the edge....

I'm nervous.
Eric drives on....

There's more mountain up there.

We don't have our hiking gear
with us.

Eric turns around &
we retrace our drive.

California State Route 74
is on the left.

Agave & low growing brush

There's a rougher track
to the right.

Eric turned the steering
wheel to the right

A rocky outcrop

A hiker, in the distance,
 is exploring the rest of
the mountain. 

Looking north, toward
Palm Desert.

Today's off-road adventure is
coming to an end...

Mile Marker 87.26

As we drive west, Eric and I will look for Smiler's Point, where Smiler Grogan (Jimmy Durante) failed to negotiate a curve and "sailed right out there" in Its A Mad Mad Mad Mad World.

Coachella Valley Vista Point in Palm Desert, California

Coachella Valley Vista Point...

... has ample parking for

The view from here 
is spectacular!
 The mountains & Palm Desert to the north.

I take pictures of California
State Route 74 below us.

Eric videoed the cars &
 trucks below.

The hairpin turn has a large
turn off.

Everywhere I turn the camera,
there's a curve...

Some scale the wall.

I'm happy to keep
both feet on the

A Drive to Coachella Valley Vista Point in Desert Palm, California

This section of the road is the
Roy Wilson Memorial

This long line of cars parked just off the road is probably for a trailhead.  Usually, there's a parking lot to accommodate hikers.

Across the road is the Santa Rosa &

The Visitor Center is closed
because of the current
Government Shutdown.

This sign alerts drivers to
Bighorn Sheep in the area.

The road twists & turns.

We are entering a Rock Slide

This sharp bend has a
30 mile per hour
speed limit.

The opening scene of Its A Mad Mad Mad Mad World was filmed here.

The road ahead.

Eric set up today's
road trip.

A section of the road we've
driven on in the right
middle of the photo.

Rounding one of the
many curves...

.... that goes on....

That's Palm Desert in
the distance. 

More curves....

An upcoming sharp bend

Cars heading west.

The mountain in the distance
is dusted with snow.

The road ahead was carved
out of the mountainside.

A hairpin turn up ahead

Eric & I arrive at Coachella
Valley Vista Point.