These are tough questions to put on a specific forum, because this is a remote area without any major cities. Most of the nearby hamlets don’t have TA forums at all. So I’m hoping I can glean a few ideas from the experts for Santa Maria, Bakersfield, and Lebec.
I’m thinking of going to Carrizo Plain National Monument during the last week of March. I may head south afterward, but NFT Santa Clarita or Simi Valley. I’m thinking of going from I-5 and Hwy 58 through McKittrick. Carrizo Plain has a couple of campgrounds, so depending on weather and the overall ambience, I may stay a night in the preserve. But just to be prepared, I want to know about nearby alternatives between it and the Los Angeles metro area.
I’ve probably been through Taft a few times in my travels, but don’t know what it’s like for an overnight stay. Its visitor info website lists a few motels, all apparently indies with rates from about $30-70 with varied TA reviews; and a few restaurants. I know it is an oil town, and it has an oil museum. Is this a good town for dinner, a stroll along Main Street USA, and overnight?
I also saw that Maricopa has a place called the Motel 8, but pretty limited choices in both lodging and restaurants and the town is much smaller. I couldn’t find a visitor info website, so maybe there isn’t much to do there?
Maybe Frazier Park is a better choice for lodging. A road called Cerro Noroeste goes from the south end of Carrizo Plain through Los Padres National Forest to Frazier Park; is it a generally good road? I think this is a fairly high elevation and might have snow. I’ll have a sedan instead of my own 4wd. Would it be better to take 166 from Maricopa to I-5?
For the trip home, I’m thinking of Hwy 126 to Ventura, following the route that I talked about in my thread about the St. Francis Dam collapse and the resulting flood along the Santa Clara River;