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285 South - Agua Dulce Tour
(By Joan Pickering)

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Take the 5 North to the 14 North. Do NOT take the truck route.
Exit at Sand Canyon Rd and go left. If you want to arrange to meet others, Coco's restaurant is a good meeting place, so turn left into Coco's parking lot (it's an immediate left after the exit. For those of you with a trip odometer in your car, you may want to set it to zero at this point, to aid you with the directions. When leaving to go on the tour, turn left out of Coco's parking lot onto Sand Canyon Rd and take the first right (at the light) onto Soledad Canyon Road.

The first "landmark" will be the tunnel that Michael sat near while hitchhiking in Independence Day and that the Pod Squad walked through in The Departure. From Coco's parking lot, it is 4.6 miles to the tunnel. Drive through the tunnel and park off the side of the road to take pictures. At this point, your trip odometer should read 4.8 miles. Before leaving, make note of the "No Trespassing" signs and the chain link fence. Your next landmark will look very similar.

The next landmark is where Nasedo Max dumped the body of the FBI agent - Mile Marker 67 - in Max to the Max (or at least where we think it may be). There is no actual mile marker there. It is .4 miles from where you parked at the tunnel. Your trip meter should read 5.2. There is no building, just a chain link fence, but there will be a sign that says 12000 Soledad Canyon Rd, in addition to the No Trespassing signs. It was in front of the lower section of fence, to the right of the signs, that the body was dumped. The railroad tracks between the tunnel and this point MAY have been used in Independence Day (where Michael told Max about Hank's abuse).

Continue on Soledad Canyon Rd for about .5 miles, at the intersection of Agua Dulce Canyon Rd (which will be straight ahead), turn right, staying on Soledad Canyon Rd. Go over a small bridge, then the larger bridge. Pull over after the large bridge. Your trip meter should read 5.9. This is the bridge used in Destiny. Max and Liz came up from the opening on the North side of the bridge, were cornered by the FBI and then jumped off from the center of the South side.

Get back in your car, make a U-turn, head back towards the small bridge, cross it then turn right onto Agua Dulce Canyon Rd. Continue going straight for 4.5 miles (trip meter will be at 10.4) until you get to the entrance of the Vasquez Rocks Park (official address 10700 Escondido Canyon Rd). Before the entrance, you will come to a stop sign. Agua Dulce Canyon Rd will veer to the left; straight ahead will be Escondido Canyon Rd. You will continue to go straight on Escondido. The entrance will be on your right. Drive all the way to the end, following the signs for the activity area (trip meter will be at 10.9). That's where the parking is and it's also where "the" rock formation is, where the pod squad stood at the end of Four Square, where Michael and Isabel stood among the alien symbols in their vision/dream and where Michael stood on top of a large boulder looking down on himself in his vision (the boulder is the one that looks like a tiny cave that's a part of the "wall"); where the outside of the pod chamber is, is anyone's guess, but if you watch the beginning of Max to the Max, where Max, Michael and Isabel are running to the pod chamber, they are on top of the rock formation, near the pinnacle.

On to the next landmark. Go back out the way you came in. At Escondido Canyon Rd, turn left. Turn right at the stop sign onto Agua Dulce Canyon Rd. Pass the Hardware Store. On your left you will see a Market Liquor sign. Turn left there and park in front of the Agua Dulce General Store. From where you parked at Vasquez Rocks to here should be 1.4 miles (your trip meter should read 12.3). This is the General Store that Max, Liz and Isabel stopped at in 285 South (where Max flattened the FBI guy's tires while he was on the phone). The jeep was parked on the left side.

Continue down Agua Dulce Canyon Rd for about .9 miles (13.2 on trip meter) to 33638 Agua Dulce Canyon Rd - Agua Dulce Airpark Ranch. Do not panic if you notice the numbers are going higher than 33638; the entrance just happens to be beyond the legal address. There is a black and orange sign on your right to tell you where to enter. The road you are now driving on was used for the opening credits and I believe it was also where Maria picked up Isabel when her jeep broke down (in Monsters). Drive to the very end and park (your trip meter should read 13.7

The diner here was used for Pepper's Café in The UFO Convention (North side), the Roadside Café in Disturbing Behavior (West side), the Liftoff Gas Station in Monsters (South side) and 285 South (North side) and the Levi's photo shoot. There are directions painted on the tarmac to help you determine which side is which.

The hangers down below were used in Summer of '47; I was told the debris field from SO'47 was also shot here (but I don't know where) and the tarmac was probably used in ITL&ITB when Liz went to the airport.

Note: The Airpark is used frequently by the movie/TV industry, and during filming it is closed to the public.

Return on the road you came in on (head for the 15 MPH sign). Go back to Agua Dulce Canyon Rd and turn right (trip meter should be at 14.3). Go to the end of the road (1 mile) and turn left onto Sierra Highway.

Go about 2.6 miles. As soon as the one lane highway becomes two, pull over to the motel on your right (12117 Sierra Highway). This motel was used for the Sultan's Hide Away Motel in 285 South. The Jetta was parked in front of the first stone wall. Room #3 was Michael and Maria's room. This motel was also used in Summer of '47 (where Hal Carver stayed); I think they sat on the 2nd stone wall.

To return, continue down Sierra Highway for about 6.4 miles (approx 23.4 on trip meter) and turn left onto Sand Canyon Road. This will take you back to the freeway (1.8 miles) Turn left onto Soledad Canyon Rd, then turn right onto the 14 South. Take the 14 South to the 5 South.


Joan Pickering

joanpicke@earthlink.net