Once out of the north side of Los Angeles the terrain turns into serious hills and canyons. I-5 has its Grapevine hill which is treacherous enough but east of I-5 on CA-14 is a real experience. I never knew there was such beautiful terrain in this area. The smog is disconcerting: the city is growing into this area. The LA sprawl is unending (too bad they killed the Red Car Line).
The picture does not do Soledad Canyon justice: row after row of really steep hills and canyons. Edwards Air Force Base is up the road with Lockheed Development (home of the SR-71, etc). Further up the road is Joshua Tree National Monument. I love Joshua Trees.
This is Mojave high desert. It is August and the nights are in the 50's, the days in the 70's. The weather is great but cooler than I am accustomed. No rain in sight but after all, this is a desert even if it is not flat.