From Point Loma and the Pacific Ocean, old US-80 bends south past the San Diego International Airport (sometimes referred to as Lindbergh Field, named for Charles Lindbergh and featuring one of the most hair-raising landing patterns of any big American airport) and through downtown along 12th Avenue and Market Street. Old US-80 then veers north again along the Cabrillo Freeway (one of the oldest in the country) through historic Balboa Park, home to the San Diego Zoo, a replica of London’s Old Globe Theater, and many grand Spanish colonial buildings that have been standing here since the 1915 Panama-California Exposition.

East of San Diego, old US-80 follows El Cajon Boulevard past San Diego State University and a dozen miles of old motels, cafés, and gas stations before it reaches the foothill town of La Mesa, where you can leave old US-80 (which runs alongside the high-speed I-8 freeway) and turn onto the two-lane blacktop of Hwy-94. Twisting to the southeast around the 4,000-foot peaks of this part of the Cleveland National Forest, Hwy-94 traverses classic Southern California landscape: rolling, chaparral-covered hillsides rising above grassy ranch lands and stately valley oaks.