Sunday Drive Good for Nature? Joyride Guru Books It

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By Ken Stone

Jack Brandais says that when he was a kid about 50 years ago, his family took Sunday drives.

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Author and columnist Jack Brandais in his 26-year-old Mazda Miata. Photo via Pictaram

“Lots of families still do,” he says.

But with fuel costs, climate-change concerns and overbooked schedules, American society seems to have put the Sunday drive up on concrete blocks.

Jack Brandais wants to revive it. He’s written another book in his Joyride Guru series.

A local roads expert whose YouTube channel covered similar ground, Brandais shares 10 of his favorite San Diego backroad journeys in “Joyrides Around San Diego.”

The drives boast names such as Spectacular Sunrise, Crazy Couser, Roads of the Ranch and Beautiful Badlands. An 11th trip, available on Amazon Kindle, is Mulholland Madness.

“Traditional travel books are all about destinations; with ‘Joyrides,’ readers can find out about the journey they’ll take and what they’ll see through the windshield,” said Brandais, 58, who’s been taking San Diego Union-Tribune readers on such journeys since 2000.

“I touch on history, why the road is where it is, and driving conditions,” says the second-generation San Diegan whose family is celebrating 100 years in the area in 2018.

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Destinations include attractions for adults and families, plus a few restaurant recommendations. He encourages readers to use their favorite destination app to check out attractions along the route.

“Mostly, this book is about the journey,” said Brandais, whose day jobs have included doing public relations for the city of San Diego, FEMA and the San Diego Unified School District. “These trips are perfect for folks with sports cars, SUVs and families looking to do something different.”

“Joyrides,” released Oct. 27, began as individual drives for Amazon Kindle, which are still available.

It’s $19.95 list, but discounts are available online. Kindle versions are $2.99. More information on “Joyrides” is available at

Brandais, who lives in downtown San Diego, owns a 1991 Mazda Miata “that loves curvy roads.”

Jack Bradais features 10 road trips in his new book. Photo via Pictaram

He says his “daily driver” is a 2013 MINI Cooper S Countryman, “which also loves curving roads. Since I review cars for the Union-Tribune, I get vehicles from the manufacturers; I generally used SUV on test for the dirt-road drives.”

Is he mindful of mileage and effects on environment of nonessential fuel consumption?

“Yes, I am aware of climate change,” he says. “I live in downtown San Diego where I have a minimal carbon footprint. … We have such a diverse environment in San Diego County that we see the effects every day.”

He noted the county’s recent Proposition A, the losing effort to pass a half-cent sales tax for transportation repairs, public transit expansion and open space preservation.

“Our representatives decide environmental issues, everything from new home developments to power lines to open space and parks,” he said. “My trips provide a road map for city folks to explore our back country and learn about these areas. I think the open space and wilderness areas should be preserved; someone taking one of my ‘Joyride’ trips can make a better decision on their own.”

The savvy user of Pictaram and Twitter also said kids need to experience something outside the city and their smart phones.

“Since some of the county is really off the grid — no service — they’ll have to put down their technology and get back to nature,” Brandais said.

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