We took the third and most meandering route, which also offers the least traffic to those arriving from the south. From I-5 north of Los Angeles, we took Lake Hughes Road across to the Leona Valley, then went east on Lake Elizabeth Road, which pointed us across the Antelope Valley on deserted desert roads. From Rosamond Road, we took Willow Springs Road north, which twists through stands of power-generating windmills, to Tehachapi. There we jumped on Route 58 east for 15 miles past the famous Tehachapi loop, where the railroad makes a 360-degree turn to negotiate the grade. We then turned north on the Caliente-Bodfish road for a scenic, meandering 35-mile ride over the Tehachapi mountains before a final steep run down to the lake. If you'd like to extend your time swooping through the mountains here, the Walker Basin loop to the east will almost double the distance. Any of these routes can get you there from L.A. in time for a late lunch in the town of Lake Isabella.