I love driving from LA to Mammoth Lakes. There are many spots worth visiting, some of which require an hour extra drive or some major hiking, but some of which have low effort requirements. These are the latter. Not trying to diminish the significance by referring to them as "stops"... but I'm trying to get to Mammoth here, folks.
  1. Domingo's
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    This item is on my "California's Gold" list. About 7mi west on the 58 from 395 is a town called Boron that has a good Mexicsn food spot. Astronauts and pilots from Edwards AFB, as well as miners from Boron eat lunch here. The walls are covered in cool photos and artifacts from visitors.
  2. Fossil Falls
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    The "falls" themselves are really cool to see and climb around on. The Swiss-cheese effect from the long-gone waterway is unique. To see them, you park in a little lot that has a couple picnic tables, then take a short 1/4mi hike to get there. An easy and fun stop plus place to eat a quick picnic.
  3. Cartago Landing
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    The only evidence of the landing is a plaque in Cartago identifying where it once was. Olancha/Cartago is the little area where the Ranch House and Gus' Really Good Beef Jerky are. It's crazy to think that not long ago, the dusty salty plain east of 395 was Owens Lake. Before mining ceased and before we drank Owens lake, there was a pier in Keeler (on the other side) where silver was loaded on a ferry then shipped across to Cartago. I trip out on that.
  4. Double L Bar in Lone Pine
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    I once pumped gas in my diesel pickup by accident and had to spend the night in the Chevron parking lot waiting for the mechanic shop to open in the morning. Got pretty drunk at this bar so it holds a weird nostalgia for me.
  5. Lone Star Bistro
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    This is our most consistent stop. Sandwiches, coffee, and my wife's favorite: chai tea latte frappucino. Nice bathroom, too.
  6. Manzanar
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    If you weren't previously aware: Manzanar was a internment camp for Japanese-Americans who were imprisoned because of their heritage after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. There is a museum/interpretive center open during the day that is fascinating. If you're there at off-hours or in a hurry, I recommend the driving tour (pamphlets are available on site). It's fascinating to look around at the scenery and imagine life in camp.
  7. Big Pine cemetery
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    Just south of Big Pine, there is a small cemetery visible about a quarter mile west. It's in the dirt (not dirt covered in grass, dirt covered in dirt). The final resting place of some of Big Pine's residents reminds me of a frontier boothill. There are some markers from the 18 and 1900s. RIP, people of Big Pine's past.
  8. Copper Top BBQ
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    Although attaining Yelp.com's dubious "best restaurant in the US" title is strange, the BBQ here is incredible. Eating tri tip at a table on 395 looking at the Eastern Sierras is a beautiful way to spend lunch.
  9. Mahogany Smoked Meats
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    Good spot for a sandwich. Pro tip: grab one to-go for eating at fossil falls or convict lake. There is also a ton of options for jerky.
  10. Natural hot tubs
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    Bring a towel or two and some flippy floppys. There are several to check out. It's fun but pretty well known. Not Far east off 395 in the area of the green church.
  11. Lee Vining and Mono Lake
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    Lee Vining is a cool little town and there are some great Mono Lake visitors centers. Also coffee! The Mono Lake South Tufa is an easy drive off of 395 and is really cool to check out. This is the farthest North Point on the list. It's not technically between LA and Mammoth, but it's a short extra drive if there's no fresh snow and you're not dying to shred icy groomers.
  12. Abandoned neighborhood near Jawbone Station
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    Right off the 395 near Jawbone Station, there is an abandoned neighborhood . You can see where people quickly got up and left their homes leaving behind furniture, clothes, and memorabilia. The winds have taken over the land and people passing by often graffiti the abandoned homes. It is also adjacent to the train track.
    Suggested by @katielady08
  13. Schat's Bakery
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    A full bakery where you can get breads, desserts and sandwiches. They even make churros! A must stop and tasty too! Try the walnut monkey pull away bread.
    Suggested by @katielady08