Road- trips are meant to be messy. Well, in my opinion, I think they are. I mean you’re choosing to replace the comforts of space, privacy, and cleanness for discomfort, messy spaces and public bathrooms/showers. They are still meant to be unforgettable and adventurous too. There are two very important things when embarking on a road trip: the vehicle and a people/person you choose to travel with. So when I picked up my JUCY campervan in LA with my other blogger friend, Nadia (The Daily Self) we knew it was going to be the start of an unplanned unforgettable trip.
My California road-trip wasn’t my first rodeo. I’ve already had the pleasure of completing my first road-trip in another country, Australia. It was a very different road-trip from this one. It’s safe to stay (from experience) that the campervan ‘culture’ isn’t as accepting as it is in countries like Australia and New Zealand. Nadia and I didn’t have much planned except that we knew were spending 7-days in a JUCY campervan and driving through the California Coast and possibly to Yosemite. From the moment we picked up the vehicle we knew were going to have a great time. Not only because she and I are good fun, but because we stuck out like a sore thumb in a JUCY van! Which was a good/bad thing at times. Althought the best parts of our road trip was watching people’s faces as we stopped in public parking lot, opened the back of the van and started cooking lunch.
Let the record show, this is an itinerary created from complete and utter EXPERIENCE. We didn’t plan anything. We research points and asked our followers for recommendations and then just rolled with it. We also really wanted to maintain a tight budget on this trip. Which means that we didn’t try to spend too much money on food and alcohol. Once we picked up the van we stopped at a local grocery store and stocked up for the week on food and wine. Most of our nights usually consisted of cheese and a lot of wine, in-depth convos and putting the world to right.
(People, I am not a great planner. I just don’t plan. I research and then go for it. Doesn’t work for everyone, but it works for me.)
Pickup Vehicle from LA drove to San Luis Obispo. This was about a 4-hour drive with traffic.
Leave LA early or you’ll hit traffic. Our pick up time was 3:00 pm. We picked up the vehicle at 2:00 pm. It was prime time for traffic.
SLO KOA– $53.00 (a night for an unpowered site).- Showers and bathrooms were very clean.
SLO is a really cool college town. Home to Cal Poly. Lots of bars, cafes and places to hang out.
(Watch my vlog on day 2-3 here.)
This is Historical National Landmark. It’s basically a mansion with 10000 billion rooms (exaggeration). This place was a suggestion by many. To be honest, the history, was interesting. But it is pricey. It’s $25.00 a ticket with just a basic tour.
After that, we started to drive- Drove Cambria to Fresno.
We had aimed to drive to Yosemite, but it was dark and late when we reached Yosemite.
Don’t drive to Yosemite in the winter, in the dark. It isn’t safe.
We drove to (what we thought was) a ‘free’ campsite that didn’t exist. Our final destination was a 24hr Walmart parking lot. Yes, I am not joking.
A little-known fact, this is allowed. I recommend you let the manager know you’re camping out for the night so they don’t call security or anything. This was the safest opinion and clearly the cheapest (it was free). Oh! And park under the light and security cameras.
Yosemite (from Fresno to Yosemite its about 40 minutes)
We spent the day exploring. Yosemite as an entry fee of $30.00. There is a FREE shuttle bus that goes around the park. Check the times, it’s scheduled to come every 20 mins on the hour.
Upper Pines at $26.00 – This campsite didn’t have showers. We used the showers at the Half Dome Village. Those were free, clean and had warm water.
They have a big issue with black bears in Yosemite. You can’t keep anything with a scent in your vehicle or tent. Each campsite space has a safety box you place all your food and toiletries in.
Yosemite to Sacramento
This was Superbowl Sunday so we arrived in Sacramento at 3:30-4:00 pm and ate at the Field House and watched the game too.
Not much to see in Sacramento unless you visit the downtown area. Lots of bars and cafes.
SacWest at $42.00 a night for an unpowered site. They had clean showers, bathrooms, and hot water.
Sacramento- San Francisco (SF)
(Things to see in half a day)
- Golden Gate Bridge
- Lombard Street
- Lots of yummy cafes and bars in SF. We used the Zipkick App to help us navigate the cheapest, and best cafes and bars to visit. We also joined a local event by @eats_by_e. First time I got to try Lumpia which is a spring roll of Chinese origin commonly found in Indonesia and the Philippines.- it was sooooo good.
We stayed with a friend in SF. Just pay attention to street parking rules. I’d recommend rent an Airbnb or stay outside of SF if you’re on a budget. San Francisco is very expensive.
We didn’t make it very far from SF because of the traffic. We considered this day a right-off. We were too hungover and tired to drive far.
Half Moon Bay RV Park– $35.00 (unpowered site) Had to pay for showers and they weren’t the cleanest. BUT! Believe it or not, this was our favorite campsite. We were right on the beach. It was beautiful. Not to mentioned relaxing.
Drove to Big Sur
**Call campgrounds at Big Sur to confirm whether the roads are accessible or closed. We didn’t do this, and we drove all the way to the town of Big Sur but didn’t actually see Big Sur because the weather was too bad the roads were closed. It was too dangerous.
Pismo Beach State Beach Oceano Dunes– $25.00 (unpowered site). Had to pay for showers and they weren’t the clean.
- Call campgrounds before 4:00 pm as they usually close by then. Call and make reservations ahead of time in the summer.
- If you arrive at night to a campsite, look for information on the outside walls (by the office) for reservations, pricing, and availability.
- Yosemite is cold at night. ALL year around. Bring warm clothes.
- Baby wipes are a MUST.
- 24hr Walmarts are a good backup plan. Just make sure the neighbor’s safe. ALWAYS let the night manager know you’re parking overnight.
- State Park Campgrounds are always the cheapest. Ranging from $26.00-$36.00, but aren’t the cleanest.
- Private campsites are usually from $53.00-$63.00 during the off-season, for a powered site. Bathrooms are always clean.
- JUCY campervans are the easiest to maintain and the most cost effective. It would cost us $50.00 to fill up the tank. Which did every two days?
Watch the latest VLOG below: Waking up at Walmart and exploring Yosemite!
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