As we both have time and “Li’l Beast” we decided to take a leisurely trip to San Diego via route 17 and the Scenic Coast Highway. route 1. Both route 17 and 1 are windy and hilly if not mountainous for some of the distance. I wanted to see how Li’l Beast performed going up and down steep hills and how I handled the curves of rt 1. We both wanted an excuse to travel along the coast. It is serenely beautiful.
First we stopped in Palo Alto to visit friends, show off our “new” RV, and have an early dinner with Melissa, which was fun. Parking was not an issue though the restaurant would not let us park in their lot. We found a nearby bank that was closed and had ample parking. We headed out later than expected after dinner with only a few hours before sunset. AllStays (an I Phone app) to the rescue. Ellen settled on the Marina Dunes campground with AllStays, called ahead and made a reservation for us.
Like most campgrounds, this one had moderate sized RV campsites with water and electric hookups and a picnic table. Perfect. We hooked up and settled in just after sunset. Even better, the next morning we found that the seashore was a short walk through the nearby dunes. We had a fun morning.
We met a couple returning from a month in Mexico who also had a Winnebago View 24J. They had no problem with diesel in Mexico (I had read there were issues and now read it should be no problem). They found that their View was a bit small for an extended trip. Ours fells fine for us.
On our second day we drove through Big Sur. Li’l Beast performed admirably. No issues with the hills, if anything I found the twisties a bit intimidating at first. I’m comfortable in a sports car and this large and heavy (nearly 6 tons!) beast is certainly not that. There is more body roll with the View than I’m comfortable with; I’ll probably add Sumo springs to the suspension to dampen out the sway.
We prefer to stay at national or state parks for a number of reasons: the campsites are usually well separated, the park is usually sited in an appealing location, RV size is limited to 24 feet. Some parks are undeveloped and have no hookups which is inconvenient for long stays.
Kirk Creek Campground was our second planned stop. California State parks have a reservation system that is open to reservations two days out and beyond. We had not made reservations prior and were within the two day cut off and could not make reservations in the system. We tried calling the campground and go no answer. Kirk Creek was full as was Limekiln State Park, our second choice. Plasket Creek Campground had a number of open sites for a one or two day stopover and we took a site that was level and shaded by a big oak tree.
Plasket Creek Campground has access to the cliff area overlooking the Pacific Ocean with a 100 step stairway down to the beach. We stood on the beach and watched the sun set. On our way back we met a couple touring California in a rented RV. They were from Holland and were having a blast, though they were happy to be back with greenery after being in the desert for a week. The next morning we met a United Airlines pilot and his family. They had just purchased a View 24J. The father and one son drove the RV back from Ohio. This was their first trip as a family.
The next day we encountered hundreds (thousands?) of elephant seals molting on the shore. We stopped at a designated overlook and walked out to the fenced off area to get a better look. There a docent explained that these were 80% female with some adolescent males.. That they come ashore to molt, sloughing off a light brown stiff “fur” at this time of the year. We saw many brown seals, some strikingly light bright silver ones. Most had molted and were dark gray. It was a startling sight. The seals were crammed together on the beach, often crashing over each other to get around. The stench of animal pee hung in the air, reminiscent of old time Zoos.
On our third night we stayed at a state beach near Carpenteria. This was wall to wall RVs and many families. It was tight getting backed into our slot. With all the bustling activity, the park was noisy and uninviting. This was the night of the Pacquiao Mayweather fight. Every large RV had their external HDTV out and tuned to the fight. On the bright side, it was a short walk to the beach.
Setting up to drain the gray tank the next morning, I could not get the hoses to couple tightly and had some leakage. I also had a devil of a time getting the cap off the RV drain pipe, resorting to a screw driver to pry the cap off (or at lease loosen it enough to screw it off). I have to work on this; it’s embarrassing having leaking sewer hoses.
The next day we drove almost to Pismo Beach and stayed at the North Pismo Beach Campground. As campgrounds go, this one was expensive but well laid out. There were over 100 sites but setup to allow a good distance between them. Again the campground is located a very short walk to the beach. We had stopped at two campgrounds north of NPBC, but each one was full.
The next day we could have driven to San Diego, but chose to stay at South Carlsbad State Beach. This campground has a large number of sites along a bluff overlooking the ocean. The sites are wide and some have short trees dividing the sites. Some sites are developed though we stayed in an undeveloped site with no immediate neighbors.
All the state beaches were great for camping, though I would not recommend the one near Carpenteria if you want solitude. All campgrounds had showers with hot and cold water. As newbie’s we had not realized how important reservations can be to an orderly trip. On the down side, making reservations for a long trip (one or two months) is a planning nightmare. A two day delay in the trip could lead to scrambling to get back on track or at the worst derailing an entire plan. I think we’ll next try making reservations a few days ahead of where we think we’ll be and hopscotch along that way rather than planning out an entire trip. That way if we want to stay longer where there is lots to see or do, we can.