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Old 10-25-2018, 10:18 AM   #1
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New RV traveler - California trip

Hey everyone,

Iím Brazilian and I live in Brazil - S„o Paulo. Between February 10th and 26th 2019, Iíll be in California on vacation and I intend to do an RV trip around the coast and the countryside.

I intend to spend all the 16 days tripping and the proposed route is: rent an RV in LA (a small one, 2 persons), go down to San Diego, go up to San Francisco over the shore and go back to LA over the countryside. The purpose is enjoying surfing plus beaches nature, waterfalls, wild parks, trails, and lakes.

I have a couple doubts about traveling, US parking law, places, access places, and pricing.

1. What is the best motorhome model to 2 persons (a couple) that has a bath and toilet? I would like to reach wild places. What are your recommendations?

2. In California, is it possible to park the motorhome (RV) in any place to rest or spend the night? Is it permitted? Is it safe? Which places should I take care of criminality, wildlife or something?
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Old 10-25-2018, 03:10 PM   #2
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a lot of questions, but I'll take a stab. (no pun intended) for surfing get a copy of surfing California by bank wright, then stay on highway 1 north all the way to S.F. you will past all the surf spots.

your gonna see campgrounds all along that route.

if renting an RV just get the smallest one that still has a toilet & shower. I have never rented so no idea on cost.

wild places ? big sur on highway 1 then back down on 395 eastern sierra nevada

I don't boondock but think you can stay in walmart parking lot for free.

good luck & drive safe.
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Old 10-26-2018, 09:22 PM   #3
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Check out the Pismo Beach area 90 miles north of Santa Barbara off 101....great beaches, surfing and many RV parks bordering the PCH...then take Hwy 1 north to Monterey and The City to the north.
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Old 10-27-2018, 10:17 AM   #4
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Hi ! Welcome to IRV2! We're sure glad you joined the gang!

I'm not a CA guy so can't help with that! Have fun and keep her between the ditches!

Good luck, happy trails, and God bless!
Joe & Annette
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Old 10-27-2018, 01:43 PM   #5
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All good info, except 395 along eastern Sierras in February, it is winter time, you could get snow, cold temperatures for sure. Good if you want to go skiing!

Google rental rvs, Cruise America, El Monte rents, they should have floor plans. Most American small rvs are class c, not vans like Juicy.
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Old 11-02-2018, 09:45 PM   #6
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Your vacation sounds like it will be wonderful.

I live in California. We have a lot of beautiful places to enjoy. Boondocking will be tough to impossible near any urban areas. In February there should be availability at state parks. They are beautiful and cheaper than RV parks. For most of the year they can be hard to get a reservation, but I think February should be just fine. Otherwise, it's off-season for RV parks so you should have no problem getting a space.

Have a great trip!
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Old 11-04-2018, 03:57 AM   #7
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When you get to Santa Cruz, Surf at Steamers Lane and stay at Henry Cowell State Park to experience some beautiful Redwood trees.
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Old 11-04-2018, 05:23 AM   #8
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Be sure to rent a trailer to carry your money... Cali is not cheap....some of the highest fuel prices in the nation and highest RV park prices too. Land is at a premium on the coast and the locals are very jealous if they think you are parking for free.... But it can be done if you go stealth...
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Old 11-04-2018, 03:09 PM   #9
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No, generally, you can not just park anywhere you want to stop. Most places are marked "no overnight parking" and there are just not many Walmarts along the coast. However, a small van RV can be parked like an auto and will generally be ignored unless there is a complaint. A class C is more identifiable as an RV and therefore harder to park in an area where folks have tried to stay for free in the past. Suggest you will have fewer problems if you use an RV campground when you can.

You can park near the beach for the day, but competition for that space will be challenging. Lots of folks drive the PCH1 and like to stop for a view along the way. It's the overnight stay that's the issue.

A 16 day trip with stops for surfing needs to be carefully planned. There is a recent thread you might review. It's the reverse and not surfing oriented, but some info.


Safety - generally, OK. There have been incidents and folks tell stories, but use the principle "if you feel uncomfortable, leave". That is another reason to use an RV campground.

Reservations - most of the coastal campgrounds near major cities will be full. Folks even pay for a week to get the weekend. Should not happen but it does. Do best and accept that in some areas you may need to pass by and move on to a less popular area. Start early in the day and stop early for the night.

Price - no clue on the RV. However, the companies mentioned should get you a good idea of pricing. Overnight stays will vary from $40-75. You can do better, but not on the coast. Ask about fuel economy. It used to be that a class C did not do well. Best to know before you go. Assume $4/gal. Should be less, but not along the coast where transportation is required. Keep the tank filled on less expensive fuel when possible.

I agree that 395 is not a good choice for winter travel. Up the coast and down 101 would be my suggestion. Then you can pop over to the coast again if something was too good to not visit one more time. Besides, the coast will fill that 16 days in a hurry.
Travel Safe and with a Smile! Pat
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Old 11-04-2018, 03:27 PM   #10
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Just North of Bodega Bay: https://www.sonomacounty.com/lodging.../wrights-beach

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Old 11-04-2018, 03:33 PM   #11
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Sounds like an awful lot to do in a short time. As was said, overnight "parking" can be a problem.
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california, travel

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