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New Cruiser: Expeditions

The travels of an all aluminum Land Cruiser and its owners…

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San Onofre State Beach, California

Written by Raenelle on Monday, September 29, 2003
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We headed off into California, through the Redwood Forest and the Napa Valley vineyard area watching large eagles circling overhead (oh where oh where is my bird book?). The sun has come out and it’s quite hot. Believe it or not, we’re having a hard time finding out about state parks in California – i.e. which parks have camping, and which have only walk-in tent sites. With the rooftop tent, we are limited to vehicle camping…and we refuse to pay to camp in a big gravel parking lot!Redwood Forest Our destination (China Camp State Park) just outside San Francisco fell apart when we discovered that they only had walk-in sites (hmm – it would have been nice if the brochures had mentioned that!). Oh well, not to worry – “look here on the map – there’s a park only 100 km away, and it might have vehicle camping.” We arrived just after sunset, only to discover that the gate closed at sundown … and they really didn’t want anyone getting in after that, as there were nasty spikes across the road to puncture the tyres of any vehicle attempting to enter without paying. What a far cry from the provincial and territorial parks that we discovered in northern British Columbia and the Yukon a few years ago where you can practically camp for free, and heck – “here, have some free firewood too!”

Anyhow, with our second failed attempt at locating a suitable camping spot in the greater San Francisco area, and with the onset of dark, we decided that it just wasn’t meant to be. We pointed the truck south and headed off into the darkness for the next few hours. We eventually stopped at a rest stop just north of Los Angeles at about 2am, and attempted to sleep in the truck till 6am, when we gave up and headed into LA.

We zipped through LA (well not really – we kinda got a little stuck in the morning traffic for an hour), and stopped in Anaheim to get some stuff for the truck, and get haircuts (it’s ok if we look dishevelled at the end of the 4 month trip, but not at the beginning!). We decided to buy vehicle insurance for Mexico, so that set us back about $12 US a day – even though it appears as though it is not madatory to have vehicle insurance in Mexico, we’d hate to have someone else slam into us and not be able to pay to fix the New Cruiser.

We arrived at a state park between Los Angeles and San Diego in the early afternoon and decided not to stay there as it was essentially a paved parking lot, about 50m from the I-5, with a railway track between. We drove up the road to San Onofre State Park where it was a lot quieter and we were quite happy to sit and relax for the afternoon amongst the trees, watching the birds, the rabbits, and even a marmot!

Tomorrow we’ll be in Mexico – and we’ve made it through the states on less than $20 in food (we still have food left over!). Now that takes skill!

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