Our Favorite Camping Spots in Southern California.

We have been asked a few times about nice places to camp in southern California. We spent a lot of time on the road so we actually don’t have a ton of experience locally. That said, we do have some  favorite spots we’d like to share from this part of the country. Some of these places we regularly visit while others we have only been once or twice. Nonetheless, we can not wait to go again whenever we get a chance. Here is a run down of a few of our favorite local camping spots.

(Yes, these are Yoda’s favorites too. )


Raining on our parade.

Although our first day at Rincon Parkway was a magical sunny winter day in California, it didn’t prove itself to be sustainable. Our first night at the campsite was enjoyable for us but Ava complained non-stop about the waves being too loud. Yeah, poor Ava, it sucks to sleep next to the ocean and be forced to fall asleep to the waves.

airstream rain day.


Parking at Rincon Parkway.

A stretch of frontage road right off of the 101 freeway just north of our house is a place called Rincon Parkway that we have wanted to check out for many years. Being so close to where we live, we often take it for granted. Every time we drive by, we are always looking to see if there is vacancy. Being a first-come-first-serve campground right by the Pacific Ocean in Southern California, it is a busy spot year round.



Time to ‘upgrade’ our Airstream.

Well, the time has finally come. We have been thinking about this for awhile but this is the first time we are blogging about it here. For the last 2 months since we have been full time traveling in our beloved 25 foot Airstream. As much fun as we are having seeing the country, we have always felt a bit of emptiness. Having such a large tow vehicle like the diesel van towing around a big travel trailer just didn’t let us into some of the more interesting campsites we wanted to see. Ultimately we decided that the rig is just gonna have to go to allow us to get closer to nature.

Airstream and the storm


Day 23: Padre Island and a RV Resort in Port Aransas, Texas.

We got into Corpus Christi, TX pretty late the night before and found a Walmart to boondock at for the night. It was our first night of boondocking since replacing the house batteries in Tucson. I wanted to make sure it was working properly and it would handle our power load when we are not plugged in. The last time we boondocked in Tempe, Arizona, we woke up in the morning with not enough electricity to even run the fridge on propane mode. Our new batteries on the other hand performed like rock stars all night. They provide enough juice to let us even run our TV in the morning for Ava to watch PBS kids before we left for Padre Island with power to spare.



Parking the Airstream at Malibu Creek State Park.

Before our last mini trip to Malibu Creek State Park, a lot of people warned us of how scary the road was to get there. We had a flashback to our first little trip to Lake Isabella. Narrow, windy mountain roads with rock overhangs on one side and a cliff down to oblivion on the other.

Well, that nightmare did not materialize. In fact, the trip there was as uneventful as one could imagine. A short drive up the 101 where most of the way was a 6-lane freeway with just the last 5 miles or so a straight 2 lane highway. I think the fact that we did not come from the ocean side of Malibu was the difference. Las Virgenes Road goes all the way through to PCH (Pacific Coast Highway, AKA California Highway 1) and it dumps you off right next to Pepperdine University. I am guessing driving a big RV thru the road to there would not be too pleasant.


The Never Ending Debate: Generator vs. Solar Panels.

While I am on a little bit of a boondocking roll, let me share my two cents on this ongoing discussion: Generator or Solar. It is really not a debate on whether one is better than the other. There are plenty of folks who’ve decided to use both technologies. For those of us who are on a budget, the main reasons to choose are the cost and storage availability.

A 120 watt panel mounted atop a late model Airstream

The ‘New-To-Us’ Honda EU2000i Generator


Our Portable Battery Bank.

The standard battery bank on the Airstream consists of two 12-volt group 24 batteries connected in parallel stored just in front of the trailer and behind the propane tanks. Group 24 batteries are designed to hold around 75 amp hours of power each. At a full charge, they store just enough juice for you to run all the lights in the Airstream for about 2 seconds. OK, maybe that is a slight exaggeration, but the power-hungry halogen bulbs Jackson Center, Ohio installed into our 25 foot International are not really designed with boondockers in mind. Bright and warm as they might be, they are very inefficient. Many people have swapped them out for expensive LED versions of these lights bought from Internet sources. The problem with this ‘upgrade’ is that in return of them running forever, you have to deal with these dim little blue lights that makes you feel like you are living in the International Space Station.



Quenching Our Thirst for Power.

A big part of going full timing is being able to adapt to changing environments. In some of our recent posts, we have focused a lot on the ability for us to boondock. That is because I have been obsessed with getting the Airstream a steady supply of portable power. As much as I would love to have solar panels installed on the Airstream, the cost is much more prohibitive than just getting a reliable generator. I know, I know, there are more ongoing costs with generators not associated with solar power like gas and maintenance, but I just can’t see myself spending upwards of $2000 to get the solar panel I want. It is a much more permenant solution that I would want to do it right when I am ready to spend that kind of money.

After scouring Craig’s List and eBay for the last 6 months, I finally came across a local seller with a lightly used Honda EU2000i generator. He was asking $900 for the unit that has maybe 10-20 hours of use. Relying solely on my negotiations skills, I walked away with it only $775 lighter in my back pocket.