Update – 4 July 2017

Update – 4 July 2017

At the time of our last update on 17 June 2017 we had just arrived in Bakersfield, California, USA. We have since been to the California coast and are now having a brief stop in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, USA

Main features of this period:
Off-roading and free camping at Los Padres National Forest, San Luis Obispo County.
A look around Morro Bay, California coast – harbour seals, a drive up to where the Big Sur coastal road collapsed this year.
A farmers’ market and an Italian bakery at Cambria.
A visit to Solvang, a Danish-style town.
An invitation to brunch with our new American friends at Los Osos, just south of Morro Bay.
A short stop in Hollywood to see the stars and to avoid having nowhere to camp over the busy 4th July weekend.
Fireworks.

What is happening with the weather? We Brits love talking about weather!
It has been hot, hotter and occasionally there has been a breeze. We bought fans at Bakersfield, that work off the USB ports in the truck and have found them most useful. We have been surprised at how well the truck copes with the extreme heat. It has been up to 45 degrees C and, although we have been very hot on those days and evenings – we have slept really well in the insulated camper body. The fridge has worked well, ventilation is good overall, our silver screens have kept off the fierce sun.

Our Hollywood house sit is up on the hill where a breeze gets up for at least some of the time – but not much! It is very warm at night and we have had some hot walks into the city below when we have ventured out.

What have we been up to?
Driving about in the heat, camping in the hills to cool off, swimming in the pool at an RV park, seeing a bit of the California coast, reviewing year 1 of living in our truck and getting organised for year 2.

We met Robyn and Brian in the Pinnacles National Park a couple of months ago, kept in touch and were lucky enough to get an invitation to brunch at their home in Los Osos. We had a delicious meal with them, their family and friends, and enjoyed their company. Robyn made a Chilli & Cheese Egg Bake that Sarah begged the recipe for. It will be something she can adapt in different ways and use with all sorts of flavours that will be quick, easy and useful to make in our truck when we have limited supplies.

Robyn also sent us on our way with locally made chips and salsa which were great for our journeys the next 2 days. We hope to see Robyn and Brian again sometime and appreciated the welcome they gave us. This has been a highlight of our recent travels.

We had a look around Cambria, a pleasant tourist town with a farmers’ market and an Italian bakery with a chatty lady in charge. We bought lots of pastries and took a box to the brunch at Los Osos and got tips on where to go while choosing them.

The Italian lady suggested that, if we liked pastries, we should stop at Solvang [Danish for “sunny field”] in Santa Barbara county, en route to Los Angeles, – so we did. This town was established by a group of Danes, escaping the hard winters of the mid-west, in 1911. It is very touristy with traditional Danish-style architecture and has several pastry shops – some better than others [we tried 2 and 1 was definitely superior to the other]. It was a nice change and a little reminder of Europe.

We saw a line of camping RVs at Ventura, along the coast on the way into LA. This line was 1.4 miles long! We didn’t camp there as we had a house to sit in Hollywood. We are now there for 2 weeks, seeing a few sights, keeping an eye on 2 cats and getting some useful things done.

Are we within our budget? Are we beaten or penniless?
It’s a new year for us as we have decided to stop our calculations at 12 months [end of June] and start new spreadsheets. We haven’t done new spreadsheets yet. We have it under control these days.
So – no, not beaten or penniless.

What do we really think of it so far?
We have done some different things recently, gone from brief city life to camping in the hills, to a horrid, busy, dirty camp site [that made us go back to the hills], a comfortable Rv park with a pool, and back to brief city life again. We have done some sightseeing and seen lots of lovely scenery as usual.

The drive into LA was quite unusual for us Brits. The main 101 Highway weaves its way through the hills with coastal, beach views, blue skies, sunshine, traffic, palm trees, hills, long stretches of sand and a long row of RVs – all at the same time!

The scenery has now changed – we have palm trees lining the streets and towering above the street lights of Hollywood. Our current view is of the city in the sunshine and we have enjoyed the city fireworks from the window of our house sit on the hillside. We have seen the stars on the pavement on Hollywood Boulevard, been to a very big farmers’ market and driven around Mulholland Drive towards the coast. This is where the stars live apparently – we found ourselves following a tour bus but have no idea whose house we saw! We couldn’t really see the houses anyway and there seemed to be a lot of them. It is very built up around here. You can buy a 10$ map from a vending machine on Hollywood Boulevard that tells you where they live. We kept our 10$ as we are not very starstruck and wanted to spend our money on other things. We did read a few reviews of the tours and decided not to go on one – however other people seem to really enjoy the tours. We wouldn’t know who the stars were anyway – you have to be interested in films/music etc to appreciate it properly. We expect it is a nice thing to do if you are though.

It is a little noisy here – mostly helicopters going overhead, garden tools, fire service vehicles rushing about in the city below us and families splashing about in their pools. You can only park on one side of the road here and there are workmen building a house further up so parking is tight. We are not going out in the truck much, just leaving it parked as close the the kerb as possible and not in front of peoples’ front doors or windows. We are trying not to annoy neighbours who have to wait for us if we are turning round to park again. The birds are also quite vocal here and we have a hummingbird that regularly appears outside the kitchen window. It is too quick for a photograph though.

We have been watching the 4th July weekend fireworks go up over the city from our house sit window. We are disappointed to be in what seems like the only house in Hollywood Hills without a pool but you can’t have everything! We have planning work to do here anyway, and some papers/administration to sort out, so it is good to be in a house as we need to get some things done again. It is always good to be able to avoid paying for accommodation and struggling with wifi connections when you have to work in the heat.

We are trying to finish some videos that show the amazing array of different scenery and the vast journey across 2 north American countries that we have completed in our year. It’s taking a while as we are learning how to do this as we go along. Suffice to say – we are very lucky.

Don’t forget to look at our Youtube page and follow us on Instagram – links on this blog. We are putting what we can on there so those who have no time to read updates can look at pictures and videos and see what we are up to.

Where do we go from here?
South!



Booking.com

Please use the Booking.com link above to book your next discounted hotel. We used this web site a lot in the winter and it is really useful. If you use it [at no extra cost to you] we will get a small commission that will help to buy us a pancake or coffee sometime. Thank you!