Winter RVing in California

 Winter RVing in California

Me at the Festival Grounds

Me at the Festival Grounds
Me at Mavericks

While Mike and Jennifer have been traveling the arctic vortex some of us have been aiming for a different experience of winter. Of course, I live in San Diego county so my experience of winter is always different than most of the country. I mean, we get cold when it drops into the 50's. Out come the winter scarves and gloves until about 10 a.m. and then it is short sleeve t-shirt weather for the rest of the day until dusk.

My Roadtrek has been in the shop getting some warranty work done on it. Last Thursday morning, bright and early, my friend dropped me off at the dealer with all the stuff that I had removed from it so the service department could work on my RT. When they opened I was the first one in, settled up, threw all the things in the back and took off.


Sometimes it is good to create an adventure at the spur of the moment. It is even better to have a companion, my RT, to come along with me.

Have you ever heard of Mavericks International Surf Competition? It is BIG, big waves, big surf and guys who like to surf them. I am a closet surfer. I have followed the big waves for years, read the books and watched the movies. I have always wanted to go to Mavericks. This year I did. And…I got one of the last two tickets to go out on one of the boats to watch these surfers in action on 35-40 foot swells in 53 degree water. Cool.

morning at HMB harbor
morning at HMB harbor

What makes Mavericks so special is that it doesn't happen every year. They track the swells across the Pacific and only when they are right and the wind is right does this competition take place. The top 24 surfers are given a 48 hour notice that the competition will take place. I was given less than that by the Sport Fishing company to arrive in Half Moon Bay, outside of San Francisco and be on the boat. After 10 hours of traveling I arrived. I was able to dry camp in the parking lot at the harbor. It was so convenient to be able to get up in the morning and walk everywhere and, I could just walk up the docks and get on the boat.

Sunset along the Santa Cruz coastline
Sunset along the Santa Cruz coastline

I decided to extend my trip by a few days and drive Route 1 south from Half Moon Bay to Santa Cruz and then down the Big Sur Coast. What a lovely way to end a bit of a frenetic drive north. I camped all the way down the coast, wandered the beaches and stopped for dinner at my favorite Nepali/Tibetan Restaurant in Pasadena and arrived home at 8:30 on Sunday night.

I love the sense of freedom I feel with my RoadTrek. I may still need my Subaru to get out on some of those desert roads but when traveling like I did this week I love the pleasure of having a bed and bathroom and kitchen accessible at a minutes notice. If I am tired I can pull off and sleep or stretch or go for a hike. When I am hungry I have food at hand. If I want to sit above it all and watch wild life and the ocean I can. I love that I sit so high in SS Agile. It is a great way to watch wildlife.

morning on the Big Sur Coast
morning on the Big Sur Coast

Here is a lesson I learned this week about getting ready. I figured out early on to leave as much as I can in my RT. I love to organize before I leave home so everything is in it's place. Throwing things into the back of the RV and figuring I will organize them later, did not happen. I found that I felt a little disorganized this whole trip. Most things found there way to a compartment but I always seemed to be looking for something. I have decided that not only does everything need to be in it's place but it needs to be consistently in the same place. I am thinking seriously of creating a map of my interior and designating on this map where each item goes on each trip. It is good to be spontaneous yet I think I could be more organized at the same time.

Still rolling and still learning about the RV lifestyle.



  • Love that coast! Janet, I would have had to have a handful of seasick pills…..what an experience…..good on ya!

  • Hey Janet, we were over in Half Moon bay on Sunday and Monday so we just missed the contest. Didn’t miss the crowds though. Great shots and story — you really captured it. Funny thing — my wife and I have an SS Agile as well as two subarus.

    • Regarding our choice of vehicles…When your smart your just smart. I love them both.

  • that’s a beautiful stretch of coast, and a Roadtrek really comes into its own along the Pacific Coast Highway. you just have everything right there, and everyone else – the day trippers and tent campers – are all scrambling. lucky you.

  • Awesome article! This one got me really excited about the future, thank you!

  • Hi Janet:

    Informative article. Thanks.


  • Where did you camp on way down coast?

  • Great article, I am one of those sick types! Wish I wasn’t!

  • What a great place! We (Husband/Wife and kids 17/12/4) camped here 2 nights at the recommendation of a friend – we will be back! Only problem was the not so friendly female ranger. I went to ask if we could move from our mid-row site to one that backs up to the ocean – she just kept saying, “its important to keep the site you signed up for” ok, but if the other sites aren’t reserved she wouldn’t have anything to do with it. Everyone friendly, bathrooms clean, warm showers, (50 cents will do it) close to town, very friendly camp hosts. Firewood is $8 a bundle. Kids loved the water. Rented boogy boards in town. We will be back! We camped here in a Travel Trailer.

    • What was name of place you are referring to please. Thanks anne

      • I camped at CosaNoa. It was expensive but fun to be so close to the beach.
        I also stayed in a state park coming down the Big Sur Coast this time.

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