Planning a 90 day road trip was great. Living it was too. Traveling through states with legal weed has been the best trip ever! Why did I limit us to a 90 day experiment? I could live like this forever!
Van Life Day 77 and 78:
Damien worked on the fuel line as sailboats floated by. Thinking about leaving the beach, we quickly noticed that wouldn’t be happening. There was a Van Life meetup happening and we were all boxed in.Never having been to one of these before and not exactly being part of this specific crew, we didn’t know exactly what to expect. Or what to do. We decide to leave our door open and just continue our day.
Our schnoodle knows exactly how to socialize, so he left the coach and found the other dogs at the meetup. This helped us to socialize a bit and we met a couple of weekend warrior type folks. It was pretty neat and super low key for our first van life meet up experience.
Van Life Day 79:
The weekend was over and almost all of the van lifers/weekend warriors had packed up and gone home. It was a peaceful day on the beach. We soaked up some rays in our swimsuits and noticed they were starting to fit a little snug.
Van Life Day 80:
We’d planned another stay with Boondocker’s Welcome. For $30 a year, you get access to a list of people who are willing to host a traveler for free. Sometimes, you just get a spot in front of a host’s house. Other times, they will have electricity, water, a dump and more. This was our 3rd host and we were staying two nights. So, I figure we have now stayed 5 nights with Boondocker’s Welcome. At $30 a year, that puts us at $6 per night so far. My goal is to stay 30 nights this year, bringing that number down to only $1 a stay.
Our host was great. He wasn’t home when we arrived, so we parked in his driveway and hooked up the water. When he got there, we noticed he had a face on the back of his van. It had on orange sunglasses. It looked like they were ready for a long, stoner road trip. Hilarious!
Van Life Day 81:
We’ve owned the vanabus for over 6 months now and we just noticed that this is our first time, “driveway surfing.” Our host parks his van in his garage and there’s just enough room for our vanabus on the other side of the driveway.
Taking Booger for a walk in this beautiful neighborhood got me to thinking about the last time I lived in a stand-alone house. I sold it 2 years ago and moved into a high rise, even before I put it on the market. Now, I live in a vanabus and am happier and more fulfilled than I have ever felt.
After the contemplative walk, we went to the free dump site, back down at Mission Beach. The vanabus got a little hot on the way back and we knew something wasn’t right. Back in our host’s driveway by noon, it was time to do some research and diagnosis.
Van Life Day 82:
After cleaning up a few spots of oil on our hosts driveway (oops), we said our goodbyes and journeyed down to Oceanside for a couple of nights. Longboarding is our secondary type of transportation and we use it quite often for both errands and fun.
Van Life Day 83:
Today we skated the Oceanside boardwalk and did some people watching before calling it a day.
Van Life Day 84:
The brakes were still catching, causing the back passenger side wheel to get too hot. At the same time, Damien figured out it was the fan clutch was going out, causing us to overheat sporadically. Back over at Solana Beach, we’d found another GMC RV owner. We have a list called the Blacklist that tells us almost all of the GMCer’s in the U.S. that are willing to help a fellow owner.
We have only used this lifeline once. It was in Georgia, just after we bought the vanabus. The guy wasn’t helpful and was ready for us to leave as soon as he gave us a tour of his coach. So, we didn’t have a great opinion of the site.
This time was the complete opposite though. Scott was the absolute best. A fellow southerner, he knew just how to make us feel at home. When we arrived, he was already outside waiting to guide us into the driveway. Damien got to work on the fan clutch pretty quickly and Scott came out with some breakfast sandwiches for us and let us know the washer and dryer were open for us to use. I started on laundry and restringing the last of the blinds.
Scott came back out and saw me working, offered me a chair and then remembered he had some blinds that were brand new… and pink! We got them down and looked them over. Gorgeous!
He took off to pick his Mother up for a visit and offered us some electricity before he left. When he returned, we met and chatted with his Mom and got back to work. 15 minutes later, Scott brings us pizza for lunch.
The blinds didn’t fit since we have custom window framing and the hardware was completely different from what was already installed. To make it work, we would have had to take down the cabinets, put in new hardware and pull out the framing about an inch.
When it came time to look at our brakes, we had no idea where to start. Scott did though. He taught us how to jack up our coach (we always use ramps) so it doesn’t harm our shocks. Then we took off the wheel, opened up the brake and learned about all of the stuff inside. It was so awesome. He and Damien cleaned the brake up and put it all back together. Me? I put on the bolt covers when they were all done.
Bellies full, the vanabus back in action, laundry done and a full tank of water, we couldn’t think of anything else that needed to be done, other than for Scott to adopt us. We said our goodbyes and left with a little more hope in the people of this world.
Van Life Day 85:
After boondocking for the night, we were ready for more beach. Camp Pendleton offers day camping on the beach and the amenities are abundant. The first thing we noticed were the water wheelchairs, allowing the handicapped to go in the water without having to rent something extra.
After walking the beach, we found private, outdoor showers situated in the brush. Perfect for an after swim rinse. Next to these shower spots were little hang out areas, with benches or picnic tables and some with umbrellas. It was the perfect spot to watch the surfers and smoke a little weed.
Further north we went, on to Hungtington Beach.
Van Life Day 86:
The Huntington Dog beach is Booger’s favorite dog park in the U.S.. So, we had to go back and revisit it. It had almost been a year since we were here. It was overdue. This time, though, there weren’t as many dogs.
The people of SoCal think it is freezing outside when it goes below 60. Because of this, there weren’t many pups out to play with. Our visit this time, was unfortunately, pretty short lived.
Our new friends were coming to visit too, so it was a great time to go in. Finding other GMC RVer’s can be tough. As Damien wrote in this piece, there were only 13,000 of these made and only 8,000 are still on the road. In the ENTIRE world!
Along with these fun facts, almost everyone who owns one is at retirement age. We were excited to meet some fellow owners who are our peers. Mi’randa and Terrance are both creatives like us. They paint and do photography. We spent the whole afternoon checking out each other’s coaches, toking and sipping on some sour beer (okay, so I didn’t like it, but everyone else did.)
We were getting a hotel room for the night with some points I had stashed away and we ended up checking in super late. Totally worth it. Can’t wait to hang with them again.
Van Life Day 87:
When I tried to book the room with points, I kept getting an error message. I finally called to book. Between being on hold and bounced around from clerk to clerk, it took a full hour for Marriott to complete the reservation.
Someone must have said something about the mishap because when we checked in yesterday, they gave us a gift bag and said thank you for being a Marriott Reward Member. Then, this morning, because we were running late, I called the front desk for a late check out. The woman promptly said, “Does a 4pm check out work for you, Ms. Jay?”
Heck yeah it did. We took Booger for his walk, took a sesh break and went right back to cooling in the hotel room.
We headed to Venice Beach late that afternoon.
Van Life Day 88:
Tomorrow was 4/20 and we had plans. The High Times Cannabis Cup was going to be in San Bernardino, just over an hour from San Diego. So, we took off to get there early.
High Times was having issues getting the proper permits only the week before the cup. So, as usual, no one knew whether the event was going to be successful, let alone take place. I say, as usual, because this happens all over the place at all kinds of cannabis centric events. And it sucks.
Colorado doesn’t even have cups/festivals anymore because of the huge hassle it has become. Cannabis companies are often threatened by local government agencies. By participating in these events, dispensaries could stand to lose their license. No one wants that.
In the case of High Times, they have had issues with the Nevada Cup, Colorado Cup and the Jamaica Cup. This is a company that has existed for decades. They have been doing this for far longer than it was legal to do.
Thinking about picking up some bud to hold us over, I had been chatting with another Van Lifer via Instagram about hanging out. After getting my nails done for the 4/20 holiday, we met up with Natasha (@theunprofessional on Instagram) at a dispo in the Long Beach area and picked up a little flower before seshing in the vanabus.
I loved how well conversation flowed with her. Natasha has been surfing and dirt biking for forever. Watching her Insta videos of her surfing are invigorating. Plus, she can blow down big like me! She also knew all of the best boondocking spots around LA.
After checking out her van, we said our goodbyes, made plans to come back and surf after the Cup and journeyed toward San Bernardino.
Van Life Day 89:
The Cup would go on. I saw it on Instagram this morning and I was super happy. We ran a couple of errands before arriving at the High Times Cup. The parking lot wasn’t very full which meant there was no line, a perk for us since we didn’t get VIP.
We wandered the cup a bit getting a lay of the land. There was a petting zoo, food vendors, a building with body painting and VR. There were a few vendors with cannabis in this part of the cup as well, but most were in the Prop 215 area.
The Prop 215 area is the, “smoking section” so to speak. In order to get in you needed a medical wristband. I have circumvented this a couple of ways in the past. I have had a vendor wristband, which gets you anywhere except VIP. Or, I go to the pre-party and show my Colorado Med card and they give me a band.
These weren’t options this time. The people who give you wrist bands said I had to have a Cali rec. Damien has one, so he got his wristband. Then, I held his hand and carried our fur baby in my other hand and we walked right passed security. Once we were in, nobody cared.
We wandered around and ran into an Instagram buddy, @thatcaliforniakid. He smoked us out as we stood in the shade. We all walked around together for a few before he had to get some food in his belly. We continued on to check out the petting zoo (loved it, I don’t care what anyone says) and to ride and sesh (we didn’t sesh, we were too scared, lol).
Going back to the vanabus to freshen up had to be one of the highlights of this trip for me. I always have a car at these cups and I come back to it to get, “night ready.” It is always a hassle trying to change my clothes, do my makeup and blow some clouds in the car. It is such a delight to do in the vanabus though.
We hung for an hour while the heat subsided a bit before going back in for more. It was a great 4/20 and I wish today was the end of our 90 day story.
Van Life Day 90:
The last day of our trip was underwhelming. We’d heard about Abracadabs in the past and it sounded like a fun time. We knew an Instagrammer that was vending there and it was supposed to be a good festival to support small business. Plus, it was only an hour from the High Times Cup.
Tickets were only like $25 a day. Super! When we get to the parking lot of what looks like a little league baseball stadium, we end up getting in a huge argument about where to park. I am uber hot and notice a plug on the side of the building. With no parking attendant around, I think we can get a little A/C while I get ready. Damien says no. He ends up taking a walk to call his Mom and tells me I can go over there by myself if I want.
I sit in the hot coach and get ready for the festival, steaming. When he comes back, we go over to the building to see about plugging in. The electricity is off. We weren’t getting any cold air. Le sigh.
I drive us back to our parking spot and we continue to get ready in the heat. We finally go in only to discover that if you don’t have a Cali rec, you have to literally sit in the bleachers. With nothing to do. All of the vendors and entertainment are on the field, with their backs to the stands. What a fucking rip off.
Damien has his rec, so he gets a wristband. There’s a doctor on site though that will give you a card, for $160. What a rip off. People are complaining everywhere, while vendors are coming by just taking the medical wristbands off the table and giving them out to their friends. At the same time there are probably 40 or so people just sitting in the stands, unable to smoke after paying to get in. The festival itself wasn’t much to speak of either.
I went to the High Time’s Cup in Jamaica a few years ago. (Read about it here.) This tiny festival in Negril had more going on at it than Abracadabs did, which is right there in SoCal.
Abracadabs was a disaster. And a huge letdown for our last day of our road trip.
Our argument however, led us to the decision to come back to Denver. I was having some major pain in my mouth and our 90 days of more fun than work have left us slightly financially impotent. We were thinking of heading up the Pacific Coast Highway all the way to San Francisco. However, after figuring out the cost of gas (an additional $500) and agreeing that we would still be on, “vacation”, we knew it was time to head home.
90 days on the road has taught us so much. The living is harder, but so much more fulfilling. Our arguments have started to help us grow and be better within as well as with each other. I love this man more and more every day. I can hardly wait to continue our van life together.