If you’re wondering why there has been a serious hiatus in posts lately, it’s because California is expensive. It would be one thing if everything was equally expensive, and it didn’t matter where I stayed. But no, things in Cali are a strange mix of “OH MY GOD HOW COULD YOU POSSIBLY CHARGE THAT MUCH AND GET AWAY WITH IT?” and “Oh. It’s $5 extra.” What I’m trying to say is that prices are all over the place, and I’ve had a hard time finding a home base with internet. Hell, I’ve had a hard time finding places to stay AT ALL, and even when I do find something reasonable, it takes me a whole day of filtering through websites and making phone calls. Even buying groceries is a toss-up. I’ve been to two Albertsons in two different counties, one of which seemed reasonable and the other of which seemed atrociously high priced, and then they asked me if I wanted to BUY paper sacks to put the groceries in. The Trader Joe’s all seem the same (a bit high priced). And the Grocery Outlet Bargain Market (which I would have THOUGHT compared to, say, an Aldi back home, where there is only one in house brand, no bags, and a 24 hour security guard) was basically just a regular grocery with regular brand names and regular prices. I am exhausted from price shopping!
After blowing some serious dollars on the coast over the holidays, I decided to head a bit inland and settle in for 2 weeks in the tiny town of Lompoc (pronounced Lom-poke). It’s an Airforce town, though oddly, I haven’t seen any planes (That’s because there aren’t any. The base there launches missiles and satellites. It has a runway long enough for the space shuttle to have landed there several times.) I’m staying in River Park, though oddly, there isn’t any river in the river. It’s been very quiet and I’ve had plenty of time to work on various writing and art projects that have piled up over the weeks. Monty and Niko are bored, but there’s a one mile track in the park where we take jogs. There is a pond with many various birds. At about 4:30 pm everyday the quail arrive outside the trailer to hunt and peck. I have named this hour “quail-barking hour,” because Monty and Niko seem to have a thing for quail. The beach is 10 miles away, but honestly I haven’t been. If this seems odd to you, think about spending four months on the road and then consider getting in the car for even 10 minutes.
It’s my hope that I can find a place with internet when I make it to Ventura or Los Angeles counties, but I can’t be sure. Places to stay are few and far between down there, and very expensive. They also have many rules. I’ve been experiencing two types of age restrictions when calling around to see if trailer parks will take me:
1) I’m too young. Many parks are Senior Living communities. These are usually cheap, nice, and quiet. Unfortunately, they do not believe in travelers who are “old in spirit.” (Dag-Nabbit!)
2) Lola’s too old. Now I UNDERSTAND this rule. Old rust buckets are both unsightly and dangerous and are usually attached to undesirable clientele. But even after I explain that Lola has been completely redone, inside and out, and that I’m a responsible person with (a few) dollars to spend, I still get turned down.
These are problems I didn’t foresee back in the Midwest. I knew things would get expensive, but I didn’t meet a lot of parks with so many rules. To be fair, there were significantly fewer people going to the parks back east. Even in this tiny town, at this tiny park with less than 30 spaces, it is 50% full. So again, it’s something I understand, but that I was a bit surprised with. If you’re considering traveling with a vintage trailer, know that you may have to do some extra research when it comes to finding places to stay by the time you get out west. You may even want to have a backlog of “cheap places I can rest for a while.”