Northward We Go (To Los Angeles)

After our four-month journey west(ish) from Florida to San Diego, we’ve finally turned north once again. Thus begins our slow crawl (so that we don’t catch up to winter) up the Pacific coast. Once we reach Seattle we’ll turn east for the summer.

Long Beach, CA

Long Beach, CA

We split our Los Angeles stay into two parts: first, we stayed near the southern end of L.A. to visit an old friend of mine in Long Beach. We still think one of the best parts of full-time RVing is getting to visit friends and family who have scattered to the four corners of the U.S! We spent two great days together, touring the Long Beach area and its beaches, eating some good food, and reminiscing over a fun game of Ticket To Ride.

And the winner is... Kathie, by one point!

And the winner is… Kathie, by one point!

The weather was perfect (maybe even a little too hot), and we were able to take both Max and Opie to a huge fenced-in dog park along the beach so they could stretch their legs and get wet. Since RV Park prices in L.A. are quite high, we only stayed a few days and then moved an hour north for our visit to Six Flags Magic Mountain. Driving Rover through L.A. was one of the more stressful drives we’ve made, with major traffic on I-5 even though it was 11am on a Tuesday. Add in the terrible condition of the road for an extremely bumpy ride, and we were quite happy when we reached Valencia!

We had a fantastic time at Magic Mountain!

We had a fantastic time at Magic Mountain!

Before we hit Six Flags (it’s only open on weekends during the winter) we headed to Newbury Park to visit another old friend, this time one of Kathie’s. After spending the day catching up, we invited her to Six Flags with us to continue the catch-up, this time with some screams mixed in! Back in Texas in November we purchased Six Flags Season Passes which get us into all Six Flags parks for free, including parking, all year long. We’ve actually modeled much of our 2015 travel plan to pass near as many of those parks as possible (it looks like we’ll only miss two parks).

The Green Lantern, a bizarre rotating coaster.

The Green Lantern, an unusual coaster with rotating seats.

Since admission and parking is free for us, and the park is only open on weekends right now, we planned to go both Saturday and Sunday. It’s a good thing we did! The park was jam packed and the lines for rides were much longer than we’re used to. Even after attending both days there were still a couple rides we missed out on… maybe next year! Even with the crowds we had a great time, and rode some amazing rides. My favorites were Apocalypse, Full Throttle, and Goliath. Kathie’s partial to X2 instead of Apocalypse. Tatsu, a “flying coaster” where you’re suspended face down so that it feels like you’re flying like Superman, was an insane experience, and we both agree it’s by far the most terrifying ride we’ve ever been on!

Castaic Lake State Recreation Area

Castaic Lake State Recreation Area

To round out our stay in Valencia, we took Opie to the nearby Castaic Lake State Recreation Area to do some hiking. The area is pretty, but with California’s drought in its fourth year, the lake was very low on water. The hiking trail turned out to be a bulldozed dirt path through some green fields. It was a steep path which was tiring in the hot sun, but felt very artificial and short. The beach along the lake was closed with a big fence and lots of “beach closed—no trespassing” signs, so Opie couldn’t get his feet wet either. We consider this one a bust, but we’ve had so many great hiking experiences so far, it’s bound to happen occasionally.

With our third Six Flags park checked off the list (we visited Great Adventure in New Jersey a few months before buying our season passes), it’s time to continue north to San Luis Obispo!

Michael Fischer

After a high-tech career spanning software development and systems administration to leading hundreds of engineers across cities and continents, I’m now slowing things down a bit. Traveling full-time in an RV with my awesome wife Kathie and our two big dogs Max and Opie, I’m now pursuing smaller personal software projects while seeing North America up close.

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