Well, we must be ‘snow birds’ because we spent the winter in one of the mildest climates America has to offer - Southern California! Sure, we had heard California was great, but we honestly had no idea how much we’d enjoy our 4 month stay soaking up the sun in SoCal!
Below is a photo recap with some of our fondest memories exploring San Diego and nearby attractions.
San Elijo State Beach
We first stopped at San Elijo State Beach and parked the tiny house near the ocean. Watching the sunset every evening was sublime, plus delicious breakfast burritos and watching surfers in the mornings.
We planned to do some WWOOFING on a farm in Valley Center, but a combination of bad weather and inaccessible roads forced us to find alternative options.
At least we had these scenic views for a few nights…
Lake Murray Mobile Home Community
Lucky for us we connected with Dita and her family at the Lake Murray Mobile Home Community in La Mesa. The park is located within walking distance to beautiful Lake Murray, and just a short drive from downtown San Diego.
Dita and her son Killian are the current property managers and are planning to transition the park to accommodate more tiny houses. If you’re mobile like us, or if you’re building and hoping to live near San Diego in a permanent tiny house, contact them to see if you’d like to call La Mesa home. Rent starts $660/month which is incredibly affordable for SoCal!
America’s Landmarks Roadtrip
During our stay at the community, we embarked on a 2,000 mile roadtrip with a fellow WWOOFER, Martin, who was visting America from France during a gap year before finishing college.
Loading up at midnight, we arrived at Mt Whitney just in time for a beautiful sunrise. Whitney is the highest peak in the lower 48 states at 14,505 feet.
Next stop was Death Valley National Park which drops lower than sea level.
After that we headed out to the Hoover Dam to see the incredible American engineering and visually stunning ‘avant garde’ design. At 2 Gigawatts of rated capacity (that’s 2 Billion watts), the Hoover Dam is a MASSIVE and beautiful example of America’s renewable energy potential.
Leaving the dam we then zoomed over to the Grand Canyon, arriving after dark and in the snow (no fun). It was all worth it, however, as we woke the next morning and hiked the south rim of the canyon.
Later that day we headed to Monument Valley on the Arizona/Utah border, the highlight for many of us. The park is located inside Navajo tribal land and is mostly a driving tour where you can get out and take photos. There are some really cool formations that reminded us of the Looney Tunes episodes with the Roadrunner and Wiley Coyote.
We also made a stop to check out Zion National Park, getting lucky with one of the last campsites available. “Sometimes you just have to show up and hope for the best.” - Katie
Last stop on the roadtrip was Las Vegas aka Sin City aka City of Lights. We spent a half day viewing attractions on the main strip, then headed to Freemont Street for their nightime light show.
Fellow Tiny Housers
While staying at the Lake Murray community we met tons of great people including a couple who live in a lovely 24-foot tiny house. Meagan and Leo were our exploring companions, game partners, drinking buddies, and cherished friends.
Joshua Tree National Park
One weekend the four of us took a daytrip to Joshua Tree. Our 17th national park, it was super neat with lots of boulders to climb and explore, including discovering a secret arch hidden deep within a trail. We also saw the cactus fields and the start of the spring wild flower bloom.
One of our last hiking trips was at Anza-Borrego Desert to witness the so called ‘Super Bloom.’ Meeting up with some friends who traveled down from LA, we hiked up to the palm oasis which started in the desert and lead to a cool stream at the bottom of a palm grove (very mirage like).
We also went hunting for the Ricardo Brecada metal sculptures, which turned out to be fun and fantastic.
Amazing how the desert can be exhausting and energizing at the same time!
Last year we logged over 12,000 miles in our journey across America, of which 97% of the time we relied on our off-grid solar power kit.
We plugged in to the local power grid (used shore power) for a few days when weather was rainy and cold, using a total of just 42 kWh during our 4 month stay in Southern California, but the majority of the time we used free, limitless energy from the sun.
Does solar power work? Yes, indeed it does. And it feels great, too.