California Cruising: Roadtripping the Central Coast

I have been waiting all winter for spring to arrive. Each cold, rainy day was made better with the hope it would transform the landscape from brown to green in a few months. Sure enough, I started to see the change happen in the landscape right before my eyes each week, until the transformation was undeniable, and I knew it was time to venture up North to really enjoy the spring scenery.

I was joined by my boyfriend (Michael Bailey) and photographer (Peter Amend) for this adventure. On a lovely morning in Santa Barbara, we packed up our things into George, our orange VW bus, and were on our way. This was Michael’s first time driving stick-shift, so it took some time, effort, and a lot of patience to get used to driving this “boat”, as Michael liked to called it.

The road into Jalama State Beach took my breath away. It was a scenic 14 mile road that caravanned through grassy hills that stretched out for as far as the eyes could see, dotted with herds of cows, happily grazing under the sun. The wildflowers were a display of bright colors- orange, gold, and lavender, blowing lazily with the breeze.

As soon as we had driven close enough to catch sight of the ocean, we parted ways with the warm sun to enter down into the beach area, covered in fog. Once we checked into our camp spot at Jalama Beach, we explored the grounds by skating the streets that connected each of the sites together.

What’s a road trip without some technical difficulties? One of the tires on George had deflated due to a nail puncture, so I used this opportunity to receive my first lesson on how to change a tire. 

As the skies changed color with the sunset, the smell of the first campfire wafted through the air. Soon, all the other campers followed suite and flickering bonfires lit up the night.

For dinner, we heated some clam chowder in a pot over the fire, and enjoyed it with cheese and crackers, chips and dip, and wine. I made sure to save room for my favorite part- desert! I like to think of myself as a master S’mores maker. The secret is to carefully roast a marshmallow until it reaches a golden, tan color all the way around.

The daybreak meant a new opportunity for adventure. We got up with the sun to get an early start, went on a leisurely beach walk to check the waves, and then packed our things up to get back on the road.

Back in Santa Barbara, we stopped by one of my favorite little towns in Carpinteria to feed carrots to a couple horses and goats before suiting up for a surf session at Rincon.

Photography by Peter Amend

Sponsored by Sanuk

Volkswagen Bus provided by Dustie Wagens

For those of you craving a classic California adventure, Dustie Wagens is the way to go. “Stacked with a fleet of restored 70’s era Volkswagens, locally designed surf boards, finely crafted gear, high end camping gear and positive energy, they are here to make sure you have the opportunity to explore, relax, and have fun!”

I’ve been wanting to do a road trip with a VW bus for a while now, and they finally made that dream come true. Camping in George was ideal because it came equipped to sleep 4, cabinets for storage, a sink, propane stove, high end ice chest, cast iron pots and pans, French press, plates, cups, silverware, cooking utensils, solar phone charger and portable speaker for music inside and outside of the bus. Basically, I only needed to bring my surf essentials (logs and wetsuits), clothes, food, and some blankets and pillows! I’d highly recommend this experience to anyone who wants to feel the freedom of the road in comfort and style.

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