Once again on our morning of departure from LA we did a quick about face and change of plans.
We wanted to go to Death Valley, but after a few phone calls to reserve a RV spot we realized it was not the best decision. Everything was booked out as it’s peak season now. Death Valley is not an ideal summer destination.
We also learned there are a few road closures thanks to weather destruction. So there is a fair bit of work going on AND gold mining, which meant the chances of us getting accommodation until August were pretty slim.
We aren’t self contained to free camp.
So we scrapped Death Valley off our list.
I’ve always wanted to see it but I know I can come back. In a land of endless choices and so many bucket list experiences, I am actually relieved when I can cross something off.
Simplicity is something we all crave. Too many options can drain our spirit.
It’s amazing how travel teaches you to lose attachment to things. I can happily leave each destination. No matter the good times I’ve had I’m rolling on out with a gentle see ya wave and ready for the next adventure.
I think when I first started traveling I lamented leaving each destination that imprinted my heart.
I’d have to tear myself away, fearful I’d never have another experience like it. Worries that the me I found within that destination, or with the people I met there, would leave me forever.
My wisdom now tells me this is not true. Our true selves are evolving through each experience and we carry it with us no matter where we are.
We don’t have to cling to locations or experiences as they are not what matter. It’s the feelings that we actually seek.
I now know I can carry joy with me wherever I go so it doesn’t really matter where I am. Different places elevate it. I can leave confident that joy will follow again in the next place – just in a new and interesting form.
Right now we’re a couple of hours out of Vegas and the joy is returning with the dusty and brown mountainous desert landscape opening up in front of me.
I had fun in LA but I’m sure glad to be back in the open spaces again.
Hang on a minute – I’m going to Vegas!!!
Not for long my friends. We could only book an RV space in Lake Mead starting Sunday, so we found an RV park in Vegas for two nights while we wait.
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This week 12 wrap up of our USA road trip shares our adventures from Saturday to Friday.
I publish the posts on Sunday (I need a few days to prepare it!) More in-depth posts on each region with loads of tips and suggestions will be coming soon.
The below travel costs are also from that time period. Be sure to follow us on Instagram and Facebook where we share the current day-to-day adventures.
Things we did in Los Angeles
Griffith Park Hiking
The information on hiking up to the Hollywood Sign is not all that clear online, and when we arrived in Griffith Park and saw the multitude of criss-crossing paths, we could see why.
We had figured out two possible routes.
- The hike behind the Hollywood sign starting from Lake Hollywood, outlined by our friends, Crazy Family adventure here
- The Hollywood Trail recommended by our friend Spencer Spellman from Whiskey Tango Globetrot
We decided to go with the Hollywood Trail as it seemed more manageable with kids, although I think the girls would have been fine on the other much steeper shorter trail. Plus, I wanted to experience the main section of Griffith Park so it made better sense.
The views here were spectacular, both out to the Hollywood sign and looking back over Griffith Park, the observatory and Downtown LA.
We chatted with a fellow hiker from the lookout point who had also hiked behind the sign and she said it’s really not that exciting and she thought the trail we were on was much more beautiful.
We didn’t make it to the sign – it was much longer to get all the way there. We just walked an hour to the Mt Hollywood Summit.
The LA Sightseeing Pass includes guided hikes out here if you did not want to do it yourself. It’s perfectly safe and enjoyable to do it solo though.
Runyon Canyon Park
This is a popular place for hiking as it backs onto Mulholland Drive on one end and West Hollywood on the other. There are plenty of paved trails winding up and down the hills filled with runners, walkers and dogs.
We came from the Mulholland Drive section and walked to a couple of different viewpoints spending time to spy on Katy Perry’s swimming pool. We knew which one was her house thanks to our Celebrity homes tour last week.
We had a fabulous hour exploring the art murals on Melrose Ave. We j joined a tour with LA Stories, grabbed a cup of coffee and then hit the murals, learning more about the art and couture of hip Melrose Ave.
The murals here are changing all the time so keep coming back.
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INSTAGRAM and Mural LOVERS – Get yourself down to Melrose Ave. We had a blast taking photos with the wall murals. There are so many and they change all the time. The girls LOVED it. We decided to do a tour was it @lastoriestour and it was one of our favorite things we did in LA. You could do it yourself although we loved having a guide @veronica_roy to take us to the best spots and even help us create cool poses. One of the four of us coming in a future uodate. Swipe through and tell us your favorite. . . . . . . . . . . #instagramselfie #instagramselfies #lastoriestour #lastories #melroseavenue #melrose #melroseave #melroseavela #melroseart #AmericaUnplugged #discoverla #explorelosangeles #explorela #westhollywood #muralart #artmural #artmurals #muralsart #laart #losangelesart #artlosangeles #angelwingsproject #angelwings #angelwings #coolwallart #wallart #kidifornia #kidswhotravel #suitcasekids #travelkids
We loved having our guide, Veronica set us up with col poses and take photos of all of us. The girls Loved this tour so don’t be afraid to take you kids. You can of course do it yourself.
If you want to do the tour, book it here.
Warner Bros Studio Tour
The treat for our budding actress was the tour of the Warner Bros Studios. It was quite fascinating to see the behind the scenes of putting TV and films together. I’ll tell you this much – it’s all fake!!
We especially loved wearing the sorting hat in the Harry Potter archive section, holding a real Oscar, and sitting on the Friends couch which was filmed here and not in New York City!
- You can book tickets here
- This tour is included on the Go Los Angeles Attraction Pass
The architecture, gardens and views are the stand out for me for a visit to the Getty Museum. IT’s free which is why we visited to fill in a few hours before our Oscars Party in Goldie.
Malibu Creek State Park
Okay so this place WOWED me. We could have been in the middle of Ireland or Asia here, not LA. There was barely a soul around and it was incredibly beautiful, despite having a fire rip through here last year and destroy so much of it. You’ve got craggy mountain peaks, rolling hills, valleys and oak alleys.
M*A*S*H was filmed her – not in Korea like you may have thought.
The absolute highlight of the week of me and one of my favorite state parks on our trip so far. I wish we had more time to explore more and hike out to the M*AS*H* filming site ( 5 miles return) We weren’t prepared.
Take the canyon road out to Malibu from here, it is quite dramatic.
Malibu Movie Stars Tour
This movie stars tour gave us way better views of the celebrity home than the one we did last week in Hollywood. It’s crazy how open they are to anyone driving up to the garage and front door.
It’s amazing that you can spend 6 million (or 100 million if your Cher) on a house that you only stay in every now and then.
It was pretty crazy to see how close the Malibu fires got to some of these homes. I don’t think they have insurance either so there was a few million down the drain.
I still think Malibu beaches are highly overrated but I guess it gives you privacy and you hear the ocean and see magnificent sunsets. The beauty of Malibu lies in the mountain, especially with these swirling colors displaying the regrowth.
- The Malibu Movie Stars tour is included in the The LA Sightseeing Pass
- You can purchase individual tickets here.
Catching up with friends
We had a fun day morning having breakfast with Natalie Di Scalia and Johnny Jet and their gorgeous boy, Jack who our girls adore playing with!
We then caught up with long time blogging friend Spencer Spellman in Santa Monica, finally meeting in real life.
He’s just as cool in real life as we’ve known him to be in the blogging world. AND, fun fact, he grew up in a small town not too far for Durham, which s not to far from Raleigh. NC represent!
Santa Monica bike riding
Okay so our opinion hasn’t’ changed on Santa Monica really. Still find it overly touristy and tacky and kinda stale.
We do enjoy bike riding from their to Venice, which is what we always do when we visit Santa Monica!
The beaches a little further north of Santa Monica heading up to Palisades look a little better.
Madame Tussauds Hollywood
Can you believe this is the first time I’ve gone to a Madame Thousands?
I’ve always felt it was a silly idea and a waste of money. It was included on o our Sightseeing Pass and we had an attraction spare so we went as Kalyra was begin me.
We found it surprisingly quite fun, I liked how you could interact with the wax figures in various ways for photos. The girls really had a great time taking selfies with their favorites.
RV and Road Trip Lessons
- Pay close attention to parking signs. I saw the no parking after 8pm sign when we parked down on Santa Monica beach but my mind was thinking of RVers trying to free park overmighty. It didn’t register with me that it meant getting our car out of there by 8pm!! $53 fine later and a drive over the gutter as the car was locked in.
- Warranty repairs on your RV are a headache. we phoned ahead to Las Vegas Camping World to see about getting a few things repaired. They’d need Goldie for a week to inspect it and get clearance. And then we’d get her back for a few weeks until he parts come in and then they’d need it for three weeks to do the repairs. Are you kidding me? when you’re on a short trip, how can you dedicate an entire month for repairs. So there will be no fixes. we’ll do what we can and live with the fact we wasted $3,000 on a solar setup we can’t use. Thanks for not telling us the truth in the first place Camping World when you sold us Goldie.
Where we stayed in Los Angeles
We finished out our week at the Walnut RV Park. You can read more about it in last week’s wrap.
Each week, I include our travel related costs for the week.
I don’t include things like business costs, insurance, and souvenirs etc. That’s so personal that whatever I told you wouldn’t necessarily be true for you and your budget.
The following, apart from perhaps our groceries, will give you a reasonable estimate of costs related to travel.
If you are new to our weekly wrap, our costs each week are usually around $1,000 – $1,300. We’re really trying to stay under $1,000 a week.
City travel always raises our weekly costs as we’re eating out more and experiencing many attractions. I hate seeing the higher numbers, but part of travel is enjoying local flavors.
I know we’ll have cheaper weeks coming out in nature and it motivates me to be more creative in earning more income!
My 30 days to Money Mindfulness Course helps you learn how to master your money (and do things like weekly spending checks no matter how much they hurt!) You can’t change what you aren’t aware of.
- Fuel: $ 104
- Parking: $68
- Uber: $
- Camping: $453 (1 night @ $63 and 6 nights @$65)
- Park Fees: $6 (Malibu Creek State Park)
- Tours: $ 374 ($256 Warner Bros, $118 Melrose Ave tour)
- Tips: $43
* For the above Malibu Movie tour and Madame Tussauds it would have cost $310 total to purchase them individually (family of 2 adults 2 kids).
The Sightseeing Pass that covers them (+ an additional 3 activities) cost $461 (2 adults + 2 kids) The 3 attraction pass costs $247 so you can see the savings you get! We used 3 of the other attractions last week.
Note that the Sightseeing Pass was covered for us.
- Restaurants: $233
- Coffee: $67
- Groceries: $522 9 (Costco Run)
- Take out/ snacks: $ 55
- Alcohol: $ 35
We eat a mostly whole foods, organic diet, which means our grocery bills are higher than what would be typical.
Don’t forget with eating out costs, tip will be included in the prices and the odd glass of wine or two,
RV supplies and living
- Laundry: $12
- Firewood: $
- Propane: $
- Supplies: $
Total paid by us: $1,972
I think our most expensive week yet. So glad you get out of LA!
Where to next
We’ll be in Vegas for two nights before moving to Lake Mead for a week. We intend on coming back to Vegas at some stage for a proper hotel stay.
Around Lake Mead we want to explore Red Rock State Park, Valley of Fires State Park and Hoover Dam.
Any other tips?
You can find our previous RV weekly wrap posts here.
Our latest in-depth post is published on Sabino Canyon in Tucson.
Videos of the trip coming out soon. We’re very behind! Subscribe to our channel so you don’t miss it. We’re now releasing our road trip videos.
Check out the video of horse riding in Lajitas
More Los Angeles Travel Tips
- 8 Non-Touristy Things to Do in Los Angeles, California
- Checking in: A Glamorous Boutique Hotel in Downtown LA
- Why You Should Consider a Disneyland Vacation Rental vs. Hotel
- 15 Best Hotels Near Disneyland, CA from Budget to Luxury