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The road tripper’s guide to cooking like a champ

Destinations, Road Trip, USA, USA

The road tripper’s guide to cooking like a champ

4 Comments 27 February 2013

Being a budget traveler and just enjoying cooking in general, it means a lot when I can cook while traveling. That’s why the best thing, for me, about traveling with my Jucy Champ in California had to be the full kitchen in the back. I loved waking up and making breakfast in the middle of a Cachuma Lake Recreation Area or cooking as the sun sets next to me in Big Sur.

The nice thing about cooking on the road is not only that you eat more affordably, but also that you can pick the best seat in the house.

I mainly ate what was cooked from the back of my Champ on my tour out West. No matter how equipped the kitchen, cooking from the back of a vehicle is a lot different than cooking at home. This guide will name the essentials that should be on your first shopping list, things to keep in mind and my personal road trip recipes.

Cooking essentials

Do you often catch yourself saying, “Oh no, I forgot….”? Road trippers should purchase these three things on their first trip to the grocery store to be used throughout the trip.

  1. Salt and pepper
  2. Dish soap and sponge
  3. Olive oil or butter

Boiling some water from the back of my Jucy Champ for coffee in the morning at Cachuma Lake. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

Make sure you have

You think soup would be something inexpensive and easy to make on your road trip, until you get back to the car to find you don’t have a can opener! Luckily, my Jucy rental came fully equipped, so I didn’t have to buy any extra appliances, but it’s always good to be sure. Before planning out your meals, make sure you have these key items.

  1. Can-opener (soups, tuna, sauces)
  2. Sharp knife (meats, vegetables)
  3. Cutting board
  4. Colander (pasta, rice, vegetables)

Tips and reminders

Some things that are obvious to seasoned road trippers are unknown to newbies. Keeps these things in mind when cooking in your RV or camper van.

  1. No illegal dumping. This applies to anything and everything coming out of your vehicle, not just bathrooms. If you are emptying your waste tank ask people on the campground where to dispose of it.
  2. Consider how long things take to cook. The butane gas cartridges used for portable gas stoves pack quite a bit of cooking time, but be realistic with how long your meal idea with take.
  3. Wash up immediately. This is the golden rule in all kitchens, but especially those in cars. It’s not a good idea to drive with things floating around. Wash up and put everything away after eating, so you can go as soon as you want to.
  4. Cool off. Make sure your stove top and any pots or pans have cooled down before putting them away.
  5. Plan ahead. Purchase all your groceries etc. in advance of visiting national parks or secluded areas. These places have few choices and most are more expensive than say in the suburbs or big towns.

Three meal ideas

There are so many things you can cook from the back of your camper van. My advice is to keep it simple, but still have fun. These three videos were all shot from the back of my Jucy camper van and will give you some ideas of things to cook on your road trip.

Breakfast: Eggs California

Lunch: Nachos Grande

Dinner: Creamy fettuccine with three-cheese sausage

Thanks to Jucy Rentals USA for sponsoring my trip out West. Visit their website to start planning your own US road trip. Use the code “BobbiUSA” to receive 10% off your booking. Follow my trip right here on Heels and Wheels, as well as on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

As always all opinions are my own.

Like what you see? Follow me on Bloglovin’, Twitter and Facebook to keep up with what I’m writing about. ;)

Jucy Wheels Out West: LA to San Fran

Destinations, Road Trip, USA, USA

Jucy Wheels Out West: LA to San Fran

5 Comments 23 January 2013

Driving on the Pacific Coast Highway north through Malibu, rocky mountains to my right, endless ocean to my left, I felt like I had finally arrived.


The subject of many songs, stories and of course, road trips. The first state I’ll conquer on my tour out west and surprisingly one I know very little about.

Born on the east coast, everything I know of California comes from films and two short trips to Los Angeles. But after one week of touring, I know one thing for sure about this state, I’m in love with it.

My first priority after picking up my Jucy Champ was reaching a beach, so I headed to Santa Monica and continued driving along the coast on the Pacific Coast Highway. A quick stop at Neptune’s Net to try the crab cakes and pause to take in the view, then I continued on to Santa Barbara, where I would spend my first night.

Well that’s what I thought at least.

While there are RV Parks located not far from the town center, I found their rates to be a lot higher than State Parks located a few miles away, so I booked something a bit further out.

Heading deeper and deeper into the wild, I arrived at Cachuma Lake Recreation Area, where I spent my first night. It was pitch black outside by the time I got there, so I was surprised to wake up the next morning and see I was surrounded by the Santa Ynez and San Rafael Mountains. It’s an ideal place to spend a few days in the summer. But in the winter, you’ll find it pretty empty, so don’t worry about booking ahead this time of year.

Can you imagine waking up to this? It’s hard impossible to find a bad spot to camp at Cachuma Lake. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

My only goal for day two was to reach somewhere close to Hearst Castle, which I would tour the following day. I held out as far as possible, skipping State Park after State Park. I finally gave in at Morro Bay and it was a good decision.

Eucalyptus trees line the road to Morro Bay State Park, which is located right on the water. Since they only accept cash or check payments to park up for the night, I had to find a bank. Being in the heavily forested area, you would have no idea how close the town center and loads of shops are. I decided on staying in the town center, spending the night at Cypress Morro Bay RV and MH Park, where I got a space, free wifi and partial hook up for just under $40.

Basically, there are campgrounds here to suit everyone in this area at similar rates, whether you want to be completely surrounded by nature or stay in a town not far from it.

Cypress is walking distance from Morro Rock and Morro Strand State Beach. Along the way to the town’s iconic rock, I passed by a marina filled with sailboats and fishing charters, heaps of independently-owned, fresh seafood restaurants and even a bit of wildlife in the form of three otters playing in the water, not far from shore. I really loved this spot, because it has a nice balance of nature and town life. Plus the sunsets are incredible.

Watch the sun go down in Morro Bay then head to nearby seafood restaurants for dinner. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

The next morning, I was on the road just after 7 a.m. on my way to Hearst Castle in San Simeon. I thought my view of the coast was unbelievable from Highway One here, but it got even better once I reached this castle on a hill. Media mogul William Randolph Hearst commissioned Julia Morgan, California’s first certified female architect, to build his dream estate in 1919.

It literally has the best of two continents, the grandeur of European royalty and the stunning California scenery. Hearst Castle offers an array of different tours, all of which allow visitors to wander around the estate until closing time. The estate is home to an incredible private collection of European art.

The next leg of my journey would actually bring me to tears and make me wonder why it took so long to visit this state.

There are no words to describe the drive on Highway One from Hearst Castle to Big Sur.

It’s so unfair to be the driver on this road. Luckily there are plenty of vista points along the way in Big Sur to stare at the scenery. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

Picture a two lane road cut into rocky hills that rise from the sea. Clear skies and a bright sun lighting up a dark blue ocean. It’s a cruel joke that you need to pay so much attention to driving on the swerving road, because all I wanted to do was stare out my side window at the view of the coast.

I must have stopped about ten times at different vista points along the way. One to check out is a beach that’s home to hundreds of elephant seals, another because I spotted whales out to sea and the rest, well, if you saw just how incredible the coast looks here, you would understand.

Big Sur is a forest on the sea and my favorite stop from week one. I met up with my friend Emily here who flew in from New York City. In one day we crossed the Bixby Canyon Bridge, photographed McWay Falls, watched the sun set from Nepenthe Restaurant, drank tea and played with a cat called Theo at Henry Miller Memorial Library and met locals at Fernwood Grill, which might as well be a living room for them. I spent both nights camping at Fernwood in a spot right next to the Big Sur River. The forest there is filled with coastal red woods, not quite as big as the trees up north, but still fascinating.

McWay Falls pours right onto the beach and is only a ten minute walk from the parking lot at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

This section of California is owned by nature, but also a few unique restaurants, bars and lodges seem to come out of nowhere along the road here. It’s hard to believe it’s only 30 minutes from civilization in the form of Monterey.

Pay attention when walking on trails in in the forest here. A poison oak plant brushed my skin at some point here. Nothing serious, but it’s good to be aware.

After a day in Big Sur, we made our way up to San Francisco, stopping at Carmel by the Sea, to stick our feet in the Pacific Ocean, Santa Cruz to check out the boardwalk and Half Moon Bay to see the bluff from a Ritz Carlton located right on the beach here.

We finally reached San Francisco, where we would spend a few days, around 7 p.m.. Give yourself an entire day or even longer to do the trip from Big Sur to the city, it takes a lot longer than you would think.

My Jucy Champ parked up at a lookout point near the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

We couldn’t have chosen a better weekend to be in the bay area as it was buzzing about the 49ers being in the NFC Division Championship game, which they won!

We started our visit in the city by taking in its best views, visiting Bakers Beach to see the Golden Gate Bridge and Twin Peaks to see the city from above. While it was worth getting to Twin Peaks for the view, driving up the hills in San Francisco is one of the scariest things I’ve ever experienced on the road. Don’t even bother with the break going up. Keep your foot on the gas to stop the car from falling back.

Our trip to Alcatraz gave us another view of the city and one that must have been such a tease to the men imprisoned there decades ago. Tours of Alcatraz are self guided and told through recordings of former prisoners and officers. Focusing only on the voices that guide you and the areas they point out, it’s easy to get lost in the island prison.

Former prisoners on Alcatraz say some nights they could hear laughter coming from the city, a reminder of what they were missing out on. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

Book your tickets to Alcatraz far in advance, it sells out days ahead at all times of year.

Fisherman’s Wharf is one of the busiest spots in San Francisco. There is loads to do in this area and great seafood restaurants to eat at. We visited the sea lions at Pier 39 and I was lucky enough to be scared by the Bush Man yet again. This San Fran staple covers himself with shrubbery on the sidewalks around the wharf, scaring inattentive passer-bys, like me.

While the Wharf has a ton of restaurants, we opted for Italian food in North Beach for dinner as one of my friends who lives in the city, says it’s where all the locals go. Think 1950s Italian restaurants, stringed lights hung above the streets and tasty homemade meals.

While in the city we also visited Alamo Square to see the Painted Ladies (a row of houses made famous by Full House), Haight Ashbury (where all the hippies traveled to in the 60s) and Lombard Street, which is known for being San Francisco’s crookedest street.

I said goodbye to Emily in San Francisco and welcomed on tour my wonderful boyfriend Ric. Our last activity in the city was crossing the Golden Gate Bridge on the way to Napa, something I never thought I would do in my life.

This state has so many claims to fame and so many icons known around the world that make it attractive at face value. But like any great love, it’s the state’s secrets and surprises that will make you fall for it. I can’t wait to find out more about it.

Thanks to Jucy Rentals USA for sponsoring my trip out West. Visit their website to start planning your own US road trip. Use the code “BobbiUSA” to receive 10% off your booking. Follow my trip right here on Heels and Wheels, as well as on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

A special thanks to Hearst Castle and Alcatraz Cruises for welcoming me out to their attractions.

As always all opinions are my own.

Like what you see? Follow me on Bloglovin’, Twitter and Facebook to keep up with what I’m writing about. ;)

Tour the Jucy Champ (Video)

Destinations, Road Trip, USA, USA

Tour the Jucy Champ (Video)

14 Comments 15 January 2013

The sun is shining, ocean calm calm and the Pacific Coast Highway empty. Sounds like a good day to start my Jucy road trip in Western USA.

The down-under rental company premiered in the States this past summer and after driving it for only one day, I can honestly say it’s a unique addition to the country’s roadways. Everywhere I stop people stare, ask questions and get excited about my adorable green Jucy Champ, a pimped out Chrysler minivan.

It’s easy to under stand why.

To start with, the van drives like a dream and isn’t too much to handle for people who aren’t used to driving big cars. It’ll get you more miles to the gallon than those massive RVs, but still has plenty of space to spread out and get comfortable.

And what does all that space include?

On top of all the basics of modern vehicles, power-steering; air conditioning and what not, this ride also includes:

  • penthouse bed on top with ladder to reach it
  • a fold out, standard-size bed inside, suitable for two people
  • sheets, pillow, towels and blankets
  • DVD player, CD player and radio
  • 41-liter fridge
  • sink with a fresh water tank
  • gas cooker
  • interior table as well as another fold out table for outside
  • dishes, cutlery, kettle, pots and pans
  • interior lighting, blinds and electrical outlets

The Jucy team in Los Angeles were extremely helpful in showing me how to use the all the Champ’s goodies. I’ve already assembled my bed for the night and am now laying down in it, parked up on the beach in Santa Barbara. Already loving my life on the road with Jucy.

Thanks to Jucy Rentals USA for sponsoring my trip out West. Visit their website to start planning your own US road trip. Use the code “BobbiUSA” to receive 10% off your booking. Follow my trip right here on Heels and Wheels, as well as on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. As always all opinions are my own.

Like what you see? Follow me on Bloglovin’, Twitter and Facebook to keep up with what I’m writing about. ;)

Jucy Wheels Out West

Blog, Destinations, Other, Road Trip, USA, USA

Jucy Wheels Out West

10 Comments 09 January 2013

There’s something about Western USA that just pulls people in. It’s in the shining lights of cities like Los Angeles and Las Vegas, the wide open roads on the Pacific Coast Highway and especially the jaw-dropping landscapes of national parks like Yosemite and Grand Canyon. The West has long attracted travellers looking to stretch out or even make it big.

And in 2013 that’s going to be me.

I’m happy to announce that for my first trip of 2013 I’ll be heading out with with Jucy Rentals in the USA. During the three week tour of California and Nevada, I’ll be stopping at three major cities, at least five national parks and as many beaches as humanly possible.

I was first introduced to Jucy almost three years ago in Australia. Their cute green and purple vans with an even cuter pin-up girl on the side were extremely popular down under, which made me envious that we never had anything like that in the States.

Not anymore.

A look at my Wheels out West, the Jucy Champ campervan. Photo courtesy of Jucy Rentals

The vehicle rental company premiered in the USA this past summer. Why is this so exciting? Because they offer affordable rentals allowing people at all ages and budgets to go on the road trip they’ve always dreamed of, including me.

It may sound weird, but I’ve traveled the world more than my own country. This will be my first serious road trip of the USA since childhood. Sure I went on the regular family road trips and I’ve been on a few weekend trips here and there, but I’ve never been on a large-scale road trip anywhere in the USA and have traveled minimally out West.

So after three years of living abroad, it’s finally time to travel the homeland. The trip will start and finish in Los Angeles, looping out to Las Vegas than on to the Grand Canyon and back.

Photo courtesy of Google Maps

Here are a few of the things I’m most excited about:

Big cities:

  • Los Angeles
  • San Francisco
  • Las Vegas

Big parks:

  • Big Sur
  • Yosemite
  • Grand Canyon
  • Joshua Tree

Big attractions:

  • Eames House
  • Hearst Castle
  • Alcatraz
  • Napa Valley

It’s going to be a full three weeks. Luckily, I won’t be doing it alone. I’ll be catching up with friends along the way, traveling with Emily, one of my best friends from college, from Big Sur to San Francisco and meeting up with Ric in Napa Valley to finish off the trip together.

I’ve done my research and picked out a lot of places I’m eager to visit, but I want to hear from you! Where would you visit on a road trip of Western USA? What sights are you eager to see and what would you like to know more about?

Thanks to Jucy Rentals USA for sponsoring my trip out West. Visit their website to start planning your own US road trip. Use the code “BobbiUSA” to receive 10% off your booking. Follow my trip right here on Heels and Wheels, as well as on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. As always all opinions are my own.

Like what you see? Follow me on Bloglovin’, Twitter and Facebook to keep up with what I’m writing about. ;)

Win a Jucy road trip with HW’s relaunch

Blog, Giveaway, Other

Win a Jucy road trip with HW’s relaunch

33 Comments 14 August 2012

There’s nothing like having your own set of wheels on a holiday.

It gives you complete freedom to go wherever you want, spend as long as you want at a location, change plans at the last second and even to the reassurance of a bed-absolutely anywhere.

I’ve loved the idea of all this for as long as I can remember. Maybe that’s because I’ve been road tripping since before I can even remember. Based in New Jersey, my parents had a huge love affair with Florida. Every year-sometimes four or five times a year-they would pack up the car, whether it be a station wagon with a popup camper attached or a pimped out van, and take my brother and I on that 20-something-hour trip to St. Augustine, Florida.

They even found friends with kids who loved road tripping as much as them to join in on the ride. We would go in separate cars, but we had walkie talkies to keep in touch, which we all usually just ended up playing games and telling jokes on.

What’s black and white and read all over? Over.

I loved those trips, because with our crew, I was never sat in the back seat asking, “Are we there yet?” My mom could just make fun out of anything and my dad always knew of the most random spots to pull over for a meal, like that crab shack in Georgia with holes in the middle of the tables and trash cans below to dispose of shells.

It didn’t matter where we were going or when we would get there, the fun was in the journey on every one of those road trips.

Some things never change.

This past January, Ric and I took a month off to road trip New Zealand. I’ve traveled a lot of different ways over the years, by train in Europe, bus in SE Asia and I’ve taken a lot of plane rides to all corners of the world, but road tripping holds a very special place in my heart and in the USA-I have to say it’s the only way to travel.

Americana Road Trip Theme

So when I decided to redesign my site with a more fun, lighthearted theme, I decided to trace back my roots of travel and go with a very Americana Road Trip theme.

Introducing the new Heels and Wheels. Designed by Bobbi O’Gilvie

The new theme was designed by the talented Bobbi O’Gilvie, who, I must add, I road tripped Australia’s east coast with. She recently opened up shop with her designs on Ready to Blog. Her work is beautiful and well worth a look. Plus she’s a wonderful person to work with.

But there’s more…


To celebrate Heels and Wheels’ redesign and relaunch-the wonderful people of Jucy have given me three nights with a Jucy Champ Campa in the USA to give away, so the winner and a friend can go on his or her own road trip.

A Jucy Champ Campa on America’s famous Route 66. Photo courtesy of Jucy

I first noticed Jucy when traveling Australia. Everywhere in the country I’d see that funky green and purple van with a red-head pin up model on the side blowing me kisses. Their campervans include absolutely everything a person would need to road trip-bed, gas cooker, fridge, cookware, even a sink-all at prices backpackers can afford.

I had never seen anything like it in the States. Road tripping in a fancy van or Winnebago always seemed to be reserved for families or retirees with money. Poor twenty-somethings, like me, could only hit the road in a car. But in Australia and New Zealand, because of companies like Jucy, even people on a budget can road trip in comfort. So I was very excited to hear about the companies launch in the USA this past year.

How to enter

There is more than one way to enter this competition and the more ways you enter, the better a chance you have at winning. Using Rafflecopter, see the entry form below, you can enter by:

  • Leaving a blog post comment about where you would go on your three-day road trip,
  • Liking Heels and Wheels on Facebook,
  • Liking Jucy on Facebook,
  • Tweeting about this competition,
  • Following Heels and Wheels on Twitter,
  • and following Jucy on Twitter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

All these things MUST be done using the Rafflecopter application above to keep track of your entries.If you do not use the application above than your votes will not be counted.

The contest will run until September 13, 2012 12:01 p.m. EST and the winner will be selected using Rafflecopter. Be sure to read the term and conditions below.

Terms and conditions

There are just a few to consider when entering this competition:

  • Vehicle must be used for travel between:  1 October 2012 – 30 November 2012.
  • Vehicle must be collected and returned to the same location.  No one way hires allowed.
  • Prize includes vehicle, bedding and kitchen equipment.
  • 100 free miles per night included.  If customers go over this they will be charged for extra miles traveled.
  • No insurance included.  Customers must purchase one of JUCY’s insurance options which can be found on our website. Details of the vehicle and insurance can be found here.
  • Prize subject to availability at time of booking.
  • Prize will be subject to JUCY’s standard terms and conditions.
  • Prize conditions subject to change.

Now that that’s out of the way. It’s time to hear from you. Where would you like to go on your mini Jucy road trip?

Jucy in Las Vegas, NV. Photo courtesy of Jucy.

Like what you see? Follow me on Bloglovin’, Twitter and Facebook to keep up with what I’m writing about. ;)

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