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El Camino Real

2020 Camino Guides

Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Camino(s) past & future
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others
I know this is waaayyy off topic of the Camino de Santiago, but I'm living in California now and El Camino Real is literally in my backyard. For those that don't know, El Camino Real is the 800-mile road that connected/connects a chain of missions built by Spanish priests and their Native American converts (please no political commentary/flame wars) along the California coast. The Franciscan founder, Father Junipero Serra, was recently canonized by Pope Francis (again, I probably agree with some potential criticism, but let's not go there...a lot of our saints have a past we'd criticize today, and it's not the point of my post)--the local newspapers speculated on whether this might lead to the old mission road becoming a pilgrimage route (I doubt it). That said, i grew up in California and always wanted to walk the route, every time I'd see one of the bells on a shepherds hook that marks the route I'd wonder what it would be like. Fast forward a few decades of living all over the world, and I'm back home living in a small town on the Camino (as many small towns are, and now many big cities). I've found one online resource (though they walked north to south, and I'd prefer to walk south to north). since many places kept El Camino as the name of the main road, and most of the missions still exist in some state of repair/disrepair, a few hours with a map could lay out a route. The main drawback is the lack of inexpensive lodging in some parts as it passes through popular tourist areas, kind of like the Norte was (admittedly it will be more expensive than the norte).
Has anyone walked this? If so, how did you handle housing, and do you recall how much that ended up being (approximately)?
 

Cayou

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2015 Villafranca to SdC 2016 St Jean to LosArcos 2018 Leon to SdC 2019 Le Puy to Conques
Funny, just saw Huell Howser California Gold episode on this at Rincon Point, where I've surfed and walked around the Point on apparently the Camino Real path.
Maybe in Central Coast, but no way in So.Cal ... a 4 mile walk through San Clemente on busy streets next to 8 lane freeway is not happening - even if it is named Camino Real.
I've heard of a "low tide" walk down the Coast, which is often the route taken by earlist settlers.
Great campsites at El Capitan & Refugio (sounds like Spain), Morro Bay, got to be more ....
 

RumAndChupacabras

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Jul-Sept 2019: Six weeks in Northern Spain.
Apr 2018 Asturias
May 2016 CP: Portuguese
Great Topic! I'd be interested in hearing from those who might have walked it, too.
 

Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Camino(s) past & future
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others

Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Camino(s) past & future
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others
well, it turns out this is a book I own, and while valuable for directions and suggested routes, he doesn't mention what a planned lodging budget will be. I guess I will just look up rates for the planned stops (and a few cities forward and back of the stops)...he does say, as I already guessed, it can be expensive travelling through the tourist areas.
 

Tomhealdsburg

New Member
I know this is waaayyy off topic of the Camino de Santiago, but I'm living in California now and El Camino Real is literally in my backyard. For those that don't know, El Camino Real is the 800-mile road that connected/connects a chain of missions built by Spanish priests and their Native American converts (please no political commentary/flame wars) along the California coast. The Franciscan founder, Father Junipero Serra, was recently canonized by Pope Francis (again, I probably agree with some potential criticism, but let's not go there...a lot of our saints have a past we'd criticize today, and it's not the point of my post)--the local newspapers speculated on whether this might lead to the old mission road becoming a pilgrimage route (I doubt it). That said, i grew up in California and always wanted to walk the route, every time I'd see one of the bells on a shepherds hook that marks the route I'd wonder what it would be like. Fast forward a few decades of living all over the world, and I'm back home living in a small town on the Camino (as many small towns are, and now many big cities). I've found one online resource (though they walked north to south, and I'd prefer to walk south to north). since many places kept El Camino as the name of the main road, and most of the missions still exist in some state of repair/disrepair, a few hours with a map could lay out a route. The main drawback is the lack of inexpensive lodging in some parts as it passes through popular tourist areas, kind of like the Norte was (admittedly it will be more expensive than the norte).
Has anyone walked this? If so, how did you handle housing, and do you recall how much that ended up being (approximately)?
A few years back a lady that had previously done the Camino to Santiago walked the El Camino Real in California. I have been thinking about doing it myself. She prepared a guide and put it on line. The website is http://walkelcaminoreal.com/ .
 

Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Camino(s) past & future
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others
Thanks, that's the online source I mentioned and it's very good, and she makes a few camping/lodging suggestions. Since it seems not many have done a price estimate (like so many have done for the Camino de Santiago) I may just need to start researching hotel costs (boring!!)...then decide if it may be less expensive in some areas to take the train or bus to a less expensive lodging option for the night. I have a couple of relatives I could probably stay with in southern california and of course my own home near San Luis Obispo/San Miguel...
in her online guide the prices for everything (food/lodging/etc) range from 400 to 3500 so....not sure if some people only ate steak and stayed in 5 star hotels, or someone camped illegally, or....).
when it's only three estimates, and they are not divided into food/lodging/drink it's difficult to extrapolate.
 

CalSue

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Beginning of CF (2016)
I know this is waaayyy off topic of the Camino de Santiago, but I'm living in California now and El Camino Real is literally in my backyard. For those that don't know, El Camino Real is the 800-mile road that connected/connects a chain of missions built by Spanish priests and their Native American converts (please no political commentary/flame wars) along the California coast. The Franciscan founder, Father Junipero Serra, was recently canonized by Pope Francis (again, I probably agree with some potential criticism, but let's not go there...a lot of our saints have a past we'd criticize today, and it's not the point of my post)--the local newspapers speculated on whether this might lead to the old mission road becoming a pilgrimage route (I doubt it). That said, i grew up in California and always wanted to walk the route, every time I'd see one of the bells on a shepherds hook that marks the route I'd wonder what it would be like. Fast forward a few decades of living all over the world, and I'm back home living in a small town on the Camino (as many small towns are, and now many big cities). I've found one online resource (though they walked north to south, and I'd prefer to walk south to north). since many places kept El Camino as the name of the main road, and most of the missions still exist in some state of repair/disrepair, a few hours with a map could lay out a route. The main drawback is the lack of inexpensive lodging in some parts as it passes through popular tourist areas, kind of like the Norte was (admittedly it will be more expensive than the norte).
Has anyone walked this? If so, how did you handle housing, and do you recall how much that ended up being (approximately)?
I lived less than a mile from El Camino in the San Francisco Bay Area for almost 30 years. Most of that stretch of El Camino is a busy (almost constant car/truck traffic during the day) asphalt road with minimal charm and no reasonable lodging. But south of San Jose, things change. When my kids were in grammar school, studying the California missions was part of the curriculum, and they visited a few.
 

Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Camino(s) past & future
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others
I lived less than a mile from El Camino in the San Francisco Bay Area for almost 30 years. Most of that stretch of El Camino is a busy (almost constant car/truck traffic during the day) asphalt road with minimal charm and no reasonable lodging. But south of San Jose, things change. When my kids were in grammar school, studying the California missions was part of the curriculum, and they visited a few.
yes, i still remember the shoebox diorama I made of Santa Inez :) I agree the road is not the same as when founded (and walking Highway 101 doesn't sound quite as enticing) but like the Camino de Santiago I think the areas of less charm can be routed around a bit, and the book and online guide talked about above gives some suggestions. Since I now live between SLO and San Miguel I've been thinking about a trial walk to one or the other...although the thought of walking over the Cuesta grade gives me pause...it looks crazy when I see bikes doing it. It's the 'no reasonable lodging' in many parts that gives me pause (e.g. Bay area, San Diego)...maybe I can convince Motel 6 or La Quinta to give a pilgrims discount :rolleyes:
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
Funny, just saw Huell Howser California Gold episode on this at Rincon Point, where I've surfed and walked around the Point on apparently the Camino Real path.
Maybe in Central Coast, but no way in So.Cal ... a 4 mile walk through San Clemente on busy streets next to 8 lane freeway is not happening - even if it is named Camino Real.
I've heard of a "low tide" walk down the Coast, which is often the route taken by earlist settlers.
Great campsites at El Capitan & Refugio (sounds like Spain), Morro Bay, got to be more ....
Obviously sounds like Spain and even San Clemente is a nice town on Camino de Levante in Spain ;)
 

SYates

Camino Fossil AD 1999, now living in Santiago de C
Camino(s) past & future
First: Camino Francés 1999
...
Last: Santiago - Muxia 2019

Now: http://egeria.house/
If only you could find locals willing to let you sleep on their couch for the night.
https://www.couchsurfing.com/

I haven't done this nor do I know anyone who has.
I know both sites of couchsurfing, being a host and being a guest, the important bit is reading the respective profiles carefully, including the reviews/feedbacks. Buen Camino, SY
 

Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Camino(s) past & future
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others
I'll keep the couch surfing idea in the back of my mind, but I think over the next few weeks (garden tasks are demanding action right now) I'll start researching hotel costs and if anyone might be interested, post what I've found. I think if 2-4 people walk as a group (or at least check into a hotel as a group) then costs could equal the Camino de Santiago...especially if staying someplace like Motel 6 (sometimes checking into pensions I'd think to myself 'and yet, at home, it has to be a Marriott'...
SY, what would you say from your experience are the negatives on couch surfing? It seems like a very risky business
 

SYates

Camino Fossil AD 1999, now living in Santiago de C
Camino(s) past & future
First: Camino Francés 1999
...
Last: Santiago - Muxia 2019

Now: http://egeria.house/
Nothing very risky about it, as a host you have to go through quite a few hoops to get verified and both hosts and guests depend on feedback/reviews from the other, so a good look at their profiles tells you a lot. Buen Camino, SY
 

Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Camino(s) past & future
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others
If is anyone is thinking "she said she would look into this," I finally have. OK, I know, no one cares:rolleyes: but I'm listing costs anyway.

I used the blogs that were listed above to look at stopping points, and Briery's kindle book, and after awhile got lazy and just used Briery's book, since he lists campgrounds. The best option for cost effectiveness is a group of 3-4. if two are walking together, splitting a hotel may be less expensive than camping depending on the camp site and hotel (details below). Single walkers are going to have sticker shock:eek:, no way around it, no matter what you do. Briery used campgrounds if they were available, especially in the lower and upper third of the trail. He had several reasons to do so, in part there are less camp grounds near his rest stops in the central coast, hotels are less expensive in the central coast (he didn't give that as a reason but they are), and it was raining heavily on him when his group reached the central coast (can't imagine that now with five years of drought).

Camping: most cost effective if 3-4 people, rates for a site booked ahead ranged 35-50 per site, sites could hold up to 4-8 depending. some seemed quite nice w/ spas, laundry, etc and some were just a place on dirt or pavement. Some had first-come first-served spots for hikers/bikers that were 'nominal'...I'm awaiting the response on what 'nominal' translates to in dollars, and how fast those sites get filled on an average day. Reservation books go out 4 months, and it looks like you need to book very early (like 3-4 months) especially near San Diego during the times of the year that surf competitions are underway

hotels: rooms in the super-budget type hotels appeared to be 50-60, and I'm pretty sure you may find them in less desirable parts of town, with questionable neighbors in the rooms next door. If you put 3-4 in a room with two queens and maybe a sofa, it comes out close to campgrounds.

hostals: I found some in the larger cities (like San Diego, San Francisco, LA) and costs seemed to be around 25 for a bed in either an all female or mixed dorm room with shared bath, kitchen, lockers. The pictures looked nice, but you know how that can be. Other than the still-not-heard-details nominal cost hiker campsite, this is the lowest cost for single walkers. As soon as there are two of you or more, look at hotels or camps for better prices unless you are seeking that hostal-vibe. I imagine in winter/spring break and summer these go fast, as college kids are in search of fun in the sun :cool:. these aren't listed in Briery's book, I used the usual booking sites to find.

train: I looked to see if taking the train out of high cost areas would help; not really, once you add in the cost of the ticket round trip. The only advantage to the train that I see is if you have a relative or friend you want to visit, so will take the train to them...but you are trading time on the train for sleeping in a bed you know to be bug-free, and a home cooked meal. I am considering trying this for the second and third stage only because my brother will kill me if I'm staying in some hostal or motel 6 rather than his Laguna Niguel home. I still need to crunch numbers, but depending on if you live in California and you will be walking every weekend, instead of walking straight through over a couple of months, it may be a bit more cost effective to buy a monthly train pass to haul you up and down the coast to starting points/from ending points. Briery's group drove to San Diego and walked straight though, then he took the train back to pick up the car while the others flew home out of SF. Anyone coming from out of state could probably do that, or fly to starting point, then take train back to starting point to fly out on a round trip ticket.

I'm still deciding re: tent vs hotel vs hostal. unless I find a walking buddy or two, it will cost me $25-60 a night, and averaged over the length of the trail about $40-50 (unless I get some of those 'nominal' spots). For areas where tent and hotel come out about the same, the trade off is amenities of hotel (dry, don't have to set up, don't have to carry tent/bag) vs the possibility that these low-budget places attract crime and bed bugs. For groups of 3-4, the cost will drop (camping or hotel) to a range closer to the Camino de Santiago at $10-12.

credential: believe it or not, there are credentials (just no completion certificate) you can order. Briery said you need two to complete the entire route, so I ordered 5 (two for me, 1 for each of my siblings) --hoping they will walk part of whichever stage passes by their homes (Missions San Juan Capistrano, Buenaventura, and San Luis Obispo or San Miguel)....the five together will cost 12.50.

so there you have it: as of right now, costs are about $40-50 a night for lodging (of an admittedly questionable nature), the more you split that with, the less cost to you. Credentials are a bit over $2. Briery splits the trail into 56 stages, but admits a few could be adjusted for longer walks and less days (in my opinion some of the legs are short, but he was trying to allow for not-overdoing, being at a mission during business hours, etc...and I know if I carry a tent I'll appreciate the 8-11 mile days)

edit: no idea how one person did it for $400 for food and lodging combined, unless he had a LOT of friends and relatives strung out along the coast.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019

Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Camino(s) past & future
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others
maybe a gofundme account today :)
somehow I think dollars go a bit further (especially in 1950's when the dollar was more powerful) getting a camel ride in Africa than renting a room in Carmel, CAo_O
 
Camino(s) past & future
Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019
I know this is waaayyy off topic of the Camino de Santiago
That's nothing compared to this post.

edit: no idea how one person did it for $400 for food and lodging combined, unless he had a LOT of friends and relatives strung out along the coast.
I'm reminded of a book I read in Jr. high school: "Around the World on $80" published in 1952 or 1953.
Forgive the geekiness of this but I just had to do it.

In 1950 the minimum wage in the US was $0.75 and so to get $80 one had to work 106.7 hours. Today the minimum wage is $7.25 and in 106.7 hours one would earn $773.58.

In another thread someone said the cheapest round-trip fare for Melbourne/Barcelona was $1,600 Aus. Or $800 AUS one-way and that is about $620 US. 25% more is $775 US.

The distance between Melbourne and Barcelona is about 10,450 miles and 25% more is 13,062.5 miles.

The circumference of the earth is about 24,900 miles and 13,062.5 miles is just half-way around.

So today one might be able to write a book "Half-way Around the World on the Equivalent of $80 in 1950 Money" and fill it up with the adventures of getting through airport security.
 

Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Camino(s) past & future
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others
In 1950 the minimum wage in the US was $0.75 and so to get $80 one had to work 106.7 hours. Today the minimum wage is $7.25 and in 106.7 hours one would earn $773.58.
I was hoping someone would do this :)(I love math but hate it once a dollar sign is placed in front of those beautiful numbers :mad:)

and that doesn't include the other power of a dollar in 1950 (and to an extent in current times if the country is in the middle of a war)--we laugh now when someone asks if they can use dollars in Spain (and it doesn't make sense now) but there was a time when travelers were advised not to change dollars to local currency, as you got a much better deal with US dollars. I'm not terribly old, but I've traveled to several countries on several different continents, where shop keepers would argue with me if I wanted to pay with the local currency (although all change was made in local currency)

So today one might be able to write a book "Half-way Around the World on the Equivalent of $80 in 1950 Money" and fill it up with the adventures of getting through airport security.
Thank you for this entire post. It has made my day, week, and month. Geeky trivia fans the world over would elect you king (edit: I might be one).
er...you don't mind if I use the title, do youo_O
 
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Camino(s) past & future
Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019
Thank you for this entire post. It has made my day, week, and month. Geeky trivia fans the world over would elect you king.
er...you don't mind if I use the title, do you
Actually I was just going to edit the post to put in something that slipped my mind earlier. I just found a webpage that quoted from a 1955 ad for TWA. It gave a fare of $76 for a San Francisco to Chicago flight. That is about 1,860 miles or only about 7.5% of the circumference of the earth. So we are getting about 7 times the value today.

Yes, you can use my title for your book but if you use "War and Peace" you may get better sales. :)
 

Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Camino(s) past & future
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others
King for all time. Peg is a lucky woman
 

Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Camino(s) past & future
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others
In 1950 the minimum wage in the US was $0.75 and so to get $80 one had to work 106.7 hours. Today the minimum wage is $7.25 and in 106.7 hours one would earn $773.58.
now can you adjust this with purchasing power parity?
http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/PA.NUS.PPP (edit wrong link)

pretty soon I will be travelling around the world first class:D

(mods, it's kind of pertinent, PPP was first taught in the university at Salamanca in the 16th century) --geek trivia fans unite
 
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Camino(s) past & future
Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019
Peg is a lucky woman
Yes, if she can get me to fix the sink faucets.
now can you adjust this with purchasing power parity?
No. Economics was the biggest waste of my education.
pretty soon I will be travelling around the world first class
40 years ago when I finished my active duty military service I used my savings to go vagabonding for a year. I got geeky earlier this month and plugged in what I spent on the trip into an online app that figured out how much money I would have if I put the money into a Standard and Poors fund. Wow! How much more travel I could do today.
 

Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Camino(s) past & future
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others
continuing what I'm sure is pretty much just talking to myself, I have info on the nominal fee for walk-up hikers/bikers...not available at all of the parks in Briery's guide, but it's 5-10$ (at last, albergue rates!), more often 10, and they go quickly according to the places who have replied so far. I also found this site, run by the nice lady who makes the credentials http://walkelcaminoreal.com/links.php
it has a complete breakdown of prices in all state parks, and I may see if I want to alter his stopping points a bit to walk more along the coast...if i have to veer off the real path anyway (since most of it is highway 101) i may head off west rather than east...but that would only be cost effective if I'm trying to camp AND i appear to be getting the low priced walk in rates.
 

Island

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portugues 2019
Pilgrims' Way 2020
Via Francigena 2020
California Mission Trail 2020
continuing what I'm sure is pretty much just talking to myself, I have info on the nominal fee for walk-up hikers/bikers...not available at all of the parks in Briery's guide, but it's 5-10$ (at last, albergue rates!), more often 10, and they go quickly according to the places who have replied so far. I also found this site, run by the nice lady who makes the credentials http://walkelcaminoreal.com/links.php
it has a complete breakdown of prices in all state parks, and I may see if I want to alter his stopping points a bit to walk more along the coast...if i have to veer off the real path anyway (since most of it is highway 101) i may head off west rather than east...but that would only be cost effective if I'm trying to camp AND i appear to be getting the low priced walk in rates.
I really want to thank you for introducing me to this trek. And what a great Facebook group they have! Adding to my USA bucket list!
 

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