Me and a mate are arriving to LA in mid June for two weeks and looking to go on a road trip up to Seattle throughout one week, then back down to LA throughout the following week. We are looking at hiring a Wicked Camper Van for travel and accommodation as we're under the assumption it will be the cheapest (instead of public transport/hostels). We was wondering what the best places would be to see/route to take there and back etc.
Any advice on keeping it cheap...?
That's too much driving for one week - you'd have no time to see anything. Remember that renting an RV does not mean that you can park it overnight along the roadside - you will be paying for camper space at an RV park or campground - see the KOA website for fees and reservation info. Parking an RV in cities such as SF, LA and Seattle will also be expensive.
I live in Seattle, and I agree that I wouldn't want to try squeezing that much driving into one week. Personally, I would wait until there was a ridiculously low plane ticket and then fly down for a week - unless you're looking for the RV experience, outside of the cost.
I live in seattle and did this over the summer. Some of my favorite places were lake shasta and dunes city oregon. In Washington Aberdeen is a cool coast town where kurt Cobain was born also see ocean shores. Seattle has Boeing and the space needle. But the best is lake Tahoe.
If you go with the camper van, most Wal-marts will let you park there overnight for free. Here's a website that has some good info on other free camping spots http://www.freecampgrounds.com/index.aspx
WalMarts are very good at letting RV/camper vans park in their 'overflow' parking areas. Every time I visit our WalMart, there will be at least 3 or more RVs that have parked for the night. It also gives you somewhere to restock any supplies you may need. Personally, I dislike WalMart stores but they do carry most everything you need and do let RVs spend the night.
Also, consider the wayside rest areas along the highways and interstates. They have parking areas for semi-trailers and RVs. Many of the truckers will park there for the night. If the wayside rest area is empty (no cars or semi-trailers parked there) do not stop and find the next best option - campground, WalMart, next rest area.
As much as 99% of Americans are good people, there are a few out there who actually target wayside rest areas when there is only one vehicle parked. They consider the occupant(s) as easy prey for theft of money and possessions. No matter how 'tough' your friend and you may be, don't be a target.
Oh, and many of the gas station truck stops (catering to truckers) also have free overnight stay parking. They are usually big and hard to miss with the huge 'gas price signs' seen from a mile away. Several have shower facilities, fast food restaurants and mini-marts for supplies. Some charge for the shower facility, some do not. But, they cater to the long-haul truckers. I've been in some where there was a real (dial) phone in each booth in the dining area. Many now offer free wifi.