Before our trailer mishap, we had planned to visit Eric’s sister Penny and brother-in-law Tom for a few days. Much to our delight, there is an Arctic Fox dealer and certified repair shop just a few miles from their house. Perfect! We could spend a couple of nights in Dos Picos County Campground as originally planned, drop off the trailer for repairs, spend a few nights with Penny and Tom, pick up our trailer, and be on our way.
Wrong. Very wrong. The repair shop manager surveyed the damage to our trailer. “Looks like about 40 hours of work, and we have to get the parts shipped from Oregon. You’re looking at about three weeks.” Three weeks!! “Oh, that’s the maximum,” he assured us. “It could easily be ready before that.”
Wrong again. To make a very long story short, we ended up in San Diego for seven weeks. Seven weeks. Turns out that along with a sizeable list of other important trailer parts, we needed a new axle. And the axle manufacturer for Arctic Fox had gone out of business, probably just as we ran over that boulder. Arctic Fox was in the process of contracting with a different manufacturer and we were on hold until they got everything figured out. There were moments when we believed we were never going to get out of San Diego. I suspect Penny and Tom felt that way, too.
It all turned out remarkably well, though. Our insurance company—Progressive—is terrific. They covered all of the repairs (minus the $750 deductible) and provided us with $2000 for temporary lodging expenses. With some creative strategies via Airbnb, we stretched that $2000 into almost three weeks of adventures, including a week on an avocado farm near Temecula, five days in an adobe casita in North Park (a very cool area of downtown San Diego), and nine days in a retro trailer in the beach town of Encinitas. Thanks to the incredible generosity of Judy, a good friend of Tom and Penny’s, we stayed for nine days in Palm Desert. The remainder of our long visit—almost three weeks—we spent with Penny and Tom in their lovely Tuscan-inspired home in the hills overlooking Poway.
We would never have opted for beaching our trailer on a boulder and incurring such immense and expensive damage. But you know, things really do have a way of working out for the best. Without this accident, we would likely never have spent so much time in San Diego. We’ve always dreaded the big city traffic and the crowds, and the only reason we’ve spent time in southern California is because we have family there. But our visits in the past have been brief—two or three days at a time. This time, there was plenty—we’re talking beaucoup amounts—of time.
We had time to cook wonderful meals together (Penny is a fabulous gourmet chef and her kitchen is bigger than our trailer) and time for leisurely conversation. We had time for getting together with Eric’s nephews and their families and time for family celebrations. It was fun. And it was wonderful to reconnect on a deeper level, something that can only happen when there’s more time together.
Eric and I also had time to explore the area around Poway on daily hikes. This is one of the best areas of San Diego for hiking: Blue Sky Ecological Reserve has trails with good uphill climbs to both Lake Poway and Lake Ramona; Lake Hodges offers several hikes, including the beautiful four-mile Piedras Pintadas loop trail (with excellent interpretive signage about the native Kumeyaay Indian culture); and Iron Mountain, with several different trail options through an imposing boulder strewn landscape, is nearby. The weather was perfect, the wildflowers were blooming in profusion, and the birdlife was abundant (including courting grebes, nesting hummingbirds, and migrating warblers).
We finally picked up our trailer on Friday afternoon, and returned to Dos Picos campground where we moved back in and reacquainted ourselves with our little home on wheels. It felt great to be back in our trailer. Our seven weeks in San Diego was a grand adventure, which we’ll be sharing with you in the next few posts. There were actually moments that I said to Eric, “I could live here!” Yeah, said Eric, you and three million other people. One thing is for certain—we have delightful memories of our long, long stay in San Diego, and we’ll return. We’re grateful for the incredible generosity of our dear family and friends. Thanks for taking us in.[portfolio_slideshow]