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]
If anyone can be said to make lemonade of lemons and find the silver lining in the dark clouds, it is you two. Your pictures are beautiful, you had a wonderful time in spite of it all and you are an inspiration in seeing the bright side and weathering the storm. I can use that just now. Thank you so much!
Thanks, Sherry. The dark cloud really did have a silver lining — we feel really fortunate that everything worked out as well as it did. And talk about finding the best in life no matter what happens — you guys are an inspiration.
Looks like you two were successful at turning lemons into lemonade. Sometimes life throws us those curve balls and learning to roll with the flow and find humor in the events helps make it an interesting ‘adventure’. Safe travels north :-)
Ingrid, as you know, humor and flexibility are our best friends in this lifestyle! We’re excited to be finally be on our way.
OMG, you got to see the Western Grebe courtship dance! That almost might be worth spending 7 weeks in San Diego. I’m sure it’s a blessing to keep on trucking, and hopefully you won’t run into anymore mishaps. Still, Western Grebes…!
Sheila, the Western grebes were beautiful! We spent an hour watching dozens of grebes doing their courtship dance. That was one of the best photos we were able to get, though — it’s a challenge to capture!
I don’t know who the photographer is–probably both of you. but I marvel at the beauty of the bird photos that you take. Absolutely stunning!!! I’m so glad to see that California has Scrub Jays– they are a dwindling species, and there is only one area in Florida that has them–a state park right in Sarasota. That was a life bird for me and the only time I have ever seen one. Thanks so much for your great blogs!
Barbara, I’m so glad you’re enjoying the blog (and yes, both of us take the photos). The Western scrub jay is such a beautiful bird — it’s a common backyard bird for us in Ashland, but nonetheless wonderful to see.
WOW. When was the last time you two stayed in ONE place for seven weeks? That must have felt so bizarre! But as usual, you made the most of it. I can’t help but wonder how safe it was to keep driving your trailer if so much was broken on it. Yikes. Good thing you aren’t my kids! I’d have been worried! Good luck getting back into trailer life. :)
Janet, there was quite a bit more damage than we had realized — but fortunately we only had a short distance from Anza Borrego to San Diego. We checked it out in Anza Borrego to make sure that it was okay to tow. The insurance company wanted to replace the axle just to be safe.
So glad to hear your home is all fixed up and you are back to life on the road:) How nice to have family and a wonderful area to visit if you need to stay for an extended period. Sounds and looks like you made the most of your seven weeks. I love all the creative places you spent time staying in. Very good idea:) Safe travels:)
Pam, we had a great time — and we’re really happy to be back in our home and on the road! Thanks for the good wishes — hope to see you guys again before too much longer.
We are so happy to hear that you are back on the road. We’ve never been stranded as long as you have. However, we spent a year of our lives over one week in Fort Stockton, TX while waiting for repairs. We were lucky! Happy trails, and we’ll see you in Florida. R & K
R & K, I can understand how one week in Fort Stockton would seem like a year! We were thrilled that we didn’t end up spending seven weeks in Yuma. Looking forward to seeing you guys in Florida!
San Diego is truly one of the nicest big cities there is…and you really can’t beat the weather year round, I know, I lived there for 50 years. But like Eric said, it’s you and 3 million other people…exactly the reason I was ready to leave.
Our last house was in North Park, truly one of the best neighborhoods in the city.
I am glad it all worked out for you in the end and that you got to have such a variety of experiences during this interlude. Amazing that there was an authorized Arctic Fox dealer nearby too!
Lisa, I would think that it would have been difficult to permanently leave San Diego. It’s gorgeous and there are so many fun things to do. Lucky you to have lived in North Park! That was our favorite area in the city. Then again, there is the traffic….
If you have to be “stuck” somewhere it would be hard to beat San Diego in the Spring – with family just outside of the metropolitan area. Glad to hear Progressive is as good as their warranty says – they’re ours as well. Lovely photos of a beautiful area. The B&W family pics are so sweet – how lucky to get to spend time with so many of them :-)
Thanks, Jodee — we really enjoyed our time with family and our adventures in San Diego. You’ll be happy with Progressive. They’re very easy to work with and as far as I know, aren’t going to ditch us as customers. :-)
We have been having a hugely good time this winter reading about San Diego as seen by the visiting horde of RV bloggers. we are looking forward to the next few posts you have promised.
Poway is indeed a wonderful place to live. Ask any of the way too many people who live here and in the area.
Mark, how fun to have you following along! You’re right, there have been a LOT of RV bloggers visiting San Diego this winter. We absolutely loved our seven week stay. We might just do it again — in our RV, next time.
7 weeks!!!! OMG. I’m so glad to hear you made the most of it, but what an ordeal on the repairs. Here’s hoping you get 7 decades repair free.
Thanks, Nina! Seven decades repair-free sounds great! I’m sure that would make our insurance company happy, too.
Glad it all turned out well for you, but that was some experience.
It was quite the experience, Fred — it could have been so much worse, in so many ways. We consider ourselves very lucky.
You certainly made the most of a difficult situation. I so admire the positive attitudes you both presented during your trailer mishap. I know of at least one, if not two on this end who might have become stark-raving mad. What grand adventures you had around SD. So glad we were able to share a little of that with you. Happy to see the raven and chickadee finally taking flight! Great images, particularly the capture of the Western Grebes courtship ritual. Look forward to seeing you both again soon.
Thanks, LuAnn. It’s pretty amazing how it all turned out so well — and we even got to see you two again! Happy trails to you, too — we’ll see you in Ashland in a few weeks!
Y’all are the embodiment of making lemonade from lemons! I LOVE your attitude. And now I have a different feeling toward SD as well!
Gretchen, we made a really BIG pitcher of lemonade. More than once! Hope you enjoy the tales to come of our long, long stay in San Diego.
You guys continue to inspire us:-) We had something very similar happen the first few months we had our home on wheels (a branch hit our roof membrane and caused a few rips causing the entire roof membrane to need to be replaced) We definitely realized how much we love our little home and missed living in it. We are so glad you had such a wonderful time in San Diego.
Oh, that sounds like a big boo-boo, too, Bettina. Hope it didn’t take you seven weeks to get it fixed! So glad you guys are loving your life of travel and exploring.
What can I say, Laurel, both you and Eric are so fortunate you had that incident near San Diego. There is no other place to be stranded but near family and a very cool city. You certainly made the BEST of your 7 weeks, (wow).
Glad to know you are now back on the road and heading north or east.
ML, it sure helped ease the pain that we were near family and in a fun city for exploring. We’re back on the road, taking our time along the coast and heading for Ashland.
We so enjoyed all the great cooking that you and Eric did, giving me a needed rest. It was such fun having you both here, all the family enjoyed seeing you both for longer than a couple of days. We do enjoy Poway because we aren’t in the middle of a big city but can enjoy its attractions when we want. Hope you are having a fun and safe trip back. Do come again!!
Penny, we loved our extended visit with you guys. You made us feel so comfortable. ;-) Next time, we’ll plan a long visit — but without wrecking our trailer to do so!!