Golden State of Mind

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The excitement to be traveling again fueled us to pack up early. We were off!

We pulled out by 8:15 am. Our gas stop and lunch break in Tacna, AZ, was quick and easy. We saw a number of Volkswagen Vans and a Karmann Ghia parked at the restaurant beside the gas station. We were across the road, the sandwiches I made for us in hand, and yes, we enjoyed the view.


We didn’t want to waste any time getting to San Diego. We felt like we were heading home in a way. This would be our fourth time to the city, our second time as a couple. 15 minutes later we returned to the quiet bubble of the truck and continued west from Tacna.

Fires were still burning all over California in mid-November. We expected to see smoke, but the air quality was better than it had been in Arizona.

Once we crossed the border into California, we were surrounded by light coloured mountains of sand. Low lying brush lay in front of the dunes. We loved it. We’ve always come to San Diego by plane or down the Pacific Highway. This scenery was unexpected. We were on a California high.

The closer we got to San Diego the heavier the traffic, there was more construction, and the GPS was slow to tell us which lane to use for the exits. Quickly, we went from a high to a low. Our destination, Santa Fe Street, was off Interstate 5. An immediate right, a road full of dips; we hit a huge bump, and I watched as the trailer bounced hard. We thought the GPS must have taken us the wrong way. The road was under construction and full of commercial plazas. No RV park was in sight, but there it was. The terracotta roof tiles of the office caught my eye. The pool in front was dressed with lounge chairs. Palm trees swayed.

The bump we hit knocked our butcher block stove cover off and bounced a lot of things around that normally don’t move in transit. Then I noticed the oil spill. We had olive oil all over the floor, and inside the crate where I store the kettle and cereal boxes when we’re on the move. Arizona grit and a California oil spill. What a mess.

The first week we washed all of the dust out of the trailer, used the gym onsite to do our cardio, and figured out where the grocery shops were. We did our first washload outside and tried to dry our clothes on the rack as we had in Arizona. The higher humidity forced me to use the laundry room dryers on site. In Phoenix the humidity was 27%; San Diego was at 77% that week.

At night, we slept like babies because the white noise of the freeway reminded us of stormy west coast weather. Neither of us could spend much time outside in the beginning because being directly beside the Interstate was a lot of noise to process. We wore earplugs so we wouldn’t constantly be on edge from the ringing in our ears.

Right from day one, we walked as much as possible. That first night, we walked 3 kilometres to In-N-Out Burger for dinner. For less than $20 CAD, we filled our bellies with burgers, fries, and pink lemonade. Considering how much everything else was costing us (we had to add the exchange rate of 35% CAD to every purchase), this was a treat.

Later in the week, we walked to Mission Beach. Roundtrip, we walked over 21 kilometres to see The Bahia Resort Hotel where we stayed before with our daughter, the Blue Sea Beach Hotel, another family holiday to the city, and past Seaworld. We bought lunch from our favourite taco shop, Mr. Ruribertos. Fish tacos on the beach are the best.

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  • Learning how to think about money differently is a challenge. I carry financial worry with me even though I don’t have to.

  • Being pushed to do things I didn’t want to do, that I’m not comfortable with, that wasn’t the intention for our travel, but it ’s the journey I’ve been on.

  • Seven years ago we were homeless and jobless while we moved from Alberta to British Columbia. We made that work, but we weren’t happy. During our decades together, we’ve moved from city to town, to another city, from province to province, always starting over. We gave up practically everything this past year. Has the challenge to create a different life changed us? Leave a comment if you think it has.

Janet KittoComment