Prepping the Vehicles

The Wandering Dolphin hasn’t wandered for quite some time. In fact, our last big trip with the motorhome was when we took it to Las Vegas (and we all know how that turned out — stranded in the middle of the desert).

Now that we have a departure date set, we have to buckle down and get things done. That means prepping both of our vehicles.

We already took our first big step by selling the car.

I was sad to see the locking doors and A/C go. Funny how we take things like that for granted.

That leaves us with the Jeep and the motorhome to prepare. We had a general idea of the things we wanted and needed to do on each vehicle, but our short list has turned into a two-page novel. That’s what you get for sitting in beautiful Southern California for two years!

I have been slowly tearing apart the house (RV), getting rid of things and organizing for the road.

Where did all these shoes come from?!?

Not only have we acquired stuff in our time here (kayak, surfboards, a grill, etc.) but we’ve also had our home just sitting here — a home that happens to also be a vehicle. Months ago, Andy worked on getting our generator working so that we could do some “dry” camping along the road. Thankfully, that generator is still going strong!

But he’s been busy doing other projects.

Projects like changing the wiper blades on the Jeep — and much, much larger things.

Aside from taking on the monumental task of fixing our exhaust manifold, which my handy husband tackled like a pro, he also replaced all the spark plugs and wires. This meant tearing open the doghouse (the hump between the two front seats that provides access).

The moment of truth came when he fired up the engine to see if his exhaust and plug work had done the trick. After a couple of tries, the engine started like a champ, purring softly like a kitten instead of roaring loudly. What a significant improvement to when we first drove it! Hoping it helps at least a little bit with our gas mileage.

He also cleaned out our drains and blackwater tank. And he flushed the water heater.

That’s all calcium buildup from inside the water heater. It’s crazy how much it has improved our water pressure!

Unfortunately, sometimes cleaning things can cause other problems. Last night, our water heater starting spewing water out of it.


He figured out what the problem was, and, because he’s working for an RV mechanic right now, had quick access to the part needed to fix it.

The culprit of our leaky tank.

With that behind us, he is focusing on the rest of the to-do list for the motorhome.

But we’ve also been busy getting the Jeep prepped. And the big task there was getting a custom rack built so that we could take our kayak with us.


With the expertise of a man Andy used to work with, our custom rack came together pretty smoothly. And since the Jeep was already in the shop, Andy was able to check out a few other things (like the 10 and 11 year old batteries that are still somehow going strong).

It was a slightly costly project but hey, what’s the point of going back to the land of 10,000 lakes without a kayak?

With the new rack built and our light bar installed, we were ready to test it out.


And obviously we couldn’t just drive it around town. That would be silly. We had to take it down to the beach!


With the recent heat wave in Ramona, Monday was the perfect day to head down to the water to cool off.

I’m not quite sure which one is worse…

We took the afternoon to test our kayak rack — and also go out on the water!


The waves were pretty crazy, definitely the largest we’ve ever kayaked on. We made it past the break pretty smoothly, though a little wet.

The sea lions in the area were very active. We had several pass right by us, including one that freaked out a little when it actually noticed our boat a few feet away.


I cried a little at the thought of leaving my heart behind — the ocean. We paddled out further than we ever had before, to the kelp forest. It was eerie and beautiful. We watched large schools of fish swim beneath us, their silver-blue bodies catching the sunlight. And we saw pelicans diving straight down in the water to catch them. It was amazing.

Nothing but open ocean

Unfortunately, my stomach disagreed. It soon became apparent that the gigantic, rolling waves were taking their toll on my ability to manage motion sickness. We headed for shore, where I took a quick nap on the beach while Andy surfed the waves in the kayak.

Once I was feeling better, we played in the rough waters near shore, surfing the waves together and capsizing a number of times. We brought the kayak to deeper water, where we practiced getting in and out of in in the event of an unintentional capsize.

After we’d had our fill of bumps, bruises, and capsizes (I have a pretty rad black-and-blue mark on my thigh from a paddle), we left the kayak on the beach to swim in the waves for a while. It was a great way to relax after all of the work we’ve been doing. A therapeutic day.

Poor little Teddy has been under the weather for the past several days, and a surprise vet visit sent us home with four different medications. The stress of balancing work, getting ready to leave, and taking care of a sick pup make us thankful for the times when we can all relax together.

Poor little guy…he just started feeling better.

We still have a long list of things to accomplish, but we’re making sure to take time to have fun. That’s the other part of our to-do list: visit all of our favorite places and do all of our favorite activities before we leave!


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