The past week has been filled with fun, excitement, sadness, and a little bit of craziness for the Wandering Dolphin crew. We’ve been busy preparing for our departure from Southern California, all while saying our goodbyes to people and places.
Last Friday marked our last day of work (in an office setting — I will still be working for the Journal from the road).
We celebrated with a party that our friends Tara and Damon threw for us.
I had already said tearful goodbyes to the people and animals at the California Wolf Center and Fund for Animals Wildlife Center.
Andy and I also said farewell to our favorite bartenders, Wendy and Erin.
It may seem strange, but Wendy was one of the biggest influences on our perception of Ramona when we first moved into our spot at the park. On our first night in town, we walked into The Turkey only to be welcomed by Wendy, who brought us around the entire bar and introduced us to the regulars. We only found out later that The Turkey is considered a “rough” bar. But it became a home base and a regular stopping point for pool and entertainment while we did laundry next door. Wendy continued to remain a positive person throughout our stay, and it was certainly difficult to say goodbye (it’s not goodbye, it’s see you later!).
We worked hard throughout the week, getting rid of things we could not take with us and getting the vehicles ready. That included installing a new radio in the RV.
We also took a lot of time to visit with friends and have fun.
We hiked a new trail, the fourth one in the hiking challenge. Volcan Mountain.
It was a beautiful, overcast, cool day — the perfect day for a hike. It was the perfect mix of forest and grasslands.
We felt quite a bit of success after making it to the top.
And Teddy got sufficiently muddy in the journey.
We also took a tour of the Museum of Man in Balboa Park.
And, of course, stopped in Little Italy for pizza and beer.
One of our tasks in prepping for the road was to get rid of our outside fridge. This meant getting rid of or eating all the food and wouldn’t fit in our RV fridge. We took on the challenge.
Instead of finishing our hiking challenge, we decided to hike Iron Mountain again. We debated for a while, but the last hike on the challenge did not sound like much fun. It was in the city, near a highway, and we did not want to have that as our last hike in California. So, Iron Mountain it was.
We visited with friends, went down to visit with Andy’s aunt and grandpa, had our one last beach day (big tear) and then the last day was here. Yesterday, we spent most of the day prepping the RV with all of our final tasks. We loaded up the Jeep with the bikes and kayak.
And we took the RV in to fill the tires and propane tank.
We also measured everything once more (you know, so we wouldn’t run into any low-hanging bridge issues).
The day was a little nerve-wracking with a fire close by in town. Luckily, they were able to get it under control. But we took it as a sign that Ramona was alright with us leaving (fires scare me).
We hung up our new dolphin decoration, given to us by Tara and Damon.
And with that, we were ready to roll! We spent the rest of the evening at the Ocean Beach dog beach, watching the sun set for one last time.
A final beer at my favorite brewery (Belching Beaver) and we headed back to rest for our big day.
We woke up bright and early today, ready to hit the road. We said goodbye to the park and got everything hooked up.
Topping off the gas tank hurt (way expensive) but we were soon on the open road again!
Ramona was good to us, and there are too many things to mention that we will miss. For the wonderful people that were brought into our lives, we are thankful for each and every one of you. We will miss you all dearly, and we truly hope that this isn’t goodbye forever, just for now. We are thankful for the experiences we’ve had, how much we’ve grown, and for the beauty that SoCal has shared with us over the past two years. It will always be in our hearts.
The Wandering Dolphin is wandering once more. Here’s to new adventures!