Three years ago this week Paul and I sold our house in Mississippi and half of our stuff, loaded into a Penske truck, and began our journey to the West Coast. We pulled our car on a trailer behind the moving truck with two dogs and a cat inside. We snuck said dogs and cat into hotels every night to sleep.
The first day on the road we discovered that my driver's license was expired so Paul wouldn't let me drive at all the whole way. He didn't want any glitches in our moving plan. But you know what they say about "the best laid plans" -- a few hours later we got a flat tire. At least that glitch couldn't be blamed on me and my procrastination.
After four days and 1,900 miles, we made it... to the hell that is rush hour traffic in Los Angeles. After four and a half days and 2,000 miles, we finally arrived in San Diego, our new home, where we knew no one and didn't actually have a home. We ended up staying in a hotel for three more days (with two dogs and a cat, remember?) while we searched for a place to live. This had seemed like an acceptable plan before we got out here and realized that, although practically everyone in San Diego has dogs and the city is super dog-friendly in general, landlords specifically are not super dog-friendly. Especially when there are multiple dogs involved, and they are a svelte 90 lbs. each, and one of them is on the "dangerous" dog breeds list. Good one, Rider.
Just as we were beginning to panic and envision ourselves driving 2,000 miles back to Mississippi and asking the buyers of our house if we could have it back, we found an apartment. Although it was less than ideal, to say the least. You know how sometimes you say you'll never do something but then the stars align all wrong and you get desperate and do the thing you said you'd never do? Yeah, that's what kind of apartment this was.
We had driven past this place on our first day of looking and Paul had jokingly said, We could live there, and then we both had a good laugh over it. But then after three days of getting hung up on by landlords as soon as we mentioned the beasts that are our dogs we tucked our tails between our legs, walked down a hallway with electric blue carpeting and reeking of weed smoke, and
applied begged to live at 2401 Seaside Street in Ocean Beach.
The day we moved in we met our first California friend. Road Dawg, as he introduced himself to us, lived a couple of doors down from our new abode and boasted, not one, but two Harleys. I would have expected nothing less from a man named Road Dawg. When he saw the back wheel of Paul's scooter sticking out from underneath boxes in the moving truck (where we had illegally stowed it) he thought he had found a fellow road warrior and offered to help Paul unload his hog. He didn't do a very good job disguising his disappointment when this rolled out of the truck...
But Road Dawg was a lonely man who lived with his insane dog, appropriately named Chopper, his two aged seizure-prone cats, multiple turtles, and a dead pet bird who lived in his freezer. So naturally he took it upon himself to take us newcomers under his wing, whether we wanted to be under his wing or not. He was an extremely large, boisterous, overly friendly man and he lived just down the hall so it's not like we could escape him if we tried, although eventually we got pretty good at pretending to not be home. Here's another fun fact about Road Dawg: That overwhelming smell of marijuana in the building? Yeah, that was courtesy of the grow room he had turned his bedroom into. Ah, good times.
Needless to say, our California adventure got off to a pretty rough start. But we soon found many, many things to love about our new home, not the least of which is the weather.
And since our first (forced) friendship with Road Dawg, we have made some really great friends out here, had some awesome experiences, and grown both as a couple and as individuals. It hasn't been easy but I wouldn't trade the last three years for anything. I don't know where we'll end up after this -- just depends on where Paul gets a job -- but I know we'd like to be closer to family for Wilder's sake. Wherever we go, we'll leave "America's Finest City" with those same giant dogs, minus a cat, plus a baby, and with tons of great memories that have changed us forever. Thanks, San Diego, for three amazing years!