|Last Sunday morning, June 12, I was up early, as you might imagine, for the drive to San Diego Airport to retrieve Lynda and end my period of bachelorhood. The coastal clouds hung over the mountains and valleys as I departed at 7:30AM but burned off by the time I reached metropolitan San Diego. As I mentioned previously I drove the back roads south and then west for what turned out to be a two-hour drive. About 8:30AM Lynda called and assured me she had a seat on the flight from Atlanta. She was excited to show me the video of her Segway ride. Rick rented one to see if it would work for him to better get around at work and had it at the house before he returned it.
Since I gave myself plenty of time to get to the airport I could leisurely motor my way along the two-lane roads past the vineyards, ranches, and scattered small towns enjoying the scenery. If you have the time this is definitely the route to take. At this hour traffic was sparse. Until I approached San Diego the route took me from valley to valley with several signs showing “Elevation 3000 Feet.” After being back east these high valleys within 30 miles of the Pacific (as the crow flies) is a significant contrast with the topography along the Atlantic.
I arrived at the airport about 9:30AM giving me time to park and meet Lynda as she came out of the “Passengers Only” area. However, I was unable to easily find the relocated parking area for Terminal 2 so I pulled into the Cell Phone Lot where I could watch planes landing and wait for Lynda’s call. The call finally came at 10:30AM about 40-minutes late due to a delayed departure in Atlanta because of some fuel issue.
By now it was lunch time for both of us so went to the nearby Sheraton Hotel where I had attended two or three conferences during my CEO coaching days. In fact this is where Lynda and I stayed for one such event probably ten years ago; our last time in San Diego; a possibility for a bit of reminiscing.
On the drive back to Jojoba I took the Interstate to Temecula cutting about 40-minutes off the trip. I was anxious for Lynda’s initial reaction as we pulled into Site 516; you may recall that we expected our first site to be a temporary one until we could move to a site of our choosing. After two-weeks here I was of a mind that this could well be our permanent home. Her reaction was somewhere between positive and noncommittal. Perhaps it was because she was so happy to see me she couldn’t really focus on the site. More likely she was a bit numb from the trials and tribulations of the past two months and two early morning flights, first from Oklahoma City to Atlanta the previous day and then today’s flight here.
While I began to unload the car our neighbor Marcia was walking down the street. She and Lynda had met on Skype a few days before. The two of them hugged signifying Lynda’s first official welcome to Jojoba Hills; an appropriate gesture from one of the original Jojobians. As I probably mentioned before Marcia and Mark are two of the volunteers that built the park. They have lived here for twenty years.
For Lynda the rest of the day was a combination of unpacking and napping. By 8:30PM she was in bed for good, finally waking up twelve hours later. So it was on Monday June 13 that our settling process began in earnest.
It is now Friday morning. Lynda has gone to the beautiful Olympic pool at the clubhouse for water aerobics and some lap swimming while I compose this journal entry. We have come to be pretty well committed to this site, although a future move to a “great view” site may be possible. However Site 516 has several important pluses: very nice neighbors; a lovely shade tree; nice views; and shelter from the Santa Ana winds.
During the week we began or identified several priority projects in order to reach the “settled-in state.” First, we bought a phone so we can be connected to the Jojoba phone system. Much like a hotel system where you can call room-to-room as well as outside, we can call site-to-site and 800 numbers at no cost, or for a fee you can send and receive calls using this land line. Like most others we’ll use our cell phones or Skype for non-800 outside calls.
Besides the phone system we’ve also learned about the Jojoba website blog and Channel 3 on cable TV provided by the park; important components of the Jojoba communication system. I learned about the importance of Channel 3 a week ago when suddenly at midday I had no water. I soon learned that it was a planned shutdown for some maintenance. I would have known about this had I turned on Channel 3 where announcements like this and upcoming special events are posted. Marcia and next door neighbor Jim are part of the volunteer team that maintains the content on Channel 3. Lynda plans to join them as her first volunteer assignment. Also, for only the third time since we got our rig, the fresh water tank is full in case of future planned and unplanned water system shutdowns.
An important part of getting settled is finding health care providers that we like, and preferably, are also “preferred providers” on our insurance; for us this means for now finding a GP, dentist, gynecologist, ophthalmologist, and a pharmacy. Last year when we stayed here we got shingles shots at the pharmacy at Ralph’s Supermarket. Since they are a BCBS Preferred Provider there was no charge to our surprise. Over the years we have generally used Walgreen’s but the nearest one is ten miles further than Ralph’s so we are in the process of switching.
Lynda hasn’t had a physical for several years, and with Betty’s recent crisis this has become a priority. Asking around and checking the list of one’s insurance provider has always served us well, so Lynda got a recommendation of a GP from the pharmacist at Ralph’s and Marcia and Mark gave us another, a doctor that sounded ideal for us; Board Certified in Family Practice, a graduate of Stanford Medical School, and a preferred provider on our insurance who is accepting new patients. Voila! She has an appointment next month. If he turns out as great as we think, he and his nurses will be sources for other doctors. And so the process begins.
Coming off the road and having an empty shed on one’s site doubles our storage capacity and creates some new possibilities. For example it makes shopping at Costco and the like less restrictive. So far we have moved some things from the rig (e.g. outdoor furniture, luggage), ordered some metal shelves from Lowe’s, and priced refrigerators. Extra refrigerator space seems to make sense and will serve as a backup should our Norcold malfunction again. The shed has electric but no plumbing is allowed.
All the sites at Jojoba have an 8’x 30’ concrete patio; often residents expand these with concrete pavers or some such. As you can see from the photo we have a small patio adjacent to the shed that gets the shade from tree until late afternoon, but the patio next to the rig is in sunlight virtually the entire day. The awning on our rig would suffice for shade but it is poorly anchored so that a modest breeze requires bringing it in; besides, it hasn’t broken yet, so it is due. “Oh ye of little faith!”
Many people erect large aluminum awnings anchored to the concrete slab for shading a large portion of the patio. But they cost $4000 or so and can rattle in the wind, as it did last April on the site we rented. This is not an investment we are willing to make now since we are not completely sure we will not change sites in the future. Thus, we are currently focused on a Pergola, an 8’x 10’ metal frame with a canvas top ($350 @ K-Mart) that can be pulled up or down depending on the sun’s direction. From the reviews it seems that attitudes about the Pergola are either love or hate. The biggest issue is that the canvas being flat across the top collects rain water. Here in the “high desert” of Southern California this does not present a big problem since there is seldom rain for much of the year. Most of the rain here is during the cool/cold months of the winter when shade on the patio is usually moot. Anyway that’s where we are on that subject.
Two other priorities on our needs list are buying a golf cart and getting wooden steps made for the entrance of the rig. Jojoba has ten miles of paved streets and is built on the side of a hill. When time is not of the essence and the weather is good – which it is most of the year – walking is not a problem. When this is not the case or when you have a heavy load of garbage say, or need to carry a propane tank to be filled, etc. a golf cart will be very convenient and a better option than driving our car for short runs around the park.
As some of you can attest the stairs on fifth wheels are often quite bouncy and in our case high/steep. Our four-step climb is both of these and stressful on aging knees. Lynda has long said that the first thing she wants when we get to Jojoba is stairs made for the rig. Perhaps someone here at Jojoba will build them in the woodworking shop; someone other than Bob that is. The search has begun!
We are both happy to be stationary here at Jojoba. No regrets about leaving the road! We feel confident that we made the right choice for us. Of course, only time will tell for sure. People have been very welcoming. The park is quiet and peaceful; particularly so since it is summer and many residents are traveling hither and yon, often to escape the pending summer heat. As I’ve reported previously, so far the weather has been perfect for me; only once have we needed the AC. But yesterday’s long-range forecast said hot weather is around the corner; at least the humidity is low and the nights are cool. We have both observed that summertime is probably a good time to settle in; activities are less frequent and socializing is reduced. We have more time to ourselves to learn the ropes, so to speak, and determine how we best fit into this community.
Lynda is back from a two-hour aerobics and swim, so I guess I’ll end this episode. She will post photos on the May 23 entry of Mary's gradaution ceremony.
Until next time, be safe and enjoy!