#5 San Diego with the Dude & Jen
After seeing my sister and Brother in Phoenix Portia and I set our GPS to San Diego. One of my absolute best friends Matt - AKA The Dude and his beautiful wife Jen live in north county San Diego. Matt and I both grew up in SoCal, he on the mean streets of Downey and I in the quiet little enclave at the base of the San Gabriels called La Canada. We didn't know each other then, we met during our rapid rise through the ranks of Mobil Oil and then ExxonMobil. We were both riding this meteoric rise to what was a successful, exciting, and mediocre career in the oil business. Lol. I'm having fun of course, but I can do that since it is at our own expense.
Matt and I met after I moved to Phoenix via New Jersey and Salt Lake City and he to San Diego after spending time at what was then Mobil HQ in Fairfax, VA, and then a stint in Midland/Odessa, TX. He became my Lubrication Engineer supporting me in my sales efforts in Arizona. We were like brothers from different Mothers. We just clicked. From our love of the Grateful Dead to cigars and craft beer and of course our love of lubricants, lol, as well as our love of Southern California. We soon became very good friends and have remained friends since retiring. We had so much fun in those days and even managed to sell some oil!
As we can all attest, the last few years have been bizarre, to say the least. While I had my own shit show, Matt had his. His was health-related with several serious issues that he is still battling and beating with the help of his Florence Nightingale partner Jen. So a visit was way overdue and healing for both of us.
Before I arrived, I wasn't exactly sure where I was going to park the Airstream. With Jen's help and our mutual friends Mark and Valerie, they found me a place to store the Airstream for a time for free! Portia and I then moved in with the Epples for a couple of weeks. What a great visit Matt, Jen, their two Bernadoodles - Walter and Winnie, Portia, and I had. Walter and Winnie after introductions and some snarling by Portia became friends and soon were chasing each other in the backyard. Reconnecting and sharing all of our experiences was incredibly valuable and fulfilling. Another gift was seeing their daughter Amanda and son-in-law John again, but this time with their son Ivan. Matt and Jen's grandson is the cutest and most inquisitive little toddler I've ever met. Isn't it fascinating with your true friends how you can be apart for an extended period and when you reconnect you pick up right where you left off? That time thing again. It's as if no time has passed. We have all experienced this but then we just move on and don't think much about it.
While in the San Diego area, I had another opportunity to connect with a childhood friend whom I hadn't seen in at least 50 years. Dave Dean and I played little league baseball and Pop Warner football from 8 to 11 or so years old. Dave has lived in the Encinitas area for many years and about 8 years ago started a rock garden in what was a vacant piece of land right at the entrance of Moonlight Beach. You need to check it out. Look up Dave's Rock Garden on Facebook. The beautiful landscaping and imaginative artwork on the thousands of rocks represent over 150 different countries. It has been a true labor of love, created and maintained by Dave and many volunteers.
Another sweet reuniting was with my friend April whom I got to know in 2010. I call her my wine lady, she represents unique boutique wineries and sells to restaurants in San Diego. She also lives in north county San Diego close to Del Mar. I had a wonderful dinner with her and her boyfriend Steve and her beautiful dog Ben. It was so heartwarming catching up with her.
Our time in San Diego was restorative and healing as it always is for me. And then boom, it was time to pick up the Airstream. The next stop was Silver Strand State Beach between Coronado Island and Imperial beach for a few days, then a couple of days in Temecula, and then a few in San Clemente State Beach. This is where Portia incurred a little injury that required a visit to the vet. Portia is fine but it was a little scary at first. She somehow ran into something during a hike and visit to the beach and came home with a sizable open wound on her left hip. She moves so quickly that there is no telling where she incurred the gash. After some clipping of the hair and clean up, thankfully the injury wasn't quite as serious as once thought. She never missed a beat though. She never showed any evidence of pain. After a round of antibiotics and anti-inflammatories, the wound is almost healed.
The next stop is Malibu Beach which is where I'm writing this now.
Thank you friends for following along. Take good care.
Mahoney & Portia