The Last Hurrah: Our Final Stay

When we would spend prolonged periods of time in the San Diego area, we preferred to stay at Surf & Turf RV Park in Del Mar. You can read about our previous stays there here and here. This is a barebones park that is essentially a gravel parking lot (though some trees are present) surrounded by a fence. Water and electric hookups are available and a pump truck comes around three times a week to empty your tanks. However, Surf & Turf decided to upgrade its hookups and install sewer connections this year, so our usual spot was out of commission temporarily. Our plan was to wait it out in the meantime across the street at the fairgrounds, where there are 58 RV sites with full hookups. They don’t take reservations, so after spending our one night in Temecula, we contacted the fairgrounds to make sure they had a spot for us before heading that way. The response: We’re closed until December 6th. A bit of a problem seeing as it was November 20th.

Surf & Turf is also owned by the fairgrounds, so I can only assume that both places are getting a little primping at the same time. We found ourselves in quite the predicament. After driving 750 miles from our condo in Bozeman to pick up our Airstream in Clackamas, Oregon where we had some work done, and then driving more than 1,250 miles to Southern California where we planned to spend the next four months, we appeared to be without a place to stay.

We both felt sick to our stomachs. How were we going to find a place to stay in San Diego County with no notice in late November? There are not many options for extended stays in an RV in the area and there are even fewer options that would be considered anything close to affordable. It might be possible to string together a few nights here and there at various regional parks and state beach campgrounds, but that wouldn’t work for us. We had very recently scrapped a lovely part of our route that would have taken us to a beautiful olive oil ranch in San Ardo, a week in Pismo Beach, a few nights in Ventura, and a few more nights in San Juan Capistrano, in order to arrive and get settled in San Diego earlier than originally planned in order to take care of some new work commitments and a personal commitment that required an airport. We needed to be able to stay in one place for the foreseeable future. We had ever only stayed at one other RV park in San Diego County for an extended period of time – Escondido RV Resort – and there were things about it that we didn’t care for. You can read about that stay here. However, we went back to our ‘it’s best to know what to expect then not’ school of thought, and decided to reach out to them first. Ultimately, thanks to a recent cancellation and moving a guest to a different site (you’re welcome for the upgrade!) they were able to get us in that day for a one-month stay. Phew! Our plan was to move to the fairgrounds after our month was up, and then hopefully Surf & Turf would be open.

At the time, we had no idea this would be our last time hitching up, our last travel day, and the last place we ever stayed with the Airstream — more about that shortly.

We had gotten lucky. We had never left such a long stretch of time to chance like that before, and this is why. Even though we had a plan that seemed like it would work, it didn’t. After almost four years of Airstreaming, mostly full time, we continued to learn lessons and experience things we hadn’t before. Some people are able to float from one place to the next without much of a plan in place and still sleep soundly at night – we are not those people.

We made the uneventful 33-minute drive down I-15 to where we’d be spending the next two months. (That’s right, TWO months — more about THAT shortly as well.) The RV park was everything we remembered it being: cramped, noisy from the nearby interstate, and with a cell signal that for some reason drops to sometimes unusable levels the moment you drive in. We wedged ourselves into our site with zero inches to spare and breathed a sigh of relief.

RV Park Stats

Name: Escondido RV Resort

Address: 1740 Seven Oaks Rd, Escondido, VA 92026

Website: www.escondidorv.com

Dates Stayed: November 20, 2021 – January 20, 2022

Site: 66

Rate: Whatever They Feel Like Charging + Electricity

Amenities:

  • Full Hookups
  • Restrooms with Showers
  • Laundry
  • Dog Run
  • Pool with Spa
  • Propane Fill
  • Wi-Fi
  • Cable TV
We just barely fit into our site. Actually, sometimes we hung over a few inches. The sites on the lower level of the park are small, with many people not able to fit their vehicles completely in their sites, making navigating with an RV and backing into sites more difficult than it should be.
We backed up as far as we possibly could while still having the steps over the concrete.

Oh, site 66. You are divine during the sunny hot days, with all the shade you provide. However, once winter hits and the rains come, your lack of sun makes for an incredibly damp, muddy stay, made worse by the sprinklers going off every night. Also, road noise, almost constant sewer smell, and not a whole lot of outdoor space — two thumbs waaaaay down from us.

A few more notes about the RV park:

(You may want to read about our previous stay to understand where some of these are coming from.)

  • The bulky cable boxes have been switched our for coaxial cable hookups at the pedestals. We use streaming services, so this was not a benefit to us, but at least they’ve upgraded this since our last stay.
  • The AT&T signal is still atrocious within the confines of the RV park.
  • They offer two levels of WIFI: 850kbps speed free for 3 days, meaning you have to sign in every 3 days; and 5mbps speed available for 1 day ($5.99), 1 week ($12.95), or 1 month ($39.99). We opted for the 1-month plan, as we needed to work and the speed of the free WIFI wasn’t going to cut it.
  • One load of laundry costs $7.00. And you can’t make it a full load, because if you do, it won’t dry completely, even on the highest setting.
  • Since our last stay, they’ve shifted from being just a short-term stay RV park to having many long-term residents, or people living there. This means that it’s difficult to get one of the nicer, larger sites in the upper part of the park, as many are occupied for the foreseeable future.
  • You may have noticed that I wrote ‘Whatever They Feel Like Charging’ for the rate. There is no rhyme or reason to their rates. They fluctuate, they surge, and two people in two identical sites may be charged drastically different amounts. We were at their mercy. And don’t get me started about what they charge for electricity. Again, whatever they feel like charging.

Anyway, a few days after getting all settled in, we ran a bunch of errands, which included Travis getting his booster shot. He felt fine for the first 24 hours, normal fever & exhaustion for the next 24, and then started having chest pains and shortness of breath. After 24 hours, we decided to go to the ER on Thanksgiving. He ended up being admitted due to an elevated troponin level. Troponin is a protein found in heart muscles that is typically only measurable after a cardiac event. Anything above 40 usually signifies a heart attack. Travis’s was 13,000. The staff at the hospital was very calm and professional, but it was clear this was unknown territory and serious. While it seemed the booster was the culprit, the cardiac team did their due diligence and investigated any possible causes as well as thoroughly examine his heart to make sure there was no permanent damage. He had x-rays, EKGs, an echocardiogram, an angiogram, and a cardiac MRI. Everything looked great, considering, and his troponin started to trend down. He was released a few days later as there really isn’t a treatment for his diagnosis, which was myocarditis. That means one of the layers of his heart was inflamed. They confirmed Travis was one of the few people to have myocarditis as a result of receiving an mRNA vaccine. But Travis went above and beyond by having an actually unheard of troponin level — his doctor said he was a 1 in 5 million case. The staff at the VA Hospital in La Jolla was great and we felt very fortunate to be somewhere that he was able to receive such incredible medical care. After being released, he was instructed to take it easy and not lift anything greater than 5lbs. Walking was fine, but no hiking or any other activity that would get his heart rate too elevated. It was because of this, that we decided to see if we could extend our stay at Escondido RV Resort to two months, so that we wouldn’t have to worry about the bit of stress that hitching up and towing can bring. They were able to extend our stay in our same site. While I’m not a fan of the RV resort’s billing practices, they were VERY accommodating.

In the following weeks, we kept a low profile so that Travis could recover, but we did get to spend some time with friends by way of lunch and dinner dates, as well as one of our favorite past times — trivia at the brewery. It was kind of a weird time. With Travis’s illness, the holidays, and COVID still hanging around, the lovely, eventful, social winter in San Diego that we had previously imagined was kind of anything but. We were somewhat detesting the RV park. The weather was crap. The annoyances of living in a small space were becoming overwhelming. We were missing our condo in Bozeman — the space, the king-size bed, the washer & dryer, the dishwasher, even the low humidity (seriously, it was SO damp in the Airstream). We had talked about selling the Airstream a number of times during the previous months, and maybe even year. There were a number of reasons discussed, and I plan to go into them in more detail in an upcoming post, but for now you can refer to this post for a few of them. But the time felt right. Like, really right. So, we listed it. And we sold it. To read more about the selling process, check out this post.

After selling the Airstream, we moved into a hotel. We weren’t ready to leave San Diego quite yet and Travis had a followup appointment with his cardiologist scheduled at the VA in La Jolla. However, after they called to change it to a virtual visit (because, COVID), we decided there was no reason to hang around any longer. We had just seen our friends again at trivia on Thursday night, the doctor called on Friday, and we bugged out Saturday morning. We spent Saturday night in St. George, Utah and made it back to Bozeman Sunday evening. We had rented out our condo for the months of November and December, so we spent many hours cleaning that night and unloading the truck. We finished getting things situated in the condo on Monday, as well as doing load after load of laundry, and then emptied out the Airstream’s storage unit.

We were officially no longer Airstreamers.

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