10-23 in police 10 code means arrived on scene, and that is exactly what happened after we fixed the Mustang and picked up Justin. We made a couple stops along the way to see some sights and the rest of the trip was uneventful.

I don’t remember the sequence of living arrangements.  I do remember living at two different locations.  One was an apartment in Escondido and the other an apartment in San Marcos.  I believe it was the apartment in San Marcos where I rent shared with my buddy and his wife, the one who owned the Mazda truck.

California and Camp Pendleton was tons of fun.  There is so much to see and do and it literally never seemed to sleep.  The beaches, Mexico, the Route 5 food trucks, and the food was great!  It’s the only time I remember being in a hot tub at Christmas drinking wine coolers.  Who’d a thunk, being I was from Erie PA right in the middle of the snow belt!

While I was there I went to SWAT training and was part of the only SWAT team the Marine Corps had at the time.  At least to the best of my knowledge.  It was really awesome.  The training was great and the perks even better.  Being part of the team, which was really more of a family was great. Lived, worked, played, together. We were partly responsible for the perimeter of the base, so we had to take the four wheel drive trucks out and check the fence line. This was extremely awesome as it is very mountainy, so the animals, the views were amazing! Pack a lunch and go out all day!  Four wheel drive fun included.  Seeing animals like bob cats and buffalo roaming wild was amazing!

There were a couple of occasions we came out of the mountains on the wrong side and ended up on an artillery range. Well, being that I’m here typing this, it all ended well!

As much as I enjoyed California, it was time to make a decision.  I needed to decide if I was going to re-enlist, or get out of the Marine Corps.  Being a single father in the Marine Corps was not easy. God really helped me through it all for sure.  I had orders to go on a float, a ship, for six months in the area of Norway.  These orders are highly sought after because of the area you frequent!  Being that I was going through my divorce at the time, my command allowed me to give my orders to one of my buddies.  Working in California, though fun, the hours were long. Day care was tough to find, and it was expensive.  So all that being said, it was time to go home, so home I went.

Erie PA, here we come!

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