Hope for the Dolphin

As Jacqui and I woke that morning in 3 Amigos RV Park, there was hope in the air. We crawled around our belongings to emerge out the front, still functional doors of the cab, where so many friendly faces greeted us. Taking our first shower in days seemed to wash away many of our troubles and doubts. Clean and refreshed our friends Debra and John treated us to breakfast. Having gone to bed with no dinner, a hot breakfast and good company was building us up to deal with what had to come…making a decision about the Dolphin.

With the help of our friends we investigated and probed until the decision was made: we will breathe new life into the Dolphin. There are significant amounts of damage, but at the end of the day, the Dolphin is just made of plywood and sheet metal. If you have the time and energy to dedicate, which we do, the materials really aren’t that expensive. So the re-remodel moves forward while Jacqui and I do our best to stay positive.

I won’t lead you to believe every aspect of this project is smiles and positive attitudes. While we tear out entire walls, gut the interior we worked so hard to put together, and discover problems that were long hidden even before the crash, emotions definitely run high. It all seems so extremely overwhelming, and it’s hard to visualize this project ever coming to a conclusion. One moment Jacqui and I are working as a team, the next our frustrations with the project can leave us fed up with each other. We frequently have to take a breath and remember that it’s only a hiccup in the grand scheme of things. It’s humbling moments like this that remind us we are human. We fight, we love, we argue, we agree, we work, we play, but most importantly, in the end, we’re a team. We both know we’ll push through this small hurdle and love our trip even more. After all, the harder you work for something, the more rewarding it is in the end.

But all of the credit can’t be given to Jacqui and I. The rebuilding of the Dolphin wouldn’t be possible without the wonderful people we are surrounded with. I’ll leave out names, but I’d really like to share their actions.

Happy hour outside our temporary home.

Currently Jacqui and I are staying in a beautiful, giant RV parked directly on the beach at no cost to us. Honestly, it is larger than many apartments I’ve lived in. The couple who own this beauty had to fly home for an emergency, and even though they’ve only known us for a week, when learning of our situation, they offered us to stay here without hesitation. But even that wouldn’t be possible without our current next-door neighbors who were responsible for arranging everything. Despite having only known us for a week, they have gone above and beyond kindness to help us. They’ve connected us with skilled workers in the area, left groceries outside our door when we woke, treated us out to breakfast, arranged storage for our Dolphin and altogether have been amazing, supportive and wonderful people to be around. The ability to ever repay them is truly beyond our grasp.

The generosity certainly doesn’t end there. We’ve received gifts including a new shade canopy and a collapsible 50ft hose. One of our friends is a retired cabinetmaker who has an amazing amount of carpentry tools he’s made available for our use, and so many other people are giving in ways that aren’t tangible. Advice, lending a hand or even knowing there’s good conversation, when the last thing you want to think about is the project at hand, goes a long way. It’s times like these Jacqui and I are reminded that we never travel alone.

As it currently stands the Dolphin is very much in pieces, but soon we can start rebuilding the old girl stronger than ever. Tomorrow a welder is coming to reinforce some areas that we’ve decided were never strong enough from the beginning. Jacqui and I both hope to share some rebuild progress with you soon.

Getting ready for disassembly 

The insides move outside

Pealing back the panels

The Dolphin grows naked

No end in sight

Our poor old bathroom