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  • Writer's pictureDevan

Fireworks And The Fourth of July

Updated: Aug 3, 2020

July has been full of fireworks so far.  Not all of them have been pretty.  Thankfully, the ones that aren’t pretty, aren’t really my business.

Fireworks Of The Unpleasant Variety

Just before the 4th, I received an invite to a BBQ.  The food was wonderful.  The energy was not.  Two hours after arriving, I left.

Before the food was ever served, there was an absurd blow-up and the only other guest was asked to leave.  Awkward.  

It was a friend vs friend thing, and I was tapped as the tie breaker.  (In a conflict that went back long before I arrived)  Nooooo thank you.  I tried to stay diplomatic in the moment and got myself out of there at the first opportunity.

In my experience, the person who pressures you to choose their side, or tries hard to rope you into the drama, is often the one who’s wrong.  Not always, but definitely more often.

Exactly what happened here.  I’m not mad at either person, though my respect for one has changed.  In the end, I showed kindness to the person who needed (and deserved) the kindness and will let the two of them sort out their issues without me.  

It was an excellent reminder to recognize when I may be wrong.  To accept responsibility for my mistakes, and be willing to accept feedback if find myself needing it.  None of us are perfect, but I believe it shows character when you are open enough to really see yourself, embrace your imperfections, and grow from them.

Soon after this incident, my Mom reminded me one of the best things about this lifestyle is that I can move on when I want.  I don’t have to put up with a noisy neighbor or someone constantly ‘borrowing’ consumables and never replacing them.  I don’t have to live with drama or drama-prone people.  

Nothing is really trapping me in one spot.  Instead, I can pack up and go.  Anytime.  Anywhere.  All I need is 5 minutes to secure everything, then poof I’m gone.  This situation wasn’t that serious, but I like having that option.

Preparing For The Pretty Fireworks

On the 3rd I got up early to shower and was on Shelter Island by 8 AM.  I hunkered down in what seemed like the best possible spot and tried to productively pass the day.

I would normally enjoy a day on Shelter Island but, knowing I couldn’t leave, I felt confined.

 By noon, people were coming in two cars, parking one and leaving together in the other.  Just to make sure they had a spot.  Other families were preparing to camp in their cars overnight.  There were lots of people coming and going, all day long.

Late in the afternoon, I was sitting in a chair behind my van, breaking up 2 slices of bread that had become stale.  Slowly and methodically, I tossed the pieces around me.  

In time, a flock of birds would surely notice.  I hoped to get a couple of pictures to send to Monster.  Monster LOVES birds.

After about an hour of waiting, more than a dozen birds arrived.  Finches, pigeons, and 2 California Gulls, OH my!  I slowly and carefully lifted my phone to snap pictures of them.

 Suddenly, I heard a startlingly loud “SHOO!” to my left and all the birds quickly flew away.

 An 8 or 9 year old girl had snuck beside me for the sole purpose of running into the flock and screaming ‘shoo’.  She immediately began laughing at her accomplishment while looking at me proudly.  

Exasperated and shocked, I asked, “why would you do that?”  She looked a little embarrassed at first but then shrugged slightly and went off in the other direction to play, without saying a word.  Eventually, some birds came back, but the Gulls never did.


Sadly, the Gulls did not return, but some pigeons and a couple other small birds did.

The people camping out on the island were up late and loud.  Still, I was able to get to sleep by about midnight.  I slept peacefully until 5:30 AM when the family parked beside me began setting up an enormous 3 room tent.  

When they started to block the back of my van with the tent (that was 2.5 parking spots long) I decided to say something.  I politely asked out my back window if they could please not block the back of my van.  To their credit, they graciously apologized and moved the tent so that it did not obstruct my view or sitting area.

Unable to go back to sleep, I got up and got myself ready for the day.  Between the lack of sleep, events of the day/night before and the morning, I was cranky.  Really cranky.  I couldn’t even seem to meditate my way out of the cranky.  🙂  

After all my preparation, I spent several hours that morning thinking about leaving.  Luckily, a friend from San Francisco was in town and we had made plans to enjoy the fireworks together on the island.  I had not seen this friend in 14 years and had never met his fiancé. So I sucked it up and stayed.  

Jewell saw me walking around mid-afternoon and invited me over to her group for a little while.  I enjoyed the company and time flew from that point until my friend arrived.  

We had a fantastic visit and a great time catching up before (and after) the fireworks.  I am so glad I didn’t give in to my lack of sleep crankiness and leave.  I had such a wonderful time with equally wonderful people, once I got my mind right.

The Big Bay Boom

The fireworks were like nothing I have ever seen.  I heard stories about them, but I was not prepared to be this awestruck by them.  Dubbed The Big Bay Boom, I later found they even have their own website.  

There were 4 sets of fireworks going off in unison, in various parts of San Diego, and you could see all 4 from the island.  The set of fireworks that went off in our face (they were so close!) were launched from a barge on the bay in front of us… and they were HUGE in the sky.  Truly spectacular.  

The 3 others around the city mimicked the ones that I was seeing (only smaller from my view).  It was fantastical!

There is no way to describe the fireworks completely, but if you have the chance, you absolutely have to make a trip to San Diego on the 4th of July.  If you choose Shelter Island as your destination, set yourself up across from the Island Palms Hotel and you’ll be good.  

Frankly, anywhere on Shelter Island is probably good.  Just don’t tell the locals I told you.


Big Bay Boom barge locations. For more info:

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#vanlife #SimpleLiving #July2017 #vanliving #vandwellers #vandwelling #vandwelling #vandweller #fireworks

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