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From There to Eternity

(Reading time 5.5 minutes)

It was a dark and foggy night, as we pulled our 34-foot motorhome into a state campground, just south of San Clemente, California.  The fog was so thick, that we couldn’t see the signs advising, “Reservations Required”.  Inching our way through the winding campground trails, the only lights we saw were the typical Christmas tree bulbs on the trailer awnings, diffused by the fog. Finding one lone empty space, we backed our motorhome into the site and hooked-up.  Just as we were settling down, a park ranger came knocking on our door.  “Do you have reservations he asked?” “No”, we said.  “We thought at State Parks, it was first come, first serve.”  “Not so”, said the trooper.  We would now have to unhook and leave.  He directed us to an abandoned section of highway down the road a few miles, where campers and travel trailer could park overnight along the road’s edge.

We eventually located the road with some difficulty. The thick fog was blinding from the reflection our headlights.   As we entered the road, we proceeded along what seemed miles, passing along a line of parked campers, trailers, and motorhomes. In single file, they lined the right side of an even darker and foggier road.  When we reached the end of the line on the ocean side, I backed into what appeared to be the last choice in a line of a great spots, off the road. It was a dry camping site with no hookups, on an abandoned highway.   We couldn’t see the ocean, but we could hear it crashing on the beach.  The unseen waves were romantic and rhythmic. Just what the doctor ordered for our romantic night on the seaside. We were now as snug as a bug in a rug.

Within minutes a truck camper’s backup lights shone through the fog. He parked in the next space in front of us, leaving only a couple of feet between our two units. No problem.  We could adjust positions in the morning.   No need to get out since there were no hookups. We made cocktails, a couple of sandwiches, turned on the music, opened the windows, turned off the lights, and went to bed for a restful romantic night.

It was pleasantly comfortable as we listened to the waves washing onto the beach out there somewhere.  All night we breathed the delightful, fresh, ocean air wafting through our open windows, fluttering the curtains.  What a great spot we agreed, all of which contributed to a restful night. With the ocean at our side, and the Goddess Aphrodite influencing our romantic slumber, listening to music on FM radio, we drifted away into the arms of Morpheus. By morning, the fog had lifted and the view out the window was indeed breath taking.  I would now have to get out to inspect the lay of the land, since we were parked right on the beach side and edge of the road.  No wonder they abandoned the road, I thought.  As I looked out the windshield, it seemed that part of the highway had just fallen away in spots, in mudslides, all along the ocean side where we were parked.

As I opened the door to disembark, the electric step automatically activated. As I stepped out backwards, I was holding onto the outside grab bar beside the door, to step off onto the ground. I glanced down to see, there was no ground under the step, nothing but air and empty space that went straight down for a few hundred feet.  The motorhome was suspended by only one of the two dual rear wheels on the ocean side, leaving a gaping crevasse under the overhanging rear, the bedroom.  I recalled how we slept so soundly, listening to the lulling sound of the ocean waves, not knowing that we were just inches from a big mudslide and watery grave.  Without calling my wife’s attention to the cliffhanger view, I told her I was going to move the motorhome up a few feet to let another camper get out.  She should remain in bed, I suggested.  The happy but terror stricken camper in front of us was already moving away, when he saw what he had for a side yard, which was nothing.  Then gingerly, with great caution and a prayer, I moved the 34-foot monstrous motor home away from the scenic breathtaking beach, 200 or 300 feet straight down. After giving a short prayer of thanks, I prepared breakfast for two on the other side of the road. I shall forever be mindful of the near death experience, and the beauty of a sight, which I shall never forget – the night when we enjoyed a heavenly romantic repose, camping along the ocean, just……………….

One step from Eternity.