Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Long ago and far away -- and a great memory

A more recent California sunset
For those who have been following my blog for the past number of years, you know very well that we are a van family.

Since 1973 we have owned four Chevy vans and one GMC van. The only non-van was a four-cylinder vehicle back in the 80’s which we don’t like to talk too much about.

Three long-wheel base vans, one mini-van (when they were just that) and one long-wheel-base, high-rise vehicle, which we now own, have helped with our adventures throughout the country.

I love vans. I love to travel in them and they offer an option when one needs a place to sleep while on the road. 

We’ve slept in rest stops, on the side of the road and in a Wal-Mart parking lot, not to mention the many regular commercial and national park campgrounds during our travels.

Shortly after purchasing our first van, a 1973 Chevy, my wife and I and at the time, 2-year-old son, set out on a three-week odyssey.

In something like 21 days, we covered just at 7,000 miles, traveling from our Mississippi coast home, all the way through Rocky Mountain National Park, Yellowstone, Glacier, up into Canada and then back down through Idaho, Washington, Oregon and to San Diego, CA before turning east.

And through all our travels since, one memory continues to return, and that is a stop along the Pacific Highway road.

What we did then, they don’t allow today (sleeping in vehicles on the side of the highway). Maybe it wasn’t allowed then, but they didn’t see us.

We were on the coast road heading south from San Francisco toward LA. It was along a long stretch where towns were 30 or 40 miles apart.

The afternoon was coming to a close and we decided to stop at a pullout and cook supper over a fire on the beach.

I can’t remember what we had for the meal, but I do remember there was a nice wind coming off the ocean and it was cold. We prepared a campfire and pulled out our Coleman stove for the main meal.

They sky had been clear all day and the three of us were just enjoying life. 

We took our camping chairs and sat around the fire, covering up with some blankets. The meal came to an end just before the day did.

Slowly the sun began its descent. We watched it slowly dip into the ocean, keeping our eyes on it, minute by minute, second by second.

And then there was just a beautiful afterglow.

Sometimes when I think back on that particular trip, I close my eyes and can still picture the three of us sitting on the sand, watching the sun ease into the Pacific as the cold wind blew and the fire flickered.

What a great memory.
Next post: April 15, 2014

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