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Iconic Beach of No Return...almost.

by Karl and May
(Orange County, USA)

Iconic Beach of No Return...almost.

Iconic Beach of No Return...almost.

Recently I was on a 10-day, third annual "Daddy/Daughter" (she's eight) camping trip in my 21' Trail-Lite Hybrid trailer when I ran into a bit of adventure.

Of course there was the usual 62 degrees outside when going to sleep, only to have it drop to 24 degrees in early October by 11:00 pm, and, while traveling to Crater Lake, Oregon the next day, mid 60's on the highway, but finding the summit at 14 degrees, snowing, visibility 150 feet, 35 mph winds, the road closed at the top, with windy roads wet and the threat of instantaneous ice on the corners of 500 foot drop-offs.

Survived that, so all is good...though a bit of confusion about how east and west work when cutting directly across Yosemite caused a triple-redundant navigation of the entire park and all its (triple-redundant) splendor, resulting in a delay in reaching my proposed spot on the other side to find a place to set for our final night.


So, tired, a bit out of balance, and the sun going down, we (really "I") make a snap decision to take a "brown tent" exit in search of a hasty campground. Several miles down and long, LONG out of cell phone range I discover the campground is closed, but "Aha!", there is a motorhome about the same size as mine on the shore of a pristine lake with deer walking around. Lost in the beauty of the "RV commercial" like location and responding to, "Let's go down there Daddy!"

My muddled mind decided that "Well if HE can make it down that windy dirt road and back, so can I !!". I swing the 120 degree turn like a pro, and after a series of potholes on soft sand and a steep drop off of a couple of hundred feet in about 500 feet of twisty, narrow road I start to wonder, 1) Whether this is such a great idea, and 2) How the heck did THAT guy do it? Get to the bottom and immediately get stuck in the lakeside sand.

A few rocks under the tires later and I am shore side with my awesome view, stream running to the water next to me and a half-dozen deer looking at me all of whom I swear were thinking to themselves, "Great!, but how are you going to
get back out?"

It was then that I realized the enormity of my mistake. Noticing a back road that may afford an escape route I stroll over to "Mr. Motorhome" and discover, "No, that back road goes nowhere" and that he has been down here for three days and has ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA how he is going to get out either.

Cue me walking back and forth and up and down the road determining that there is 95% chance that I will be walking with my 8-year old a dozen miles to get cell phone reception so that I can call the nearest town (population: 294) to locate a tow company that can THEN locate an off-road 4-wheel drive truck (that MUST have receiver hitch) to drag the trailer and my truck separately out...off-season...on a Sunday, on what was likely (at this point) private property.

I decided to go the other way and risk the 5% chance. I took an hour to scientifically identify every pothole that would grab my hitch or snap the ball off, and (race-car driver like) note all the twists and turns and the "take the high side of that turn and low side of that", and "watch out for that tree branch doesn't remove my rooftop A/C", and then made a map of the whole thing, then MEMORIZED THE MAP.

Finally, after quickly consuming three cups of coffee, my daughter 5-point strapped in the car seat. I set off at 25 mph locked in second gear, and, never EVER taking my foot off the gas; dirt a-flying, deer a-scattering, daughter a-laughing, I scaled that snake of death to the summit and back on the road to add yet another, "camping adventure story". Victory was MINE!

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Of course, I then discover I had bent two trailer rims fully-flat, but I always carry two spares and 10 minutes later I am back on the road to complete the last 3 hours of our 10-day adventure. Oh, and Mr. Motorhome is surely still their now... having seen what he saw.


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