Throughout Sherman’s March to the Sea, we’ve had some great stops along the way. Helen (adorable wife) and I both loved White Sands, NM, and Cottonwood, AZ, but we probably saved the best for last.
As we pulled into our assigned campsite at Point Mugu, CA we were filled with mixed emotions. First, there was the exhilaration of arriving at such a beautiful setting and being joined by our son, his lovely wife and our grandchildren. There also was the acknowledgment that Sherman had reached his destination and another chapter of Easin’ Along down the retired road was about to conclude. Oh well, we didn’t dwell on that for long, there was much to do before we delivered Sherman to the stable and flew home.
Our campground was at the Point Mugu Naval Air Station, an installation located about 50 miles north of Los Angeles. We drove north from our son’s home in the South Bay area of LA County and traveled through Santa Monica to our destination. A marine layer had settled in over the coast and the sky was a bit gloomy during the trip and our first day in camp. Nevertheless, we all brightened up when we were assigned to the front row directly above the beach. We backed into our spot, faced the Pacific Ocean, and hit the horn with a quick blast to signify the successful completion of Sherman’s March to the Sea.
Although there were a significant number of campers around, the beach seemed almost deserted. Our grandchildren changed that situation quickly and scampered about the sand building houses and teepees out of the tall bamboo poles they found along the seashore. Our grandson and his Mom constructed a teepee while our granddaughter built a playhouse, complete with a door and roof. Being the proud grandfather and a retired homebuilder, I was fascinated with the entire operation and offered my services as a consultant. The offer was appreciated but rejected so I spent the afternoon taking pictures. Here are a few.
Our first evening was spent around the campfire watching our son teach us the finer points of grilling pizza. The grandchildren wandered in and out of Sherman, delighted to have a new place to play. My job was to shake the sand out of my bed sheets after each of their visits. It kept me busy.
This visit to Point Mugu would be a little different from previous stops on this trip. Usually, we do a lot of sightseeing and exploring of the areas where we are staying. Not so with this stop. We were going to enjoy the beach and the family that we don’t see often enough since we live so far apart. Besides, Sherman wasn’t about to go out in that heavy California traffic until he absolutely had to. We were looking forward to day two.
The next morning Helen and I were up early and prepared our own breakfast in Sherman’s kitchen then welcomed the grandchildren for theirs. Helen, known as BeBe to the children, was beaming at the pleasure of being surrounded by these two as is evident by this picture. Her smile says it all.
At 7:00 am, the Star Spangled Banner could be heard all over Point Mugu. I caught a great picture through Sherman’s windshield of a Dad and his two boys standing at attention until after the National Anthem finished. Later, I found the Dad in the campground and got his email address so I could send him a copy of the photo. I learned that he was the Deputy Mayor of Los Angeles and a Navy Reservist. He was a great guy and certainly a good influence on his sons.
Day two turned out to be glorious. The marine layer burned off around noon and we were treated to the outstanding view of the beach and the northern end of the Santa Monica Mountains. A seal was swimming a short distance off the shore and made an occasional appearance above water.
Point Mugu sits on a peninsula with the ocean on the western side and an estuary on the eastern side. We were visiting during the time of the year when seals swim into the estuary for the annual mating season. During our morning beach walk, we could see hundreds of seals lying along the shoreline of the estuary. We weren’t certain whether they were resting up for the big event or recuperating after it. Either way, they appeared very content.
Helen found several colorful clam shells to add to her shell collection while the rest of us played a game of Bocci Balls. I would love to tell Easin’ Along readers that we enjoyed an adventure a minute that afternoon, but frankly, we just reveled in the opportunity to walk the beach, sit beside the fire and enjoy each other’s company. Helen and I wouldn’t have had it any other way.
The next day was Sherman’s day to return to the stable. What began as casual research into the RV lifestyle had ended in one more trip of a lifetime. Our mission had been to pick up Sherman from the Cruise America headquarters in Chicago and deliver it to the dealership in Carson, California within three weeks. We had completed the mission, making nine wonderful stopovers and traveled 4,083 miles.
On the morning of our scheduled turn-in, Helen and I spent considerable time giving Sherman a good cleaning and made a quick stop to refill the propane tank as required. We arrived at the dealership at the appointed time and waited while Sherman was given a thorough inspection. Helen contacted Uber for a ride back to our son’s home and I gave a hearty wave to Otto in his usual position at the window in the door. I said my goodbyes to Sherman and gave him a gentle pat on the hood. “Well done, lad,” I said. “You’ve earned some time off. I’ll remember forever Sherman’s March to the Sea”.
After one more wave, it was time to be Easin’ Along.