There was a wide space which let the errant ocean flow into the shore between rocks which had delayed its progress for a thousand years or more. The small sandy beach which was its destination continued deep into a sheltered cave of rock, forming a secret hideaway. This was our private picnic spot, unknown to the rest of the world, and to which we rushed with shovels and pails and a picnic basket filled with our dinner.
We cruised Highway 1 along the Pacific Ocean for years looking for the perfect place, with impatient children hungry for dinner jumping around the back seat of the car. There were no seat belts in those days, so kids used the back seat as their playground.
Finally we hit pay dirt when we discovered road marker 28. It stood alongside the highway alone and beckoning us to come explore the beach below. Road marker 29 was somewhere ahead, and somewhere behind we had passed road marker 27, but neither of those showed much promise of a flat, sandy beach where a small family could safely build sand castles and paddle in the water. Reading the tide tables, it gave us a window of time to avoid the rush of the waves through the channel and into the cave, thus washing away all remains of tuna fish sandwiches and potato chips.
Once found, it would be a challenge to find it again, so using my age at the time, which was 28, we used that as our compass rose. Thereafter for the next year, we drove to road marker 28, unloaded our gear and raced to the beach.
Of course all good things must come to an end, and though no one else seemed to have found our private beach, we lost it and it became part of our family memory. Sometime during the year, I turned 29, and road marker 28 never looked quite the same.