Wednesday, June 24, 2020

The Plummet off The Cliff

The Plummet off The Cliff

March 2020, just as the pandemic was beginning to creep over the world, my beloved and I took a trip out to Maui, Hawaii to attend a couple's retreat together.

Upon reaching the rental car area, we decided to choose a Jeep, and the saleswoman must have liked us or something, because she offered to upgrade us to the larger, cooler, newer Jeep version that they had available, so we agreed on that!

As we were completing our inspection of the Jeep, the saleswoman handed us a list of fun activities to do in Hawaii, and I heard her mention "The Road to Hana". I had no idea what that meant, but it seemed like a big deal for the area.

Once we got on the road to head to the retreat, the closer we got to the retreat, the more jungle-like the sides of the roads looked. I immediately felt some fear and nervousness about the roads. They were dark, very curvy, surrounded by lush thick jungle growth, and unpredictable. That night, my beloved navigated the roads like a champ, and we made it safely to the retreat to check-in.

Views from our room:

A few days into the retreat, my beloved and I grew tired of being stuck in just the one location of the retreat grounds, so we decided to duck out and go on a huckleberry out into the surrounding areas. We did some shopping to get some chill local gear clothing, grabbed some tasty local food, then made the LONG treacherous drive along The Road to Hana.
The Road to Hana is very thin, in many parts of this extremely curvy road only 1 car can fit at a time, so they have lines telling you where to pause your car to check and wait for other cars to pass first. There's also more waterfalls and cliffs along this road than anywhere I've ever seen elsewhere in my life.
Photo of one of the waterfalls along the Road to Hana

While in Hana, we checked out a black-lava beach and had an early dinner at a cute little hillside cafe before deciding to head on back to the retreat.

 The Black Sand Beach
Tropical drink I got at the Hana cafe

Then things took an epic turn....

While my beloved was on The Road to Hana, we came to a point where it was very thin, and another car was passing by us, and as my beloved moved over just a few INCHES, that was enough to cause disaster. The Jeep's tire went off the road, and unfortunately it was a steep embankment, and even though we were going kinda slow and my beloved was trying so hard to re-correct, there was nothing he could do....our Jeep kept tilting farther over until we completely plummeted off of the cliff, rolled-over twice, and came to a stop upright in a tiny creek.
          {You can't tell from this photo, but the OTHER backside corner of the Jeep was crunched-in. You can see the part of the roof missing was right over our heads. And water was up to the wheel wells}

It was in those surreal few seconds of my life, where I felt like I got a pretty amazing gift and insight into life. I was the passenger in this Jeep crash, I was a completely innocent person in this incident, and in those moments like in slow-motion where the Jeep was falling and rolling over, I felt like I literally had NO CONTROL whatsoever over my life. My beloved later told me that he was thinking, "This is it, we're going to die." We had no idea the size of the cliff or that we'd land in a creek. But, despite wrecking off a cliff and totaling our rental Jeep, we looked at each other once we landed in shock, and realized that we were okay! I think we may have embraced and held each other tightly for a moment in relief that we were okay. The roof of the Jeep had busted off during the crash and the roof panels were laying on the embankment. I looked over my body and all I saw was the tiniest little cut on my inner wrist, I guess from flying glass since the back windows of the Jeep had also busted during our roll-overs.
                                                       My injury cut from the accident

Ironically, someone had painted a little wooden warning sign that said "Cliff" that we bulldozered over during our wreck. I found the wooden cliff sign while gathering our belongings out of the Jeep with help from bystanders, and decided to keep it as a souvenir.

The events that followed our plummet off the cliff, were nothing short of miraculous also. It was like we had to completely surrender, and God took complete care of us through other people for the rest of the night.

The first miracle (besides not dying or being seriously injured), was that we wrecked right by a little ice-cream food truck that had a covered rest area, free wifi, and an outhouse toilet! And areas like that on the Road to Hana are few and far between! And it was a blessing to have the covered seated areas with tables because it did rain good a few times while we waited.

                                           Us cuddling to comfort each other after the crash

And as if to prove I felt like Alice in Wonderland, they even had a White Rabbit:

The lady in the ice cream truck was one of our angels. She immediately presented us with some free ice cream to help us feel better while she chatted with us. She even offered to put us up in her own house for the night if we needed it! She told us that sometimes when people wreck along this road, they're stranded overnight waiting for help to come from town, and that 2 people had died previously in accidents from the same spot we rolled from. One woman had been thrown from the vehicle she was a passenger in that flipped over and she died on impact with the pavement. {Thank God we had our seatbelts on, that saved us.}

Our Ice Cream Angel

And while we were sitting there eating the ice cream, two different beautiful sweet orange cats randomly came up to me/us, and one of them climbed on my lap to purr and let me pet it! I was like, WOW God thank you for the comforting therapy animals! The ice cream truck lady also had a cute little chihuahua dog that was sweet to pet.

                                                                   Angel Therapy Animals!

A cop arrived pretty swiftly to our scene, and he was so nice, cool, and chill, that he stayed with us for the entire time of several hours that it took for the tow truck to arrive and pull our Jeep out of the ravine. The ice cream lady said the cops never have done that before, and she's seen roll-overs off that cliff like once a week! The cop even walked us back over to our Jeep to help me look for one more item I'd left behind in there.
                                                                Our Angel Cop

Once the tow truck driver extracted our Jeep from the steep hill, another miracle was that he agreed to drive us to our retreat center!!! So, we hopped on into his truck and we took the 1.5 hour drive back towards our retreat. We got to have an enlightening chat with him along the way about all the crazy things he'd seen with other wrecks in the area that he had to deal with.

Upon reaching the road that lead to our retreat center, we realized he'd have to just drop us off there and we'd have to walk the rest of the way (possibly a mile and a half in dark jungle-lined dirt roads) since he couldn't fit his tow truck with our Jeep attached in the road and be able to appropriately navigate and/or turn around. So, we gathered our belongings and hopped out to start our journey.

We hadn't walked very far when suddenly a blue Jeep came speeding down the road, saw us, and screeched to a halt. A guy stuck his head out the window and said, "Hey! What are you two doing out here? Do you need a ride?" We were SO GRATEFUL yet again by our stroke of luck! Out in the middle of nowhere in the jungle on a dark night and we get offered a ride! Turns out it was another couple staying at a retreat center next to ours! So they happily dropped us off as we regaled our story of survival off the cliff to them, and they exclaimed how they'd actually seen our wrecked Jeep as they passed by.

Our plummet off the cliff happened around 4pm, and we were soaking in a hot tub back at our retreat by 9:30pm, reminiscing in shock about how interesting everything unfolded for us, and feeling closer to each other than ever before having gone through all of that together.

And the last miracle that just occurred second week of June 2020: even though my beloved didn't buy the rental car insurance at the time of renting the Jeep, he had excellent car insurance that covered the entire bill for the Jeep wreck of $18,000.

So, the message of the story to me was: there are times you have zero control over your life, and you'll be forced to just "go with the flow" of events as they unfold. Be positive, have faith, surrender, let-go-let-God, be kind to everyone that helps, and be grateful by verbalizing gratitude to others who help as you go along. Sometimes, you just have no idea what life is going to throw at you. Your life is God's rubix cube, and God can shake things up whenever, without warning. The best way to live life is day by day, in the moment, living to the fullest as best you can. Because you just never know what's next. Anything and everything can change at any moment. Let that sink in. And start living your life differently.

                                             Celebrating survival the next day on the beach

We survived <3

Are you happy with everything you've done in your life? If you died, would you be satisfied with all you've seen, all the people you've met, the places you've traveled, the friends you've made, and the quality of your relationships? If not, then get started making positive changes! Make your courage greater than your fears, and start knocking things off of your life bucket list while you have the chance!

~Mandelyn Reese


1 comment:

  1. Wow, Mandy! What an experience. Thanks for writing and posting photos. In your always positive way, you found the blessings! So glad you two weren't hurt. We were on the Road to Hana in May 2018 so can picture it (we were on a mini tour bus!).