The Great Western Adventure: Winter Edition Part 1

You aren’t gonna believe what I did last weekend.

Not in a million – trillion years. I actually lived it – and I still don’t believe it!

I flew in an airplane – yes me, the claustrophobic one who can’t even sleep in a sleeping bag and is deathly afraid of heights  – flew in an airplane to see our oldest son Matt graduate from the Summit Semester Program in the Rockie Mountains near Pagosa Springs, Colorado.

At least that was the original plan. But things don’t always go as planned…

We booked a flight to Denver, were we planned to catch a connecting flight to Albuquerque, rent a car and drive north to Pagosa Springs.

We were going to spend Thursday night in Pagosa Springs, all day Friday with Matt and fly out of Albuquerque on Saturday.

Oh – and did I mention that my husband went on line and found a super expensive hotel room in Pagosa Springs for Thursday night – at a bargain basement, non-refundable price? We’re talking a hot tub with a mountain view, king size bed with a dozen fluffy pillows, and thick cotton sheets. 🙂

Let me tell you folks – we are more of a Super 8 kind of people so I was really excited at the very thought!

flying above the cloudsThe first leg of the trip went well. We checked in, made it through security just fine, and I didn’t even have a panic attack on the plane! We was feeling pretty confident as we landed in Denver.

Then we saw the snow –  a lot of snow. We had flown right into a winter nightmare.

Our connecting flight was delayed. Then they changed our gate, then our plane, and finally 2 hours later they canceled our flight.  We were re-booked at a much later flight into Albuquerque – if it made it out at all.

We discussed our options. We could spend 6 hours waiting in the Denver airport and hope the flight makes it in to Albuquerque at midnight and then drive 3 hours to Pagosa Springs – or we could rent a car and drive the six hours to Pagosa Springs ourselves.

I mentally did the math and saw myself in the hot tub in Pagosa just about the time the flight was taking off. Take that United Airlines!

Besides, I trust Jan behind the wheel of any car in any weather before I would trust some pilot who looks younger than my 15 year old son to fly me over the Rocky Mountains in the dark in a snow storm.

Just saying.

So with the vision of a hot tub with a mountain view dancing in my head – we rented a car and headed south out of Denver. What’s a little snow – right?!

Wrong! The roads were slick and travel slow until we hit Pueblo, where for about 15 minutes Jan actually got up to speed before it starting snowing again. By the time we saw the exit to Walsenburg he was driving on sheet ice.

He turned in the first exit and into a motel. Remember what I had been anticipating for weeks? Hot tub with a mountain view, a dozen fluffy pillows, and heavy cotton sheets?

This is what I got.

the hotelCirca 1960.

Trust me – the furnishings were original. I walked in and felt like I was in Goodwill – on the wrong side of town.

It looked like the Brady Bunch should walk out – and I mean the early Brady Bunch before Greg’s voice changed.

Two flat pillows and no hot tub -actually there wasn’t even a tub. And the whole bathroom listed to the north making the toilet more of a rocking chair.

And it was cold. Really cold.

I put on layers of clothes, climbed in the lumpy 1960 mattress, pulled the threadbare blanket up to my chin and fell asleep listening to Vince Gill sing a duet to Miss Piggy on TV.

I’m not even kidding.

Not exactly the night of luxury I had anticipated.

Between the lumpy mattress, the cold, the worry about the weather, and second guessing our decisions, neither of us slept well.

But we must have slept some – because we woke up – and the sun was shining.

We hit the road early.

Of course we had to stop at a restaurant for breakfast since one wasn’t served at the “hovel hotel”. Come to think of it – it didn’t even have a coffee maker.

At this point, we were beginning to see the humor in the situation – at least until we headed west out of town.

To be continued…

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