Two posts down, I wrote about the 1982 Christmas weather disaster, when I couldn't get the kids to the airport to fly them down to Phoenix. So the following year, 1983, I decided to drive. After all, the snow was in Denver the year before, why shouldn't it be there again?
So, a couple of days before Christmas, I got the kids up bright and early (actually it wasn't bright, it was dark like it usually is at 4:30 am in December in Colorado.)
Packed the car and took off to the south. Shortly after leaving Colorado Springs, it started to snow, lightly. I followed a big truck, and it was easy. Well, it was easy for a short while. The snow kept getting thicker, deeper, and heavier.
By the time I got to Pueblo, it was coming down really good. Appears the storm decided to take a southerly path this time. Since it was still dark when I got thru Pueblo, and I didn't want to travel thru the ever thickening snow in the dark, I turned around, went north back into Pueblo, and stopped at the Village Inn. We had breakfast while I waited for the sun to come up.
The sun came up, but unfortunately, I couldn't see it. It was lighter out, but disorienting since the ground, road and sky were all the same color. Let me tell you, there weren't very many people on the road! It was all I could do to keep the car on the road, I could barely see past the front end of the car, and there were very faint tire tracks, if any. I mostly watched for the posts on the edge of the road so I could see where the middle was.
After 'white knuckling' it all the way to Walsenberg (normally a two hour drive at most), I saw a Best Western sign alongside the road--barely. Being the efficient, decisive person that I was, I decided we were going to have a second breakfast and turned off the freeway. It had only taken over 4 hours for a less than two hour drive.
First question as I walked into the Best Western was "Do you have any rooms available? I think I'm done for the day."
Well, of course, that early in the day, they were full. I had to wait for someone with better nerves than me to check out and be on their way. That's what they told me. I just replied, "I'll be in the restaurant. Let me know when you have a room."
At least I was at the top of the waiting list!
After another breakfast, the kids were confused since I didn't usually feed them breakfast two times in one day, and never twice before 8:30 am, we got a room!!
Yea! I didn't have to drive over Raton Pass, at least not today.
Of course, have you ever spent 24 hours with two kids (ages 10 and 5) in a hotel room with nowhere for them to go run and work off their energy? We watched movies, we jumped on the beds, we bounced off the walls. We did get lunch and dinner, and I called everyone and told them not to expect me, I was snowed in again! All of my southern family (Arizona and Texas) were probably wondering what I had gotten myself into when I moved to Colorado. After all, until last year I had never had a white Christmas in all of my 34 years.
I finally got them settled down and asleep and was relaxing finally. Bekka sat up in bed (the one she was sharing with me of course) and threw up. All over!!
I guess she had too much excitement that day. After we got that cleaned up, we tried again to go to sleep.
The next morning dawned bright and sunny. Really. There was over a foot of snow on the car's roof, but I could see where I was going! Apparently, Raton Pass was a real mess the day before, and there were ground blizzards all the way to Santa Fe that were causing whiteouts on the roads.
We got in the car, and after a very slow, and careful, trip over the pass, we continued on our way. We made it to Phoenix, and then to El Paso. I seem to remember on the way back, on New Years Day no less, I had to find a place to fix something that was going wrong with the car, because it wouldn't go.
That was not an easy trip!!
This is a picture of Ed and Bekka at Royal Gorge that fall, so you can see that they have grown a year's worth. Don't know what happened to the Christmas pictures.
Stay tuned for the next installment in the Colorado Christmas Tales.