About 3 years ago, the Queen and I surprised our girls the week before Thanksgiving and went to Denver for about four days. The purpose was to show them some snow, as they had never seen the stuff before. Growing up in Colorado I have seen plenty of snow and have come to believe that snow is highly over rated! But, these are my kids and they wanted to see some real live snow….so….
We arrived in Denver and of course you get the city of Denver snow, after it has been on the ground for a while…gray and piled up on the curbs. Not what the Queen and the Princess’s had in mind! But we persevered! We took them to the zoo, which I had not been to since I was a little button and which I will give a plug to. Go to the Denver Zoo in the wintertime, it’s a little cold….but all of the animals are outside and like all animals in the crisp air….they were playing. We enjoyed that for the day and fiddled around Denver for the next day or so…but still that request to see some white snow….
We had gotten one of those nav-i-ga-shun dee-vices and it was obviously bottom of the line. It would tell us, “stay on this road…for a while”. I kid you not, those were the exact words! Since our nav-i-ga-shun dee-vice was a little twitchy, the Queen thought that it would be a good idea for us to have a map. And for once in our married life, I had planned ahead…I had gotten a map. Ok, maybe map is overstating just a little…the map was 8 bucks, so I got one of those little brochures they put in all of the hotels. It had a map on the back, that would get us up to Dillon and back…or so I thought…
Now I have been in South Texas long enough to have forgotten how to drive in snow….or ice….or really any weather but rain and sun….but I grew up in Colorado, right? Should be no problem….right? You may question my intelligence at this point…
So, we got in our rent-a-car and headed west…up into the mountains. We stayed on the road we were on for a while, ended up going over Loveland Pass (I think) in a snow storm. Which didn’t worry me too much; there were other people on the road….some on the side of the road….some on their roofs, spinning around….some in the ditch…some in the ditch, on their roofs…
We got to Dillon with no problems, drove on the nasty, icy slick road….didn’t have a wreck! Heck, I was feeling pretty cocky at this point; I was a handy sort and could drive in all weather conditions! Got out of the car in Dillon, it was 16 degrees! Didn’t take me long to decide that it was too cold to look at snow! But the girls wanted to throw some snowballs and such, so we did until their hands got cold….at that point I suggested the one thing that I knew would distract the Queen. I said “let’s go look in the outlet mall”. Words no man would ever say out loud…unless his fingertips and ears were about to fall off AND he could feel the boogers freezing in his nose!
So we traipse around all of the little stores and look at coats and ear muffs and long johns and gloves, more than enough stuff for a man to keep warm. But then the cheap side kicked in…I start to think if we buy stuff we have to take in back on the plane with us, that costs extra! So we bought a couple of things for the girls and the Queen and outside we go…again….
At this point I got to thinking about driving back over the pass with all that nastiness…at night. I thought this South Texas cowboy did not need to drive at night during a snow storm, so I told the Queen we would drive south until it stopped snowing. I was not sure how far we would have to drive, but I was willing to drive as far as Amarillo.
Do you remember the 8 dollar map, I didn’t buy? This is where 8 bucks came back to bite me in the rear. We were discussing what road we would take going south and the Queen asked to see the map. I proudly whipped out my “map” and handed it to her. She looked at the “map” and looked at me like I had horns growing out of my ears. The conversation went as follows:
“Why, that’s a map.”
“No…no it’s not. It’s a brochure to the outlet malls”
“Naw, flip it over. There’s a map on the back.” (I was pretty proud of myself, I saved 8 bucks)
She flipped it over, looked up at me with that “horns growing out my ears” look and, bless her heart, said, “Ok, let’s go”.
I love my bride and at this point we should have been questioning her intelligence, not just mine!
We head out on Highway 91, which because I can’t read a map on the back of a brochure, led us higher up into the mountains and not down out of the mountains as Highway 9 appeared to do. I wasn’t too worried about any of the travel until we reached the point that we were the only ones on the road.
Don’t get me wrong, there were spectacular views and soaring drops off the side of the road. But when it keeps getting colder and only the dumb Texans were on the road, I really couldn’t enjoy the trip! I was thinking that we could wreck and no one would find us and we would be stuck up there all winter. We would have to resort to eating each other and I couldn’t decide which of my family I would eat first! Or heck, would they gang up and eat me!
After what seemed like hours, we finally arrived in Leadville. Which I think is the highest city in America, and it showed. It was now -9 degrees, and fuel was getting low. Luckily, the hardy Leadvilleans didn’t even notice it was cold and were going about as if -9 degrees was the norm! We found a convenience store and I got out to gas up. It was so cold that my mustache was freezing up, I touched my face and it came off in my hand. My mustache came off in my hand, not my face. Although I believe it was cold enough that if I had stayed out in it for more than 7 minutes, my face may have come off too!
After gassing up, we headed on south. After -9 degrees, I was willing to drive to Cancun to avoid any more cold weather. But we got to Buena Vista and the weather was beautiful, so we turned and headed back toward Denver, via Colorado Springs….
Long route, I know….but the roads were clear and the weather was better…all in all, we had a good time. But, this South Texas cowboy couldn’t wait to get back where there was no snow and more importantly no -9 degrees!
If there was a moral to this story, I would have to say it is this:
Use the proper tools to lead you on your way. As I was standing in the -9 degrees, fueling up our car, I would have given 80 bucks for a good map.