Wednesday, January 9, 2008

1/09/08 Sleet in NM, Snow in CO

The trip didn’t start out well. When we woke up the morning of the trip, the tow car was covered with 4” of snow and as the morning progressed and we were packing the car, it began to sleet. After a few hours of tense driving conditions, we drove out of the storm, crossed into Colorado and as the sun set another snow storm hit with a vengeance. To say we were nowhere would be an understatement – we’d passed Trinidad and the next town was Walsenburg.

The snow was dry and the roads weren’t icy, but the snow was falling so rapidly that you couldn’t see the lines on the divided highway. We were creeping along about 40 mph when a bus passed us. We fell in behind the bus, travelled securely in its tracks and benefited from its headlights. We called Mel who found us a bed and breakfast called La Plaza Inn and we were grateful to pull off at the Walsenburg exit.

The La Plaza Inn is a historic boarding house and the place was adorable. The other guests helped us get settled because the owner was delayed due to the storm. Sarah and I read magazines and watched TV in the common area under cozy quilts. The next morning we met the owner, Martie, paid for the room, and sat in the quaint lobby chatting about her life path that led to owning the hotel. It would have been easy to stay longer, but the weather was perfect and we needed to get some serious miles behind us.

The highway had been plowed and the roads weren’t icy, but there was a lot of slush that would be thrown up on the windshield when we were passed by trucks. All of sudden, the windshield wipers stopped working, causing us to pull over to clean the windows so we could see. I located a Chevrolet dealer in Colorado Springs about 40 miles ahead and we headed in for repairs with several stops to clean the windshield with paper towels. (Before we left, I had filled the wiper fluid with a solution rated to -20 degrees, so I was worried we had a problem with the wiper motors.) The dealer had the problem fixed in minutes almost before we had finished our free donuts and coffee and they refused to charge me, so it was a lovely pit stop.

The weather was still clear and we traveled till we were close to the Nebraska border and stopped for the night in Julesburg. By far, the worst hotel room I’ve ever stayed in. It would be a stretch to call those things with mattresses “beds.” Fortunately, we’d brought our own pillows, there was an America’s Funniest Home Videos marathon running and I was reading a good book. The next time I go to a spa, I won’t need a full body scrub, because the towels were so scratchy that they worked like sandpaper on my skin.

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