At Limon, Colorado I began to drive into a rain/snow mixture but arrived at the Denver airport two hours before Brenda's flight; giving me more than enough time to gas up the van, eat dinner and relax. As I sat looking out the window, the rain and snow mixture gave way to snow; big, wet flakes that began to accumulate.
As I checked and rechecked Brenda's flight information the end result was the same, her flight was delayed due to the weather. I had hoped we could make it north of Cheyenne by day's end but that notion was beginning to slip away right before my eyes. I altered my expectations and figured we would stop in Cheyenne for the night. Once it showed her flight had landed, I started driving over to the concourse in this unfamiliar airport. The snow was really beginning to come down; in my opinion, the airport is not very user friendly in the first place and then add to it, a spring blizzard and my stress level began to increase! After being honked at by security to move on from where I was waiting, it took another ten minutes to circle back around and get to the pick up area. Eventually we connected and we started making our way through this intense white out blizzard!
It should come as no surprise that I don't exactly have a lot of practice driving in snow while living here in Texas. Ice storms find me holed up inside where it's safe and staying off the roads! I admit the snow was beautiful but it would have been more enjoyable if I were not driving "The Mothership" which was weighed down and loaded to the brim. It got to the point where my headlights weren't even lighting up the road in front of me, forcing me to exit and clean off the 3" of slush that had accumulated all over the front of the van. It was shortly after this that I made the executive decision to pull off the interstate and stop for the night! We had barely been able to drive forty miles since leaving Denver International Airport!
After getting a good night's sleep we awoke to snow still falling....seriously? We loaded up and headed out, northward bound on Interstate 25. We saw several snowplows but they were clearing on the southbound side meaning we were just slowly making our way on the uncleared roadway. There was a scary moment that sent me on the verge of hyperventilating when a semi decided to pass me, forcing me onto the shoulder and then being momentarily blinded as its slush covered the windshield. After composing myself I was able to thank the good Lord that we were safe and still on our way. By the time we hit Cheyenne, the snow was once again a rain and snow mixture and by the time we hit Casper, we were finally out of it!
Only 500 more miles to go!
To quote Helen Keller:
"Life is either a daring adventure or it is nothing."
It seems that our adventure wasn't over just yet!
We were making really good time and I was beginning to think that we might still make it to the Mountainview Hideaway by day's end, albeit late that night. We had just crossed Homestake Pass and were roughly twenty miles west of Butte when I felt the van jerk. It continued to jerk and buck and I had no power steering: I drove it slowly until I crested a hill to where I could get a cell phone signal. I realized that we were going to have to get a tow truck and have it towed back to Butte. We had pulled off the interstate and drove to the Fairmont Hot Springs Resort and waited for Triple AAA to send out the truck. I was nervous seeing him tow the van behind us, all loaded down with furniture and stuff but I had the presence of mind to give thanks to God that I hadn't lost my ability to steer "The Mothership" while I was on the mountain pass! The driver got the van to the FORD dealership and then dropped us off at a hotel for the night. I normally would not take the van to a dealership but when you are stranded on a Friday night in an unfamiliar city, you do what seems to be the most logical. The next morning the hotel shuttled us over to the dealership so we could be the first ones in line once they opened at 8 AM. Apparently on Saturdays they have a skeleton crew working and it took them a couple of hours to tell me that in their estimation, the serpentine belt broke because the pulleys were rusted and had ground down the new belt we had our home town mechanic replace, just 1,500 miles ago...The pulleys should arrive by days end on Tuesday (via wagon train)...UGH!
I made the decision to rent a car, transfer our personal gear along with some of the boxes and high tail it to the house. Whilst rattling off our vehicle options I stopped her at a Subaru Forester. Dave and I are planning to replace the van next year with a brand new Subaru; we have had the Outback as a rental before so I figured this would give me an opportunity to test drive our other consideration. I ended up forgetting all the movies and my shoes in the van but in the long run, once we finally made it to the Mountainview Hideaway I was able to take a deep breath...we were finally here. I am confident in saying that Brenda and I met the criteria for Helen Keller's idea of life being an adventure!
Stay tuned for my next post on our work projects...