As you may know, we have been home in Texas for the month March. It was an unexpectedly hectic month with a lot happening. We did not get everything done we set out to do of course, and we were not able to see everyone we wanted to spend time with. I guess that’s just how it goes. Then the month ended with the death of my grandmother, which was terribly sad. However, I am glad I was not in Utah or California when it happened. I had the blessing of being there. But the real fun came when we left Texas. We have been back on the road for 9 days.
We pulled out of my cousin, Nathan’s, driveway after the luncheon following the funeral. Still in my dress and heals we had a late start to head to Colorado. My dad, who was with my mom, and still at my grandparents house in Texas was telling us that there was a massive snow storm that we needed to beat. They were leaving at 3 a.m. the next morning and planned to drive straight through. We ended up stopping in Eden, Texas. We may have pushed on further but Wyatt was done with the day and screaming “let me out” by the time we made it to Eden. We didn’t even unhook the trailer.
That morning we got a call at 7 a.m. We were just waking up. Mom and Dad had already passed through Eden hours before! We hurried and got on the road. The drive was so long. So long. Very long. Wyatt was not a super awesome traveler. Mostly because he really was not well. He was showing signs of a cold developing on top of his allergies to Texas and dogs.
When we got to Colorado, it was already apparent that the weather was changing in a big way. We drove through a bit of snowy slush and when we got to the main turn off, HWY 69, that heads straight into Westcliffe it was flat out snowing. My parents had already made it home. It was around 7 p.m.
So, in case you are not familiar with HWY 69, its normally a beautiful drive. It’s 2 lanes, beautiful mountains, country, bison, also lots of curves and some drop offs without guard rails and some hills. It looked like it had already started snowing maybe an hour or so before we arrived in the area, so the HWY was snowplowed, what appeared to be recently. We were driving slowly, as one does in the snow pulling a 31 foot travel trailer. Rodney was focused. I was in full on panic mode. I should add here that, there is nowhere to pull over safely with a rig on this hwy…by the way. The drive from the start of 69 to Westcliffe normally takes about 40 minutes(ish), it was about 7:30 when we made it half way there. Not too bad you say, for the snow and all. The last 15 miles took us an hour and half to drive. The road was not longer visible. Not only was it dark but all you saw out of the windshield was white. We obviously did not beat the storm. The storm, instead, beat us. Amazingly Wyatt was quite in the back seat. I gave him my phone to look at the pictures. All was silent in the truck. Except for my deep breathing. In my head I was praying for safety, I was going over what to do in case we started to slide off the mountain, I was berating myself for being stupid to drive in this mess. I can safely say, I have never in my life been this scared. Imagine the worst panic attack you have ever had, if you have had one. I hope you haven’t. I hope you have no clue what I am talking about. But, imagine that and multiply it by 2. I seriously was thinking I was having a heart attack, and I was scared to say anything to Rodney because I didn’t want him to look at me and take his focus off the road. Although he must have sensed I was in a bad place, or maybe it was because I had my feet up in the seat and was leaning forward hugging my legs. He asked if I was ok. I said yes, just don’t look at me watch the road! Well, said is probably not right, more like shrieked. Oh yeah, did I mention that there is no cell service for almost the entire stretch of 69 to Westcliffe?!!! So even if we crashed, there is no calling for help. We finally made it into town and pulled into the RV park, which was not our destination at all. We were supposed to make it to my parents house. Big ole NOPE. When we pulled in to check in, I broke down in serious ugly crying. Like, can’t breathe crying. Wyatt was yelling at me, “Mom don’t cry, we made it! Yay!” I am pretty sure I freaked out my mom on the phone. It was all way too much.
The next day was Saturday and the day of Rodney’s show at Hillside Hall. While the sun was out, it didn’t feel like it was going to be a nice day to this Texas girl. I just couldn’t believe that people were going to ever leave their houses again after that storm. Lori with Hillside Hall, was encouraging and said while we would probably loose a few people, it would still be a pretty good turnout. Ok. By 11 a.m. it felt better and a large amount of the snow was already melting. Since we did not unhook in the snow storm, we went to pull the slide-out in and duh, that wasn’t going to happen. There was tons of snow on the roof. We tried scraping it off but it just wasn’t happening. So we paid for another night and unhooked and headed up the mountain to my parents house.
Now, if you don’t believe in Grace or things that happen for a reason, try this on. We were not able to bring the trailer because of the snow on the roof… Well down the 8 mile or so gravel road to my parents our ENTIRE HITCH FELL OFF the truck. The steel pin that holds the giant hitch on the truck, just fell out. Can you imagine what that would have been like if the trailer was still attached to it?!! I just can not even think about it. Talk about disaster. Thank God we were not able to pull the slide-out in.
The show that night at Hillside was actually really great! Fantastic turn out after a snow storm! Rodney sounded amazing and my parents were there which was such a nice treat. That night we stayed in the trailer again, since we paid for our spot. That night the heater that we just paid $120 to fix, went out. At 7 a.m. it was 50 degrees in the trailer and I had to turn on the tiny electric heater to warm up the trailer. (You may remember my post about low propane on FaceBook but we had already filled them by the second night). Could not get it to come on.
Anyway, the next morning, we dropped our trailer at our friend’s Gwen and Donny’s house so that we did not have to pull it up the mountain. And I am SO thankful for them letting us do that because as you shall see we would not have pulled it out of the snow from mom and dad’s house.
Monday morning we woke up to snow on the ground and more snow coming down. And no electricity. Luckily mom and dad have a great fireplace so we were plenty warm. It was a 13 hour power outage with over 2 feet of snow fall. It was actually a pretty nice vacation day.
We had planned to leave Wednesday for Utah and were hoping for clear skies and roads. Monarch Pass was really starting to freak me out. Driving up there to 12,000 ft or whatever it is, after a snow storm with a travel trailer just sounded like something someone would do who needed their head checked. But the alternative route included Vail Pass where there was recently an avalanche… and would have added a few hours to our drive.
Laska, our faithful Ford, pulled out of my parents house before lunch in about 2 ft of snow. We had to use 4 wheel drive and then pretty much just sledded down the mountain to the gravel road where it had been snow plowed. That was also pretty scary. When we got to Gwen and Donny’s it was evident they had the same amount of snowfall at the bottom of the mountain and perhaps the trailer was not going to come easy. Donny ended up having to hook up his truck to the front of our truck and help pull us and the trailer out of the snow. Still so thankful for them! Thank you Donny!
Finally on the road toward Monarch Pass and ultimately Utah by lunch time. The roads through Monarch Pass were actually in great condition. It was just nerve racking with the snow pilled so high on the mountain right next to you and all the avalanche warnings. Once to the summit the scarier part starts. The decent. Which was like 8 or 9 miles of a steep grade. Normally in a truck or car this is really no big deal, but with the inertia of an 8,000 pound trailer behind you, it makes you look at that a totally different way.
We stayed for the night in Montrose, CO Wednesday night. When we arrived we tried going to Home Depot and Wal-Mart to buy a better electric heater, but both places informed us (as there was snow on the ground outside) “that is a seasonal item and it’s spring now!” Luckily by the grace of God our heater somehow turned back on.
We arrived in Utah Thursday and it was a beautiful day and 71 degrees and it was so nice to be out of the snow! Fortunately and Unfortunately the only leak (so far) is on the hose attaching to the toilet… which if anything was to freeze in the snow, I would not have thought that would be it… so I am not sure if it is a weather related break or not. But we have temporary fix on it right now until we can find the right part.
So, here we are. Up to our current time. We had a busy day visiting the Moab Giants Dinosaur Park and Track Museum. Wyatt was thrilled! Rodney had his first show this evening at the Sorrel River Resort and Spa. We were able to grill late this afternoon before Rodney left for his gig, so it has been a really great day.
Until the next debacle…