Friday, February 10, 2012

A Winter Vacation to Remember.......

Pike's Peak From Our Hotel Parking Lot
Cindy and I like to do things spontaneously.  Often, one of us will be sitting there, reading something, and suddenly blurt out "Let's go on a trip!"

Of course, this routinely results in fun, adventure........and PROBLEMS.....which, I suppose, is part of the charm.

Like the time we decided on a Thursday afternoon to take a jaunt from our home near Dallas, Texas for a few days vacation in El Paso, some 570 miles to the west.  Unfortunately for the all too eager travelers, Clint neglected to check the weather forecast and the dynamic duo ended up in a blizzard at night near Odessa with  literally hundreds of cars and eighteen wheelers scattered across the interstate.  How in God's name we reached a hotel I do not know, but we did.  Praise the Lord.  Friends back in Texas still remind us of our foolhardiness, but we ended up with memories no one could ever duplicate.

But today's post is actually about a spontaneous trip we took back in early December of 2009.  I'm sittin' there, watchin' TV or some such mindless enterprise, when these unplanned words erupted from my maw:  "I always wanted to see Devil's Tower!---let's go tomorrow!"

Fortunately, Cindy is not the voice of reason, so she was ready to go right then.

With no planning, we piled stuff in the car the next morning and departed for the great expanse of prairie to the north and west.  By 5:00 that afternoon, we made Amarillo in north Texas. 

It was there we got our first jolt of bad news---there was a monster winter storm headed down from the Pacific northwest and it was going to hit right along our route in two days.  I thought back to what my friend Duane told me when he heard of our travel plans:  You're crazy!  Well, maybe so, I thought to myself.....but Duane should know by now you can't argue with an idiot.  Ha.

The next day started badly.  Yours truly got a speeding ticket just north of Amarillo.  From there, we motored across the vast Texas and Colorado plains to Colorado Springs.  We got a hotel that had a magnificent view of Pike's Peak.  The roads were beginning to fill up with an icy, snowy frost.  So far, so good.  This was fun!   But, in the back of my mind I was wondering what I was going to do about that approaching monster storm.  Oh well, I thought---can't turn back now! 

The next morning, we struck out up the interstate toward Denver.  We stopped there for breakfast.  Locals in the eatery warned us not to continue.  The storm was going to hit that afternoon with tons of ice and snow and something else---hurricane force winds. 

Just north of Casper, Wyoming, we exited the interstate and took a two-lane rural road toward Gillette.  Fantastic views of herds of antelope grazed near the road.  Panoramic views of America stretched out in every direction.  We stopped for gas about 100 miles from Gillette.  That's when the monster storm hit---and the fun began.

Picture Says It All....
The temperature dropped from 30 degrees to zero and the wind was a steady 50 miles per hour with gusts of 70 MPH

Unfortunately, I had to stop for gas at a little country station.   The ground was solid ice and the wind made it almost impossible to remain upright.  I couldn't get the gas pump to work---it had frozen up.  I finally got the manager inside the store to get the pump working---thank God.  He asked us what the devil we were doing out in that weather.  I told him I always wanted to see Devil's Tower.  I can still see the look on his face.  Ha.

Next Post:  Gillette, Devil's Tower, and Mighty Mother Nature


  1. It's great to do thing on the spur of the moment, I'm a bit like that . My you certainly expereinced some weather, I thought our cold weather was bad enough.

    Hope the weather from Wednesday onwards will be reasonable as I shall be in the US. LA, VEGAS AND SAN FRANSISCO.
    Look forward to your next post.

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  3. Of all our trips, I would have to say The Great Blizzard Trip of December 2009 was one of our most wonderful and memorable.

    I would not advise anyone else to attempt this: "Don't try this at home! All stunts performed by professionals." :-)

  4. Can't wait to read the rest of this! I love (and miss!) your storytelling! Still holding on to my dream of meeting you and Cindy in person someday soon! So much family drama going on, there has been no time. Sigh.

  5. i'm glad you lived to tell your tales. ya know, you can easily check the weather forecast before you depart! i didn't do that when john i went to amsterdam. it snowed most of the time and i didn't even bring a winter coat!

  6. Oh my goodness Clint, thank God you made it through all of that horrific weather. I'm getting cold just reading about it! Pike's Peak, that sounds so familiar, is that in Colorado? Near Colorado Springs by chance? I'm going to have to google that one, it's bugging me why I know that name... maybe I was there in June of last year, maybe not! lol I'm looking forward to the rest of the story. Have a wonderful weekend!

  7. Wow- you two are brave! I love this adventure. Can't wait to hear the rest of it-

  8. i am so laughing! you spontaneous folks deserve one another!

  9. Thanks for sharing your trip...I love to read about your adventures.

    Have a beautiful weekend, enjoy and take care


  10. Wow, you are spontaneous.............aren't you! You must also have some guardian Angels that are too. I wonder what they are thinking each morning when your feet hit the floor..........

  11. Sure is a good thing you are both like minded or one of you would be hearing about this in a snarky tone for years. What a way to build memories. You just need to get Mom Nature on board.

  12. Wyoming native here and none too surprised to hear of this storm. Don't you hate the "can't turn back now" reality?