Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Day 53

The temperatures dropped and the wind picked up early in the morning.  I burrowed deeper cinching my bag over the top of my head … thinking about the fact that it would take me at least 3 minutes to extract myself from my cocoon if the need arose.  I hopped it wouldn’t arise.  My alarm wen toff at 6:45am.  

Very pretty Airstream.

I got up and prepared for the day.  We got the car packed and poured granola for the road.

We drove down to Ridgway again ...

and then headed up over the pass (I thinks we saw Mt. Sneffels according to the direction Back Country Navigator said it was.  Or we were looking at a very pretty mountain in front of it)

Mt. Sneffles?  Maybe?
past Box Canyon, down to Ouray.  

There appears to have been quite a bit of mining in this area.  Iron, I think.

More mining.

That's what makes me think iron.  The river though this mountains as red as well.

We drove toward Durango, checking the road conditions as we went.  The roads were snowed all around Colorado Springs.  We had a plan to avoid La Veta Pass by going out of our way up 285 to 50.  We would stop in Durango to run our plan by a local who knew the roads.

He's sleeping, sitting up!  Really!

No kidding!
The ladies at the visitor center weren’t aware that there was snow anywhere.  After they pulled up the CDOT map, they disagreed on whether to stay on the highway believing the snow would melt off the passes and the main roads would be better tended to, or take the smaller roads around the pass.  We filled water bottles and checked the sale rack at the gear store on the corner and hit the road. 

Chimney rock and Courthouse Mountain.  I only know that because Jake told me.  :)

Wolf Creek Pass was our first hurdle.  Jake and the visitor center lady had warned me about it.  CDOT said it was “icy”.  There were only a few spots we had to find dry pavement.  We stuck to the highway and all went smoothly until Pueblo.  There the snow began and thickened as well has the traffic.  It was slow going into Colorado Springs.

We finally arrived at the Residence Inn.  It was 3 degrees with an inch or two of snow.  I could feel the inside of my nose freezing with each breath.  We had had hard conversations in the van about my blindnesses because of the way I grew up, most relating to recent events.  I had little strength remaining in my heart and when the receptionist informed me that the pet fee was $75, which was about what we were paying for the room, I was crushed.  I asked about canceling our reservation, but it was too late.  I checked several boarding kennels, but most closed at 6pm and it was 6:30pm.  We talked of cost and how many times we would have to come out to turn on the van to keep it reasonably warm for the dogs. 

Mom got her dander up and asked to speak to the manager.  We waited for a long while before he appeared.  Mom explained we were expecting a pet fee at least in the range of the Residence Inn we had almost stayed at in Grand Junction.  She communicated our plight of not wanting to leave the dogs out on a 3 degree night.  I was afraid she was going to fight with him about the fee.  Instead she only asked that he make the exception of allowing us to cancel our reservation so we have explore other options.  He readily agreed and offered to try to find another Marriott in the area that had a cheaper pet fee, assuring us that $75 was the going rate.   However, the Fiarfield had a $25 fee which they assured us had no weight limit (many hotels have a 30lb limit) even though their website said otherwise.  We thanked him for his efforts and went to the car.

Mom wanted to explore other options especially wished to be closer to Lawrence, KS to help our drive tomorrow.  We check many forecasts and hotel rates.  I found a promising one on and called to check the pet regulations.  They wouldn’t accept pets, but the guy offered to try to find something else that fit our criteria.  The chemical sensitivities issue was confusing and bothersome.  A Days Inn seems to fit all the requirements and had great reviews  We chose to ask to see a room prior to reserving though  After hanging up, I found many bad review, downright scary, on Yelp.  Jeremiah was tired and encouraged a decision, now and close.  He was willing to pay any difference.

We drove to the Fairfield, doubled checked all fees, asked to see a room (the Andes chocolates on the pillows had me sold), reserved online, and paid.  The guy at the desk was quite compassionate and slightly amused by our situation.  The manager at the Residence had talked to him twice on our behalf and I had called to check the weight limit, so he was acquainted with the whole store and was quite good natured about it.  He admired the dogs, I think mostly for our benefit.  Murphy’s Law manifested in Emily putting her paws up on the lower desk when eh greater her.  I had assured him that they were pretty well behaved.  :P

I was feeling much better without another all night drive looming as a possibility, or camping, or messing with boarding the dogs, or staying in a crummy hotel that everyone would be on edge about with complaints and ultimatums.  The evening was a well needed rest. 

Mom called Aunt Bark to confirm we would be on our way through to moor as a follow up to a text alerting them to the possibility this afternoon.

I felt like there was much less to scrub off for this shower compared to the last one, but I had been almost as long without on this time.  Maybe the post shower lotion last time helped.

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