OK, peeps, sorry to be offline this week. It has been a bit hectic since last weekend.
The weekend was, in short, one of the best I’ve ever had. Before I get to the death defying finale involving duct tape and bailing wire, I just want to let you know some of the many ways in which the gods seemed to smile on us at every turn. Here’s the run down … (Warning: I’m only gushing more now about how wonderful my boyfriend is. So, suffer.)
Friday night, Hermes was supposed to go to a concert with friends, which would have meant that it was gonna be our first day not seeing each other at all since Christmas. But, unfortunately/fortunately, his truck lost a brake caliper bolt and we spent the evening together outside with flashlights and tools and a makeshift bolt scrounged from a generous nearby Home Depot and some duct tape. I think his truck just missed me and threw a fit so it could see me. 🙂
We left Boulder Saturday AM (in my car). On the way out of town, a pickup truck, stuffed with recycling, unawarely dumped a load into the middle of the road in front of us. So, what does Hermes do? He has me stop the car, so he can go move the pile before it causes a danger to traffic. And not only does he move it, he carries it over to the gas station nearby and makes sure that it is properly disposed of. I mean, this man is just thoughtful and generous even when he doesn’t have to be.
We took the blue highway (non-interstate) route to the SW corner of the state. First, down through Fairplay and the hot spring-ringed San Juan valley (which is my most favorite place in Colorado and I have dreams of owning a little house there someday), then we hoofed it over Monarch Pass (upon which sits the only ski resort in CO that never has to make snow). It was a gorgeous, sunny, dry day. Perfect for driving back roads and enjoying the scenery. Here I am at the tippy top of the Continental Divide (take note how clean the car is starting out):
We were making incredible time, and, 2 and 1/2 hours into the drive, we dropped down into Gunnison for gas, lunch, and a nice warm cuppa whatteveh:
Then on to the beeeyootiful drive along Blue Mesa Lake over to Montrose:
And, finally, after a leisurely drive, we arrived in Ouray:
And then, on recommendation from my friends K & J, we checked in here. This is a hotel built over top of private hot springs. There’s an outdoor swimming pool, vapor caves and pool under the building, and a private hot spring pool (that you reserve ahead of time) up the hill out back. We availed ourselves of all the amenities and I availed myself of many explicatives as a ran barefoot and mostly naked in the snow from inside to pool to back inside. It was totally worth it. If you ever need a quiet weekend in a quaint town, check this place out.
The hotel was full but they gave us a little apartment down on Main Street (great luck), so we even had a kitchen to cook breakfast in. Ouray is a sweet, little, old town nestled 7800 feet above sea level at the end of a canyon sitting at the foot of Mount Sneffels (the one on the Coors beer can). It just so happen that there was some international ice climbing competition happening at the ice climbing park above the town, so you gotta know right there that it was friggin COLD outside. And the heat in the apartment didn’t work!!! So, they brought us space heaters and gave us time in the private pool for free (another blessing in disguise).
We had gotten recommendations for places to eat from Hermes’ neighbor, who also lended me her snowshoeing equipment. We went to the Mexican place where we talked with a local guy who drew us a map to a great snowshowing area. After a margarita and a beer and lots of cheese and chips, it was time for soaking and sleep.
Sunday morning, we made a big breakfast in the apartment and I took a little nap and then we got all geared up and headed up the mountain pass. At the top was Ironton cross-country ski park, and we followed a trail (on our snowshoes) into an old mining ghost town. We had a great time exploring the structures and goofing around with the cameras before we headed back for a long steam in the underground, vapor caves (and Hermes impressing me with his impression of the Tuva throat singers) and a fancy Italian feast.
Monday morning, we chilled out at the local bagel shop and then headed out of town. Again, we decided to take a stretch of blue highway while it was still daylight and we could enjoy the view and then we’d zip home on the interstate and still have time to unwind before Hermes had to go back to work the next day. But, not so fast, little travellers. There were still a few little adventures in store.
First off, we drove by the turn off to a little town called Marble, which he remembered is famous for, well, its marble mining and carving. He has long been wanting to come and take a sculpture workshop there, so we decided to go check the place out. It was a slow drive on a beautiful, snowy road. And Scooter (my car) was a trooper in her studded snow tires. We found the whole town littered with white marble sculptures but eerily quiet and pretty well closed up for the winter. We stopped at a gallery (which was closed) and noticed a house behind it. And Hermes, being the gregarious, charming guy that he is says, “Hey, let’s go knock on there door and see if they know anything about this place.” Which, had it been just me, I would have never done for fear of bothering people. But Hermes makes friends with everyone, and in no time, he had them talking about their place and the work they do there. I’m gonna see if I can’t find a way to send him back there for the week-long training they offer in the summer. (If any of Hermes’ friends and family are reading this and want to contribute to the birthday present/fund to send a very talented and inspired man to a reputable and unusual training, lemme know.)
Back on the main road, we were cruising along, headed towards Glenwood Springs, when we notice steam–lots of steam–rising out of the river that ran along the road. So–screeeeech–we turned around and headed back and–shor ‘nuf–there was a natural, untamed hot springs pouring out into some makeshift rock pools in the river. So, we scrambled down the bank and–zhooop–took off our clothes, climbed over the rocks and jumped in.
Now, for all of you that want to skip right to the car wreck, here you go. We eventually got back on the main interstate heading down out of the mountains and had traveled through the most winding part and were getting to the end of the most icy part. We were in the righthand lane going 53 in a 65. A semi was in the lane left of us. The semi put his right blinker on and changed lanes RIGHT INTO US! We tried to get out of his way, but his cab caught us just under the side view mirror on the driver’s side. We spun around, probably at least a 360, and I remember at first closing my eyes and trying to relax my body totally and then opening them again and seeing the semi ahead of us now (which could have really been behind us since I had no idea which way was which anymore) and he was jack-knifing. Thankfully, we landed–pretty darn softly–nose first down in the snowy median, completely out of oncoming traffic.
We looked at each other and made sure we were both OK, and then sat there stunned and shaken up. It happened so fast. And, amazingly, neither of us were hurt. Not even whiplash. The semi driver had gotten control of his truck and pulled over. He was now walking back to us. Hermes, the ever gracious and compassionate guy that he is, walked towards him too and I watched out the window as Hermes extended his hand to the driver and asked how he was. No enmity. No resentment. No panic. Just concern for everyone involved.
The semi driver took full responsibility for the accident. He said that he just didn’t see us. State Patrol was called. We were towed out and dropped at the Days Inn (that we just happened to end up facing, sitting in the median). We decided to spend the night and then get the car checked out in the morning before we finished the 90 minute, steep, downhill drive home. So, we sat in the hotel hot tub for probably a couple of hours, trying to unwind, and ended up talking about how impressed we were with how each other handled the stress and having deeper versions of the conversations we’ve been having lately about how much we appreciate each other, and how much we care about each other, and how much we admire each other, and how much we feel like better people when we are together, and that we each find that the other inspires us to be more kind and generous in all areas of our lives. In the morning, we found a shop, left the car there, and walked to a diner to get some breakfast. Turns out, aside from the dents and the detached bumper cover, the only thing the car needed was to have the tires rebalanced. Just fucking amazing. We’re OK. The car is OK. And the whole thing brought us closer together.
And, if that don’t beat all, as we were walking back to the shop to pick up the car, we looked down on the snowy sidewalk and there were my undies from last night! Wha’ tha’? They must have been stuck in my jeans when I put them on that morning and then fallen out while we were walking around and then the universe delivered them back to me in a way that only made us laugh harder and in greater amazement about the whole ordeal.
The car shop wouldn’t put the bumper cover back on due to liability reasons. But Hermes is Mr. Resourceful, and with some bailing wire and duct tape, he had that thing on more solid that it was when we started. So, here’s the damage. Remember, that is still a green car under all that dirt.
We said a little prayer for the semi driver that he gets what he needs from the universe. (I know those drivers can lose their jobs over just one accident.)
We’re glad to be home, friends. I love my parents. I love my pets. I love my friends. I love my car. (140,000 miles and she keeps on ticking. And that’s twice now I’ve been hit on the driver’s door and come out without a scratch.) And I love my boyfriend.
If anyone wants to see more pics from the weekend, go here.