Thursday, January 25, 2007

Fun in the snow

Amy and I took a vacation last week to Breckenridge, Colorado, while Sydney stayed with grandparents and enjoyed... well, was supposed to enjoy warmer weather. Turns out North Texas was blasted by winter weather, snow, ice, etc. While Breckenridge was still colder, we had blue skies and lots of sun while back home it was cloudy and precipitating in various forms.

But back to what I was saying:

This was a last getaway for the two of us before our son arrives and keeps us housebound and domestic for a while. Sydney did have a blast at two different grandparents' houses, and it was a good thing she was not along for the ride. The driving in Colorado was just fine, but Texas and New Mexico were ten kinds of messed up! We sat for an hour and a half on the way up waiting for an overturned 18-wheeler to be cleared, and then managed anywhere from 20 to 70 miles per hour depending on whether a particular stretch had been hit with ice and snow, was fogged in, or was totally clear. We got to our intermediate lodging in Santa Fe around midnight instead of 8 o'clock that night. We thought that was the worst of it, but we were wrong.

After a lovely week in Breckenridge, we stopped to see the Chief Procrastinator (photo coming soon) over at Procrastination Station, and then hit the road for home. We encountered ice and heavy snowfall about 20 miles north of the New Mexico state line and Raton Pass. Climbing through the pass was interesting, to say the least, and it just got worse from there. Visibility was low, and the roads in New Mexico and Texas had up to an inch of ice on them (I'm referring to a solid plate of ice, like what you would skate on, but not quite as flat), and it was only by being extremely cautious that we made it through. Too bad southern states don't believe in salting roads! NMDOT and TxDOT had trucks out in force, but they weren't even sanding, just scraping the snow off the unbreakable layer of ice...

We managed a decent pace (considering we were driving on ice) until we got to Texas, whereupon we came across three vehicles in rapid succession that needed help to get out of the snow and back on the road. One truck we (the people in the truck and I - not Amy!) were able to push out of the snow. The next car was way too stuck, so we gave the driver a ride home. It was just 5 miles back, but added 30 minutes to our trip. The third vehicle was a four-wheel-drive SUV, and we managed to dig the snow out from around the tires and get them going without too much trouble. It's a good thing we didn't see more disabled cars, or we might never have gotten to Amarillo, where we planned to stop for the night. As it was, we almost didn't get there anyway. At 12:45am about 5 miles outside of Amarillo, right as we were breathing a sigh of relief, traffic stopped. Apparently an 18-wheeler had done something unnatural (it was just over a hill so we couldn't see it) and we sat without moving for another two and a half hours before it was cleared. We made it to Amarillo and collapsed in the hotel room around 4am. The next morning, the roads were again very treacherous for the first two hours, at which point we got far enough out of the cold weather for the roads to thaw and allow us to clip on at a good pace.

But enough about driving. This vacation was about enjoying the snow and cold weather, not driving in it!

We loved the scenery, the town of Breckenridge, and the food. We even spent one day cross-country skiing. We took a relaxed pace, but I'm still very impressed that Amy was up to it, given our 9600' elevation. We read (a lot!), slept (a lot, but still not *quite* enough, if there is such a thing), explored, and just generally enjoyed doing things as a couple. Sydney is decidedly anti-cold (having next to no natural insulation) and complains if we even wash her hands with water that is too cold, so this was a vacation we're glad she sat out for many, many reasons. It was great to come home and see her again, though, and I have a few of those awesome "Daddy" moments to relate from this week in a later post. Meanwhile, here are a few photos from the trip:

Amy with Breckenridge in the background:

Amy on cross-country skis:

Rollin managing to stand upright on cross-country skis: