23 October 2010

Day Fifteen: Kansas City.

This is a bit of a short-circuiting of my plans...today, my plan, formulated, quite honestly, over a year in advance, was to take this day and travel from western Colorado to western Kansas, giving us a modest drive home on Sunday. However, a growing dislike for living out of suitcases and a yearning for home, not to mention the lack of any glorious aesthetic wonders of staying in a small town in western Kansas, made us succumb to the temptation to do foolish things, such as drive from Glenwood Springs to Kansas City.

In late October.

Yes, all was hunky and not a little dory as we ambled away from the picturesque town and started through the mountains on the western slope. We had heard of some potential snow issues at higher elevation, but hey, shouldn't be any trouble for us, right? We got up to Vail, and all it was doing was spitting semi-freezing rain at us. No sweat. Here's a pic of the pleasant little surroundings.

And as you can see, the roads look fine! No worries!

It was rather beautiful...apparently the first major snowstorm of the season in the area.

Then we started to gain in elevation and the fun began at Vail Pass. I've driven in a lot of snow and ice in Missouri, but to be stopped in a traffic jam for about an hour on an incline slope full of very, very slippery icy snow should be out of bounds for the relaxing vacation itinerary. We were on the knife edge of getting hopelessly stuck and/or colliding with other struggling motorists more times than I can count, and the constant stoppage of traffic (for hapless motorists foolishly bringing their rear wheel drive Jaguars into the mountains...stupid rich gits!) meant it was not so much driving, as the constant spinning of wheels in icy snow directed carefully to effect forward momentum. Good God (and He is good, and we made many prayers to that effect afterward, not a few of which apologetic for our many coarse invocations during), that was the most intense driving experience I've encountered. We found out that they had closed I-70 eastbound, but we had gotten through before the closure. It eased up later and the other high elevation points were not so challenging...the pass around the Eisenhower tunnel was a bit slushy but nothing too hair-raising after the first experience.

Then into Denver, and we never exulted so much in the act of leaving the mountains behind as at that point. The eastern Colorado plains were terrifically boring, but we made it across them and into our neighbor state of Kansas. I could have kissed the earth.

Something peculiarly sweet about our daughter when she is asleep. Perhaps because she is at her quietest? Except when she has "doggy dreams" and barks in her sleep.

So yes, at long last, we are back in Kansas City, and aside from the fact that the Kansas turnpike from Lawrence to Kansas City is under construction and to charge for the passing there-through is larcenous and akin to...wait for it...highway robbery, and aside from the fact that I-70 eastbound is so comically pretzelled that motorists passing through from other states must be still trying to find their way through, years later, subsisting on crumbs from the cracks in the seat cushions of their Chevy Luminas, and aside from the fact that we had a great time seeing the West, we are very, very glad to be home.

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