Kim decided last year that she wanted to get our entire family to Colorado for Christmas. She rented a VRBO house in Pagosa Springs, Colorado after getting the commitment from all of our children that they would make the time to join us. She really wanted to see all of our grandkids learn to ski or snowboard. Our kids grew up skiing and snowboarding and none of our grandkids have been introduced to the sport.
To say the trip was a total disaster would be too harsh. I really don't want to go into all of the details, but I will list many of the things that happened. Both good and bad.
1. We made it to our dock in Punta Gorda and met the new owners of the house we would be docked behind. They are very nice, but were just moving into house themselves. None of us knew what to expect.
|SHIFT at the dock in Punta Gorda|
2. We made our flights to Missouri and all went well. Unfortunately we found out that Michael and his family would not be joining us for personal reasons.
3. I installed new batteries in the truck. I didn't want to have starting problems in the cold of Colorado.
4. On Monday, December 20, the truck would not start on a 20 degree morning. I determined the glow plugs were not heating. I could plug the truck in and wait an hour, and then it would start. That would be the plan for the trip. It was a real pain.
5. On Tuesday, December 21, I got a call that there were hurricane force winds hitting Punta Gorda. It was a freak storm and no one from there had ever seen those kinds of winds in December before. The boat partially broke free from the dock and was lightly damaged when it rubbed on some pilings. Many people including my friend Wayne got people to the boat to help out. Thanks to everyone that helped. I would spend the rest of the trip worrying about the boat.
6. We drove to Pagosa Springs by way of the Great Sand Dunes National Park. We wanted to add that park to our list (That makes 46 National Parks). It was very cool on right on our way.
|The family checking out the dunes|
7. We had been very concerned that we would have no snow in Colorado. We saw almost 5 feet while we were there.
|Snow on Christmas Eve. The first of many.|
|A winter wonderland|
8. We lost power in the house for 6.5 hours on Christmas Eve.
9. We went skiing on December 26th. I had a hard time making it to the ski area until I figured out my 4 wheel drive system was not working properly. I put the front hubs in manually and all was fine. We had 50+ mph winds and white out conditions. I made 2 runs and then they shut down the lifts. The pass was also closed due to a semi wreck. We hung out in the lodge until the pass reopened. The good news is we got full refunds for both the lift tickets and rentals. The kids did lessons and most of them want to do it again albeit in better conditions.
|The view out of the lodge. At times we could not see the cars in the parking lot.|
10. Will started the trip sick. He was tested and did not have COVID. Slowly that cold went through many of the people in the family including Kim and I.
11. We had fun playing the in the snow making forts and having a snowball fight.
|Much of the family participated in adding to Isabella's snow fort.|
|This is our SIL Brian behind the snow fort that he, Will and I built|
12. When we left Pagosa Springs and went over Wolf Creek Pass, we had snow packed roads and near white out conditions. We all made it safely.
13. We drove to Denver to see my parents for my mothers 84th birthday. We enjoyed our time staying at my brother Bob's house.
|Mom on her 84th.|
14. We drove to Amarillo and were getting progressively sicker. We called Kim's Mom and she told us to come on. Luckily my parents didn't get sick after our visit and only Kim's Dad did. He is better now, but would appreciate it if we did not bring any gifts in the future.
15. We spent 4 restful days at Kim's parents house. Kim's dad has a pet wild squirrel called Minnie.
16. We went back to Missouri with Will and Isabella, who had flown in to Dallas from visiting their father. We always love our time with the grand children.
17. We went to the ranch and it snowed. I really wanted to ride my dirtbike, but it was too cold and I was still sick.
|The ranch under a coat of snow.|
18. We made it back to Punta Gorda. The damage on the boat is not too bad. Just some chipped teak on our rail and some screws missing from the rub rail. I have done a quick fix, but will do a complete job in the future. The main issue with the damage was a rotted piling that broke and allowed the boat to move.
We were ready to leave the next day, but that would not be as easy as we thought. I will tell that story in my next entry.