The night before my guests were to be at the airport for an 8:04 morning flight home, we decided to drive closer to Colorado Springs. It was a bumper to bumper slow go. Darkness fell along with the falling snow. We were grateful that Rick took the initiative to keep the ice from forming on the windshield. Nicole and I sang Christmas Carols.
The next morning, after leaving Rick and Nicole at the airport, I found myself on the interstate driving ever so slowly with the other foolish drivers. We were determined to get to our intended destinations. Cautiously, between 20 and 40 mph, I made the 100 mile drive in five hours. This time included a one hour brunch stop at the Village Inn off exit 102 on I-25 in Pueblo. It was a luxurious lunch. I took my time to sip hot coffee, eat a scrambled egg, with a slice of crispy bacon. M-m-m the good life, I thought.
Continuing from Pueblo to Walsenburg I drove in white out conditions. It wasn’t as treacherous as the white outs I experienced years ago in New Hampshire. There I couldn’t even see the side of the road. It was scary not knowing where the edge was. At least during this excursion I was able to see the sides of the road. Considering some areas of the interstate were bordered by substantial drop offs, I convinced myself that seeing the roadside markers made it safe enough to get myself home.
I drifted along about ten car lengths behind a semi-tractor trailer. The day before, my visiting friend Rick, taught me how to use the manual shift. That allowed me to use the transmission rather than my brakes to adjust my speed. An occasional gust, of unknown velocity, blinded my view for a second or two. In contrast, there were a few times when my view was as clear as a sunny day (minus the sun).
Approaching my hometown of Walsenburg I called ahead to ask friends what the conditions were leading to my driveway. US HWY 160 was open for traffic, as was my turn off onto County Road 510. Before breathing a sigh of relief, I was confronted with the four foot pile of snow left by the plow at the entrance to my street. I shut the engine off. Shutting my eyes I chuckled. It was hard to believe I safely drove from Colorado Springs to the edge of my property. Now, at the intersection of CR510 and Buffalo Drive South I couldn’t get to my driveway. I closed my eyes and sighed.
When I opened my eyes, I noticed the street to the north had obvious tire tracks. “Hm-m,” I reasoned. “If I follow those tracks I can visit my friend Phyllis.” I started the engine, put it in the lowest gear, and stepped lightly on the gas pedal. Like the little train that could, my trusty super Subaru, with its full time all-wheel drive got me up the small hill.
Past the mailboxes and water tower, I discovered that the tire tracks lead to someone’s driveway. They did not lead me further down the road; no visiting Phyllis. Without enough room to turn around, I discounted a plan to back down the road. Doing so would have left me stranded at the intersection of CR 510, Not a good place to leave my car for the night.
What’s a woman to do? Well, this gal took the opportunity to introduce herself to the neighbor I had not previously met. It was embarrassing, but necessary. Pulling about two car lengths into their driveway, my super Subaru, had the power but not the clearance to make it further. Although the tire tracks were packed down to a few inches, and my tires had plenty of traction, the snow under the body of my super Subaru was too high. Happy that my engine allowed me to go forward. It also dismayed me when the snow lodged under the belly of my car leaving us solidly stuck.
With the temperature hovering around 16F, I bundled up. I had to force my car door open. The snow was at least two feet deep. With a huff and a puff, I pushed, closed the door and pushed it open 3 or 4 more times. Finally, I opened the door enough to get my, wish it was slimmer body, out.
I stepped with my left foot which sunk to my knee. That wasn’t bad. But – t – t as I put pressure on it to get my body and right foot out of the car, my left foot sank to my knee. Puzzled about what would happen next, I burst out laughing as I proceeded. What happened next? I sank to my crotch.
Persevering, I managed to get all the way out of my super Subaru. Step by step, I followed the tire tracks down their twisting, turning driveway. It was a welcome site when I spotted their Bronco with a plow attached to the front end. Their house appeared. I knocked fervently on the door. A nice lady answered. I gave her my phone # and apologized for blocking her driveway. I told her I’d be back the next day.
The walk home was amusing. That is, if you call walking about 400 feet (Or is it 400 yards? ) from the corner of my lot to my mud room door.
Thankfully, Rick and Nicole, my friends, who I took to the airport on this welcome to winter morning were helpful guests. Before leaving they filled up my firewood buckets so I’d have a week’s worth near the front door. All evening I sat, in front of a soothing fire, until I fell fast asleep.
Waking the next morning to a beautiful sunrise, I chatted with my endearing moral support group, Norine, Phyllis, Debbie and Judy. The owner of the house, Gary, where I left my super Subaru, called. He said he was sure I could get my car out. Slipping into my ski pants, wool gator, and gloves I was ready for the 1/4 mile trek back up the hill. As I stepped outside, a chunk of snow slithered off the roof and doused my head. It was 48F, warm enough to unzip my jacket and remove my ear muffs.
With total abandon, I shoveled part of the driveway entrance. Not wanting to expend all my energy, I sludged my way up the hill. Wearing my snowshoes I sank about a foot into the snow. As luck would have it the strap on the left snowshoe slipped off my heel. Leaning over to fix it landed me face down in the soft powdery snow.
Reaching my car was like crossing the finish line of a long grueling foot race. I was elated. The icing on my cake was when my new neighbor showed up riding on his big boy tonka truck. With a smiling face he finished plowing the entrance to my driveway.
It was an ‘a-ha moment when I was back inside my house. While my Florida friends ask, “Marlene, are you having fun yet?” I realize how this Norman Rockwell landscape is every bit as challenging, tranquil and beautiful as the most alluring anchorage.