Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Mike & Rhonda Take a Vacation

Guests are always asking us what we do for vacations.  The truth is, we don't go on too many trips any more, partly because this life ties us down some, and partly because we used to travel a lot before and now are ready for "home" time.

And maybe we became innkeepers in order to tie ourselves down as we have a reputation when it comes to traveling. No one was ever anxious to go with us.

There were sailboat trips with freak storms and multiple mechanical failures ("Mike, is water suppose to be coming up through the floor?") There were camping trips to Padre Island with second degree sunburns, food poisoning and getting trapped inside a very expensive borrowed tent. (It was dark and the zipper was jammed).  We have sat on hilltops while flood waters raged around us. And we have searched for food and lodging during all the wrong times. We didn't know it was the tri-state horse show, or the big college event, or Columbus Day (which is a big deal up in New England).

We also had a reputation for getting lost.  Pictures in our photo albums say "somewhere in Maine as we were lost at the time."  We would leave Dallas and end up in Houston when headed for Austin.  Or, we left Colorado headed for the National Grasslands in the panhandles of Oklahoma and Texas and ended up in (this is so embarrassing) KANSAS.

The following is a story I wrote after flying to Colorado to attend our son's graduation from college at Western State in Gunnison in May of 1999.   (Flying would usually at least insure we got to where we were trying to go!) We tacked on a few nights to stay in a luxury suite at a resort in Crested Butte. 


Not only does one have to be careful of what one wishes for...but one must also set a timetable!!

I got my Christmas snow for Mother's Day.

And, of course, I had no warm clothes.  In my usual fashion of striving against stereotype, (women who pack too many bags), I went away for four days in the Rockies with only one very small suitcase.  I had 3 summer dresses, 1 pair of sandals, 2 pair of socks, (my one concession to the possibility that the weather would be anything other that what I deemed
it should be), and an all weather windbreaker-kind-of-jacket that I always have to take to appease Mike lest we get stranded somewhere.

We get to the hotel and there is snow everywhere. What was truly bizarre was that Cory's graduation, 20 miles down the road, was perfect; green grass on the field, sunny blue skies, mild breeze and temps in the 70's.

Now, when I say DOWN the road, that is exactly what I mean...down. Like, 1,200 feet down.  And for the record I don't do altitude well.

Crested Butte is a charming little place but as different from Jessiville, Arkansas as one can get.  Here you have lots of grey hair, plaid golf pants, Lincoln Towne Cars, AARP memberships and funny hats.   Crested Butte is the natural habitat of Jeeps, LL Bean clothing and all things healthy.  All vehicles have some manner of rack on top for skis, kayaks, bikes, you name it, and they are as mandatory there as a bottle of Ben Gay on the night stand is here!

But, their hats are funnier!

Plus, they are ALL in REALLY GOOD SHAPE!  I was the only fat person in at least two counties.

I think I am going to quit trying to plan my vacations and see if serendipity works better.  I mean, I made all these plans MONTHS in advance so all would be just right.  You know what is coming - another one of Mike and Rhonda's Vacation Disaster stories.

First, we check into our suite that is to overlook the mountain and it is looking into the courtyard and 100 other balconies.  I call them up and in a voice somewhere between irate and pitiful, and explain they have ruined my life.  They find two other rooms I can look at and one is perfect with a wonderful view and we take it.

We check into our perfect room.  The phone doesn't work so I go downstairs.  "Oh, I'm so glad you came down. I just realized why we didn't give you that room to begin with. That whole wing is being worked on starting Monday at 8 am and the plumbers will be turning the water off."

I assure them that we will be leaving early on Monday and want to keep the room (and its beautiful view).  They agree to let us stay there and turn on our phone.

I should stop here and explain that Crested Butte is a ski town.  We were there on the "Off Season."  Remember that term.

The whirlpool tub is calling to me.  I go in to run water and find that it takes about 15 minutes to get hot water to come on (which could explain the plumbers).

By now, the 9,000 + foot altitude is starting to do it's damage on me. I have enough oxygen to do only one of the following at any given time: walk, talk, digest food or breathe.  Doing any one of the first three was followed by two hours of lying down trying to do the later.  All moisture was completely sucked out of my body. My mucous membranes became non-existent.  I plugged in the two humidifiers supplied by the hotel on either side of the bed, slathered up and down with lots of lotion and tried to survive.

These two days were for us. We would enjoy the roaring fire, the magnificent view and each other. We would call for room service whenever we wanted food.  It was with great disappointment, when we did call, to discover they didn't have enough staff during "off-season" to deliver food.  I was ready to leave that instant...and would have had I not been sprawled on the bed "breathing" for the next go round of walking to the bathroom.

The pizza delivery place told us the same thing. So sorry but no delivery during off-season.

Mike then calls downstairs to at least get a to-go order for the room and stumbles across some sweet young man named Brian who made our weekend by assuring us that we could, after all, have food brought up.

The next morning (Sunday) is all ours.  We are not leaving the room.  I wake up early and watch the sun coming up over the mountains...a truly glorious experience, as many of you know, as the sun brings different snow covered peaks into brilliant focus as the morning progresses.  I had tip-toed out to the living room (leaving Mike to his much deserved slumber), started the logs burning in the fireplace, and had a cup of coffee along with my book, a blanket and a pillow all ready on the couch.  I decided the only thing interfering with the perfection of the morning was the tray of dirty dishes sitting there from the night before.  I looked a fright...hair standing up on end and my comfy nightgown (you know the one, we all have them...holes, stains, misshapen but they fit so perfectly and feel so good), and bare feet. But I decide to risk the 15 seconds of exposure in the hallway to set the tray outside the door. I carry the tray out and leave my foot in the jam...or, at least, I thought I did...until I heard that almost prison-like clank of metal on metal that takes my brain only milliseconds to translate into "Oh, s**t!"

Here I am on the outside of a locked door.  Mike is two rooms away behind two closed doors.

I know my knocking will be heard by the couple whose door is immediately next to ours way before Mike wakes up. And I have already encountered them once...beautiful ski-bunny and hunk. Well, if I wake them up, I can at least get them to call next door and wake Mike up. They weren't that impressed with me the first go-round so who cares how I look!   I knock louder. Then began pounding. Neither of the doors is opening.

How bad do I look if I have to go down to the lobby and borrow a phone? At least I'm not naked.

About that time I hear a faint "Rhonda?" coming from the other side of the door.  My soft answer opens the door to a completely confused Mike.  And I so wanted to let him sleep late!

The rest of the day went well.  We sat and talked for hours (something we haven't really had a chance to do in ages,) we read books, we called for food and we listened to the snow melt.  Snow of that volume makes an incredible amount of noise...amazing.  And we watched the reverse of the sun's play on the mountains as it set that evening.

Monday morning I woke up early (to get done with all "water" activities before the plumbers turned it off) and looked out the window.  I turned to Mike and said "Honey, it looks like we are fogged in." Then I realized this fog had lumps! We were in the middle of a blizzard! In the middle of May!!  We managed to get off the mountain without a problem.  It wasn't until we got to Monarch Pass that it got scary.  They had ice on the roads there. And even though the road had been sanded, you would look down those steep, deep, drop-offs and just pray.

We made it home OK and have only taken one "real" vacation since then.  It was to the Pacific Northwest. That was the time my back went out due to the long plane trip and not being able to move around too much. So I spent our vacation in a wheel chair being pushed through museums of stuff Mike wanted to see. (He was in heaven and I was drugged and couldn't escape.)  But that's another story.

Sometimes it is just as easy to stay home.

Bring pictures from your fun vacations so we can live vicariously. I think that is the way to go!


  1. Last time we took a family vacation, we got a flat tire and the jack slipped, so we called for help and the tow truck died. (I was laughing so hard the can was shaking and hoping the tow truck driver didn't know.) Thanks for sharing.

  2. I read once that bad decisions make good stories...maybe we should add vacations to that!