A Short Trip…

To get away from the pandemic…or at least how it’s playing out in our neck of the woods, Hubs and I packed two small cases and headed to Colorado.

We were going to drive, we didn’t have to get there in a hurry but 2 hrs compared to 12 hours won the day and we flew.

We went to pick up our car at the airport and the salesman saw us coming,

“You’ll never get this little car to Carbondale, lots of steep inclines.  I can upgrade you to another, more powerful vehicle and you’ll be much more comfortable.”

We declined, it was going to cost a lot more each day and for 5 days of pottering around sleepy Carbondale and exploring nearby Snow Mass, Aspen and Marble we decided we’d be fine.

But, in true salesman fashion, he persisted,

“I can give you the military discount and get it cheaper for you.  I promise, this little car will struggle.”

He became so insistent that we both decided that he probably knew better than we and capitulated.

Obstacle one clambered over.

“Make sure you drink plenty of water and take salt tablets,” were his final instructions as he handed over our paperwork and fob.

I immediately began to imagine headaches and nausea setting in from our lack of preparation for the altitude change.

I pushed the thoughts away and off we went.


Three hours later, in Carbondale, we found our ‘Sherpa’s Garden’ in a back alley sharing space with restaurant back doors, dumpsters, shacks and abandoned caravans,


Not quite the picturesque setting we had envisioned, but Hubs and I have learned to be  troopers over the years so we entered our apartment with adventurous spirits.

The ‘airy bnb’ was really a basement flat with two windows, one at either end, facing brick walls and a mere glimpse of sky.  It wasn’t at all bright as it had looked in the photographs.


There was no mention either that our access to the garden was outside the back door, up a few steps and around the block.

And not a mountain in sight!


We were on holiday so made the most of the shabby living conditions.

I couldn’t get enough of the mountains (when I could see them), the Aspen changing colour, the Guadalupe River, and the fierce running streams running amok across the pathways of my morning walk,


into the water fields that were inhabited by hundreds of geese in the valley.


In the evenings restaurants set up their tables along the high street which was blocked off to traffic providing a very laid back, European-style of al fresco dining.

We ate a spicy Thai meal in the road.

Gourmet pizza on a balcony in a converted mansion house.

A delicious burger, with lots of topping choices, served through a curb-side window.


We overheard the cashier tell a customer, who wanted to know how he could tell his burgers apart?

“They all taste the same!”

And we chuckled about our deliberation over which toppings to choose.

We found a distillery in walking distance of our flat and quickly developed a four day habit at 7pm,

pre-dinner cocktails on the patio.


On our final day we took a perilous mountain drive to see the quarry where marble was mined to build the Lincoln Memorial in Washington and the Tomb of the Un-Named Soldier.

It is not a pleasant sensation to drive along what appeared to be a 6 foot wide road with a solid wall of some kind of rock on one side and a sheer drop on the other and the anticipation of the possibility of a car coming in the opposite direction was more than my active mind could handle.  I leaned in as close to Hubs as I could get, refusing to look over the precipice, my heart in my mouth.

At a lay-by we stopped to enjoy the raw marble chunks


and decided this was close enough to experiencing the ‘real thing’ and turned around.

At least going down we were reducing our chance of plummeting 8,000 ft off the side by a few thousand feet every mile or so…not very consoling though and something I would never attempt again!


I remembered as a teenager I had crossed the central Alborz mountain range in Iran, from Teheran to the Caspian, during a winter holiday.

Our Landrovers bore chains on their wheels and were driven recklessly by local guards who worked for my father.  They laughed and joked with each other as they navigated the treacherous roads they travelled regularly, day and night.

At eighteen I had no sense and enjoyed the hundreds of miles journey, through the snow, without batting an eyelid.


Not now!

All I could think about was my arrival on level ground where I could admire, from a safe distance, the soaring beauty of Mount Sopris without a sinking stomach.


I may be a Capricorn but I’m no mountain goat!

Soon we were heading back to Denver and a tooth, that had been lurking in the shadows, began to respond to the altitude and give me trouble.

I desperately needed the comfort of a dentist chair and the pain relieving numbness of the needle.

It took a short trip

with disappointing accommodation,

terrifying mountain roads,

and the longing for a dentists’ chair,

to help me acknowledge how much I’ve changed over the years!



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