Good News: The ski vacation was close to perfect -- clear skies, PLENTY of snow, great snow conditions, and moderate temperatures -- until Friday. Thursday night a cold front blew through and it snowed. Not too much, but it put about 5 inches of fresh powder on top of the well-packed base.
For those used to skiing on powder, the conditions had to be just about as good as it gets. For us flatland-dwelling, one-week-per-year skiers, it was a little harder to maneuver on than the groomed packed base had been all week. But the worst part was the temperature. We’d been used to temps in the 20s, that morning it was below zero! Extra layers didn’t seem to help much. The wind would cut right through you.
We could handle about two runs down the mountain before escaping to the warming hut or restaurant. Since it was our last day, and we had to get into Denver that evening in time for our annual traditional after-ski dinner at a particular Macaroni Grill restaurant, we left the mountain a bit early to turn in our rented ski equipment.
We, a group of 8 adults and one infant (my grandson, Trevor), took off in our Dodge full-size van and a rented minivan. The temperature was now about 8 degrees above zero.
Bad News: We were only 5 miles out of Winter Park heading for Denver when my van's transmission failed. Without going into details here, I'm pretty sure it's shot.
(The Conspiracy striking? What else could it be? And if you’re not familiar with The Conspiracy, you haven’t been reading Romantic Ramblings very long. Or Kenju’s blog, or maybe Michelle’s blog. Check them out!)
We arranged a tow, got a rental vehicle from Fraser -- a town near Winter Park -- and made it into Denver. That was important because our daughters had flights out on Saturday morning. We were supposed to eat at Macaroni Grill at 7:30. Several of our group seemed pretty upset that we were going to be late for that reservation, and I didn’t understand it at the time. I did later, but that’s a subject for a later post.
Everyone else was to fly out of Denver on Saturday morning. Carol and I were to drive home. We should have been there by now.
No News: I'm writing this from my hotel room in Denver. The van was towed to a Denver transmission shop, which was/is not open all weekend. We'll find out tomorrow the extent of the damage and the estimated time to fix or replace the transmission. Yes, that picture is the front end of our van as it sits parked at the transmission shop.
I’ve called my boss and emailed the folks in my little department that I’ll be just a little late getting back from vacation. Tomorrow, after the transmission shop opens, maybe I’ll find out how late. Maybe. That’s if they can get to my van, as opposed to having a work backlog. And if they can determine what needs to be done and how long it’ll take to get the parts or the rebuilt transmission. I figure I’ll leave here on Wednesday at the earliest, unless the problem is VERY simple and the shop gets started right away. It could be as long as Thursday or Friday.
Meanwhile, I have internet access here and great cell phone service so I'm not out of reach. I also anticipate that I will have little to occupy my time (understatement), so maybe I can get caught up on all my blogroll friends’ posts for the last week. Shoot, I MIGHT even get some writing done.
It’s too bad the only literary agent in Denver has already said, “No thanks” to my query – I’d take the time to meet her and convince her that she and I could make big money together. Or maybe a little money. Oh, well.
So, today we have spent time surfing the internet (researching new vehicles in case the verdict is REALLY bad on our van, which IS getting up there in years and mileage), catching up on email, and watching an old movie on TV.
Tomorrow I’ll write a post about whatever news we get from the transmission. Stay tuned. (Yes, Viki, another tease. Hey, it’s what I do!)
Update: I think The Conspiracy is striking again! This hotel’s WiFi internet service just went down. BEFORE I was able to post this to my blog. I’m writing this offline in Word, so I’ll just save it and try to post it later. If the WiFi doesn’t come back soon, I MAY drive down the street to find some other WiFi hotspot and use it. If, that is, the rental car I’m driving doesn’t have a mechanical failure, too. Never underestimate the power of The Conspiracy!
Final update: WiFi is back. We’ll see for how long!