If you don’t think God has a sense of humor, explain to me why the teenage years and the first years of the empty nest so often coincide with peri-menopause. Talk about ups and downs. Face it: You’re going to make some illogical decisions based purely on emotions. Accept it, forgive yourself and move on.
I’m still working on that “forgive yourself” thing for a recent mandate that I was going to spend Mother’s Day with my kids, no matter what. We live in the mountains on Colorado’s Western Slope. Our kids are in Denver and Laramie. To save them the long drive home since both had been here at spring break, I decided that we would take the RV to Fort Collins, which is about halfway in between them. We booked the campsite and started planning.
I was certain that I’d clued the kids in on this plan, but apparently that only happened in my head. Our daughter had plans Friday night and Saturday that included hosting a wedding shower, so not really something she could blow off. Still, that gave us Saturday night and Sunday, so onward and upward with the planning. Why? Because I said so, that’s why.
Now, back to that part about living in the mountains. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve become inexplicably fond of weather reports. On most days, I can tell you what it’s going to be like where we live, where both kids live and in Kansas City where my Mom lives. So I cannot honestly say that we didn’t know there was a major spring snowstorm in the forecast.
Pshaw, I thought. It seems like whenever we plan around the weather, it changes and we regret changing our plans. So we didn’t. I did send the kids a text reminding them to bring warm clothes. Be prepared, right?
We headed out Friday morning and, by the time we reached Vail Pass, it had started to snow. Luckily it wasn’t sticking to the road, so we made it safely to our campsite at the KOA at Poudre Canyon just outside Fort Collins with no problems. It was chilly, but nothing to worry about, right? Saturday morning was beautiful. I was even sitting outside in a tank top reading. Forecast, shmorecast.
Our son arrived from Laramie in just 50 minutes; we were right on Highway 287, so it was an easy drive for him. It was rainy by the time our daughter arrived Saturday night, but who worries about a little rain in the springtime?
We had a late dinner and I was reveling in the moment I’d been waiting for, all four of us around the table, laughing and cracking jokes. That was my only request for Mother’s Day. Gift granted.
The snow had settled in by the time we got up Sunday morning and finished our favorite camping breakfast of biscuits and gravy. When we got ready to walk the dog, not one of us had winter-proof shoes. Not one. Not even me, even though I’m known to carry snow boots and a wool blanket in my car until the middle of summer. So much for being prepared.
Most of the highways in southern Wyoming were closed. Instead of the easy 52-mile trip back to Laramie, our son had to drive 200 miles on roads that none of us had ever been on. Our daughter had to drive back on I-25, which was also icy and snow-packed. It was a long day, checking road conditions and touching base, until we knew that both were safely back at school.
We hunkered down in the RV and waited out the storm. After looking at — and actually believing the forecast — on Monday morning, we went ahead and reserved two more nights at the campground. I get alerts on my phone when any of the major highways in Colorado are closed, and my phone was buzzing all day.
I had my laptop and wifi via my phone’s hotspot, so I set up shop and was able to work quite productively, even though I was wrapped in a blanket to stay warm. It was a good trial run since we’re planning to spend more time on the road this year.
We did get a little cabin fever, though, and decided to do some exploring when the sun came out on Tuesday. The campground is just across the road from the start of the Cache la Poudre Scenic Byway. It’s a beautiful drive along the Cache la Poudre River, one of the only rivers in America with a federal designation as a Wild and Scenic River. There were lots of fisherman and even a few brave kayakers on the river; I’m sure it’s quite popular during the summer.
For dinner, even though I’d planned to try something new, we found ourselves at the Coopersmith Pub and Brewery, one of the only restaurants we’ve ever tried in Fort Collins. The beer was cold and refreshing, and our meals were delicious, so I’m sure we’ll be back there again. Old Town Fort Collins was springing to life with blue skies and blooming trees.
We made it safely home on Wednesday, once again driving over Vail Pass in snow flurries. It was a nice getaway, and I never regret a moment spent with my family, but I’m still feeling very guilty for planning a trip that resulted in the kids having to drive on snowy roads. Hopefully I will follow my own advice to accept my emotional decision, forgive myself and move on. Because I said so, that’s why!
Stay tuned for more Tales from the Empty Nest.