Monday, June 11, 2007

The Big Wuss

That's me ... I'm a wuss!!! I admit it fully and freely.

So, today has been a weird day ... mostly good ... some signs of wussiness from Diane ... much love and help from Max.

We slept in this morning and left the hotel about 9:45 on our way to Estes Park. We began driving west towards the mountains and I got more and more excited. Yea!!! Here we go! We got to Estes Park and decided to find the hotel ... just to get things squared away so that I didn't have to think about it anymore. We drove up to the Columbine Inn and it's a beatifully restored strip motel from the 1940s or 50s. Max calls them "Timothy McVeigh' hotels because that is what he was staying in when they found him after the OK City bombing. We love these places. They are generally restored by the owners with lots of loving care and the little extras are noticeable. Each room is generally quite individualized with it's own decor. Here, the towels are folded quite prettily and aren't your standard white, but are a red, green and white stripe! There's internet access and even a little refrigerator. The chairs and table are from the 50s. Oh, it's wonderful!

I checked in, and the room was ready, so we came down, parked right in front of the room, went to the bathroom and got ready for our day on the road.
We left a few minutes later and it was noon. Time to get moving. We headed right into Rocky Mountain National Park on Trail Ridge Road. Because they can't get up there during the winter, road construction starts as soon as it gets nice. We dealt with a little of that today. Didn't slow us down too much.

Max was driving and I was holding on for dear life. Let's just say ... I do NOT like mountain roads. At one point, I was absolutely terrified. I felt that if I looked off the side of the road, that's the way we would end up going. I couldn't take my eyes off the road! I'm a wuss! Max started laughing at me - he was totally comfortable and was doing just great driving. I couldn't even laugh about it ... I was just crying. Seriously. I was crying. We pulled into one area and I realized that I had a death grip on the top of the car window (it was rolled down a bit for air). I pried my fingers loose and tried to breathe. Breathe, Diane!

You see, I DO remember riding these types of roads with my father and looking off the side down into the dark chasms of mountainside. Dad thought it was funny. I didn't. I still don't. But fortunately, I'm married to a man who has plenty of respect for my feelings. Whew! No teasing me. I think I might have threatened him with divorce papers this afternoon at one point.
And guess what, with all of that, I clearly explained to Max that people may see God's glory in these mountains, but God was going to have to do something different, because my eyes just weren't seeing the glory. I KNOW! I will say it for you. I'm a wuss!

We finally got to the top of the mountain. Once we got into the tundra, things began flattening out a bit and I started to relax. But, by this time, altitude sickness had caught up with me and I was really nauseated. Joy. We turned around at Alpine Peak Visitor Center. It had taken us 2 1/2 hours to get to that point and to go on to Grand Lake would have required quite a bit more time, plus the return trip. So, back we went. As we came down the mountain, the nausea subsided and this time I was next to the mountain. I perked right up!

So, we took a couple of side roads, just to see what we could see. And this is one of the stops we made!

I LOVE mountain streams. I know, I know. You have to go into the mountains to find the streams. But, I have discovered that the streams are really cool at the bottom of the mountains - when the water has had plenty of time to build up on it's way down! (Ok, I know - I'm still being a wuss). While Max was shooting the stream, I let Leica out a little bit. She certainly is loving all of the new smells that she encounters.

Finally, on our way out, we saw a moose. Everyone was pulled over - and there was no room - people were standing on the side of the road, so I quickly clicked as we drove past. He was immense! If you look in the picture - upper left - you will see a stream. About 20 feet away is an unsuspecting fly fisherman. I certainly hope he saw the moose before the moose saw him! The traffic was mad enough that I stopped for this picture, or I would have gotten the fisherman as well. It was the perfect cover for LLBean!

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