In retrospect I do wish we had decided to stay in Denver for the night because once we entered the mountains the sun seemed to set really quickly and I’m very disappointed with the pictures, they just don’t do it justice at all.
It didn’t take very long at all for it to get too dark to even bother trying to take photos. So I just put the camera away for the night and tried to enjoy the ride. It’s a very steep climb peppered with just as steep valleys. The runaway truck ramps were a good quarter of a mile long. There were tunnels through the rock. We passed the Continental Divide in one long tunnel. I booted up the computer to try to find Hilton Rewards hotels in towns that were coming up (remember Jay promised me at least one night in a decent place), but I couldn’t find any. We passed through some towns that had no hotels, just restaurants, and others that appeared to have hotels but no restaurants. It was full on nighttime by now, so we stopped in the first town we came upon that had both hotels & restaurants. Jay went into one, no vacancies. I went into another, no vacancies, and the kid working the desk looked at me like I was nuts for even asking. Jay checked another, no vacancies. We got on the highway and went on to the next town. Again, no vacancies. Vail was coming up, I thought surely they’d have something, so I booted up the computer again to look. They may have had vacancies, but there were no hotels in our price range. Rooms were running $240 and up. Some were $500 per night. So we didn’t even stop. Vail was gorgeous though, even at night. It looked just like you see in the movies, all the trees lit up with white lights. I started looking in other towns coming up, and I looked and looked for vacancies and rooms in our price range, finding nothing. Then the battery died on the laptop.
At the next town we found a Comfort Inn and I went in to see if there were any rooms. From the look of the lobby this was one high class Comfort Inn! There was a sign on the front desk saying the clerk would be right back, sorry for the inconvenience. So I waited and while I did I picked up a map of the region that highlighted all the Comfort Inn chains along the road in other towns. I waited and waited until finally Jay came in to see what was taking so long. I gave him the map and told him to start calling the Comfort Inns in upcoming towns to see if they had rooms and check rates. He went outside to make calls and soon came in saying he’d booked us into one in the next town over. The clerk never returned and we left without ever seeing anyone who worked at that particular hotel.
Once again it was going on 10pm by the time we checked in. We told the young guy working at the desk about all the trouble we’d had finding a place and he said that was to be expected in the towns close to Vail during Spring Break. Duh! No wonder the dude at that other place looked at me like I was nuts when I asked if they had anything! We had no idea it was Spring Break time. The town we stayed in was a sleepy little one that rolled up the sidewalks at 9pm, so none of the restaurants were open except the fast food chains. We decided on Burger King because it was closest, grabbed some eats and settled into our room for the night. It was definitely a big improvement over any place we’d stayed along the road so far.
When we were driving back into the parking lot after going to Burger King, Jay almost ran over a deer. When we looked closer we could see that there were about a half dozen young deer just wandering around the edge of the parking lot and laying on the hillside.
We drove just a couple of hours to Grand Junction where we stopped for breakfast and Jay called his buddy, Dawg, to find out more about this job he had said Jay could have starting right away. After we ate Dawg met up with us in the restaurant parking lot. He reminds me of Ronnie, short, beer gut, bald, and always on the make … ALWAYS! lol He’s a bit of a case. He had a ball cap on so I didn’t get to see it but I guess he has a tattoo of a big eye on the back of his bald head, so he literally has eyes in the back of his head 🙂
Anyway, the boys talked for a bit and Jay learned enough about the job to decide that we should stick around Grand Junction for a day in order to find out more. So I took out my handy dandy Comfort Inn map, got the number for the one that was right across the street and booked us in for a night. Favourite hotel of the whole trip! It was clean and the desk clerk was totally awesome. It was still early & our room hadn’t been cleaned yet from the night before, but she sent a maid in right away and gave me a call back as soon as it was ready. All the staff there were super nice.
(…to be continued…even more Colorado next…)