Last Tuesday, we woke the kids up at 5:30 to hit the road. For 80% of our family, it had been a year since we had seen the peaks of Colorado and felt the cool, crisp Rocky Mountain air. Sommer was able to make it out there for a few days last June to spend some time biking with friends and taking in a concert at Red Rocks – by MY favorite band. I hope that doesn’t come across as too jealous.
As we drove across the lovely December landscape of Nebraska, I started to feel the excitement of returning to a place that holds such a special place in my heart. As the flat horizon of Eastern Colorado gave way to the jagged shapes of Ski Country USA, I yelled at the kids to put their devices down and enjoy the view. After forcing them to stare for a few minutes at something 60 miles away, I let them get back to their games and videos.
In the 1980’s, when we started our annual Ski Friends trip, the ride out was part of the fun. We would load up 3 or 4 full size vans at about 4:30 in the morning to make the trek west. Back then, we were able to gather around the small circular tables every van had to play cards, board games, etc. as we drove across the uneventful I-80. If there were seat belts back there, we sure didn’t use them.
This year, when I-76 began its steep ascent west of the Mile-High City, I couldn’t help myself. I switched the source on the car’s stereo to my phone and blasted John Denver’s Rocky Mountain High. Old habits die hard.
We enjoyed a week of fun in Frisco and at Copper Mountain. My sister and her boys were able to join us, and Dad got to “ski” 2 days (as long as you make one run, it counts as a ski day). It’s a lot less work to get everyone into their outfits, and most of the kids even carry all of their gear. I found myself out of breath more than ever, and I am going to falsely blame all of that on the altitude.
As the week came to a close, we packed everything up the night before our departure and got the kids up early to head back to Iowa. We were just a little past Denver when we started talking about how much of the 12 ½ hour drive we should make that day. We usually stop somewhere to break up the drive, and let the kids swim and play at a hotel.
“I want to get home tonight,” said one of the kids. They all agreed, and Sommer said “Home sounds good to me.”
It sounded good to me too.