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Monday, July 25, 2011

Rustic Shmushtic

TLC and Hubby have a new puppy! They picked him up last Tuesday and the little family is trying to adjust to this new experience. The three of them have not had a lot of sleep. (My Hubby and I made the trek to their home yesterday to see our new grandpuppy—he’s ADORABLE.) I’ve agreed to be the Official “Poster” Girl for at least the next week.

I have some revelations/thoughts on vacations, and, specifically, our trip to Estes Park, Colorado, in June.

Hubby and I have been extremely lucky in our life together when it comes to vacations. Although we’ve never been to Europe, Australia or Africa (places we’ve yearned to go), we have been all over America, several beautiful spots in Mexico and to British Columbia. Hubby has also been to Whistler and a couple of other places in Canada and on fishing trips to Alaska. We have dreams of going to Alaska, together, sometime down our road.

We’ve also been lucky regarding rentals of homes/condos. Rented a beautiful (and very reasonable) condo in Maui fourteen years ago. From the Internet. Rented a fantastic beach home near Seaside, Florida, eight years ago. Also found on the Internet. In Estes Park, our “Internet” luck ran out.

We learned that when it comes to renting a vacation home/condo/apartment/cabin, you can never ask too many questions. It’s kind of like raising teenagers.

When you’re raising teens, you have to think of every possible situation in which they could become involved. Because, if you don’t ask all the right questions—over scenarios that might require specific and clear instructions—and they screw up—this is what they’re going to say to you—EVERY SINGLE TIME:

“But you didn’t tell me not to do that!” For “do that” you can substitute: “go there!” “hang out with that person/group!” “stay there!” “not go there!” Etc., etc., etc. It becomes endless. And your fault. Just when you think—by the time they’re seniors in high school—you’ve thought of everything (and forbidden it all), they come up with new and exciting problems you couldn’t possibly have foreseen—not in one million years—with which to challenge your parenting skills.

Not asking enough—and the right—questions is exactly what happened with our “creekside, rustic rock cottage” in Estes Park. Actually, it was twenty miles from Estes Park. Around a winding mountain road. Hence, twenty miles took at least 35 minutes—one way.

Here’s what we failed to ask:

  1. How big is the bed? Hubby and I have had a king-sized bed for 32 of our 33 years together. Of course we have slept on lots o’ queens (also twins and doubles, sleeping bags, couches, chairs and floors). For overall comfort, we prefer at least a queen. This bed was a double. On their website, it said: “One bedroom. One futon on the screened-in porch.” I know. Not smart of us.
  2. How close is the next cottage? The (clearly photo-shopped) picture on their website made it look like the cottage was completely and totally alone—next to a beautiful stream. This was not even remotely close to reality. You could almost touch the other cabins, on either side, stretching your arms out at the front door. Even short arms.
  3. Exactly what kind of shower/bathroom is it? Because I am pretty sure I’ve never, in my fifty-ish years of travelling, stayed at a hotel, cabin, cottage, home, motel, bed-and-breakfast, or lodge that had as small a bathroom as this creekside, rustic rock cottage. Honestly? I had to laugh. What else could I do? We were basically stuck. It was apparent how difficult, i.e. impossible, it would be for me to shave my legs in a shower that was literally a two-foot by two-foot plastic pan with a curtain around it. I wore jeans for five days. No capris. No worries.
Hubby wanted to leave the moment we arrived and go find another place to stay. We had pre-paid for this delightful cabin. Being the tighter one, overall, I refused to even consider that option. I told him we’d both made some mistakes in booking this cottage, but we could do this. It would be memorable. It'd be a great learning experience. We’d have fun “roughing” it. Mind you, this Man O’ Mine is a Camperperson. Fisherman. Golfer. Boater. Outdoors-y Kind O’ Guy. I am the wimp. I'm the one who prefers rocking chairs, in cool (or warm) cozy rooms, with a great book, or TIVO/DVR, and access to a fridge—for Diet Dews. I’m pretty sure he was afraid, once we got back home, I’d never let him live it down. I had to promise/cross-my-heart I’d never throw him under the bus and tell his friends about our “camping” vacay.

We adore the Durango area of Colorado. Ouray. Colorado Springs. Denver. Breckenridge. We had never been to Estes Park. So seeing it for the first time was beyond wonderful! More amazing than we ever dreamed or expected. We fell in total love. From Rocky Mountain National Park to The Stanley Hotel, we were completely enthralled and amazed at the marvelousness of it all.

On our Stanley Hotel Tour, I actually agreed to get in a tiny, and I do mean tiny, closet, for about ten minutes, waiting for the Ghost of Lord Dunraven to pinch me or touch my hair. I’m not claustrophobic. I am fearful of many, many things. But not small places. Darnitall—I waited in vain. It was a slight blow to my constantly teetering self-esteem that he wasn’t interested. I’d LOVE to go back and stay in Room 217—the room where Stephen King was inspired to write The Shining. The hotel is historic. Charming. Stately. FUN. Serious FUN.

image of the Stanley Hotel via a postcard (and editing by TLC)

We plan to return to this magical area of Colorado! (And with our list of places to stay that might be more compatible with our specific needs--i.e. a shower bigger than a postage stamp.)

By The Way: While we were there, it was 40 degrees at night—seventy-five degrees during the day. It hasn’t been that cool in Texas in six months. We fear it may never be that cool, again. It’s quite hell-ish here. Scary hell-ish. Little relief in sight. It's not even August. Hmmm. That rustic cottage is looking better. Not.

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