Vacation Horror Chronicles part 2

We had such good luck camping in Missouri that we decided to try it in Colorado. Kevin and I were still broke college students but this time we had bought a tent so we knew it had all the posts. We headed west straight out of Wichita. In western Kansas we stopped at the world’s largest hand dug well in Greensburg. This stop will forever haunt me. Kevin still laughs and shakes his head – I am a constant source of amusement for him. You go down in this massive well. It is really quite impressive and I told Kevin how I couldn’t believe people actually dug this with their hands. It must have taken forever and been murder on their nails. I can still see the look he gave him. “Honey, they used shovels.” Well, how the heck was I supposed to know that – it is called the world’s largest “hand dug” well not world’s largest “shovel dug” well. Just a little FYI they, also, have a meteor in their little museum. Next, we stopped at this tiny WW II air museum in eastern Colorado. (Kevin says this was a B-29 museum in Western Kansas but I think it was the B-24 museum in Pueblo. When I get around to scrapbooking and find the stub I will be vindicated or the evidence will be destroyed.) We were the only two people there except for the delightful two old men running the place. They had several old planes outside which Kevin enjoyed. Inside they had lots of information especially about the paratroopers. My grandma lost two brothers as paratroopers over Normandy so I found this very interesting. I found that WW II vets are always surprised when young people show an actual interest in history. The thing I remember most about that day is the gentleman told me that in his time when they were trying to come up with all this technology and the bomb. They honestly thought it was the best thing for mankind but he wasn’t sure if all the technology might have caused too much damage to society. He said, “I want to apologize to you but we thought what we were doing was to help.” That always stayed with me. I can see how going from little technology to so much in the short time that our world has how it can be a blessing and a curse. We spent the night in our tent at a reservoir with no problems. Then we decided to hit the Royal Gorge before we finally made it to our destination, a campground in the Rockies west of Colorado Springs called the Kregs. The first thing I remember about the Gorge is that it was a royal rip-off. It cost us like $18 just to get in the area. I remember because we were short on money and an argument ensued about just turning around and not going to save money. I’ve never been a fan of heights so this wasn’t my dream destination. We walked across the bridge over the gorge but then took the overhead “bucket” back to the other side. It was an enclosed bucket but I spent the entire time with my face buried in Kevin’s chest so I might not be completely accurate on all the details. This whole stop put us behind time so we started looking at the map to see if there was a faster way to the Kregs without backtracking all the way to Pueblo going up to Colorado Springs and then back west. I found a road that looked like it might be a good alternative and it started out paved. If this was a movie this is when it starts to get dark and storm clouds start to roll in. Which is exactly what happened by the time the road had turned to dirt and we came upon this “bridge”. Bridge is a loose term for a few boards propped against an embankment that sort of span a gap in the earth. It was so old that it had two boards that ran the length of the bridge that were meant for the wheels of your horse carriage to stay on so you don’t fall to a nasty death. “Oh, hell no!” was my thoughts. I suggested that I get out and walk across and he could drive across. When the dust settled from that heated discussion, I found myself with my head buried in my pillow while Kevin crossed the bridge. At this point it is getting very dark, foggy and starting to rain. The road had several spots barely big enough for one car. We were going about 20 miles per hour and praying when we came upon our second bridge. I thought the first bridge was bad. Of course, it could have been the glimpses I got of the bridge in the fog when it was lit up by the lightening that made it look even eerier. There was no argument because at this point I was between two bridges circa 1812 in the middle of the Rocky Mountains at night in a storm. I didn’t have much hope for survival. Luckily not far after the second bridge we hit pavement again and made it to our campground. Setting up a tent at night is so much more excited then when you can see what your doing.
The next day we headed out on a wonderful hike. It was beautiful and you could see for quite a distance. Every day it rains at 3pm in the Rockies. This may not be a fact but it is pretty darn close. By the time we got back to the tent we were wet. I can’t stand being wet – never have. My mom says I potty trained myself because I could not wear anything wet. I changed and lay in the tent to read but I wasn’t feeling very well. Then the tent started to leak. New Tent! At this point I became a whiny baby. I was wet and getting sicker. After a fun and exciting discussion we finally packed up to head to a hotel. As we started down the mountain I told Kevin I didn’t feel very well and I needed him to pull over. He said I would be fine and kept going. I tried to convince him again and when that didn’t work I just opened the car door and blew chunks. He then pulled over. I was really sick. I moaned and groaned all the way to Colorado Springs. As it turns out it was the weekend of the National Rodeo and there was not a single room available. We ended up driving all the way to Denver to find a hotel room. I crawled into bed and prayed for death to sweep over me quickly. The rest of the trip included a visit to my Aunt and a pretty uneventful trip back to Wichita. As it turns out after 20 years of spending time in the Rockies, I had developed altitude sickness. To this day I get sick every time we reach a certain altitude. It is quite a bother and caused disappointment a couple years ago when we were hiking in the Smoky Mtns. The only animal encounter on this trip was with some chipmunks that I shared my granola bar with on our hike. So the trip was successful in the fact that no animal tried to kill me.

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