12.25.2016

Holiday Travels Part 3 - Up the Mountainside

I'm at my sister's partner Carl's mountain cabin in Woodland Park CO and my 11-year old fraternal twin niece and nephew, Millie and Ty, are handing out Christmas gifts to the rest of us, saving most of their's for last.

I'm feeling great since I am on a bit of a sugar rush from the stocking stuffer candy I was presented with after taking my seat in the "family room" area of the cabin. My Christmas Eve travels carrying a heavy backpack strained my neck muscles a little bit, so I am also wearing an analgesic pain patch on my shoulder, courtesy of same said stocking.

When I left you last night hanging from the proverbial cliff, I was about to retire at an airport hotel in Denver (technically Aurora CO), sharing a room with my folks who were both in Ambien comas when I arrived. I slept somewhat restlessly due to shoulder pain and a lack of my own usual sleep adjuncts (primarily Benadryl).

Though I had earplugs in to block out most extraneous night sounds, the lighting scenario in the room was disruptive, since my folks like to leave the bathroom light on for nocturnal micturations.

That being said, I eventually slept and it was largely solid and deep, punctuated by the occasional aforementioned parental bathroom run that temporarily blinded my pineal gland. I woke a few minutes after 8 AM as mom and dad were beginning their morning ablution rituals.

In short order, we proceeded down to the hotel's restaurant for a complimentary breakfast that included eggs to order and copious amounts of much needed coffee.

After breakfast we packed up, checked out, and piled in the rental Hyundai Santa Fe for a roughly two hour, quasi-treacherous drive through the mountains to Carl's. A stiff west wind was blustering off the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains sending occasional blasts of red dust and tornadic snow devil's across the road.

My dad used some of his time in the front passenger seat to skim the vehicle's user manual.

"It says here, 'Due to the low center of gravity this vehicle may not handle well in windy conditions...consider driving more slowly in high winds,'" my dad said.

I already was driving cautiously, but I eased off the gas a little more.

The last leg of the drive, the six miles from the actual town of Woodland Park up to Carl's cabin, was the most treacherous, because the road, Highway 67, was pretty icy. But traffic was light and we were in no rush.

Carl is a mountain man of sorts and he built a Swedish sauna house that I fully plan to use later today to sweat off the chocolate gold coins, panda cookies, and garlic pepper beef jerky I just ate.

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