Not counting last weekend’s trip, it’s been a wonderful ride

My husband and I went on our first camping trip of the season, and I’m happy to report that both the truck and our marriage are intact. Both were a little questionable in the middle of the trip, after I’d suggested to my husband that we take a little drive over a mountain pass.

For the camping part of the trip, we decided to go in the direction of Lake City because we’ve been in western Colorado for 12 years now but have never been visited that particular area. I looked at a map and saw there were several different national forest campgrounds in the vicinity, so with no firm destination in mind, we headed south (and a little east) for a long weekend.

When you look at a map, Lake City is just a hop, skip and a jump from Ouray, as the crow flies, so I assumed it wouldn’t take long to get there once we hit Montrose. When you take a more careful look at that map, however, and notice those pesky little lines that indicate roads, you see that there aren’t any that go straight from Montrose to Lake City. Or even from Highway 50 to Lake City. No, if you follow the main road, you have to go all the way east across the entire length of Blue Mesa Reservoir before you catch Highway 149 and begin zigging and zagging back south and west to Lake City.

Part of the reason for those arduous little zigs and zags is the topography of the area. There are some big, honking mountains down there, which became the source of contention between my poor husband, his much-abused truck and me.

The only industry in Lake City is tourism, and since the town is surrounded by mountains, every business in town urges the tourists to go explore the mountains. They even print these handy, dandy maps with the unpaved Alpine Loop highlighted, which takes you over two scenic mountain passes. Although there were several places to rent jeeps, we decided to take our truck, since it’s a four-wheel drive Chevy Silverado.

Poor truck. It didn’t deserve such treatment.

Poor husband. He really wanted to get away and relax.

Instead, he drove, white-knuckled and not-quite hyperventilating, over two scary, one-lane, unpaved, 12,000-foot-plus mountain passes, where one tire over the edge would send us plunging thousands of feet. We hit multiple rocks, boulders, and holes on our scenic jaunt way above the tree line, where the wind whistled and spring was slow to arrive.

If looks could kill, my body might be lying at the top of Engineer Pass, although truthfully, my husband didn’t look at me much, since that would have meant he’d have to take his eyes off what passed for a road.

Obviously, we made it back down to civilization. He admitted the scenery was spectacular and I promised I would never again urge him to take a four-wheel drive trail over a mountain pass.

So although I am alive and kicking, my column in Real Estate Weekly will no longer be. In an effort to make the publication more focused toward the local real estate market, the entire section is receiving a makeover and superfluous stuff like my column, which is rarely about real estate, has been eliminated.

I’m still working full-time for the Sentinel, and I’ll still write the feature story in the real estate section, as well as feature stories in other special sections and frequent blogs on Let’s Get Dirty, so I’ve got plenty to do.

Thanks to everyone who has read my column. Writing about my dog, my garden and my misadventures in western Colorado has given me a lot of joy at a time when life wasn’t always so joyful. Thank you for the letters, e-mails and phone calls, and most of all, thanks for inviting me into your life while you drank your coffee and read your Sunday morning newspaper. I’ve enjoyed having coffee with you, too.

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