At home in Grand Lake, Colorado

Grand Lake, Colorado arrival

After two days of travel, I arrived at my Airbnb in Grand Lake, Colorado yesterday late afternoon. This is my fourth year in a row traveling to Colorado, but I’ve never been in this area before – known as Middle Park. To say this is likely to turn out to be my personal heaven on earth is an understatement. I wish I had a recording of my squealing and giddy excitement driving into the area from Denver.

Last night was all about unpacking, settling in, and getting enough food at the cute Mountain Market along the Grand Lake boardwalk to tide me over until I head to a bigger market later today. The downtown area is lovely, and I took a few minutes to check out the boardwalk. Most of the lake is still ice but it’s starting to break up.

But first, this post is about my adventures getting here.

I almost ran out of gas on Day 1. 🤦‍♂️

My car tells me approximately how many miles left of gas I have in the tank. I love this feature, but I rely on it and the low fuel warning too much. I like to play a game of how low I can get the number of miles left. Why I don’t know. Not playing that game anymore! In the spirit of being transparent about my travel adventures and not only talking about the good stuff, here’s what happened on Sunday afternoon, day one of my trip. I’m pretty sure I lost a year of my life due to panic.

I was cruising down Iowa on my way to Omaha and then west to my hotel in Hastings, Nebraska, and noticed I should start looking for gas stations. “I’ll make it to Omaha, no worries!” I hit some road construction and the number of miles my car said I had left in the tank was very close to the number of miles left to Omaha. Slight worries.

Pretty soon it was time to turn off for Omaha and I started to panic. This doesn’t look like an area where there’s going to be any gas station for a bit. So, I took the next exit and turned around, thinking I had remembered correctly where the last station was. Nope. Back through that construction where you can’t exit, and my car said I had about 15 miles left. Where is that exit with the gas stations?!

Eight miles left. Sweating buckets, I’ve got the radio and heat off, thinking about how I’m gonna go about flagging someone down to help me get a gas can and some gas. Good grief.

Miraculously, when I had only FOUR miles left in my tank, a tiny two-pump gas station literally appeared in the middle of nowhere at an exit where it looked like time forgot. I coasted in and filled up. It took me at least 30 minutes to calm back down.

This isn’t the first time I let this stupid thing happen. About 8 years ago this happened when I was with my grandma. She thought it was the funniest thing ever watching me squirm to find a gas station.

Needless to say, I’ve been filling up the tank when I’m at about 40% the last two days. Lesson learned!

A day of milestones

Monday turned out to be a day of milestones:

  • Shortly after taking off from Hastings, in the rain but light traffic, my Honda Civic hit 100,000 miles. It’s been good to me so far, and hopefully we have a few more adventures together before I’m sure I end up with a four-wheel-drive vehicle.
  • Sometimes it blizzards in May. Shortly after taking photos of my 100,000-mile odometer, the rain turned to sleet, which turned to heavy clumpy snow. Enough that my wipers couldn’t keep up and the snow was accumulating on the windshield. Now the “I-80 closed ahead” signs made sense. After a couple of stressful breaks at highway exits with other distraught travelers, I decided to keep plowing through. I’m glad I did because once I turned off from I-80 and crossed into Colorado things got better.
  • I successfully drove 8 hours all by myself. Thankful for cruise control and breaks for my legs!
  • My Civic got the adventure of its life cruising up and down the highways through the Rocky Mountains on the way to Grand Lake.
  • I arrived at my first-ever Airbnb! It’s so charming. The perfect place to spend a month working and unwinding in the mountains.

After the past crazy months of selling my house, getting rid of a lot of my stuff, moving the rest, and now traveling solo to Colorado, I’m looking forward to catching up on sleep and adjusting to the small-town mountain lifestyle.

I’m excited to start exploring the area and can’t wait to share what I find!

San Antonio River Walk
Fiume Pizzeria and Wine Bar
San Antonio River Walk
San Antonio River Walk
Arneson River Theater
Arneson River Theater