I was just reading Jonniker's latest post on vacations, and had to stop in the middle to come tell you this story. The comment that sparked this little blog aside was about how she and her family slept in a car on the side of the road during last year's vacation, and it reminded me of the summer between college and grad school when I spent a month in Colorado as a... home aide? Horse's aide? I don't know what we were, but my friend Elizabeth called me that June and asked me if I was interested in spending a month on a horse ranch in Colorado with her and helping the 95-year-old couple around the house. Ranch. Whatever. I said yes, obviously, because who would pass that up? We "worked" about 4-5 hours a day, doing household chores and things, and then we got to ride horses for an hour or so in the afternoon and then we were off the clock. I think 90% of our responsibility was probably to be non-95-year-old people on site in case there was an emergency of some sort. It was an isolated ranch.
But that is not what I came to tell you about. I came to tell you about how we went to the Royal Gorge one weekend. According to our Rand McNally Road Atlas, there was a campground about twenty miles or so from the bridge, and that's where we planned to spend the night. In our rental car, because we didn't have any camping gear or anything, but we figured we could just park in a campsite and sleep in the car.
We arrived around dinner time, so we were going to camp out and visit the gorge the next day. So we had dinner in the local hotel - where we saw an impromptu fiddling concert - we headed out for the campground. We drove and drove and drove and drove and eventually discovered that Rand McNally was a big fat liar. (I feel I should point out for those of you who are wondering why we didn't just use our GPS-enabled smart phones to find a place to stay that this was last century, when there WERE no GPS-enabled smart phones. No smart phones at all, and the military were the only ones with GPSs. Imagine!) (For the record, I still have neither a GPS nor a smart phone, although Andrew has both.) So, as I was saying, no campground. Nothing for miles, actually, and it was getting late. So we just slept there. For free! And then the next morning, we drove back to the Royal Gorge.
So let me recap: We were at the Royal Gorge, then we drove twenty miles out to a very specific spot on the highway, parked the car, slept, and drove twenty miles back to the Royal Gorge.
An interesting side note is that the day we were at the gorge, there was a fiddling competition. "Wow!" we kept saying. "This is so crazy! First we saw those fiddlers last night at the hotel, and then today we see all these fiddlers for the competition! What are the odds that we would see SO MANY fiddlers in a two-day span? It's so strange!" We marveled about the amazing coincidence for quite some time.
It was not until we were on our way home, hours later, that we put it together.