I’m Not Making This Up…

My daughter, Heather, and our grandchildren, Tyler and Ethan, recently came up with the idea of moving to a wholesome town with good schools, temperate weather, and a close proximity to beloved parents and grandparents. But where? Et Voila! The question quickly popped into beloved daughter’s always inquisitive mind: Why not move to Fort Collins, Colorado? Everyone agreed, it was an excellent question with an obvious answer: Why not? Heather vacated her losing proposition of a house in Apache Junction, AZ, loaded all her belongings into not one, but two trailers, and on July 8, with the help of her dear, dear friend David Fish (who pulled the larger of the two trailers), began the “two-day” drive to beautiful Fort Collins, whistling a tune reminiscent of “Happy Days Are Here Again.” Above is a recent photo of Heather and the Boys as they likely appeared on that morning (I’m guessing she looked this way, of course, since it’s been several months since we’ve actually seen Heather).

The first day out, barely an hour or so away from their departure point, Heather’s car broke (we hear) a timing belt. Estimates from the kind locals indicated that repairs might run close to $1500. Since Heather’s car probably wasn’t worth $1500, talk quickly turned to the possibility of having to abandon the car, rent a truck and drive that to Fort Collins. Unfortunately, that, too, might have cost close to the $1500 she was trying to not spend on repairing the car. Luckily, however, Heather and David discovered that the kind locals weren’t being quite as honest as it might have seemed, and they managed to locate service people some miles away who were willing to do the job for less than $300. But the job would have to be done the next day. Heather and Family and David took up temporary residence in David’s family cabin that, luckily, was located just a few miles away.

The following day, the timing belt was repaired, and all was well…until the group hit Albuquerque, New Mexico. That was when Heather’s car decided it needed a new alternator. Another day lost. But, again fortunately, Heather’s warranty covered the cost of the new alternator, and Sr. Fish was able to install it for her.

The third day, Heather’s car–armed with several new components–was running just fine. The stalwart group made it all the way to Las Vegas, New Mexico, perhaps an hour away from Albuquerque, when David’s trailer suddenly lost a wheel and severely damaged one of the two axles. They limped along for a few more miles until they simply couldn’t go anymore, at which point they were forced to abandon the trailer. David drove the tow vehicle, sans trailer, stopping at every town along the way to ask for help. It wasn’t until they got to Raton, New Mexico, where they stopped for the night, that they located a parts store that might carry the replacement axle parts.

The next morning, David got up early, went to the parts store and (luckily) found the parts he needed. Then he drove the hour back to the trailer, installed the axle, hitched it up to his vehicle, and drove it back to Raton. The guy must be Superman. The group pulled out of Raton at about 1:30 in the afternoon.

All was looking well, until Colorado Springs. Heather’s car had begun overheating, and when they pulled into a Carl’s Junior to eat, Heather couldn’t get the thing started again. Heather had reached the end of her rope. She was going to get to Fort Collins today, or else! The group decided to leave behind the car (and attached trailer), pile what and who they could into David’s tow vehicle, and come back another day to retrieve and repair Heather’s car. The guy at the counter at Carl’s Junior said, no problem, it seems to happen all the time.

They made it through Denver, and could almost see Fort Collins on the horizon…when, again, one of the wheels fell off the large trailer, and was apparently lost. By now, Heather was beyond tears. There was no other choice: David dragged the ailing trailer to a service road that ran alongside Interstate 25 and unhitched it. They left it there and continued the rest of the way in David’s van.

They finally pulled up to our house in Fort Collins at about 8:20 p.m. It was dark, and they couldn’t find the gate behind which we’d hidden the key. Heather called to tell us about it.

Judging from what Heather told us about the wear and tear she suffered on her three day journey, the photo on the right is probably a good representation of her and the boys after they finally arrived in Ft. Collins.

And, like this woman in the photo, won’t she have a tale to tell her grandkids thirty or so years down the road when they ask her, “So, Gramma, tell us about how you came to live in Fort Collins!”

(Many sincere thanks from us to the intrepid David Fish, for being there, for being strong when our loved ones needed him most! Thank you! Thank you!)