Breaking news: I am seeing much more of this great land of ours than I had hoped

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This story will presumably one day be funny and thus worthy of inclusion in a “Snide Remarks” column, so I don’t want to spoil it by sharing too many potentially amusing details here. But this is the gist of the story so far:

– After I wrecked my car last month, a faithful reader and friend offered me her 1994 Geo Prizm for free. The only condition? I’d have to fly to Ohio to get it.

– This was unbelievably generous of her, and I am forever grateful. I hasten to point out that none of the problems I’ve had subsequently have been the car’s fault.

– I flew to Ohio late Wednesday night, arriving early Thursday morning. I recuperated a bit, then hit the road, staying in Kansas City, Mo., Thursday night.

– I planned to make it to Ft. Collins, Co., by Friday night, and stay with a friend there. Under good conditions, the drive from KC to Denver is about eight hours.

– As I progressed westward in Colorado, however, and the sun went down, the roads became icy, slick, and steep. (Well, I guess they were steep in the daytime, too.)

– I got a flat tire. (OK, maybe kind of the car’s fault, but keep reading.) In trying to change it — in the zero-degree weather on the side of the road on I-70 — I discovered that the rim was rusted on to the axle. It WOULD NOT COME OFF. I banged, pried, kicked, leveraged, yelled, and prayed, all to no avail.

– Eventually I gave up and called for a tow truck.

– After an hour or so, a state trooper pulled up and reported that he had ordered all tow trucks off the roads. They (the roads) were too perilous and icy, and it wasn’t worth it. He gave me a ride into the nearest town, Limon, about 15 miles away, and I stayed at the Econo Lodge Friday night.

– This morning, a tow truck hauled my vehicle into Limon. On the way out to where my car had been left, we saw about a dozen cars stuck on the median or off on the side, having skidded off the road last night. I’m convinced that NOT changing my tire was the best option for me. Had I changed it, I’d have gone on my merry way toward Denver and maybe wound up upside-down somewhere, like so many other drivers did. At least the recalcitrant tire got me off the road.

– I had four new tires put on the car (it needed them, and I didn’t want to press my luck) and went on my way.

– I took I-70 into Denver, then I-25 north to Cheyenne, Wyo., where I met I-80 and headed west through Wyoming.

– At Laramie, I-80 was closed. That’s it, just closed. Bad weather ahead, and the entire state of Wyoming is located in the middle of nowhere, so no driving.

– I headed back east, thinking I might go back to Ft. Collins to stay with the friend I had originally planned to stay with Friday night, only I couldn’t get a hold of him. Not wanting to drive all the way and be unable to find him, I stopped in Cheyenne, where I am now staying at the lovely Super 8 motel.

– With the cost of the tow, the tires, and the two unplanned nights at hotels, the trip has now cost about $500 more than I expected. Still quite a bargain for a perfectly functional car, of course, but nonetheless, $500 more than expected. So now would be an excellent time to buy that merchandise you’ve had your eye on all this time!

– Cheyenne has a lot of truckers, more so tonight because of the road closure, and I do not like truckers. They say “he don’t” when they mean “he doesn’t,” for example. Surely you can see how I would be unpleased to be here.

Thanks in advance for your well wishes, thoughts, and prayers. I look forward to being on Portland roads again, which though they may be rain-soaked, at least are not icy, closed, or in Wyoming.

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