The Colorado Saga continues as our three heroines drive west out of Kansas City in search of dinner. Have you ever driven west on I-70 in Kansas? Almost immediately, we were forced onto a toll road with only one gas option and one food option. We accepted our fate, filled up the gas tank, and ordered our Chicken McNuggets.
(P.S. WHAT are the toys that McDonald’s is handing out in their $2.99 Happy Meals these days? Some kind of anthromorphic line of furniture? I don’t get it. But ok. Babystar’s washing machine probably WILL have opinions in the future so she may as well pretend all about it now.)
I broke our family’s cardinal rule about ‘no screens at dinner’ because 1) road trip and 2) fast food. Princess Buttercup aka Navigator Extroidonaire pulled out her phone to check our route ahead and figure ouT where we would sleep. We watched the sun set from our sweet window seat at McDonald’s and calculated the distance to Topeka.
Kansas is wide af, y’all, so we knew we wouldn’t get to Colorado that night.
Princess Buttercup is ambitious, though, so she checked the distance to Denver just for fun. Eight hours. We would arrive at 12:35am if we drove to Denver. And that’s AFTER the time change when we cross into the Mountain Time Zone.
Except YEP. Because we also discovered that there was a huge winter storm warning for Colorado and parts of Kansas starting at 1am that night. Snow AND ICE was predicted after midnight and throughout the following day. We had two choices: stop in Kansas and get snowed in for two days or race the storm to Denver.
We are idiots. We raced the storm to Denver.
The sun had set by the time we got back on the road. Has anyone driven through Kanasas? What does it look like? I genuinely want to know. As far as I can tell, the state is pitch black and full of UFOs. An hour or so into Kansas, we noticed bands of red lights blinking in unison. They would disappear and reappear, always blinking the same alien codes.
I’m pretty sure NOW that they were wind turbines. But we were pretty sure THEN that earth had been invaded.
Also, it was before midnight on a Saturday night and there were like five other cars on the road. I was under the impression that I-70 was a major highway but I felt like I was driving through an episode of True Detective: X Files. There were gas stations about every twenty to thirty miles but when my needle dropped under a quarter tank, I started to worry. We drove through a long stretch of road seeing nothing but aliens, so when I finally saw an exit with a sign that promised gas, we stopped. We drove almost a mile down a dark road before finding the gas station.
We pulled up to one of the four pumps. There was a guy in an older pick up truck pumping gas already, so we obviously waited for him to drive away before even unlocking the van. When I did get out to pump gas, I left the keys in the van with Princess Buttercup and Babystar and gave strict orders that they should lock the doors while I pumped the gas and went inside the gas station to pee. If I was abducted by the aliens, Princess Buttercup was to hop in the driver’s seat and speed away without looking back.
When I got outside of the van, I noticed that the gas station was actually closed. Great. We were alone with the aliens. And there was nowhere to pee. Also, they only sold two kinds of gas — diesel and not diesel. There were no pesky octane levels or anything from which to choose. I hurried to fill the tank and then got back on the interstate as quickly as possible.
Two miles later we stopped at the most glorious, brilliantly lit gas station and convenience store combo in all of Kansas. We got caffeine and chatted with the lovely WOMEN that were working there and finally peed and got back on the road to Denver.
Fun fact: the border town between Kansas and Colorado on I-70 is called Kanorado.
We crossed into Colorado eventually, and somehow drove 180 MORE miles through the worst fog ever to our hotel near the Denver airport. By midnight, we really were the only vehicle on the road. Well, it was us and the trucks salting the highway. Everyone else had enough sense not to drive in ZERO VISIBILITY conditions. But we did finally make it to our hotel that night. We had booked two nights at the Embassy Suites because we wanted the extra space and we wanted an on-site restaurant since we knew we would be stuck for a little while.
The hotel had given away our room.
Y’all. I straight up cried right at that poor night clerk. I didn’t yell at him. I just started crying at him like a soap opera diva. When I finally pulled it together, I learned that they had held a room for us at the hotel across the street. We packed our things back into the van and drove across the parking lot. The snow started about fifteen minutes after we finally checked into our room for the night.
Everything turned out all right in the end. We ended up in a two-bedroom suite for two nights, paid for by the Embassy Suites that bumped us. (Thanks again, jerks! Actually, they weren’t really jerks they were just oversold like every hotel. And they paid for our stay across the street so that was cool. They would not bring me wine though. I asked.)
And then on Sunday morning, after having slept only about four hours, I got a miracle phone call that our furniture was going to be delivered the following day around noon. PERFECT.
The Alien Fog drive though hell was worth it.
This was almost two weeks ago and we are still unpacking.
We also just got internet. Like, five minutes ago. And we still don’t have television, though I’m sure we could probably stream something if we had time to sit down.
I still have no decent pictures. Please enjoy this picture of the inside of our moving truck.
RAISING BABYSTAR: $26,054.61