L to R: Isaac (7 yrs), Reneí (12), Rebecca (10), Sam (23), Samís wife Anna, Jeff (25), Bride Patricia, Groom Jonathan (21), Dad Bill, our daughter Laurie, Katie (19), Josiah (15), Ryan (13).
Colorado Wedding Trip 2007
by Don Kleczynski
Lucky? Maybe. The wind caught up with us well before Pendleton and stayed with us to Twin Falls, Idaho that evening. How well the car knew it too, as it drank a little faster throughout the day. The weather forecast also mentioned of snow flurries the day before in the Blue Mountain and Ladd Hill passes beyond Pendleton, and likely to continue this day. Not until the nine mile climb up Cabbage Hill to itís 3600 foot elevation did we see the fog or low clouds ahead of us. Soon we are getting hit by snowflakes at 3800 feet and the ground becoming white as we traveled. The fog closing in around us a cause of concern as the flakes increasing and the wind holding. Nothing sticking to the highway nor the temperature lowering, so we forge ahead to the 4215 foot summit, letting the speedsters clear us a path if needed. Within fifteen miles we have cleared the higher elevations, the snow has stopped, the roadside snow diminishing; however, the slight rain and constant wind continued. No worries now. Tomorrow is another day, a day with a 7477 foot elevation at Soldierís Pass summit beyond Salt Lake City to wonder about.
The first night stop is at the Super 8 Motel in Burley/Heyburn some 40 miles beyond Twin Falls and 610 miles from home. Minimal stops during the day put us there at 4:00 pm. MDT. An early supper, an early hay time, so to rest for an equally long day on the morrow and dream that Soldier Pass is clear and dry! Breakfast at 6:00 am. put us on the road by 6:35 to be crossing the state-line into Utah as the light of day at 7:40 showed us the crossing. Within 20 minutes, a tall, snow capped mountain range coming into view. These are the Wasatch Mountains along which Brigham City, Ogden, Salt Lake City, Provo, and several minor towns, use these mountains as an eastern back-stop through this 100 mile corridor. The Great Salt Lake contains them on the west. We separate from Interstate 15 south of Provo at Spanish Forks onto State Highway 6. Itís only 10:00 am. but a likely place to eat since itís another 130 miles, 2 ľ hours to Green River, UT Ö besides we are hungry, and the car is wanting a refill before venturing over the unknowns on Soldier Pass.
Approaching Salt Lake City from the north, we see the clouds breaking up, the sky showing signs of blue. The sun is shining!!! The temperature climbing!! No snow, no rain, no wind, just a glorious drive through the 50 mile canyon with the leaves of the deciduous trees shining so brightly yellow against the backdrop of reds and grays and browns of the canyon walls and interspersed with greens of occasional conifer trees. Nearing the southern end of the Pass, the canyon walls are of near vertical rock allowing passage through narrow slots as we quickly descend to the more level area of Helper and Price, UT. Another 65 miles to Green River where majestic rim rock crowned hills, topped with flat mesas, abound for many miles on one side of our highway while lower, rounded, sporadic hills, grace the landscape on the other. Views for miles, and many times with snow capped mountain ranges in the distance.
We skirted around Grand Junction then on to Delta and then Cedaredge, CO, arriving at Howard Johnson Motel in Cedaredge (essentially the only one in town, and where we had made reservations from Oregon) early enough to rest a bit before Joan and I went to meet our family before the rehearsal dinner and the rehearsal itself. Ken and Linda made a walking tour of the town and then, probably fast asleep before we got back!
Saturday morning would have given us time to sleep in a bit but we have already adjusted to early wakeup, and so we did. Besides, we needed to be at the Church about 9:00 am. for part of the picture taking before the 10:00 am. ceremony. We Oregonianís dressed in our finery and joined the Colorado family as they had done in like manner.
As the ceremony about to begin, the two mothers approached and lit two single candles that would be used by the bride and groom to light the single, larger, central candle, signifying the two now becoming one. Patricia looked so lovely in her beautiful wedding gown as she was escorted down the aisle by her uncle. (Her Dad had passed away a few years earlier.) Patriciaís sister, Teresa, was the maid of honor and Jonathanís brother, Sam, the best man. The who doís and I doís completed, the recession to a joyous ovation. Pictures completed before a scrumptious luncheon, the cake cutting, and a few of the presents opened before time to depart the building for an evening scheduled Church event. Meanwhile, their get-away car is thoroughly decorated, and massive number of balloons within. Jonathanís brothers and sisters did a near ďprofessionalĒ job on preparing the car for their ďsend offď!! This is only their second wedding too!! Pity those that follow, huh??
Mid afternoon and time to see Jonathan and Patriciaís new residence while helping to take their presents to there. The Happy couple had left on their honeymoon. Jeff, Teresa, and us four had the honors. Really nice place they have rented. A great view of the valley some 300 feet below and a view un-restricted for maybe 10 miles from this mesa. Steep slope to a corn field and the Gunnison River below plus a view back to Delta, miles distant. Ample time in the day to trek to Bill, daughter Laurie, and family in Hotchkiss about 24 miles away. Wind is blowing most of the day and picking up this evening. We stayed until we could still drive back before dark.
Sunday had to be a skip Mass day as no Catholic Church nearby. An extra sleep time after breakfast. Picked up KFC in Delta before traveling to Colorado family for lunch and visiting until 4:30 pm. as we wanted to visit Sam and Anna at their house in Cedaredge, to see the improvements they are doing, to listen to some of Samís composed keyboard music, to see the hobby work this talented couple are doing, and still get back to the motel for early night. We have an early up Monday morning for the trip back home. But this is still only Sunday morning and we are on our way to Hotchkiss. Along these twenty miles between Delta and Hotchkiss, nearly every approaching vehicle had 3 to 4 inches of snow on the them. Where are they coming from? The day is clear but frosty. The hills ahead do have snow to much lower elevation this day. But gee, that much?? Nothing encountered by us except a great day of visiting with family we see but once a year!!
Harsh winter weather said to have happened in the mountains and Salt Lake City area on Sunday. What are we facing on the homebound? The sky is clear this Monday morning although we had to scrape the windshield of ice. We are up and away by 6:30 MDT after the free breakfast and that all things packed. More room in the trunk supposedly but less organized so itís still full. An hour or more before sun rise gets us out Ö in the dark! Twin Falls, ID is to be our stop for this night as thatís about the half way point of our trip. We pass through all the cities in reverse finding no snow to impede our travel, and nothing through Soldierís Pass. The snow is way high in the mountains, as you might expect when the temperatures are in the 70ís along our route this day. We pass through Salt Lake City about 12:30 pm., the miles of road construction around Ogden, then hit the open road through many miles of nothingness!
Tuesday morning and the day we need to be home by evening, we are out by 6:30 am. but this is only 5:30 am. PDT so we gain an hour on returning. Weather-wise it should be no problem as the stars are shinning brightly, no wind, no frosty windows. Again we leave this day in the pitch of dark, to encounter a really strangeness as we continue our westward heading to Oregon. We are on the verge of night, the verge of day, as we drive west. Dark as night ahead while the sky behind is light-ening, and the sun beginning to rise behind us while we continue driving into the darkness at this hour of 7:30 am. On this day of clear skies, it is truly hard to describe this feeling. Itís like Ö heading away from the light of life, into the abyss of darkness and the unknown!! During our summer trips to Colorado, the sun is always up and ahead of our traveling time. We donít see this transition.
This trip I am the co-pilot, the navigator, the picture taker, the sit back and relax guy! Whoa, watch out for that pot hole in the road, Ken, better slow down more for that curve!! Ken is driving and I have nothing else to do but Ö well, you know!! Good thing I have a 1 gig card for our digital camera. Must be nearly full !!! Sure a lot of beautiful scenery this time of year with the leaf color changes. Amazing the extra beauty of the Columbia River Gorge this time of year!! The Gorge you have to witness, to see! No one can fully describe itís beauty of color, of river, of cliffs and mountains that make up the Gorge!!
Lucky? We were for sure!! A special weather window opened for us to make this trip. Lots of rain at home with snow in the passes earlier in the week before we left, heavy winds and rain (3 Ĺ inches) while we were gone, snow flurries in Salt Lake City and higher elevations in Oregon and in Colorado that Sunday (10/21). By Monday when we started the homeward trek, the skies cleared across the Western States, temperatures rose to 70-75* and lasted through noon on Wednesday before drizzly rain returned. We were home late Tuesday afternoon, having enjoyed a trip without incident and without the harshness of winter weather that could have been!!
This has been an extra-ordinary and wonderful trip for Joan and I. We had the enjoyment of Ken and Linda to be with us on this drive and the enjoyment for all of us to re-connect with our Colorado family. We so wished that our Aurora, and Oregon City, and Michigan families could have been there to thrill with all else at this marriage celebration of the next generation!! How wonderful that Sam in 2005 and now Jonathan in 2007 have found such wonderful girls to share their lives with, to become one with another!! May they together find a way to make the rough road smooth!!!
And so another of the many chapters of our lives is fulfilled. May each of you be so Blessed with as wonderful a family and as wonderful a life as Joan and I have been granted!! Our rough roads have smoothed, our wishes and desires are being fulfilled!