Sunday, January 31, 2010
Now, in order to reach the Ski Apache ski area, you have to drive approximately 45 minutes to an hour, up a mountain with winding roads and breathtaking views. The first time I ever skied there I was shocked that you had to travel so far to get to the mountain and frankly, I hated it. I was spoiled by being able to ski in and out wherever I skied, and this was a major irritation. But, over the years, I came to accept it and fell in love with this little ski area. Unlike many other ski areas around the country, it's always warmer skiing there and every year they continue to make improvements and add new runs, as well as new lift chairs. So, it has pretty much always satisfied my needs in the skiing department. This year was no exception. The snow was incredibly light and fluffy, with many of my favorite runs being *groomed* daily. Old ladies who are out of shape like the groomed runs, trust me.
By the time I reached my car, I was sweating and whooped. All I could think about was getting back to the hotel and a nice hot bath to ease the aches and pains of the day. But, the fun wasn't over yet! For some reason, my car would not unlock with the button on my key chain so I opened it manually. I immediately tried to start the car so I could get some heat going but the 4-Runner wasn't even making an attempt to rev up. It wasn't making a sound. I knew this was going to be the proverbial pain in the ass of an experience.
As luck would have it, a local man and his two daughters were parked next to me and were preparing to leave after a day of skiing, so I asked if he'd mind giving my little 4-Runner a jump start from his Ford F-150 truck, which he was more than happy to do. I was so relieved. Until it wouldn't start my car. UH-OH.
About this time one of his friends came along (headed home with his kiddos) and he tried to help as well. It turned out that the two dads worked together in Ruidoso as firemen and EMT's. They were two of the nicest young men you'd ever want to meet. One even called a mechanic friend who made some suggestions that they tried, but still nothing worked.
I finally told them thanks for trying and that I'd just call AAA and let them take care of it. I told them they needed to get their kids home and that I really appreciated everything they tried, but they refused to leave this little old lady alone until they were certain help was indeed on the way. I can't begin to tell you how comforting it was to have them there. Eventually, I received a call from a local tow service (who they knew & approved of) who said he was on his way up the mountain to get me and tow my car back to town. I was finally able to talk the guys into leaving me there alone and they agreed that I'd be in safe hands. (It was at this moment that I realized I'd forgotten to charge my cell phone the night before, which meant it wouldn't be working for much longer.)
Remember, it takes 45 minutes to an hour just to get up the mountain and even longer when there is bumper to bumper traffic trying to get down the narrow roads on the mountain. The tow truck finally arrived just as it was beginning to get dark and I was beginning to freeze my hiney off. I was also on the verge of tears, the darker it got. I couldn't even call Mr. Snoots to let him know that I was okay and he expected me back at around 4:30 PM. Uh-Oh.
Anyway, the tow guy turned out to be an angel and we talked about all manner of things as we made the slow descent down the mountain. He also called one of the other guys at their shop and arranged for him to give me a ride back to the hotel so that I wouldn't have to call and wait for a taxi. It was almost 7:00 PM before I arrived back at the hotel and the warmth of our room. Mr. Snooty was beginning to panic, unsure of what might have happened to me.
So, here is praise (Woot! Woot!) for Harlan and Michael, the firefighters/EMT's who were like gifts from God to me that day. You guys were so wonderful to work so hard trying to get my car going. I just want you to know that you both TOTALLY ROCK! In addition to my heartfelt thanks, I'm sending a donation to the Ruidoso Fire Department naming the two of you as my reason for donating. I hope that your wives are as proud of you as I am!
Also, I want to give a big shout-out to Francisco and Sal at Sierra Blanca Collision Center, in spite of the fact it cost just under $200.00 for the tow and fixing whatever it was that was wrong. Sal is the Manager and is the one who gave me a lift all the way up to the Inn of the Mountain Gods, for free. You two guys TOTALLY ROCK as well!
The next day Mr. Snoots and I spent the morning checking to see if the car was ready, getting a taxi to come get us at the Inn, taking us into town where the car was, and going back out to the Inn. By then, I had no desire left to go skiing, even for a half day, which meant my second day of skiing went *poof* in the blink of an eye. Then, it began to snow and snow and snow and snow.
To be continued...