Estes or Bust

May 4 2005, 7:20 AM

So much for the best laid plans. My long three-day weekend getaway plans didn't go as planned. Not quite. Saturday's jaunt up to Estes Park included a stop by the Boulder Theater to help out as a judge for the KBCO Kinetics parade, which was fun but extremely frigid. We braved the gloppy, wet snow for three hours watching about 30 of the 50 total teams show off their crazy contraptions -- check out the pics -- and having a grand time for the most part. Then we set off for our impromptu getaway in Estes Park. I had found a great deal on a lodge in Estes, but as soon as we arrived I realized why the deal had seemed too good to be true. You get what you pay for. Now, I'm not necessarily opposed to roughing it here and there, but at least if you're camping or staying in a rustic cabin there are certain charms. Staying in a crappy hotel? Not charming. Not at all.

I took a look around our sad little getaway room, taking in the shabby carpet, ancient heater, tiny little bathroom with only a shower and a two-toned toilet. It was clean at least, but the vintage-but-not-quite-antique look is only cool for cars and clothing. Then I looked out at the snow falling all around Estes -- chilling our plans of hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park -- and realized that being snowed in isn't much fun if you hate the place you're staying. I pouted. I sighed. I flopped down on the bed and apologized to my husband for my dumb idea. Then we heard the party going on in the room two doors down, part of a larger wedding reception group. He took one long look at me, at the room, and the semi-drunken wedding guests milling around the place, and promptly split to zoom around town in search of a better option. By 11 p.m. we were happily loading our things into a much nicer -- and more expensive -- suite at the Appenzell Inn down the road. When I saw our suite with the in-room hot tub, the pout was gone, replaced by my best girlie-girl squeal of delight. Snow or no snow, it had officially become a vacation. And by Monday, when the sun finally appeared, we were finally off for our scenic hike in the mountains.