Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: THE UGLY TOURIST (07/09/15)
- TITLE: Tourist Trapping To The Continental Divide . . .
By Judith Gayle Smith
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Estes Park, Colorado - this enchanted land cuddling in the heart of the Rocky Mountains sits under blazing stars at night. The Rocky Mountain State Park thrills hearts daily.
The one-hundred-forty room Stanley Hotel became the inspiration for the Overlook Hotel in Stephen King's 1977 novel "The Shining." The filming of "The Shining" was a proud and thrilling time . . .
We opened a little shop we called "Brazen Effrontery", displaying/selling intensely dramatic bronze, copper and metal sculptures crafted by my hubby who was limited to forging with one hand.
Yes, we were ecstatic contributors to tourist trapping.
To supplement "Brazen Effrontery" we ran a charming motel comprised of several small log cabins surrounding the Big Thompson River. A larger cabin for housing groups of tourists reached over the Big Thompson River - imagine fishing from the deck. I so wanted to live in that marvelous cabin.
We lived in the manager's cabin, practical and kitschy - walking distance to the river, but who had the time? We "inherited" a gorgeous seal-point Siamese lady cat, left by the previous managers. This little beauty had been weaned much too young, and had suckled every piece of bedding and towels, creating holes aplenty.
We had wonderful adventures. Painting, housekeeping - I happily brought colorful stones from the riverbank to leave as pet rocks in each cabin. My favorite was to paint "please turn me over" on one side, and "thanks, I needed that" on the bottom.
We miraculously made time to enjoy horseback riding, watching the sun sparkling on the reflecting diamonds dancing on the turquoise lake, and yes, doing the tourist trap dance through the quaint little shops and exhibitions. I even found a classmate from my high school in California - running a pipe and tobacco shop.
Married for three years, reflecting back on this incredible adventure - this was indeed our long-awaited honeymoon. We fell in love with a rare, exotic dog. A kennel was closing nearby, offering fantastic prices for Great Pyrenees puppies. We found a magnificent male amongst a coterie of smaller lovely females -
like looking at a small flock of large sheep.
We adopted and named him "Lord Jobongo of Estes Park". At six months old, he was already a giant - one hundred twenty-five pounds, and twenty-eight inches at the shoulders. He looked like a wooly white full grown bear.
Maple became a mother, and one of her tiny kits became a favorite of Jobongo. A little black and white wonder, he started crawling off the table before his eyes fully opened, and happily dropped onto Jobongo's head and crawled into his fur like a burrowing flea.
He leads us to one of my silliest pranks - when folk from Texas registered with us, I told them, whimsically, that we had larger poodles than they had in Texas. Of course, disbelief covered their proud visages, so I called Jobongo to join us. Of course, being me - I told them he was an unclipped French Poodle.
When our puppy reared up and put his head over the registration ledge, we all had our bit of hysteria.
Always remember "the customer is always right" when you are positioned as seller - or motel booking manager. We had a group of Southern Baptists booked with us. We delighted to beautify the large cabin, and my hubby repainted the interior walls, using paint left by the previous managers.
We opened all the billowy-curtained windows to have it aired and fragrantly pleasant a week before their arrival.
Our group of excited tourists arrived, and we proudly showed then our best cabin. We pointed out the deck fishing opportunities, and spoke of all the wonders in store for them in Estes Park - including the highest commercial highway crossing the Continental Divide, over twelve-thousand feet up Long's Peak.
They would be climbing through wispy clouds to behold God's creation.
They all, as one - cancelled their stay.
They said the cabin smelled like beer. The paint smell? No beer or alcohol was used in that cabin - it was the crowning glory of our beauties.
But again, as one, they snubbed it and walked out. It still pains me to this day . . .
And then the Big Thompson River, engorged with twelve to fourteen inches of steady rainfall in just four hours . . .
Ah, but that is another story.
A true story
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