Me and my travel companions were getting antsy. We decided to consider alternative options. Maybe we could abandon our scheduled flights and just fly out of Telluride airport, we thought. So we walked over the airline counters; there was no agent to be found. Then we saw this sign at the customer service call button (see above).
The other two airline desks were vacant as well. Earlier I had seen a woman walk in and disappear behind the desk somewhere. She was nowhere to be found now. I decided to check the flight schedule board...perhaps we could just find a flight right here and avoid the long drive to Grand Junction.
Then I saw the flight board. Not much activity at all. No flights, so no luck. Meanwhile we waited for just one of the car rental agents to show up, we started to get a bit giddy. Soon, panic set in and we came to the realization that we would now miss our flights, even if we had a new car to drive off in at that very second. A sense of impending doom descended on we four. What shall we do now?
We started to search the tiny airport..every nook and cranny, hoping to find someone, anyone who could help us. There were no agents, no janitors, no service people, not even one customer. FINALLY both car rental agents arrived and I explained that we had a flat and the 800 number service people said there were other cars available and we could switch out our vehicle with another and be on our merry way. We figured we could still head to Grand Junction, perhaps catch a flight to Phoenix and see what our options would be. One of us decided to check flights on the iPad, only to discover there were not enough seats left on the later flights. Someone would be left behind. Anyway, our nice car rental lady declared that she didn't have a single car on her lot to give us anyway. Frustrated we walked over the other agency, the one that "Tries harder", and sure enough she had a nice vehicle available. My traveling companions huddled for a moment and discussed options. Drive two hours to Grand Junction and get stranded there, maybe luck out and get to Phoenix, and maybe get stranded there...we had no idea what options would work. Then we looked at one another and said, "Well, we could just drive all the way home to Palm Springs". Suddenly, the notion of having control of our own day seemed quite appealing. By this point, we had waited nearly two hours at the airport, feeling stranded and helpless. Having our own car to drive all the way home just seemed like a good idea.
And so, off we went. We returned the vehicle with the flat tire and rented a new one from another agency. The perky lady with the curly blonde hair explained that a one way rental to Palm Springs would cost $268. I had everything I could do to hold in the laugh. Mind you, not that money grows on trees, but at this point that hardly seemed like a huge sum of money. We all just wanted to get home. So we set off. I offered to drive, as it was pleasant weather. We charted a course for Palm Springs. The navigation told us it was twelve hours and forty-five minutes. No problem. Riiiight. The first few hours were in fact, no problem. It was a beautiful drive through long winding roads and amazing mountain-scape scenes. We stopped for a quick lunch in a tiny gold rush type town, and re-fueled. We kept ourselves busy chatting endlessly and singing along to the Broadway channel on Sirius XM radio. Then we hit Arizona.
Let me tell you, it was a long long long drive through Arizona. Kayenta, Tinalea, and then Tuba City-which was downright scary. We stopped off to refuel and decided it was best not to get out of the car. There was some sort of street fair going on with people spilling out everywhere. It was chaos. People walking up asking or money, standing in front of our car, a one-armed beggar approached as well. I have lots of compassion, but at that precise moment I was more in a mode of safety and protection. So we took off. Monument Valley was so interesting with its miles of deep red clay color dirt as far as one could see. Sings for dinosaur tracks peaked my attention, but there was no time to stop, we wanted to get home. My the time we reached Flagstaff we were growing tired of the drive, the scenery and even the Broadway channel on Sirius was wearing out it's welcome. I started to change channels, searching searching searching. Even silence seemed welcoming, but not for long. I needed mental stimulation.
We stopped three time to refuel and twice to eat. Fast food was getting gross. The car was restricting and we were just at the point of "get-me-out-of-here". I drove the entire way through, by my own choice. I didn't want to be in the back seat and risk feeling queasy as I sometimes do. Being in the drivers seat was best. I wasn't the slightest bit tired, just tired of driving was all. We finally pulled into Palm Springs close to 11:00 PM, having made great time when you consider it should have taken much longer. Still, 12 hours in a car non-stop was frightfully painful. I must say, however that one does learn about ones friends when being confined closely for that long. It strengthened our relationships and reinforced the value of true friends. And so despite a horrific journey home from Telluride, I look on the bright side of life and find good in everything. The scenery was beautiful, and we had more fun than a barrel of monkeys. Even if it was a horrific drive back to our beautiful Palm Springs.