Denver (KCNC) — Wednesday wasn’t what Jonathan and Alyson Brown had envisioned after the Bomb Cyclone derailed their plans for a perfect vacation. They were picking up their car from a lot in far east Aurora instead of walking along Broadway in New York City.
“We didn’t get to go to New York, we’re going to remember the trip never the less. Yeah, it was an adventure,” said Jonathan Brown.
The couple from Colorado Springs made their way to Denver International Airport Wednesday morning before the blizzard set in. They are expecting a child in the summer.
“We left about 7 o’clock in the morning and it was just light rain all the way from Colorado Springs to Denver. Didn’t have any slowing down,” Jonathan said.
“We were gloating the whole way up thinking ‘Oh, we’re one of the last flights that’s going to get out. This will be great, get out by the skin of our teeth,’” Alyson said.
Flights after noon had been canceled but they thought they’d be fine with a 11:45 departure.
“By the time we got though security and checked in it was blowing sideways,” Jonathan said.
Their flight was canceled and they had to find someone to buy their Hamilton tickets for Thursday night.
“We called maybe 10 hotels to finally get into one and then we walked back to our car in the snow. It took maybe 20 minutes to get out of the parking lot and then the roads were better on the way to the hotel. Until we got stopped behind a line of cars,” Jonathan said.
With Pena Boulevard closed, the Browns joined many other drivers taking surface streets south on Jackson Gap to 56th Avenue. A closure on 56th Avenue had them stopped and within a few hours, their car was buried in snow.
“We had gas and food and water and just thought we could spend the night there,” said Jonathan.
They watched trucks and plows get stuck in the snow. A snow cat cruised past looking to rescue another stranded person. And after more than six hours, heavy machinery cleared a path so they could get out of their car, through the storm and into a school bus that took them back to DIA.
“We slept in an airport terminal and then this morning we got an Uber at six who took us to our hotel we never made it to last night and he got stuck about half a mile from the hotel so we walked the rest of the way,” said Jonathan.
After a quick nap, they made their way to the Aurora Police Department to pay the $75 tow fee and then head to their car.
“It was long, it was a lot of being reminded of patients, but realizing we have so much to be grateful for and we had everything we needed,” said Alyson.
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis declared an emergency on Wednesday and some stranded drivers had to be taken to emergency shelters by Colorado National Guard crews and other rescue teams. Some vehicles remained on the sides of the interstates on Thursday, but most had been removed by the afternoon.
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