Steamboat Springs Kate Buster and Mary Jane Mitchell of Kansas City, Mo., woke up Tuesday morning in a Steamboat Springs bed and breakfast to a newscast they initially thought was an advertisement for a new movie.
Stunned, they began to grasp the news commercial airliners believed to have been hijacked by terrorists crashed into the World Trade Center towers and then the Pentagon.
The explosions rippled throughout the country, including Steamboat. Rumors ran rampant as lines formed by late afternoon at gas stations. Many local residents were scared that a potential conflict with a Middle Eastern nation could send prices skyrocketing.
"There's rumors going around that it's going up to $3, to $5 and even to $8 (per gallon)," said Debbie Kelly, an employee at 7-Eleven, where cars were lining up waiting to fill their tanks and gas cans. Kelly said she was not raising her prices Tuesday but could not predict what would happen today.
"According to the news, the prices won't go up, but I've heard rumors that say different," said John McArthur. "Better safe than sorry."
Other Steamboat residents weren't worried about gas. Many were simply so overwhelmed by emotion they couldn't comment on the attacks.
Others sipped cups of coffee and listened in near disbelief to radio and television reports of the attack.
"It's so strange to walk down sidewalks and look at the balloons in the sky with all this turmoil all around you," said Nancy Clapsaddle, owner of Lyon's Corner Drug and Soda Fountain. "I feel like I did the day Kennedy died it's that thing in your stomach."
"The next few days will be interesting," said Michael Weber, fleet manager at Alpine Taxi.
City officials were sickened by the news. "It's one of the blackest days in the history of our country," said City Council member Kathy Connell.
Few doubted America's abilityto identify the attackers and respond appropriately.
"As Americans, we squabble amongst each other like a family does," said state Rep. Al White. "But in the presence of an external threat, we stand together."
After pumping gas at Go-Fer Foods in Steamboat, Buster and Mitchell said they were on their way to Wyoming as part of their vacation.
But the thoughts of the attacks darkened their trip.
"It hit all of us and the ramifications will keep growing every day," Buster said. "It's scary. You can't assume you're safe anywhere."