One terrible, nightmarish thing about being in Colorado is the roads. Towns in the mountains usually began as mining settlements, so it was imperative to build roads that went up into the mountains to where the mines were. Some of these roads are still not much more than mule trails, skirting the edges of mountains, 10, 11, 12 thousand feet in elevation, sheer, rocky walls on one side of you, sheer rocky drop offs on the other side. Sheer rocky mountain terror to drive on….for me. Charles has no problem with the roads (if he does, he is a good faker). He zips along hairpin curves and narrow roads while pointing and telling us about various landmarks or telling us the name of that “fourteener”. (for the uninitiated, a 14er is a mountain that is over 14,000 feet in elevation.....they love those high ones in Colorado) Pretty cool to look at, but not when you’re in fear of careening off a cliff as your ‘tour guide’ points them out.
I always say, “Does everyone have their seat belts on?”
Someone is always the wise cracker (don’t know where they get that) and spouts off, “Like that would help if you go over a drop off like that! Hahahahaha”
“Very funny, put your seatbelt on NOW!!!!”
I have terrors about these roads and my kids make fun of me….evil, evil children! I have started closing my eyes when it is really bad. I used to try to mentally drive and guide the car, which just makes me nuts and weird and a great big target for sadistic children. The first time I felt that way was on our honeymoon. We were driving to an old abandoned mine and ghost town and were WAY up in the air on a narrow dirt road that was tilted toward the abyss when we came upon a boulder in the road. There was no choice but to back up (not a fun thing on a windy mountain single lane mule trail) or inch back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, until you had the car turned around. *Terror* I began crying and begging him to abandon the car and walk back with me, but he insisted on bringing the car with us. **men** So I got out of the car and stood there crying and hiding my eyes while he turned it around. Neither of us was in a very amiable mood for a few hours.
Two summers ago we had the privilege of having a 4 wheel drive truck with us on a trip to Colorado. What was I thinking ? Going with my husband to Colorado with a 4 wheel drive vehicle!? I must have been out of my gourd. Anyway, my kids got to see me in ‘terror mode’ as we drove over the “4 wheel drive only, not kidding, turn back NOW you wimpy little city cars” road over the 12,000 foot mountain pass between Silverton and Lake City. Yipes! My kids still talk about it to anyone who will listen. And still, after two years, they think it’s hilariously funny that their mother, the one who birthed them, nurtured them and gave them their sense of humor (whoopsy on that one), was hysterical, having terrors and crying on this road trip. NOT one of my favorite stories, but it makes people entertained, so why not write it down in the permanent record? Besides, if my kids were to tell the story first, they would add many more unpleasant details!
On our way into Lake City the first time this week, I was driving the girls in for showers while Charles was content to stay and fish, fish, fish at the campground. I did not remember that road…...obviously. Nope, didn’t remember the constant downhill steep grade while going around hairpin curves with NO guardrail! Not that a guardrail if going to really help up on a windy road like that, but it’s just nice to have it there, comforting you as if to say, “Don’t worry, I’ll catch you if you go too far over.” So I put it in first gear and went about 15 miles per hour while making some Texan behind me really miffed. I did pull over ASAP to let him by, but not soon enough to nix the miffedness.
On the second trip into town....me driving, (you see how desperate we were for showers that I would do this again?) I was more confident, but I did make the girls change the music we were listening to. It was Relient K singing “We’re going down down down in flames” (I am not embellishing….it really was the song that was on and it was very unnerving!) They changed it to the next song, which was, “We’re gonna have a breakdown”….on to Superchick and Christian girl power songs. I started feeling empowered and even joked with my girls about how driving roads like these can make you feel this almost uncontrollable urge to drive off the edge, because it's going to happen eventually, so why not get it over-with?
I got them good…no laughing this time…just bugging out eyes looking at me in the rear view mirror.
Oh, it was sweet!
July 23, 2008
Colorado Rocky Mountain HIGH
Another camping story from the summer of 2005, near Lake City, Colorado. I'm sorry it's so long. But I just have so many words, I don't know where to put them!