September 6, 2009 – Pike’s Peak, Colorado Springs
While researching things to do in Colorado while we were there for a short memorial day weekend, I found plenty of course! Mainly free things as we had a very limited budget, but one thing that did cost money that we decided to do was to drive up Pike’s Peak in Colorado Springs. This trip would be the first ever time we even ever saw mountains, so I thought driving up one would just be super fun for us to do together.
Well, lemme tell ya… It ended up being one of the scariest events of our lives!
We drove the whole trip in Sonny’s old car, and I mean we had broken down the day before in Albuquerque, but by the time we got to Colorado Springs and gazed upon Pike’s Peak we couldn’t just NOT power through and drive it! So, we paid the fee and up we went up the 14,000 feet mountain. The drive up was just lovely, and Sonny took photos out the window while I drove. (In which I also discovered just how scared of heights I was.) The further up we got, we noticed how cold it was. And by the time we were just a few thousand feet from the top, we noticed bits of ice and snow covering the mountain. In September! I was so surprised. When we got to the top, we went to the gift shop and had a couple of their world famous donuts. I also experienced altitude sickness for the first time, and we decided to end the summit visit quite quickly.
We decided I would drive so that I didn’t have to freak out about heights while not being in control of the car. About two thousand feet down from the summit, our car STOPPED WORKING. It was still rolling away down a giant slope of a road, but it had no power. The brakes wouldn’t work, the steering wheel wouldn’t work, nothing. And… there was no railing at the end of the slope we were on. We were just heading down this slope that ended in a giant dive off the mountain pretty much. I told Sonny as calmly as I could that the car wasn’t working, and we got closer and closer to the end of the slope not knowing what to do. That was when brilliant Sonny threw the shifter into park and yanked the steering wheel as hard as he could toward the left hoping to land the car into a near mountain wall off to the side of the road. Which he succeeded in doing! After freaking out for about ten minutes straight about the doom we missed, we called the park ranger who said he thought our engine locked up due to the cold temperatures. He said to try to start the car again after about twenty minutes and we should be good.
Lemme tell ya, the last 12,000 feet of that drive down the rest of the mountain was SO nerve wracking. I don’t know how we did it. We were sure at any moment that the car would die again. But it didn’t! Oh man. We did decide after that incident that Pike’s Peak would be the first and last mountain we would be driving. Next time, we’ll take a shuttle or one of those nifty trains. Or hike it. Anything but driving ourselves!
After our harrowing experience, we decided a picnic at the base of the mountain overlooking a lovely lake was just what we needed.
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