Sunday, June 14, 2009

Road Trip - Day #6

Total Mileage: 280
Total times James thought it was "the end": 4
Total different times we experienced rain: 4
Total times we were snowed on: 2
Total times we were hailed on: 1
Total deer that were on the same road as us: 2

So I thought the Royal Gorge was scary, well driving up Pikes Peak was even scarier. We showed up at 8:30 and the ranger at the gate informed us that we couldn't make it to the top because of icy road conditions. He wasn't sure when the roads would reopen. "You'll know when to stop - when you see all of the ice." James turned white. We (I) decided to go anyway.

We were greeted by a couple of deer on our journey up the mountain. James pretty much closed his eyes while I drove. Mountain driving is not his thing.

Here's Austin at a pit stop at about 9,000 feet elevation.

Notice that the road is not paved. And there's no guard rail.

James did open his eyes for this picture. I was shocked. This was one of the many drop-offs... thousands of feet down. No railing or anything.

Yes, we were higher than the clouds.

About this time, we're driving on ice and dirt. And my white-knuckled husband is praying very, very hard.

Here's our brave Austin touching snow... fearless. Guess who's side of the family he got this from...

This is what it looked like on top. We decided not to wait until the sun came out and melted the ice. Who knows when that would have happened. We made it 13K feet up and it was 20 degrees on the top of the mountain. And the wind was blowing at about 40 miles per hour. Brrrrrrr...

We promised the kids hot chocolate on top of the mountain, but since we couldn't make it to the top we had some at a gift shop halfway down.

Then is started to SNOW!!

We thankfully got to the bottom and got a bite to eat. Then we headed to the Helen Hunts waterfall. While we were in the parking lot it started hailing and raining on us. I don't know if we have experienced, snow, sun, hail, and rain in one day! After the rain stopped, we got out to check out the falls.

The stairs to the top...

Here's my brave husband next to a fall. This is more his speed.

Emily loved the waterfall. If it wasn't raining, we would have explored a bit more.

Our next destination was Estes Park where we are finally staying at a place more than one night. It took forever to get there... apparently Denver has really bad traffic. It was only 3:00 in the afternoon! It turns out that they had a lot of snow the night before and it caused some standing water on the freeway - so it added another 45 minutes to our trip.

I did snap this shot of Invesco Field. I really hoped when I saw this stadium I'd be attending a game, but oh well. Go Broncos!

We went to a local grocery and got some groceries. It will be nice to have a "permanent" home for a few days.