I have driven to the tippy top of Mount Indiana without fear throwing caution to the wind and propelling myself with reckless abandon. I did it without oxygen bottles and without the aid of a Sherpa. Corn is grown up to the summit because it is only 1,257 feet high. Our house is at 900 feet.
Pike's Peak doesn't look formidable from a distance but it is different when you are looking up its skirts. There are at least three ways to make the 14,100 summit: You can run or hike. Don't do it. You can take the cog wheel train for a mere $35 each. Being penurious we didn't. Or drive the nearly 20 miles for a charge of $12 each. That we did and thereby hangs the tale.
The journey was not frightening until we got above the tree line. It was like a mountain drive with trees, rocks and railings to mark the way. I drove in gear three and at times two. People were passing me like I was standing still -- they all had Colorado plates. Then the tree line. I drove in two and one. There were switchbacks tighter than security at Fort Knox. I was beside myself many times.
There were no railings on the road and nothing but thousands of feet of empty just inches away from the car. I did not have butterflies in my stomach, I had a flock of buzzards wheeling and waiting for the Buick to tumble over and serve their lunch. I was concerned that I would have largicous colonestic materialistical ejecticous if you know what I mean. I drove slower and slower in gear one as we approached the summit.
What a relief as we hove over the last few feet and landed on top an area of several acres accomplished many years ago with manual labor and mule power. As I stepped out of the car I felt that I had contracted instantaneous advanced emphysema. The air is thinner than President Obama and Mitt Romney's election promises. I gasped for air like Paul Ryan and Joe Biden caught in a lie. My knees were greasy ball bearings. A bit of dizziness slipped in and sat down between my ears. The wind was blowing and it was colder than a landlord's heart when the rent is due. I snapped some pictures to prove we were there and we slipped into ubiquitous, gift shop and café. Shortly I said to BW, "Let's get down and I don't mean like James Brown."
Down was worse than up. The first lurch over the summit felt like we were going over the side. My eyes were attached to the road like huge Velcro strips had them tied down. I dared not look over the side. My innards were clamoring like a fight between the Gulf and Hurricane Isaac. Gear one was all that would do. The option is to melt the brakes and go down like the stock market in 1929. The trip down had more twists and turns than the road to perdition. I did not breathe until we reached the tree line and then I gasped like I was wearing a rubber girdle from the 1950s. Pike's Peak or bust. I almost busted.
Larry grew up north of Calvertville on a farm and graduated from Worthington High School and Indiana State Uuniversity -- four times. He can be reached at Goosecrick@aol.com or (317) 839-7656. Write him at 6860 Sunrise Drive, Plainfield, Ind., 46168. He has written six books.