...cuz today we took another trip over 4 peaks. So here's the rest of the photos of our last weekend trip!
And we continued up, up, up. Along the way we met a pick-up broken down and gave them our bottle of water.
And up and up and up!
And we finally arrived at Crown King. We were so excited to be there that we forgot to take any pictures. OK, the truth - the honest truth - is that we were so excited there was a little ice-cream stand that we forgot to take pictures. We bought 6 bottles of water and ice cream cone each, got directions and headed back down the hill.
Steve has always wanted to drive on something called "The Senator Highway". The Senator Highway was built between 1866 and 1867 as part of the Prescott and Lyn Creek Toll Road for stagecoaches. We were told it would be 16 miles to the next town and that the roads were rough but we figured if a stagecoach used to do it we could do it, too!
The word rough was an understatement and I have no idea how people who followed that route in a stagecoach could even walk when they were through. The narrow winding road coming down the mountain was simply dust, boulders and trees fallen every which way across the route. We passed one vehicle on the road and my heart almost bumped out of my chest. I was certain one of us would end up going over the edge of the narrow road. We bumped, swore, jerked, maneuvered and crawled. But it was amazingly scenic and Steve stopped several times to take pictures. I was intriqued with the narrow passages cut through rocks at the top of the mountain. Some maneuverings took us perilously close to the edge of the road. Steve told me very kindly that it didn’t help him when I was gasping in fear and covering my eyes. We kept cracking up saying “oops, don’t tell Greg about that rock!” or “sorry, Greg!” and after almost an hour of this we were certain the town would be over the next hill but the odometer said we had traveled 3 miles!
After that the trip went on. And on. And on. Our initial laughter and conversation became merely groans from particularly rough places in the road, a little swearing and a lot of silent wondering when, and if, we would make it to the next town. Neither one of us bothered looking at the view any more. I told Steve more then once that I was ready to “get off this ride” but he just ignored me.
We travelled another 45 minutes and still had over half-way to go. The big boulders in the road got smaller and the inclines on each side became less frightening and at one point Steve exalted “I’m going 10 miles an hour!” and so it continued.
We finally came to what was supposed to be the small town and there was nothing there. Not even a house! But there was a little sign directing us on the next 13 mile leg of our journey! We travelled these miles at the bottom of the mountain. There were a few streams running, fairly smooth, narrow roads and lots of lots of cottonwoods spreading their bright green shade across the route. But we were tired and had little interest in the beautiful greenery or the interesting stream beds. It was nearly 4:00 and it felt like we had been on that mountain for 20 hours at least!
When we got to a maintained county road again we were both astonished at how wonderful the pavement felt. It felt like we were driving on whipped cream, it was so soft and smooth. I think we both realized then how tense we had been on the ride down the mountain.
We quickly got back on the I-17 and headed toward home. I got the directions out for the antique store and Steve got off the exit. We drove about ¼ of a mile and suddenly the road turned to dirt with a washboard texture. He drove another ¼ of a mile and finally looked at me and said “I don’t really want to do this!” and I said “neither do I!” and we quickly turned around and got back on pavement.
The rest of the ride home was uneventful and comfortable. No kidney-wrenching bumps, no sheer drops off the side of the road…just the insane drivers on I-17 which felt like small change compared to The Senator Highway.
Thanks for coming along. I still can't believe you forgot to bring the water and sunscreen along. I told you and told you. You're gonna have to do better on our next trip.
Pikes Peak or Bust!
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