Day Three: 2008 Great Circus Road Trip

Pikes Peak or Bust!

States visited this day: Colorado

Circus Truckster Conversation:
Sweet Pea singing: "I saw Mommy kissing Santa's missing toe..."
(where does she come up with this stuff?)

We started off the day with yet another lovely continental breakfast eaten in our hotel room so the children could feel like they were at home watching cartoons on the television and dropping crumbs onto the floor. This also gave me more time to hunt around the room for every belonging we brought with us, just to be sure we didn't leave a favorite toy or pair of stanky underwear behind when we moved on.

As the children were ushered into the Circus Truckster and the parents fussed with packing the suitcases and other items into the truck for the day, I noticed Buddy's door was still open. He was all the way in the vehicle, setting up his "car seat space" for the day, so I shut the door. ON HIS HAND. Yikes! Thankfully, we had not checked out of the hotel room yet, so Hubby scooped up his injured son and rushed him back into the hotel to tend to him. I sat quietly in the Circus Truckster (with the two girls) feeling like crap and duly chastising myself. From that moment on, I made damn sure all hands and feets were way inside the vehicle any time I shut a door after that.

Hubby and Buddy returned a short while later, with Buddy holding his finger in a cup of ice. After a quick stop at Wal-Mart for water and a bunch of other unnecessary items, we were on our way to visit the Harley Dealer we found the day before, then on to Pikes Peak, Colorado. Years (and years and YEARS) ago, Hubby and his family had gone on a road trip to Colorado, but did not make it up to the Summit of Pikes Peak. A rock had gotten into the tire or brakes of his Dad's car and they turned around and came back down the mountain. This time, we were on a mission. Pikes Peak or Bust!

We began our twisty, turny ascent to the summit. The sign at the entrance said it would take an hour to get up to the summit, and an hour to get back down. It didn't seem like it took that long, but it must have.

One of the first things we saw on our ascent was a "Bigfoot Crossing" sign. That just cracked us up -- mostly because we're easily amused. Of course, after that, the clowns were slightly freaked about running into Bigfoot, but only until we told them Bigfoot wasn't real, and what they really should be worried about were the bears and mountain lions. (hee!)

The road to the summit was just a two lane road with no guardrails. At some points, the road wasn't even paved. Hubby took a little delight in freaking out the kids by "getting close" to the side of the road. Sweet Pea took to hiding her face in her pillow when Hubby did that. He wasn't that close, but it sure did look that way. At one point, it did look like we were about to drive off into nothing.

Hubby took this teaching opportunity to tell the clowns about the "Alpine Zone" and the "Tree Line" and what those terms meant, using the natural visiual aids just out the Circus Truckster window.

Up and up we went, our ears popping every so often. During the great road trip, I discovered that my hearing suddenly felt like I was talking in an airplane around 10,000 feet. That meant that for most of our time in Colorado, I couldn't hear very well, and more than once blowing my nose ended with an "OW!" when my ears popped -- once with a rather loud squeak that startled me. Having some allergy difficulty during our road trip didn't help the situation, I can tell you that.

As we made our way up the mountain, the lush trees gave way to scrub, snow, and eventually rocks. The Circus Truckster groaned a little bit, but eventually got us up to Pikes Peak Summit at 14,110 feet, and not a moment too soon. Most of the Circus had to use the restroom (along with nearly everyone else who had traveled to the Summit), inconveniently located at the very back of the Summit House Gift Shop/Restaurant.

After we finished answering nature's call, we made our way back outside to gaze at the view. And what a view it was! The treeless, rocky terrain made me think of the surface of the moon. Sounds, voices all seemed a little hushed or muffled at that high altitude. (Or maybe it was just my ears!)

We let the kids roam (carefully!) among the rocks, and took pictures by a couple of strategically placed "photo opp shots". I had sat Buddy on the "stop" for the Pikes Peak Cog Railway and told him to smile. I took three steps back while Buddy hung on and grinned. Except for that little platform he is sitting on, it looked like he was suspended in mid-air, the far off mountains serving as a backdrop.

I turned to find Hubby talking on his cell phone and wondered who he could be calling. It was his Dad. Hubby called his Dad from the top of Pikes Peak to tell him we had made it to the summit, and also to thank him for bringing the family to Colorado all those years ago.

We milled around a bit more on the summit, then wandered over to the "America The Beautiful" plaque before piling back into the Circus Truckster to being our descent. Again with the twisty turns and the popping ears. A quick brake check around the halfway point and eventually we were off the mountain and on our way to Canon City, Colorado.

We had made it to the Pikes Peak Summit today! Tomorrow, the Royal Gorge!

(You can see all of the pictures here)


eclectic said...

Poor Buddy! What a good sport he is!!

I'm nearly in tears thinking that making it to the top of Pike's Peak was something Hubby had so longed to do! That would make my dad very happy. He retired in the shadow of that mountain, making his home only 6 miles away -- with only Pike National Forest between him and his beloved peak. My kids refer to it simply as "Papa's mountain." I forget sometimes what a remarkable thing it is, but you've helped me remember. Thank you, darlin'.

Mama Zen said...

Oh, I remember traveling to Pike's Peak when I was a kid and thinking that we were going to drive off the mountain!

Great pictures!

Nance said...

Isn't Colorado a gorgeous place? And the air is just incredible there. Loved the picture of Buddy--I just wanted to reach out and squeeze his little knees!!

Bone Machine said...

Was Santa in a boating accident or something? Shop teacher?

Lynn said...

OMG! I love that third pic. Love love love it in a wild and crazy way!!!

Lynn said...

No, Bone. It was no accident.

(And don't kiss that toe, CK. It has cooties.)

Claudia said...

God, what a gorgeous view that must have been!!!! What a cruel mother you are too, hurting your son like that, LOL!

Circus Kelli said...

Eclectic - ((Hugs))

Mama Zen - I certainly felt like that!

Nance - VERY Gorgeous! BTW, he hates it when I do that.

Bone - I think it was a water-skiing accident...

Lynn - Hee hee!

Claudia - Yes, I *am* the meanest Mom on the planet. Didn't you know?

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