No trip to Colorado Springs would be complete without driving up to the top of nearby Pikes Peak, a world renowned road course which has hosted rallies and hill climbs (and descents) for various types of vehicles.
ARE WE THERE YET??
This was taken from “only” 12,973 feet. I’m afraid of heights and had already started driving on the wrong side of the road at times in order to stay away from the edge. There are guard rails only at some of the sharp turns, not along other parts of the road. It takes a very brave person to drive this road at high speed (and it used to be a dirt road!!).
With frequent breaks, and deep breathing, I finally made it to the top.
When I parked my car my GPS said I was actually at 14,192 feet. The views, as you would expect, were spectacular.
At one of my photo op stops on the way up the mountain another vehicle also stopped to take pictures and I offered to take a family photo for them. That is how I met Brooks.
He’s the world’s biggest Tom Brady fan (well, after my sister-in-law Kendra…). He’s wearing a Kansas City Chiefs sweatshirt because they live in KC. Brooks loves to play golf. When we got on that subject he wanted to play RIGHT NOW. I told him I thought it would be tough to maintain the greens at 14,000 feet.
Here’s Brooks with his Mom and Dad talking to a motorcycle rider from northern Virginia. I also had an interesting conversation with him regarding the reflective tape he has on his bike, helmet and jumpsuit, as well as the difficulty I was having offloading pictures from my cell phone. He is on an even bigger road trip than I am.
There was some added excitement on the mountain today as there was a crew filming footage to be used as part of the Gran Turismo video game. They told me at the entrance that portions of the road might be closed for short periods as they were filming (that’s what it means when you see “Professional Driver on a Closed Course” in fine print in commercials. They are also quick to add “Do Not Attempt”).
At one point I drove by the parked vehicle which was covered by a large blue tarp.
SPOILER ALERT: I saw the car briefly later in the morning. It was a low, wide, souped up silver Mustang with the number 43 on the doors. Sorry, guys.
Before getting to the video shoot I passed some emergency and rescue vehicles (fire, ambulance, etc) which were stationed at various places.
At one point I had to weave past three big snowplows which were staggered on the roadway. I couldn’t get my camera on in time to document that, but here they were parked off the road on my way down.
There was also a really cool tricked out flat-black Porsche with a huge camera boom mounted on it.
Check out their website at Chase Car Inc. You can rent it for parties starting at $ 6,515 per day.
And there was evidence of the Mustang’s performance at various places on the road.
Finally, on the way down the mountain was a mandatory brake check at the Glen Cove Inn, located at 11,450 feet. The young lady there had a heat sensor gun and said my brakes measured 496 degrees. The target number is 300 degrees so she suggested I park near the Inn and cool my heels (and my brakes) for about a half hour before proceeding.
Fear of heights notwithstanding, it was a great way to spend the morning.