The drive to the top of Pikes Peak was incredible. As I pulled into the parkway that led to the summit, I was greeted by a sign that indicated how far the road was open (the summit) and what temperature the summit was: 40 degrees. At some point on the ride, the shoulder became an immediate drop off, so there was about 7 feet between the right tire and 14,000 feet of open space. Driving in my rented convertible PT Cruiser...that's right:
Anyway, driving in a convertible PT Cruiser with the top down up Pikes Peak was enough to make my fear of heights churn the pit of my stomach. I made it 3/4 of the way up before I closed the top. It looked like rain. Turns out there was a storm coming in. When a storm comes in and you are 14,000 up, you are in the storm, not under it.
Visibility dropped to about 10 feet. The road got narrower, there was no place to turn around so I kept going. When you can see 10 feet, and the cliff is 7 feet away, you go slow. At some point, I reached the summit. Unfortunately, visibility was probably < 10 feet at that point, so I just turned around and started down. It started to hail. You heard me right, hail.
I wasn't feeling too safe in the PT cruiser at that point. There were rivers of muddy water rushing down each side of the dirt road (it's not paved), huge balls of hail, streaks of lightning, and almost no line of sight. I inched down that mountain at 8-10 miles an hour for about 12 miles until the cloud cover broke and I could see again. It was a blast.
Seriously though, the ride up Pikes Peak was awesome - incredible views. Until the storm came, it was perfect. After the storm came, it was the 6th near death experience I've had.
(5th Near Death Experience)