Driving Duty

Another excerpt from my personal blog:
I absolutely hate driving. This predicament makes it difficult on the husband who takes up most of the driving duties.  OK, you caught me in a little white lie; he takes up all of the driving duties.  Poor guy, he drives the whole way when we take our annual vacations criss-crossing the country.  He can thank my mother who instilled in me the desire to have my children see their own beautiful country before they venture out into the larger world, just as she decreed with her own children.  What a better way to see the countryside than by car.

The only time I took up the driving duty was when I knew my life was on the line while driving in the Rockies.  I had researched the trip well and knew we absolutely had to drive the Million Dollar Highway from Durango to Ouray, Colorado.  
I had been to the Rockies numerous times before so it only made sense for me to make the drive so the others could enjoy the scenery.  Did I say enjoy?  What a big fat misnomer.  The only enjoyment to be had was by me as I laughed at the three sissies in the car with me.  For not being a big fan of driving, you would have been proud of me.  Hell, I was proud of me. 

In Durango, I took the wheel.  Not only did I take the wheel, but I felt it somehow important to play John Denver’s Rocky Mountain High as I made that harrowing drive.  Yes, John boy crooned the entire 1½ hours it took to complete the short 23 mile trek.  You see, to me it was sort of sacrilege not to listen to him while I was in the mountains he claimed so many years ago as his own.

From Durango, it was a bit misty but I picked my way through the pines and alongside the river toward the tiny mining town of Silverton.  In my opinion, there were not too many harrowing passes on the way to Silverton but as I looked over at my significant other, he was growing significantly white.  
I decided to stop in Silverton to get gas and since I had researched this drive on YouTube, I knew the next half was far more interesting.  I warned him to go get a beer before we set off for Ouray.  Seriously.  I wasn’t joking.

I knew I should have sedated him before we proceeded.  I suppose he felt he had the intestinal fortitude to forge ahead without the aid of some mind-altering assistance.  Either way, he did not heed my warnings and what happened next can only be described through the imagery of cartoon drawings complete with dialogue bubbles:

In complete control of my nerves and the vehicle, I had one hand on the wheel, while the other rotated between the CD player to change John Denver songs and eating a leftover sandwich from the Subway in Pagosa Springs.  In this cartoon, I’m a wild-eyed woman, driving distracted-man style and looking over at my front passenger who has made his 6’3” body smaller than I ever thought possible in the front seat.  He is clutching the center console with a death grip that must have left his fingers stiff and ice-cold, while he looks down at the floor.  My bubble says wryly, “You’re missing the beautiful scenery.”

In the next frame, I pull the camera from my bag and try to coerce my better half to take some photos as we approach the elevation  11,099 foot Red Mountain Pass.  The bubble out of my mouth reads, “If you won’t take the photos, I will.”  To which he took up the camera with shaking hands and captured some of the worst frigging shots my Nikon has ever known. 

The third drawing goes something like this, “Well this simply won’t do, here buddy you take some pics.”  As I hand the camera to my youngest, I discover the child hyperventilating in the backseat.  I don’t have any clue why, as I was doing my best to stay away from guardrail-less 2,500 foot drop.  My driving was superb, despite the CD and sandwich doodling.   
Meanwhile, he hands the camera to the eldest, my artsy one, and I end up with a series of shots of the rear-view mirror and angled shots of his feet on the car mat.  Nice.

The next frame shows me eating my sandwich and my spouse near palpitations and breaking out in a cold sweat.  I planned a stop at the little abandoned mining town along the way and I swear, my husband left the car so fast it made the hair fly off my forehead.  I looked in the back seat to see my eldest  distracting himself with gummy worms.  After assessing the situation with my youngest, I decided that I did not have to perform CPR.  Sheesh, it wasn’t as if I didn’t warn them.

We were able to hang out at Ironton Town, an abandoned mining town, taking photos just long enough for me to convince them they simply could not walk the last 9 miles.  By threat of bodily harm, the cartoon shows me forcing my brood back in the car.  Off we trekked the final 9, under the rock-slide bridge, finally switch-backing down into Ouray, our home for the next week. 

The final frame depicts us after we checked into our lodge, made our way to the local burger joint to down a beer or two, and on to a little shopping.  The drawing shows my husband, buying me J-41s and new hiking gear at the local outfitters.  The bubble out of my mouth states, “High altitude, beer, score.”