Breakfast for Dinner | All Blogs

Don’t Look Down

By Melinda Mawdsley

I was scared. The kind of fear that tightens the stomach and dries out the throat.

When Rachel mentioned she had an assignment in Silverton and would “get to” drive over the Million Dollar Highway, I casually mentioned that I once tried to drive that road connecting Ouray and Silverton a few years ago but turned around in a panic about six miles up because I was certain I would die.

So…Rachel. Oh, beautiful, perma-tour-guide Rachel. It was unacceptable that I had never experienced the majesty of the Million Dollar Highway with its priceless views because I was afraid of the road.

On May 3, under blue skies, Rachel took me with her in a compact Mazda to Silverton, giddy that she was going to “get to” drive over the Mllion Dollar Highway and I got to go with her.

Outside Ouray, I admittedly got nervous and needed to stop to use the restroom and get some water because of the aforementioned dry throat. (I already had drank all the other water I brought on the trip.)

Then, we were off. The views of the San Juan Mountains along the Million Dollar Highway are something of a postcard. The waterfalls, rock canyons, running steams and snow-capped peaks are worth the drive. I'll admit it.

But, I’m not going to lie, it’s pretty hard to forget the view out the passenger door when I looked down. And it’s hard not to look down.

(Note the short distance between the car, the “shoulder” stripe, and the sharp drop into the canyon)

Rachel was super helpful by:

1. Taking her hand off the steering wheel to point out a waterfall.
2. Telling a story about how a couple got swept off the road in an avalanche but lived.
3. Saying things like, “You look out, and you’re like, ‘This is nuts. Who would drive this?’”

Super helpful.

Anyway, I’m happy to report we lived, and we both snapped plenty of pictures along the way. That’s the funny thing about Colorado. Even natives such as Rachel never tire of this state’s splendor.

Although I’m not a native — I’m actually from Iowa so cut me a break on the panic attacks – I never grow tired of the scenery here. Sure, there are a few things about Iowa I miss: the lush green color that comes from actual rain water, legit thunderstorms, and my family and friends. But that's about it.

So, for all those other Midwesterners intimidated by hiking at altitude or riding along roads with no guardrails, just look up.

And remind the driver it’s best to keep BOTH hands on the steering wheel at all times except when they stop to take photos.


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Don’t feel bad Melinda; we hate Red Mountain Pass so much that, driving south, we’ll invent reasons to go over Lizard Head Pass instead!

What a breath-taking landscape! Maybe one of the most beautiful in the world! It’s not as nice as the Honolulu sightseeing tours but it’s close! It seems to be as one of the best places to have a vacation: relaxing and quiet.

The anxiety you suffered during the trip might have been worth it, as long as it’s not a permanent condition you should be ok. When anxiety is becoming a constant issue though, you should never ignore it. You should check out and get treatment before it’s too late.

There are lots of people who live just for such thrilling experiences. But then, there are others for whom golfing is the best way to recharge their batteries. Why wouldn’t it be, when they can find on all the golfing gear they need, to make of each game a full experience!

The road clearly offers stunning views, but it’s also the kind of road that can scare you. In fact, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to check out the U Pull and Pay services before taking it on. If something goes wrong during your trip and your car is broken, they could get you out in no time.

Wonderful and awesome website I just found through searching and I am glad that I found it

It’s easy to see why you would get anxious during this particular road trip, but the view at the top is spectacular so the effort was worth it. Those daring to give it a try though should keep in mind the tow truck in Fairfax County, VA, the last thing you want is to get stranded in the middle of nowhere with no way to get back to civilization. Being cautious can pay off in the worst case scenarios.

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