After we departed Seven Falls at 9:30 a.m., Day Six of our road trip continued southwest in the town of Cañon City, location of the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park.
The highest bridge in America according to WikiPedia, the Royal Gorge Bridge is 956 feet high above the Arkansas River; is 1,270 feet and eighteen feet wide; and allegedly will hold two million pounds even though the wood looks weathered and you can see between the slats. A modest entertainment park has been built around it.
The view of the Arkansas, ten stories below us, was one of my wife’s least favorite sights of the entire vacation.
She was in no mood to linger and hurried across. My son did likewise because he’s not much of a lingerer. They’re two of the dots on the left — my wife in yellow, my son in black. The speck in red was with another party. The golf cart on the right was certainly no friend of ours.
The bridge does its job just fine. It’s all a matter of confidence, and trusting that the park owners realize deathtraps make terrible tourist attractions.
Families crossing the bridge can stop and pose with flags from their home states. I had to unfurl the tangled Indiana flag myself, and was disappointed to see how frayed it was. Not cool, Royal Gorge Park rangers.
It might have been apropos to hum a few bars of the official state song of Indiana, “On the Banks of the Wabash, Far Away”. Sadly, they never taught us the lyrics in school. I’m not sure anyone I know would even recognize it if they heard it, let alone know the words. Even at each year’s opening ceremonies of the world-famous Indianapolis 500, it’s never performed. Instead we always hear “Back Home Again in Indiana”. That, however, would make even less sense to sing while standing on a Colorado bridge than that obscure Wabash song would.
In addition to the fifty state flags, the bridge has a couple of posted markers for one-time famous feats, such as its guest appearance in an old episode of the 1980s reality series That’s Incredible! There was no such TV genre as “reality series” in that decade, but the retroactive relabeling fits.
So then this happened in the next decade, apparently with TV coverage not worth commemorating.
If you’re too hot and tired to walk, or if you feel unsafe walking across, you can ride a trolley or drive your own vehicle. I’m not sure why you would, though. A ten-story fall would produce the same sudden impact whether you’re free-falling in the wind or encased in a large metal canister. I would imagine that using a vehicle would be a much more terrifying option because you’re asking those poor wooden slats to support 10-20 times the weight. Also, the parking on the other side of the bridge was lousy.
To be continued!
[Link enclosed here to handy checklist for previous and future chapters, and for our complete road trip history to date. Thanks for reading!]