Day two of the Weenies’ excellent adventure began with a visit to the Royal Gorge. In addition to its spectacular plunge of over 1,000 feet to the Arkansas River below, the Royal Gorge’s sheer cliff walls support the world’s largest suspension bridge. Even more impressive than the bridge itself was the fact that I had cell service from just outside the park gates. I’m still trying to figure out how that’s possible when I regularly drop calls on the way to my sister’s house in west Austin.
While the circus surrounding this national treasure reminded me of a geologically-themed amusement park, and the entry fee for the two of us sounded as steep as the rock walls beyond the front gate, Mr. Weenie insisted it was worth the price. Keep in mind that I was traveling with the Clark Griswold of the Weenie family. As I stood there envisioning a $50, 30-second, head-nodding peek at the gorge from atop a very large bridge, a generous old codger handed us a six dollar discount coupon (which coincidentally, was the exact price of a funnel cake). Decision made.
Having paid for the experience, we decided to take full advantage of all the park had to offer, which as it turned out, included a terror ride to the bottom of the gorge in a small metal cage. I was excited to spot a huge eagle soaring by on our way down; then somewhat disappointed when a four-year-old boy correctly identified it as a very large crow.
We smuggled Dexter into the park via a baby carrier-type contraption with a shawl draped over his head. It was a good thing the little ones got in for free. After paying $150 for a doggie airline ticket, I was damned if we were going to drop another 25 bucks so that the world’s ugliest baby could ride a gondola down the side of a cliff.
After wandering the area for about an hour and a half, the Weenies found themselves hungry and bridge-weary. The walk to the refreshment stand was about ten yards with a three foot rise in elevation, but by all the huffing and puffing you would have thought we were about to summit K2. Twenty minutes later, six dollar funnel cake in hand, the Weenies sat down in the sun to enjoy some great people watching and a well-deserved royal gorge of their own.
Tune in next time for Part 6 in the Travelin’ Weenie series.