Some people hike Mount Washington. My husband, a car nut, wanted to drive it.
Mount Washington, in New Hampshire's White Mountains, rises to 6,288 feet, which isn't much compared to the Rockies or the Sierra Nevada. But the highest wind speed ever recorded, 231 mph, was clocked at its summit, and some claim it has the world's worst weather.
About 45,000 cars a year make the 7 ½-mile drive up the private auto road (www.mountwashingtonautoroad.com). A sign warns that anyone afraid of heights might not want to make the twisting climb, which I dismissed as hype. That was a mistake.
The road climbed gently at first, snug between thick forest and mossy rocks. But before long, there was more view than trees -- sheer drops and vast expanses of air. I began to panic, irrationally certain that we would slide right off the road. Finally, I closed my eyes. It seemed to help.
When we reached the summit, we were in the clouds, which obscured the view of other peaks and gave the gravel parking lot an ethereal feel.
On the way back down, we passed a few vintage cars headed up. It turned out they were practicing for the annual ''Climb to the Clouds'' (www.climbtotheclouds.com) the next day. ''They actually speed up that road?'' I asked my husband, disbelieving. ''They pass each other at speed on that road?'' No. The hill climb is a timed race, one car at a time, and they only go halfway up. Still, safely back on level ground, I thought they were nuts.
This is one in a series of postcards by Marjie Lambert, assistant Travel editor, who has been to all 50 states.