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Colorado Springs, Colorado…

Posted by on October 1, 2014

OCTOBER 1, 2014.


Colorado Springs, with Pike’s Peak in the background.

A TOUGH DRIVE TODAY. Today we drove down Interstate 25 from Cheyenne, Wyoming to just outside Colorado Springs. Quite a drive it was. The weather was beautiful as we began the trip, but by the time we reached Denver the wind was blowing harder than I’ve ever experienced while driving. I’d have pulled off the interstate and either waited it out or just found a place to spend the night, but the wind gusts caught me by surprise and there was just nowhere to go. A one point, the RV jerked so violently I honestly though I had a flat tire, even though I knew that our tires are almost new. It was un-nerving to say the least and there was lots of traffic, to boot. We finally found the RV park where we’re staying, but not until driving about 15 miles through a construction area where the road was so torn-up I thought the satellite dish was going to fall right off our roof! The moment we arrived it began raining and snow flurries are predicted for tonight. I’m beat. We’re going to stay here a few days, but not too long. We’re pretty determined to get to warmer weather in New Mexico and then at our winter home in San Antonio, Texas.


Our friend Earl is our personal postman. He gets all our mail and packages to us, no matter where we are. Thanks, buddy!

CARE PACKAGE FROM EARL. For full-time travelers such as we’ve become, getting mail is a challenge. Lots of folks use mail forwarding services…some with pretty good luck and others with horror stories to recount. We’ve got the best system in the world. Our dear friend Earl, back in San Diego, is our personal mailman! He receives all of our mail (including things we order and have sent to him), sorts it for important items and then chats with us on the phone about where to send it. Most RV parks won’t accept incoming mail for guests and also, being on the move as we are, it’s hard to judge when mail might arrive. So, as a general rule, we pick a USPS facility along our route and have Earl send us our mail c/o general delivery. It’s worked out swimmingly so far! What a friend Earl has been to do all of this for us. We appreciate all your help, buddy. Anyhow, one of the reasons for our stop at this Park is that we’ve got two big cartons awaiting us at the Post Office. Oh, boy! Christmas in October!

COLORADO SPRINGS. PIKE’S PEAK. There is a lot to see in Colorado…the Rocky Mountains at elevations to about 14,000 feet, Pike’s Peak, aspen trees red with Fall color…we aren’t going to have time to do much but scratch the surface, given the approaching winter storms. We will see a few areas and then, if the fancy strikes us, return some other time. This is my second visit to the are. Believe it or not, the first time I was here was in 1960 when I attended the International Boy Scouts Jamboree. I still remember that Scout trip…it was a big deal to attend. I flew on an airplane from Los Angeles to Colorado Springs…my first airplane ride. Dwight Eisenhower was President and he visited us at the Jamboree. He rode in the back seat of a Cadillac convertible and waved to all of us lined along the road, seemingly unconcerned about security in those days. I was only 13 years old and all of this was a big deal for me.


The Cadet Chapel is an iconic symbol of the USAF Academy campus.

U. S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY. The campus of the Academy covers 18,500 acres on the east side of the Rampart Range of the Rocky Mountains just north of Colorado Springs. Its altitude is normally given as 7,258 feet above sea-level, which is the elevation of the cadet area. The Academy is one of the five United States Service Academies. Candidates for admission are judged on their academic achievement, demonstrated leadership, athletics and character. To gain admission, candidates must also pass a fitness test, undergo a thorough medical examination, and secure a nomination, which usually comes from the member of Congress in the candidate’s home district. Recent incoming classes have had about 1,200 cadets; historically just under 1,000 of those will graduate. Tuition along with room and board are all paid for by the U. S. Government. Cadets receive a monthly stipend, but incur a commitment to serve a number of years of military service after graduation. As with the other service academies, admission standards are rigorous.

ROYAL GORGE SUSPENSION BRIDGE. Now here’s a show-stopper: The Royal Gorge Suspension Bridge is located outside Colorado Springs in a town called Canon city.  Until a few years ago, it was the highest suspension bridge in the world! (Now it’s number 2.) That’s right folks…the highest suspension bridge ever built. I made the mistake of mentioning it to Florence, and rather than just saying, “Wow” or something like that, she said, “Let’s go!” I replied, “Lady, you have got to be kidding. You know how I hate heights. I won’t even climb a step-ladder! I drive 100 miles in the RV to avoid a low bridge, and you want to go see this thing? Oh, God.” Fortunately, I researched this a bit and I think I’ve found a compromise. There is a Royal Gorge Route Railroad that travels through the Gorge and under the bridge. Now that’s more like it! Look up, not down.


This is the Royal Gorge Suspension Bridge near Colorado Springs. Can you even believe it? People actually drive across it. Some even walk it! Not me..No way! Read below in my post to see how I figured out a way to see the bridge but stay low to the ground!

ROYAL GORGE ROUTE RAILROAD. There’s more than one way to skin a cat! I’ll see the bridge all right…but I’ll see it from the bottom up, from a glass dome railroad car. The train is a private, family owned railroad, running a train consisting of 17 cars, 5-classes of service and 4 kitchens on a standard gauge train. It is like a moving city, complete with climate control, bathrooms, food and beverage and a professional train crew. Since 1879, these tracks have followed the winding, tumbling Arkansas River deep within the soaring, 1,000-foot granite cliffs of Colorado’s Royal Gorge. The road offers unsurpassed views of the suspension bridge, the Arkansas River and spectacular scenery along the way. Well alright, then! This is sounding good. We’re going to extend our stay here a bit, make reservations for the Dome Car on the train and get going. This is a win-win deal for me: I get to ride on a train, see the world’s highest suspension bridge, enjoy river views and spectacular scenery and have a first class meal. And all of this happens low to the ground. Perfect! For a train buff who’s afraid of heights, it doesn’t get any better than this!


Colorado’s Royal Gorge Route Railroad. The glass dome car is the third one behind the locomotive…see it?

THE FREEDOM WE ENJOY ON OUR ADVENTURE. One of the very best things about our Great American Adventure is the freedom that traveling in our motorhome allows us. We’re not tied down by itineraries, plane schedules or deadlines. We go where we want and stay as long as we want. We’re completely flexible. We’d planned, for example, to stay here near Colorado Springs just for a couple of days…long enough to get our mail and do our laundry. Now that we’re here and we’ve discovered all there is to see and do, we’re going to change our plans and stay longer. The only thing now that will “move us along” before we’d otherwise be ready to leave is the weather. Winter is for sure approaching! We’re expecting snow flurries tonight. I check the National Weather Service forecast for our area constantly. We have unlimited freedom, but I won’t take any chances and get stuck in a major winter event! If a real snow storm is coming, we’re going to be going! Remember, I’m from San Diego, where a half inch of rain is front page news in the local newspaper!


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