Friday, December 11, 2015

Colorado Springs, part 3 of 3

This is part 2 of a 3-part blog post of our time in Colorado Springs (links to part 1 and part 2). There are just too many pictures, and too many wonderful things that we saw and did to contain it to one mega post. And now, as they say- on with the show:

We met up with Don the next day to make the trek down to the Royal Gorge. This was one time that our campground location actually won out because the Royal Gorge was south of where we were. We drove for a while and once we got onto the property where the gorge was, we starting seeing evidence of a fire that had happened. There were charred trees- many with varying amounts of branches. Uncle Don mentioned about a "wildfire a few years ago", but we didn't realize the full gravity of what happened. In 2013, the place was completely devastated with most things burning to the ground. They did an amazing job rebuilding and reopening. There is an excellent movie in their theater about the fire and rebuilding.

Welcome center.
Logan found a new favorite toy!
View to the bottom.
Our awesome crew!
Wonderful girl.
I enjoy seeing cacti in the wild for some reason.
At the Royal Gorge, we first took the aerial gondola across to the far side. They said it is 2,200' long and 1,200' above the river.

Yep. That aerial gondola. (Note, Don basically said "oh heck no!")
This is not reassuring as we went to get on.
Two of my favorite people.
It's so hard to reflect the scale in pictures. But it was way, way, way down there.
My girl.
Next up was the "Skycoaster". Paige and I had done one of these in Orlando and it touts itself as the tallest Skycoaster in the country. While it was significantly taller, going out over the edge of the gorge was quite breathtaking.

Looking back over the gorge where we're about to be flying high.
Selfies while they waited.
Up we go!
Flying out over the gorge. So wild.
She rocked it. Like a star.
From there, we tried to take Logan down to the carousel, but unfortunately it wasn't working at the time. Apparently "any day now", they were going to get "the part" to fix it. Barring that, we took in their movie about the fire and rebuilding effort since then.

Over looking the pathway.
This train survived the fire.
My reasons for everything.
And then we walked back over the gorge on the bridge. This was pretty wild. They have a shuttle that you can ride that takes you from one side to the other. The thing is, when this thing goes across- the whole bridge shakes and bounces (it feels wildly, but this video of mine just doesn't show it as much). It throws off your walking rhythm; we found it best to just stand it one spot and let it drive past. The bridge and views are pretty spectacular, though.

I'd LOVE to drive across the bridge!
Looking down.
Looking down.
Pretty girls.
River below.
Looking back at the Skycoaster.
Looking down through the slats.
Is this a problem?!
Looking down to the river below.
Bridge cables.
Incline Railway that was destroyed by the fire.
On solid land again, we sat out on their patio and ate a picnic lunch. While we sat there, we noticed a maintenance worker making his way to a lock which was locked on the fence. Apparently to avoid a Pont des Arts situation, they don't let locks accumulate. This one was etched with a couple's initials. Hopefully this couple endures the deep wounds of their eternal lock being cut from its place. This happens on a regular basis, I think the guy said that it "happens all of the time."

Maintenance cutting the lock.
Destroyed relationship. (smile)
In a nice change for us, we actually had a fire and cooked up some burgers!

Fire without kindling is always tricky to build!
There's nothing quite like burgers cooked on a fire.
On Saturday, we went to the Cliff Dwellings. It was very interesting to see the kids read about how people would live and translate that to their own experiences.

Logan exploring.
Paige #roadschooling.
The dynamic duo.
Cliff dwellings.
My beautiful bride and I.
These guys.
Staying until closing time has its perks- no crowds!
Native American museum display.
Saturday evening, I failed in the picture taking department. We had dinner with a coworker's family who live in Colorado Springs. In the "holy crap, it's a small world"-department; he goes to the same church as Mandie's Uncle Don. Not only that, both his wife and Don sing in the choir together. Pretty crazy. We had a nice dinner and enjoyed each other's company.

On Monday, I had the camper scheduled to have some work done. To make getting the camper dropped off easier and to give us a place to be on Monday, we got a hotel room for the night. The kids loved having some indoor pool time- even if it was very cold and they tried to crowd me in the hot tub!

Pool time.
The RV service center did a decent job on what they accomplished. I'm a little annoyed with them; I sent a very detailed email and they sent a tech out to the camper while we were at the campground. I thought they'd do a bit of work there, but ultimately- they did very little. They saved everything for the Monday while it was at their shop. The good- they installed my "tech cabinet" which gives me a place to plug in my WiFi Booster (WiFi Ranger Elite Pack) and my cellular booster (weBoost Drive 4G-X). The bad- they didn't get a whole lot else accomplished. Oh well.

While there, we did a little bit of shopping for Paige. We got her hiking boots to try and protect her ankles a bit more. She still suffers from a slip on a trail that happened back in April. I left the girls to do some grocery shopping at Walmart while Logan and I went to pick up the camper. When it wasn't ready, he and I went down and played on a playground.

Test climb.
Monkey on the monkey bars.
Logan found the leaf bug wildly exciting.
And then we were off. We left Colorado Springs around 7pm at night with Moab, UT as our destination. It was longer than we wanted to drive in a day, so we planned for an overnight stop once we were tired of driving. A Walmart in Avon, CO did the trick and in the morning- we were off! (Spoiler alert: MOAB IS BEAUTIFUL!)

Walmart with a view.
None of the gas stations in the ski resort area were big enough for our combined size; the solution: unhitch the truck in a grocery store and go fill up.
And with that, we left Colorado.

This is part 2 of a 3-part blog post of our time in Colorado Springs (links to part 1 and part 2). As usual, these blog entries contain a lot of pictures but there are even way more on Flickr (300+ photos and 6 videos - seriously).