We left Santa Fe and arrived in Raton, NM early in the afternoon. The Raton Pass was closed when we left Santa Fe but we weren’t planning to go over the pass that night so it wasn’t a problem. We walked across the street to a Chinese buffet then back home where we settled in for the evening.

We’ve now had 4 trouble free days of towing.

The next morning the Raton Pass was open and we hit the road for Colorado Springs. There was no sign of trouble at the Pass so we rolled into Cheyenne Mountain State Park right on time.

We’ve now had 5 trouble free days of towing.

Cheyenne Mountain State Park really exceeded our expectations, it’s the nicest place we’ve stayed so far, right at the base of Cheyenne Mountain with commodious campsites.


To one side are sweeping views of the city and Fort Carson (note the attractive blue tarp duct-taped over the bedroom air conditioner)


On the other side, Cheyenne Mountain looms—at night you can see the glow of the tunnel entrances to the Cheyenne Mountain Nuclear Bunker.


The Bunker’s fence is only about 30 feet through the scrub oak  behind the campsite


We saw many birds at the campsite but cottontails and prairie dogs were the only non-human mammalian wild critters we saw, though there was a bear sighting on one of the trails the week we were there and we could hear wild turkeys behind the bunker fence every night20130421_ColoradoSprings_036s

We were in Colorado Springs primarily to see our good friend Sarah and her family. In the picture above, Sarah is on the right and her daughter Aubrey is on the left. Aubrey just graduated from Iowa State University in Ames, a place I misspent some of my youth (Ames, not ISU—my only affiliation with the University was when I corrupted or was being corrupted by ISU students).


This is Bob, her husband and grillmaster. Bob is a retired AF Colonel who now teaches blue suiters about space combat and computing security.  In his salad days Bob was an F-15 jock. The F-15 is dear to my heart since I worked as an inspector on the Rockwell Collins F-15 avionics line during my formative years with Rockwell in the seventies.


Bob’s daughters are The A-Team: in age descending order, Athena, Alexandra (AKA Lexi), and Aurora. Lexi and Aurora are pictured above. Athena was away studying to become an engineer at the Colorado School of Mines. She recently won the coveted “Geek of the Week” award. Bob was thrilled.


Mule deer eating romaine lettuce and wishing for anchovies, Parmesan cheese, croutons and Caesar dressing

We had two dinners at Bob and Sarah’s. Meals typically begin with The Feeding of the Salad to the resident yard mule deer. Dinner at their home is a blast. In addition to the great food, there’s great conversation. There are three generations represented, Bob and Sarah, Sarah’s mom Betty, and the girls. Bob and Sarah sit at each end of the table and represent (roughly) opposite ends of the political spectrum. Betty and the girls are happy to weigh in on either side and enjoy discussing a variety of topics, ranging from teenage angst as exemplified by Romeo and Juliet to the efficacy of mass media as a source of information as opposed to just sensationalism. Bob also introduced us to the miracle of COTS (Commercial Off The Shelf) barbecue sauce mixed with a touch of Rooster Sauce.


We had ordered three air conditioner cowlings to be shipped to Sarah in Colorado springs. They arrived just before we did. We bought three since besides the one blown off in Santa Fe, the two surviving cowlings were both damaged. The day a mobile repair guy was scheduled to come out and replace them, we got three inches of snow up on the mountain. We didn’t want him on the roof for fear the slippery conditions would precipitate him off the roof without benefit of ladder, leaving him a crumpled wreck on the ground, pathetically attempting to reach his cell phone in order to call his attorney. So we rescheduled.


A few days later the snow was gone and he got it done


We visited the American Numismatic Association Money Museum and saw Hobo Nickels


We visited The Garden of the Gods


Sarah gave us a cook’s tour of the Air force Academy


The Cadet Chapel has been the focus of both my visits to the Academy, I came with my parents in the sixties


Back then, the upstairs was for Protestants, downstairs served Catholics and Jews


Since the sixties they’ve added a Buddhist Chapel, shown here, and an outdoor space for followers of Earth-Centered Spirituality, “an umbrella of traditions that includes Wicca, Paganism and Druidism.” There also unadorned spaces for use by other traditions such as Muslims and Unitairians


We took a ride on the Pikes Peak Cog Railway


We couldn’t get to the top, we could only get as high as the snowplow

Colorado Springs is another place we hated to leave. Our friends there are treasures and we love the city (we found a good Ramen place, too, Tako). Camping at Cheyenne Mountain State Park was spectacular—in addition to the views and the wildlife, the military presence was interesting. The last night we were there, Fort Carson was apparently holding night exercises; star shells were bursting over the Fort, hanging in the air for 20 or 30 seconds before they faded away. It was downright magical.

We’re off to Loveland Colorado.