We put our belongings back in the car and went to the small cafe that was part of the Colorado Springs KOA for breakfast. Katherine had blueberry pancakes, Andy had toast, and Steven had some Mini-Wheats cereal. We ate in an outdoor covered pavilion.
We drove over to the Manitou and Pike's Peak Cog Railway, and the first train that was available that day was not until 4 p.m. We went ahead and bought tickets and went to spend the day at some of the various attractions on the west side of Colorado Springs.
We drove to the Garden of the Gods, which is a free city park in Colorado Springs. We had last been there in the fall of 2000. Its name, incidentally, arose from an incident in which one man, viewing it, mentioned that it would make an excellent place for a beer garden. His friend, more poetic, said it was 'fit for the gods.' It being a hot day, Katherine tended to agree more with the beer garden statement.
We stopped at the Balanced Rock and took some pictures, which was difficult because every time someone would get out from in front of the rock, someone else would show up and then try to climb up it.
We went to the visitor center, and then drove to the main parking area near the rocks. This picture is of the "kissing camels" formation.
Despite the lack of them in the photos, there were quite a few people at the park that day. The walkways were pretty full, and there were several rock climbers who were doing technical climbs on some of the smaller formations. There were also some non-technical climbers ignoring the signs that warned that recent rains had left the rocks less-than-sturdy, and that they thus should not climb on said rocks.
We went into downtown Manitou Springs and ventured into the All Ports Galley of the Ancient Mariner Tavern for lunch. We weren't quite sure what to expect. Chris and Katherine both ordered Reuben sandwiches, which they had to review, and Steve and Andy split a cheese pizza they offered from Marilyn's next door. The waitress was in full rock-punk-goth regalia, but she was really sweet, even going to the restaurant next door to get chocolate syrup for Andy's chocolate milk.
After lunch, we went over to the Manitou Cliff Dwellings. We had not been there before, and found it pretty interesting. They had a pretty elaborate gift shop in a pueblo near the cliff dwellings, and we got a few souvenirs. The pueblo that housed the gift shop/museum was, interestingly enough, a real pueblo--in the sense that it had existed before it became a park.
A view of the cliff dwellings.
Andy and Steven enjoyed going in and out of all of the small doorways that had been built. It was nice to be able to touch and climb through the ruins.
After viewing the cliff dwellings, we drove back to downtown Manitou Springs and stopped at Patsy's to have some cool treats. Steve and Andy had strawberry snow cones, Katherine had a strawberry cheesecake cone, and Chris had a vanilla cone.
We sampled some of the water from the Navajo Spring and the Cheyenne Spring--it was definitely an acquired taste.
After our snack, we drove over to the Manitou and Pike's Peak Cog Railway and caught the 4:00 train to the summit. We sat in the Leadville coach. Chris had last been on this cog railway in the fall of 1980. Some of the buildings along the route had been cleaned up a good deal within the last 20-odd years.
Here are the boys at the summit of Pikes Peak, next to our train.
Katherine looking at the scenery from the cog train.
A view of Lake Moraine from the summit of Pikes Peak.
We stayed at the summit briefly until the cog train had to make its descent. One gentleman, unfortunately, ended up making the return trip in an ambulance...he hadn't appeared in the best of health anyway, and apparently the altitude really affected him badly.
We went to the Texas Roadhouse on S. 8th St. for dinner, and then took US24 East to Limon, Colorado. We checked in at the Comfort Inn to room 104. The boys were already asleep when we arrived, and they stayed asleep. The next morning they had no idea where they were.