July 5 – Manitou Springs, Colorado

What a start! TV dish won’t go down and the company won’t call me back. What do you expect after a 3 day weekend? I had to get up on the roof and physically crank down the antenna. Then they said to use a 3/8 socket but it was too large. No smaller sockets in my toolbox so over to the neighbor and he handed me a box of sockets and said I could sort through them. After 20 minutes I found an 8 mm that worked. Close to 3/8 but not quite.

So we headed north. Only 53 miles so not a lot to say. Did see Pike’s Peak in the upcoming mountains.

Pike’s Peak RV Park is a small park. They meet you at the gate (couldn’t arrive before 1 PM or after 8 PM) and walk you to your site and help you back in. The sites are close together, only about 1 foot between awnings. Friendly staff though and quiet.

Got my satellite working in going up and down but I messed up the codes and so tomorrow I will be trying to get in touch with the company to reenter them. So right now no satellite TV (turns out a tree was in the way).

Notice in our literature from the Visitors center, the town was offering a free Bluegrass concert in front of the library. We took the dogs and our blanket and enjoyed a small town concert. We like Manitou Springs.

Wednesday I started out with a bike ride down the trail (adjacent to the park). It parallels the Manitou Creek but only lasted 2 miles. I ended up riding on the highway and ended up in downtown Colorado Springs. Nice ride.IMG_1667

Picked up Brenda and the dogs, we headed over to Garden of the Gods Park. It was donated to the City of Colorado Springs and told that they would have to maintain it and provide free access. We were quite impressed by the park. It had huge rock formations and miles of trails. Reminded us of a National Park but not quite the same level.

Weather was hot (95) so we didn’t walk the dogs too far. We did stop at the overview.DSC_0017

Dropped the dogs off at home and went out to the Manitou Springs Brewery for lunch.

When you get to the big city you have to go into town and shop. Brenda wanted to return her hiking boots from REI (didn’t seem to fit right) and so we stopped there. New shoes didn’t fit any better. Home again and right past the Colorado Mountains Brewery. We needed wifi so we stopped for a cold one.

Thursday is adventure day! We took the dogs and headed for Pikes Peak, the all-American mountain. I will have to admit, it was a scarier drive than I had expected. We rose almost 7000 feet in 20 miles, hardly a guard rail and very steep drop-offs. Many sharp (10 mph) cut-backs and lots of cars (both directions) to watch out for.

The scenery was spectacular and really enjoyed driving thru the 5 different life zones.

When we left camp in them morning it was 81 degrees. When we reached the top of PP, it was 49 degrees.

I am glad I remembered to bring jacket and hooded sweatshirt. Brenda never got out of the car due to a headache and the cold. It was extremely windy. Top was at an elevation of      14,110, not the tallest mountain in Colorado but the most visited.

I wondered around the top of the mountain. What views! You could see for miles. You could see Colorado Springs and beyond. Saw the Continental Divide still with snow cover.

The Cog Rail was impressive, for 125 years it has been bringing people to the top.

We had the World Famous Donuts that everyone seemed to be buying. I imagine they sell lots of doughnuts and hot chocolate with the weather they have on the top.

We saw numerous bicyclers going up and many more going down.DSC_0018

They have an adventure store that takes riders to the top and guides them down the road. I was planning on making that trip but after seeing the turns and drop-offs along the road, Brenda refuses to let me go. I glad she helped me see what is best for us.

We did run into one rider (off his bike) who quit the ride because the wind was so bad.

Part way down they made you stop and they check your brake temperature.  If you kept your foot on the brake you would be overheated.  Numerous cars on the side that to cool off.DSC_0101

We did stop at a reservoir on the way down and had lunch.  The water was so blue.

We stopped toward the bottom at the North Pole – not really north but it was an amusement park and seniors were allowed in for free.

We finally descended the mountain and headed for Florissant Fossil National Monument. It was nearby and we wanted to make sure we got our stamp and movie. This was near Florissant, CO and due to a volcano and flooding years ago, the area had lots of fossils and most impressive to me was the petrified Redwood stumps. They have a roof (protection from weather) over the stumps.

There is 14 miles of hiking trails but it was hot and we had the dogs and we didn’t want to create “hot dogs”.

Headed home and found Ute Pass Brewery. Dogs needed a break so we stopped.

Friday was easy day. Brenda headed to Colorado Springs to do family research. I headed to Garden of the Gods on the bike. What a ride! How much more you see without a roof. The scenery is wonderful and amazing.

The rocks jutting up out of the ground make you wonder how it all was created. Had to ascend over 300 feet. But the best part was coming downhill. Temp had gone from 70 to 65 as I ascended, but who cares, I’m outside riding.

Did some maintenance on the RV, namely washing windows. It’s been dry and the dust is collecting. Need to see the wonderful scenery along the way.

Saturday was another trip to Gardens of the Gods on the bike. Did two times around the park this time. Getting up the hills is tough but the thrill of the ride downhill is overwhelming.

Headed to MacDonald’s to use wifi and publish my blog from last time. We did some shopping, naturally. Looking at pellet smokers but not sure yet.

Found the Nano 108 Brewery and relaxed after all that shopping.

Later that day, we (first time on this adventure) took public transportation downtown Manitou Springs. They have a great system, free! Saved paying for parking, which I hate.IMG_1670

We ate at a Turkish (goat or Doner) restaurant. Town seems to have numerous ethnic restaurants.

The town was named for all the natural artesian mineral springs from the mountains and they have capitalized on that with having 8 different sites with continuous running cold water for free. We visited 6 and it was amazing how different each one tasted based on the amount of minerals from Calcium to Zinc. I assume all within safe limits.

We really liked Manitou Springs area as to what we did we enjoyed, but there is still much more to do and we never had the time to get to. Next time!

Sunday we head to the east side of CS to Falcon, CO.

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