4th of July in Manitou Springs, Colorado

On the Road with Don & Norma

Don’s “On the Road” last week had us arriving in Manitou Springs, right outside Colorado Springs. We plan to be here for two weeks so I’ll begin telling you about some of our adventures here.

Pikes Peak RV Park, Manitou Springs, Colorado:

  • Saturday Night, July 4th: Tonight we had the perfect Fourth of July celebration. We were in the RV Park, pulled our folding chairs out into the center of the park with several other RVers, and drank wine waiting for the fireworks to begin. We weren’t quite sure which direction to look in but could hear the fireworks from Old Colorado City behind us. After a little anticipation and waiting, the show began in downtown Manitou Springs and we had the perfect seats and the perfect commute. The fireworks were beautiful with the mountains as a backdrop and framed by 100-year-old spruce trees.

ManitouFireworks

  • Sunday, July 5: Today we decided to explore the Midland Trail (a shared walking/biking paved trail) to Old Colorado City. Since I still have shingle spots we decided to walk it which is about 5 miles round trip. I’m glad we did because we got to see a deer on the trail. Next week we are looking forward to riding this trail on our bikes.

ManitouTrail

Old Colorado City is this cool town with homes from the 1800’s. It’s laid back and everyone is friendly and not in a hurry. The people here, for the most part, lead outdoor, healthy lives. We enjoyed walking the streets and getting a feel of the town.

Later that afternoon, we went for a drive exploring the area. We were just driving enjoying the sights and somehow ended up taking the back way into the Garden of the Gods. Colorado is amazing, around every turn is something to see….

CO1CO2CO3

  • Monday, July 6:

Today we decided to walk into downtown Manitou Springs (another 5 mile round trip walk) on the Midland Trail, which is going in the opposite direction that we went yesterday. Manitou Springs is quite the touristy town so we window-shopped and walked to the coffee shop. (This new pace of life is taking some getting used to, we aren’t in a hurry and just enjoy watching the day unfold.)

The trail going to Manitou Springs is a very peaceful walk along a stream. We were keeping our eyes out for deer because they are a very common sight on the trail. Other RVers had previously told us that there had been a deer and her two little ones right behind the park on the trail.

ManitouCreek

After our walk we went to a popular pizza place for lunch and kicked back while we had our daily rain shower. Lunch was good but the salad was outstanding and I am now on a quest to get some wonderful local olive oil and vinegar at next week’s farmer’s market.

Later that afternoon we walked back towards Old Colorado City but didn’t walk the whole way. This is common here, to walk the trail, talk out your day, and solve the world’s problems.

  • Tuesday, July 7:

This morning we got up and began to drive in the misty rain to Woodland Park, Colorado which is at about 8,500 feet. As we drove the rain got heavier and the fog and misty smoke got thicker and thicker. (We heard on the news that the smoke is from the wildfires in Canada.) Well, to make a long story short, we turned around and came back to the RV Park.

At the RV Park we used the rainy day as an excuse to wash clothes, clean up the RV, defrost the fridge, and catch up on some reading. Sometimes it’s just nice to kick back at the RV. (I love our “housework” takes only about 15-20 minutes.)

This evening after the rain broke we went for another walk to Manitou Springs trying to catch an outdoor concert in the park but we missed it.

Colorado has cool nights and each night we sleep with the windows open and at least one blanket on the bed. However, tonight as we settled in, we were chilly, so out came the electric heater and an extra blanket.

  • Wednesday, July 8:

I got good news this morning … my shingle spots are finally gone! I’ve had these since June 2nd. (Last time I had Shingles I gave Chicken Pox to Don but somehow this time I think he has escaped catching anything.) It has been a pain trying to stay away from children, older people or anyone with a suppressed autoimmune system, and I’m glad it is over.

This morning we went to Rainbow Falls right outside of Manitou Springs. It is a beautiful falls but the public has decided to draw graffiti all around it. (I don’t know what some people are thinking.) It was nice getting out because we have been having a lot of rain.

RainbowFalls

Afterwards we drove up to Woodland Park and explored the area. It is a very scenic drive and we enjoyed visiting with each other and seeing the sights.

For lunch we drove into Old Colorado City and ate at the Mountain Shadows Restaurant. Don had a green chili omelet that looked “interesting” but he said it was good. After lunch it was threatening to storm so we came back to the RV and began taking care of personal business.

Later this evening we went out to dinner at the Sahara Café in Manitou Springs, which is a Mediterranean restaurant. It has a very different taste than the Mediterranean food in Baton Rouge but was good. Now we are back in the RV and Don is watching American Ninja Warrior on the TV while I work on today’s journal entry.

We are expecting heavy rain again tonight and we are (I am – I don’t think Don really is) a little concerned. It seems that two years ago they had a wildfire near here that burned 18,000 acres and we were warned that since then they have experienced some flash flooding.   The park even reviewed with us the evacuation plan. Here’s crossing my fingers that it won’t get that bad while we are here. (All went well and we didn’t have any flooding.)

 

  • Thursday, July 9:

Today we went to the WWII Aviation Museum in Colorado Springs. This is a new museum that is run by passionate volunteers who served in WWII. Our tour guide was Phil, a retired Colonel, and we could have listened to him all day. Part of the tour was going through a hanger where they were restoring old planes and I thought I was going to lose Don. (This is Don – they were restoring a P-38 that had crashed into the jungle in Papua New Guinea, they were fabricating replacement fuselage panels from sheets of flat aluminum – very interesting. The large auto-hammer machines they had in the hanger were used by Boeing in Seattle when they first started. There was another area where they restored and balanced the props, by hand – using jigs. All very interesting to me). He could tell you about what all the tools were and how you worked on the planes. I was afraid I wasn’t going to get him out of there as he walked down memory lane remembering his time in the Air Force when he worked on planes.

WWIIAviationMuseum1

WWIIAviationMuseum2B-25

WWIIAviationMuseum3Corsair

We went to a local diner for lunch. It was another “interesting” place that didn’t allow photographs to be taken but catered to truckers and military personnel. (One long community table was labeled “truckers”, another “wannabes”, and the final one “stars.”) I think it’s one of the first places I’ve been that listed all their egg dishes were made with six eggs.

SandysCafe

Next we decided to go to the Olympic Training Center. Our tour guide is a shooter, training at the facility for the next Olympic Games. During the tour Don and I realized we don’t really know much about sports but we enjoyed hearing about how they train.

OlypmcTrngCntr1 OlypmcTrngCntr2

We ended the day by attending a free blues concert in the park at Old Colorado City. It was really great and we were really enjoying ourselves when our phones began going off with flash flooding alerts. We left to go back to Manitou Springs to ready the RV just in case we needed to make a mad dash for higher ground. I’m happy to report it was a false alarm but we did hear that the area where we were listening to the music had a sudden storm with hail. The weather is unpredictable in Colorado and you have to keep an eye on it.

OldColSpringsConcert

  • Friday, July 10:

Today we decided to do something different and go to the Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center in Divide, up the mountains beyond Woodland Park. Our tour guide was passionate about wolves and that they have been demonized to the point they are facing extinction. On our outdoor walking tour we learned about different types of wolves, wolf hybrids, and foxes.

Wolf1 Wolf3 Wolf2

After the tour we drove around Divide and Woodland Park enjoying the sights. Colorado is absolutely beautiful!

  • Saturday, July 11:

This morning we got up early and rode our bikes to the Farmer’s Market and did our grocery shopping. I knew I was in trouble when I realized on the way to the market I think I only had to pedal 6-8 times. (It was all down hill.)

Later we went for another walk to Manitou Springs to go sit at a Coffee Shop so that we could use their Wi-Fi and plan the next few stops on our adventure.

We are learning that we don’t have to be busy every minute and sometimes it is just nice to sit back and soak in your surroundings.

 

Future Plans:

  1. Pikes Peak RV Park in Manitou Springs, Colorado, July 2-July 16
  2. Tentative: Wyoming, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, a little of Canada … & then heading back “down south” before winter kicks in.
  3. Back to Baton Rouge for the Christmas holidays

Well, that’s what’s been happening and we’re glad you are coming along with us through our little daily journal. We are going to start playing with the format of this and you’ll have to tell us what you think about it.

Till we meet again!

 

Norma

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