Change of Plans (3416 miles so far)

Well, we thought we were going to head home, but decided instead to head toward the Canðn City CO, and the Royal Gorge.

The drive from Grand Junction was beautiful, but tiring. I-70 climbs to about 11,000feet before coming down the other side, and once again, I could feel the effect of the thinner air…. And all I was doing was driving! That’s the second time this trip, and the third time in the last year that I’ve noticed ill effects at those high altitudes. Probably a hint about my overall fitness!

We snuck through Golden, and hit I-25 – avoiding Denver – heading south toward Colorado Springs. Beck thought we could try visiting the Air Force Academy again. Last year, the Academy was closed to all visitors, and we were unable to visit. This year, however, we were able to drive right on to the grounds. We first visited the Visitor Center, and had a nice conversation with the desk personnel. We wandered around for a little bit, bought a bunch of things in the gift shop, and then continued to the Cadet Chapel.

The Cadet Chapel is one of the most amazing structures I’ve ever been around. Beautiful spires adorn the outside, and an incredible number of small stained glass windows fill the spaces between the spires. From the inside, this gives the chapel a beautiful blue cast to the chapel. Simply amazing. I’m sure there were many interesting things about the chapel, but the one that struck me the most was a single row, roped off, reserved in memory of those lost in the service of our country.

This was the first time I’ve been on an Air Force facility in many years, and it was interesting to feel all the old USAF information float to the top again.

We continued to Colorado Springs, where Beck found a vase from Van Briggle that she’d been looking for for a while – glad she got it!

Lastly, we cruised into Canðn City, and on to Royal Gorge. I had always thought that the bridge was an essential piece of the road, providing a transportation service that wasn’t provided any other way. What I discovered was that the entire area is basically a theme park region, with petting zoos, wild west shows, trams, and all manner of other tourist trap accouterments. However, the bridge was cool, fun to walk and drive across, and provided some beautiful images.

Tomorrow, we are headed to St. Louis. Looks like it’s just on the fringe of being able to do it in one day…. We’ll see!