After a little over a week in colorful, and much cooler, Colorado, I’m back in my study today. You know, a guy could really get used to 90-degrees at 5:00 in the afternoon instead of 90-degrees at 5:00 in the morning like it is here. So we came back home as fast as we could. We didn’t want to get spoiled.
Please indulge me while I post a few vacation pictures. These are mostly for my mom in Liberty City and my sister, Rhonda, in Edmond.
We spent the whole first day at Royal Gorge. We took the tram across the canyon and the inclined railroad to the bottom. We walked the length of the bridge — Carrie-Anne took baby steps and never ventured on either side of the yellow line down the middle — and even drove the mini-van across and back. But the highlight was the SkyCoaster: a giant rubber band that drops its riders in a 200 foot free fall and then swings them out over the canyon, suspending them more than 1,100 feet above the Arkansas River below. Whitney and I did it together. What a rush! I made myself hoarse from screaming. She almost passed out. No pictures of the SkyCoaster ride. I’m trying to figure out how to post the video. Stand by.
We climbed all 224-steps to the top of Seven Falls and did some hiking on the trails above. We took in the Air Force Academy, spending a lot of time flipping through the song books in the beautiful chapel and listening to the grunting of new cadets being trained to kill just on the other side of the stained glass. Weird juxtaposition. The Manitou Cliff Dwellings were a bit of a disappointment. There seemed to be a lot more of it in the brochure.
But the drive up and down Pikes Peak exceeded expectations. It rained on us the whole way up, some of it freezing on the windshield wipers. And the Town and Country did us right, hairpin turn after hairpin turn on the edge of oblivion. Most of it paved. No guardrails. Hundreds of feet straight down. Very cool. Of course, Carrie-Anne needs to have the passenger seat arm rest surgically removed from her hand. She doesn’t do Colorado very well. Carley and I built a tiny little snowman near the top. It was 41-degrees up there. And I got dizzy. I couldn’t tell if it was the altitude or the money we spent on cold burgers and flat fries.
Garden of the Gods was beautiful. We climbed those huge red rocks together for half a day. We all agreed that Cave of the Winds was boring. But the ropes course that extended over the cliff of the canyon was really great. An extra bonus we hadn’t really counted on. Valerie negotiated every level with no hands. It’s amazing what confidence you have and the things you can do when you have a safety harness. I think there’s probably a sermon in there somewhere.
We experienced a couple of thunderstorms, ate some questionable Mexican food, ignored “No Climbing” signs, and saw more squirrels and chipmunks than we could possibly count. We bought 85-octane gas instead of 87; we chose Karen as the voice of choice for our new GPS; we were forced to place a one-night “Your Face!” moratorium on the girls; and our hotel in Amarillo smelled like Schlitterbahn. We sang and we laughed and we talked and we prayed. We played silly games. We ate every meal together and fell asleep in the same room at the same time every night. I’m not sure how many more of these we’re going to be blessed to do as a family. I always hope for at least one more.