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Old 01-26-2013, 02:50 AM   #31
tayalltheway
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Chapter 4
A Trial Road Trip


As September progressed, it was full of some highs and lows. Unfortunately, it was clear that the first medicine I was trying wasn’t working for me after being on it for a couple weeks. I followed that up with two more options that both gave me really negative side effects almost immediately. Though I got off of everything, I was unfortunately back in a similar position to where I had been earlier in the summer in NYC. I was generally feeling bad for at least a portion of each day. Obviously, that wasn’t what we were looking for. All of this was definitely taking a bit of a toll on my system, so I decided to take a break from trying anything new for a while and see if I could at least get back to the semi-normal state I had stayed in for pretty much all of August.

It was at this point that we decided to take a little trip. We’d had the car for a few weeks now, September was waning and autumn was really upon us. And one of Tracy’s aunts had offered to host us at her home outside of Colorado Springs for a weekend. We excitedly loaded up the car for our first “road trip”—even if it was only a couple of hours away. We had just bought a GPS, since we knew we’d need one for the move, and were anxious to take it for a test run. Duffy got all dolled up in his new Halloween costume and was anxiously (who am I kidding, Duffy is WAY too simple to ever be anxious about anything) awaiting our departure.









The weather was perfect as we rolled out of Boulder and started heading south.



We chose the more picturesque route, despite it taking a few minutes longer, because we wanted to enjoy some of the fall foliage.





We also left about two hours earlier than we had originally intended so we could add a stop at the outlet stores in Castle Rock—about halfway between Boulder and Colorado Springs. Arriving in Castle Rock, we pulled off for lunch at Qdoba.



Granted, it was definitely lunch time, but we were still confused why there were at least 100 people in line at this Qdoba. The queue of people stretched well out the door. And they all seemed to be high schoolers. We reasoned at first that maybe this was just the popular place for kids to go to lunch from the nearby high school, but it seemed pretty farfetched that this many people would make this trek daily. While in line, we saw everyone in front of us whipping out their phones at the register and being waved through the line. So we asked one of the teens in front of us what deal was going on. He told us to text a number we could get a free meal for being high school students. Obviously, Tracy and I aren’t exactly in high school anymore, but you would never know it from looking at us. Long story short, we ended up with two free meals by passing for kids six to ten years younger than ourselves. Tracy always complains about being mistaken for a fourteen-year-old, but this time it worked in our favor! Even if we did end up blowing a few dollars at the outlets a few minutes later, at least our lunch was free.

After doing a little shopping, we moved on from Castle Rock into phase two of our journey. Here is the eponymous “Castle Rock” itself. It looked a lot more like a castle on the way home. Maybe I’ll post another picture then.



Anyway, after about another hour of highway driving, we found the exit that would take us toward Tracy’s aunt Barb’s house. She actually lives just outside of Colorado Springs, in the middle of a forest that I swear appeared out of nowhere…



As we were driving, I suddenly yelled for Tracy to pull over. I had discovered adult Bambi lurking on the side of the road!



When we arrived at Barb’s house, we were, of course, excited to see her, her husband Larry, and their son Ben, but we were also extremely excited to see all of their animals! Barb is known around her community because she is a “dog-whisperer” in her own right. She fosters dogs for the local humane society—she’s fostered hundreds over the years—as well as having a bit of a menagerie at home. My favorite was Hanna, who we referred to as Nana.



She’s (obviously) a giant Saint Bernard who is exactly like Nana from Peter Pan. She’s sweet, and motherly, and knows that she is in charge of the household.

Next there was Peg.



Peg is so-called because she’s missing a leg (hence, peg-legged). Also some sort of Saint Bernard mix, she’s moodier. Barb rescued her and helped her through her amputation, so she loves Barb, but is more fickle about others. She did not like me. After an introduction where she was clearly not a fan of me, I kept my distance for the rest of the weekend.

Their newest dog adoptee is Sasha.



Some sort of Sheltie mix, Sasha joined the family about a month before our visit. She was deemed an almost hopeless case by the humane society before they called Barb in to foster her. She was afraid of EVERYONE. When Barb brought her home, she refused to get out of the car for several hours. Once she began to feel at home, however, she started to come out of her shell quite quickly. Barb and Larry had unfortunately had to put down two of their dogs in the span of a week right before Sasha came along, so she was able to weasel into their hearts just at the right time, and moved from being a foster to being a member of the family. She was still skittish around strangers, but she eventually started trusting us.

The two dogs we were most excited to see, however, were Barb’s latest fosters. Two Chihuahua/Dachshund mixes, they immediately tugged at our hearts when we saw them.



Luckily, they both already had homes lined up when they got a little bigger, or we would have been way too tempted to take one home with us.

So there’s your important cast of characters. On our first night, Barb and Larry took us out to dinner, we came back and enjoyed using their hot tub, and then we went to sleep pretty early because the next morning it was time for us to become full-blown tourists here in the Springs.

We woke up early, and I felt all the joys of sleeping in a house full of animals, all of whom I was distinctly allergic to. We went out to breakfast with Barb, Larry, and Ben, and caught up with him about his goings on in high school. It was the day of the homecoming dance, so there were all kinds of preparations and plans being made. Ben announced that he was going to be wearing a “penguin suit” to the dance, which Tracy and I took for slang that the kids must be using these days to describe a tuxedo. So imagine our surprise later that day when we briefly saw him dressed up for the dance and wearing an actual penguin costume. I don’t think we were in the minority with our confusion.

Since I had only ever really been down to the Springs area a couple times in my childhood, there were a lot of touristy things there that I had never done. Tracy had done most of them at some point in her life, but it had been a while. We decided to start off our first day exploring and eating lunch in the nearby town of Manitou Springs. An artsy town with a hippie-ish vibe, it apparently had lots of cute shops along its main street. There were also several springs with fountains flowing along the street from which you could drink if you were so inclined (we were not).

On the drive, we saw Pikes Peak looming in the distance.



I thought Pikes Peak must be the tallest mountain in CO because of how it’s the one that everyone goes on about the most, but actually it only barely makes the top 20, coming out at a mere 14,114 feet. Granted, that’s still pretty high, and it was very easily the tallest mountain in sight.

Arriving in Manitou, we parked in the lot for Miramont Castle.



The lot was up a long, winding road, and was really out of the way, but there was practically nowhere to park in this town, so we lucked out finding a spot at all. We already liked the look of Manitou with all of these pretty flowers and trees.





The castle itself actually sounds quite interesting, though we had no real time to tour it.



Apparently it is most certainly haunted. There was some sort of story behind it involving a fire and it being used as a sanitarium that I learned about from Yelp.

We walked around town looking into some of the shops and admiring the architecture and the proliferation of springs.



After ordering and paying, we endured a hellish (pun intended) 45-minute wait to receive our slices of pizza at Hell’s Kitchen Pizza for lunch. The wait had me reeling, dizzy, and generally feeling miserable as it dragged on, and in the end, the highly touted pizza wasn’t even that great.



The experience left us feeling a little cranky towards Manitou, so we decided to go on our way after lunch.



After all, we had several more touristy places to hit before night fell, so we decided to hurry on our way to our next stop—Colorado Springs’ most famous natural wonder.

Continued in Next Post
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Can We Move Here and Be Pancho’s Handlers? A Sept '11 Throwback Disneyland Trip Report
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Old 01-26-2013, 09:51 PM   #32
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Marvelous story telling! I can't wait until the next chapter!
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Old 01-27-2013, 02:02 AM   #33
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Poor simple Duffy, always a bit out of the loop...

Your pictures are so beautiful! Sounds like such a great mini roadtrip in Dumbo.
Awwh those dogs are all so cute and the puppies are ridiculously adorable!!

ugh a 45 minute wait for pizza is ridiculous! I guess they did mean the name literally?
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Old 01-27-2013, 02:31 AM   #34
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Someday, I'm going to make it out to Pike's Peak and Garden of the Gods. I just have to work out which trip!

How lovely to have that trip for your first road trip in the new car.

Thanks for sharing.
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Old 01-28-2013, 09:49 AM   #35
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I am moving over after reading your other trip reports. I'm also anxiously waiting for when you arrive in Anaheim. I want to hear more about those adventures.

Those 2 little puppies were adorable, I think I would have had to adopt one if they weren't already spoken for.

Wait a minute, your allergic to dogs but such an animal lover?? That stinks.
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Old 01-29-2013, 02:07 AM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daisybelle View Post
Marvelous story telling! I can't wait until the next chapter!
So glad you're enjoying! Hope you have fun reading about the rest of our adventures.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aussiesalad View Post
Poor simple Duffy, always a bit out of the loop...

Your pictures are so beautiful! Sounds like such a great mini roadtrip in Dumbo.
Awwh those dogs are all so cute and the puppies are ridiculously adorable!!

ugh a 45 minute wait for pizza is ridiculous! I guess they did mean the name literally?
At least we never feel sorry for Duffy when he's too simple to understand something. He's always extremely happy about everything. He just smiles and waves. Blissful ignorance.

I really liked all of the dogs we got to meet (even the one who didn't like me). I want a dog. Stat.

And yes, the pizza experience was horrendous. I'm 99% sure they just forgot about our order because in the end I had to go up and figure out what was taking so long, and when I did they re-wrote it down and it was out in minutes. We just certainly weren't the only party waiting that long, which is why it took me so long to investigate.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PrincessInOz View Post
Someday, I'm going to make it out to Pike's Peak and Garden of the Gods. I just have to work out which trip!

How lovely to have that trip for your first road trip in the new car.

Thanks for sharing.
As you'll see, Garden of the Gods was a stop for us on this trip. I've never been up Pikes Peak, and would like to someday. We just couldn't fit everything into this one weekend, and the cog railway is pretty expensive.

I was glad we got to take the car out for this sample road trip. While not totally indicative of how we'd do on the cross-country drive, it was good to get some highway miles under our belts and get an idea of how it would be to spend long periods of time buckled into Dumbo.

Quote:
Originally Posted by OhioStateBuckeye View Post
I am moving over after reading your other trip reports. I'm also anxiously waiting for when you arrive in Anaheim. I want to hear more about those adventures.

Those 2 little puppies were adorable, I think I would have had to adopt one if they weren't already spoken for.

Wait a minute, your allergic to dogs but such an animal lover?? That stinks.
Glad to have you here! There have certainly been plenty of adventures in Orange County already. Hopefully the payoff will be worth all the buildup (I have no idea myself if it will be since we're still writing the story every day!).

Yes, we definitely would have wanted to snatch up one (if not both) of the puppies if they weren't spoken for. And yes, I'm terribly allergic to both dogs and cats, but have grown up with them around all my life. I'm much worse around cats, and there were at least four of them at Tracy's aunt's house, so that was the cause of most of my allergies there. Luckily, I'm more of a dog person, and they cause fewer issues-- especially the smaller ones.
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Can We Move Here and Be Pancho’s Handlers? A Sept '11 Throwback Disneyland Trip Report
Duffy is Going to be ECSTATIC! a.k.a. Thank God She Was Jewish - May '12 WDW Trip Report
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Old 01-30-2013, 01:15 AM   #37
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Chapter 5
Impressed/Not Impressed


Of all the tourist attractions in Colorado Springs, one of the only ones that isn’t mostly man-made, is Garden of the Gods. This outcropping of enormous red rocks a good distance from where the mountains actually start is one of those things that must have been so bizarre to discover for the first peoples in history who stumbled upon them.

While apparently a trip to Garden of the Gods was a pretty typical stop on field trips and family outings for kids who grew up in Colorado, I had never been there before. The only times I had ever been to the Springs as a kid were when I visited the zoo, or when I went to Santa’s Workshop with my dad.

A brief note about Santa’s Workshop, since we will not be venturing there on this trip: it’s a whole lot of fun, and one of the two places in Colorado that has a very concrete Disney connection. This theme park, where it is Christmas all year round and you can always meet Santa, was designed and opened by a former Disney artist a year after Disneyland opened. While not anywhere near the level of a Disney park, it’s quaint and fun, and worth a visit for younger kids. It’s also relatively expensive, which is why we didn’t go on this trip. As for the other place in CO with Disney ties, that would be old town Fort Collins, upon which Imagineer Harper Goff based the design for Main Street, U.S.A. I’ve been up there a handful of times in my life, but never since I knew that factoid, and now I want to go again sometime with that in mind. Unfortunately, we didn’t make it there on this trip either.

Now, back to the places we DID go! The approach to Garden of the Gods is funny in that you can’t really see anything exciting as you drive toward it. Then suddenly you turn a corner and the great vista is exposed in all its glory.





We drove into the park itself and parked.



We got out of the car and started walking around the loop that winds through all of the rock formations.







Now, I’ll be honest: I didn’t really know what to expect. I purposely didn’t look at pictures before we arrived because I figured I might as well see the real thing. And what I saw was extremely majestic and really beautiful.



I think the story behind this whole area is really interesting as well. It was private property for a long time, and then when the person who owned the land died, he bequeathed it to the state with the stipulation that it would be made into a park that anyone could visit and appreciate without ever having to pay any sort of entry fee. And so it has been ever since.







I liked the rocks (obviously), but also enjoyed some of the wildlife that was around, like this bird.



The top of this formation is called “Kissing Camels.” Tracy and I liked that name because we like camels. They’re similar to llamas in that they’re just such weird animals—and we appreciate weirdness.



While that last photo is the real Kissing Camels, when I first saw to be on the lookout for a formation named after camels, that particular formation was not the first one I would have guessed. I thought that the little rock in the middle of this formation looked much more like a camel.



Please tell me you agree. While we were walking around, I took a series of photos and stitched them together as a panorama at home later on.



The last portion of the loop took us to a place where you can actually climb on some of the rocks, so that was fun.







The loop is a nice length. It’s just about a mile and on relatively flat terrain, so everyone can enjoy walking around the Garden of the Gods. After our visit was done, we circled back around so we could stop at the gift shop. From there, you can see the full set of formations from a unique angle. They’re just so bizarre. Like camels, I appreciated these rock formations for their odd beauty. It was a fun excursion, and I’m glad I’ve been there now.

We spent a little while exploring the gift shop (and eating free samples of fudge from the fudge-vendor), then we went back out to the car. We set our GPS—wait! I just realized I’ve never explained about our GPS, nor given him a proper introduction. Our GPS is named Daniel. He’s the British Male voice built into our Garmin. He has an interesting time pronouncing some of the street names, especially those named after Spanish words here in Southern California. He also refers to on and off-ramps to and from the highway as “slip roads.” British readers, is this normal or did he make up that term?

Anyway, we set DANIEL to navigate to our last tourist attraction of the day. It brought us right into the center of Colorado Springs and to the U.S. Olympic Training Center.

As we pulled into the Training Center and got our parking pass from the guard, he informed us that unfortunately we had just missed the last tour of the day. Blast! He told us we were welcome to walk around the lobby and gift shop, however, so we went in and parked anyway. After getting out of the car, we posed for some of the signature pictures that one has to take when visiting this attraction.







Next, we went inside the building and were just exploring the lobby when the man sitting behind the welcome desk asked, “Are you here for the tour?” We said that we knew we had just missed the last tour of the day, and he responded, “No you didn’t. I’m the tour guide. They’re currently just watching the movie about the center, but if you wait here, you can join the tour after that’s done.” Success!

The tour was definitely interesting. We got to see several of the gyms in addition to walking the whole campus.





Apparently, there had been several members of the Olympic gymnastics team warming up earlier in one of the gyms we visited because they were putting on a show that night as part of their post-Olympic tour. Even McKayla was going to be performing that night!



I learned a lot that I had never known before about how there can be literally hundreds of athletes living and training at the center at any given time. Apparently Apolo Anton Ohno holds the record as the athlete who lived there the longest. He spent seven years at that center, which struck me as absolutely crazy! Our guide told us all about some of the athletes’ training routines. Apparently, in all the years he’s worked there, the guide said he has never once seen any of the athletes doing simple exercises like bicep curls in the gym. Instead they do full body exercises like throwing around 500-pound truck tires. He also told us that the athletes who he sees doing the most cardio activity are the rifle shooters. Despite the fact that their sport “simply” requires them to lie there and shoot, they need to be able to slow their heart rates to almost nothing so that they can shoot between heartbeats. This requires them to be in phenomenal cardiovascular shape.



The tour was full of all kinds of interesting factoids like this, and I learned more than I expected to. The campus itself was really pretty too, and it features flags from all of the countries who participate.



After seeing the outside of the cafeteria—where Michael Phelps regularly ate his 10,000 calories per day while training there—the tour came to an end. We walked back to the main building hoping to stop in the gift shop, but it was already closed. We couldn’t believe they wouldn’t keep it open for an extra few minutes to monopolize on all of us clamoring to get souvenirs as the tour let out. Oh well…

By this time, it was starting to get toward dusk, so began the drive back to Barb’s house. When we arrived, there were at least twenty cars in their driveway. Apparently their house had been chosen as the one where all the kids met to take their pre-homecoming pictures. Within five minutes of us arriving, however, everyone had decided to go to the dance, so there was a mass exodus.

Rather than leaving just the few of us at the house however, the exeunt of the kids ushered in the arrival of a whole new set of houseguests. Apparently Barb and Larry host a happy hour for their neighbors on select nights, and they’d chosen to have everyone over this evening. They’d ordered twenty pizzas from Domino’s and had a cooler stocked up with beers.

We joined in the party—glad to have made it back just in time for dinner—and enjoyed meeting their friends. It was at this gathering that we were told the most bizarre true story about one of the sets of neighbors that we met. Not only is it bizarre, it’s gross, so if you’re eating while reading this, I would suggest finishing your sandwich before going on.

One of the couples at the party had recently bought a house a few houses down from Barb and Larry's. They had bought it during the winter as a short-sale, and had gotten a good deal. After moving in and beginning to get settled, the seasons changed, and with the arrival of spring, it became quite obvious why the previous owners of the house had actually left. For half of the year, the entire house was infested with thousands of bats. Though the bats originally just moved into the attic, there quickly became too many of them, so they started moving into the main house. One of the neighbors told us about how he was walking to the bathroom in the middle of the night and felt a squishing sound beneath his feet. It wasn’t until the next morning that they discovered he had trodden on bats that were littering the floor of their hallway.

They were left in an incredibly terrible position. They obviously would have sued the previous owners for not disclosing the infestation, but the previous owners didn’t have any money—hence, the short sale. Instead, this couple moved into the basement of the house (the only part free of bats) while the problem was dealt with for months. The weekend when we were visiting was one of the first ones they had ever spent in their bedroom after the bats were, supposedly, finally gone.

Still getting both the heebies and the jeebies thinking about bats, Tracy and I dragged our pizza-stuffed selves to bed. We had another exciting day ahead of us as our weekend began to draw to a close.

Continued in Next Post
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Can We Move Here and Be Pancho’s Handlers? A Sept '11 Throwback Disneyland Trip Report
Duffy is Going to be ECSTATIC! a.k.a. Thank God She Was Jewish - May '12 WDW Trip Report
We Moved to Disneyland!! Now What…? Stories from New DLR Locals

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Old 01-30-2013, 04:19 AM   #38
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Beautiful shots of Garden of the Gods.

I had no idea that the US Olympic squad training facilities were in Colorado. Something to add to my bucket list.

Bats! Does that make that house....the Bat Cave?
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Old 01-30-2013, 10:24 AM   #39
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I do think the one shot looks like a camel. Only thing wrong is I see no second camel for him to be making out with.

I liked hearing the cardio feats of the rifle team. I was captain of the Ohio State rifle team my junior year at school. My dad also tried out for the US team until he had us kids and couldn't devote the time to it anymore.
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Old 01-30-2013, 12:01 PM   #40
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Some more lovely photos I'd love to go to an Olympic training camp, not too sure where our one is though!! Oh and just to confirm in the UK the on/off ramps are indeed called slip roads!
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Old 01-31-2013, 04:19 AM   #41
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Garden of the gods looks so beautiful!!! And what a great story behind it!

I also really appreciate the weirdness and awkwardness of camels.

Your poses out the front of the training centre are hilarious. You guys are too funny!

Gah McKayla is cracking me up. You should buy her that bambi shirt and send it to her people

UGH the bat story is awful!! I heard a horrible story today about some people who had their house flood really badly and when they went in to recover stuff the highest ceiling was pretty much covered with spiders, trying to stay dry from the flood water. YUCK.
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Old 02-02-2013, 11:10 AM   #42
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I love your story so far! Beautiful pics of CO, I've heard of Garden of the Gods, my niece has brought her family there, when they lived in CO Springs. I sure enjoyed visiting her last year and wish I could do it again this year, but alas...that's ok though because in June I will be in the Happiest Place on Earth once again! Yay!

Will monitor this thread carefully, waiting impatiently for next installment!

Kelly
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Old 02-03-2013, 01:45 AM   #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PrincessInOz View Post
Beautiful shots of Garden of the Gods.

I had no idea that the US Olympic squad training facilities were in Colorado. Something to add to my bucket list.

Bats! Does that make that house....the Bat Cave?
Glad you liked the pictures! It was such a beautiful place to visit!

I honestly didn't really have any idea the training center was there either. I think at some point during the Olympics, the announcer said something about them training there, so we decided to stop in and see it in action! I bet the tour will be a little more exciting in a year or so. Since the Olympics had just ended, they'd started a bunch of construction on the complex and we weren't allowed into as many buildings as they sometimes let you go into.

You know, I never really thought about the Bat Cave. If they just bought a Batmobile to park out front, they could have made a fortune off tourists.

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Originally Posted by OhioStateBuckeye View Post
I do think the one shot looks like a camel. Only thing wrong is I see no second camel for him to be making out with.

I liked hearing the cardio feats of the rifle team. I was captain of the Ohio State rifle team my junior year at school. My dad also tried out for the US team until he had us kids and couldn't devote the time to it anymore.
I did think of the fact that one camel without a mate didn't make too much sense unfortunately. I guess maybe I shouldn't pursue a career naming rock sculptures now...

That's cool that you and your family have such a riflery background! To think, your dad could have trained at that very center if things had gone a little differently.

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Originally Posted by tinkerbells mum View Post
Some more lovely photos I'd love to go to an Olympic training camp, not too sure where our one is though!! Oh and just to confirm in the UK the on/off ramps are indeed called slip roads!
It was a fun place to get to look around! I'm guessing that the main training center in the UK is probably in some part of the complex they just built up for the London Olympics, but I know there are a few different ones scattered around the US, so that may be the case there as well. I'm glad Daniel wasn't going too crazy with his "slip roads." It's the only term we've noticed that he says differently from the "American English" voice. We don't like her, though. Her name is Jill and she sounds like a robot.

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Originally Posted by Aussiesalad View Post
Garden of the gods looks so beautiful!!! And what a great story behind it!

I also really appreciate the weirdness and awkwardness of camels.

Your poses out the front of the training centre are hilarious. You guys are too funny!

Gah McKayla is cracking me up. You should buy her that bambi shirt and send it to her people

UGH the bat story is awful!! I heard a horrible story today about some people who had their house flood really badly and when they went in to recover stuff the highest ceiling was pretty much covered with spiders, trying to stay dry from the flood water. YUCK.
We really enjoyed Garden of the Gods, camels and all! I don't know how I had managed never to go during all those years living in CO, but I'm glad we could make it part of our trip.

Glad you appreciate McKayla as much as we do! If only they still were making that shirt, it would have been funny to send it to her. I bet she wouldn't have been too impressed by it though...

I think that spider story might creep me out more than the bats. I think bats are cute at least, so while an infestation would be pretty terrible, I don't have much of a problem with a few bats. Spiders, on the other hand...

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Originally Posted by yupikgal View Post
I love your story so far! Beautiful pics of CO, I've heard of Garden of the Gods, my niece has brought her family there, when they lived in CO Springs. I sure enjoyed visiting her last year and wish I could do it again this year, but alas...that's ok though because in June I will be in the Happiest Place on Earth once again! Yay!

Will monitor this thread carefully, waiting impatiently for next installment!

Kelly
I'm so glad you're enjoying reading along! Colorado is always such a great place to visit. I'll never tire of seeing all the sights. Obviously when we're choosing a place to spend our time, however, Disney just wins out. Hence the move! Hope you like hearing about the rest of our adventures
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Can We Move Here and Be Pancho’s Handlers? A Sept '11 Throwback Disneyland Trip Report
Duffy is Going to be ECSTATIC! a.k.a. Thank God She Was Jewish - May '12 WDW Trip Report
We Moved to Disneyland!! Now What…? Stories from New DLR Locals
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Old 02-04-2013, 01:42 AM   #44
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Chapter 6
Please Feed the Animals


We went to bed at about 10 or 10:30 on that second night at Barb’s house, but we weren’t asleep for very long. At around 2:00am we were awakened by some bizarre noise coming from the living room. It sounded like there was some sort of ninja fight going on out there complete with “hi-ya” type noises. At first we just tried to ignore it, hoping it would go away, but after at least a half-hour of constant noise, we decided to investigate what was going on.

Of course, the minute we went out into the living room, the noise seemed to have stopped. We were definitely the only ones awake, and we poked around trying to figure out what had been going on. We were pretty sure the noise sounded like it must have been a broken toy or video game whose noisemaker had gone haywire, but it stayed silent the entire time we tried looking around.

The only living soul who did stir when we went out and tried to figure out what was going on was one of the cats who roam Barb’s house. There are at least four of them, though I expect probably more, and they always seemed to show up in the most unexpected places during our visit. Tracy vaguely remembered the names of a couple of the cats, but mostly we just referred to them by their distinguishing characteristics. My favorite of the cats was the one who seemed to constantly be sitting on one of the bar stools at the breakfast bar in their kitchen. He always popped up from behind the bar, and I remarked that he looked like a barfly constantly slurring “I’ll have another…” Therefore, we nicknamed him Boozin’. I wish I could have snapped a picture of him at the bar, but he didn’t want to cooperate.



Well, on this second night, Boozin’ was very interested in what we were up to, and seemed especially interested in coming to join our party because it must have been boring out in the living room. While we were out investigating the source of the sound, Boozin’ wandered into our room and had jumped up on the bed to settle in for a nice catnap. In most situations, I’m sure this would be fine, but I’m extremely allergic to cats—much worse than I am to dogs. I was already barely surviving breathing in all the cat dander in the house, so having the kitty sleep in our room wasn’t going to happen. We tried to nicely dislodge poor Boozin’ from the place where he had gotten oh so comfortable, but he was not a fan of our double team. He splayed out all four legs like I have only ever seen in movies, and looked extremely affronted. Luckily, we were successful at chasing him out of the room so we could return to sleep.

Of course, what happened mere moments after we got back in bed? The video game noise started up again. I turned on the light, and figured I would at least peek out to see if there was some sort of bright light associated with the toy so we could find it and turn it off. I cracked the door and looked out—nothing. As I started to close the door again and give up, I noticed one tiny kitty paw stretched all the way out through the crack into the room just CLAMORING to get in. It was all just too much for 2:00am. We finally just crawled back into bed and, trying our best to ignore the sounds of karate and the meows and scratches at our door, we eventually drifted off into a not-so-restful slumber.

The next morning, we awoke as rested as we could hope to be after our long night, and we went out into the living room where the obvious breakfast food was cold leftover pizza. Larry asked us, “What were you doing up in the middle of the night??” and we had to explain the whole story. Barb made a mental note to sweep the room for abandoned games with a mind of their own. After hearing our explanation, Larry told us what had run through his mind when he heard all the commotion out in the living room. Apparently, one of Ben’s friends who had been over for homecoming pictures the night before has a dad in the armed forces. Larry wasn’t too clear on the details, but he had some notion that the dad was some sort of special ops hit man. While all the parents had been over that evening taking pictures, the dad had commented to Larry on how nice their house and property are. “You must have a pretty complex security system here,” inquired the dad. “Not really,” Larry had replied. So his thought in the middle of the night had been that army spies were breaking into his house. Apparently, none of us slept too well.

Once we were up and at ‘em for a little while, we decided that it was probably about time for us to pack up our stuff and be on our way. Not only did we have a busy day in the Springs ahead of us, but then we had to drive back to Boulder. We took a couple pictures around Barb’s property because it’s got really pretty landscaping.



Here’s the fire pit we had sat out at both evenings.



Apparently all the kids had wanted homecoming pictures on this little bridge, and I can see why!



With that, we loaded up the car, profusely thanked Barb and Larry for having us, and we were on our way.



Pretty quickly on the first leg of our drive, our car hit the 90,000 miles mark, so I snapped a picture. Way to go, Dumbo!



Our drive took us to the historic Broadmoor Hotel where we were going to eat lunch and explore for a little while. Tracy had been to The Golden Bee, the English pub that is associated with the hotel, a couple times before on her previous trips here, so she recommended it for lunch.



We started off the meal with a Le Cellier-esque bowl of Potato and Cheese Soup.



It was delicious! We followed this up with the Cottage Pie.



Also quite delicious!

After lunch, we headed outside to walk around the grounds of the beautiful Broadmoor Hotel.





I took another panorama to show the lake that sits in the middle of the hotel grounds.



Tracy and I had actually been to this hotel together once before. Our senior year of high school, one of our choirs was selected to sing at the Colorado Music Educators Association conference which is held here every year. The whole choir loaded onto a tour bus and took a day trip down in our tuxedos and choir dresses. We got to explore for a short period of time on that occasion, but it was January, so it wasn’t exactly the best weather for looking around the grounds. Tracy has also gotten to stay here a couple times with her family. One of the times when they were there, there was a big to-do in the area over a missing-person case. The day after they left from their stay, the police decided to drag the lake as part of the investigation and found the body of the person who had been killed. Yikes!

Luckily, there were no murders (as far as we know) in the hour or so that we spent wandering the Broadmoor. We went into the lobby and sat in front of the fireplace for a while.



Before too long, however, we decided to be on our way. We passed by this fountain on the way back to the car, and I liked the spitting horses.



Our final tourist stop of the trip was the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. As you know, Tracy and I love zoos, and this is a really fun one. The signature attraction is the giraffes, because you can feed them!! You used to be able to buy some sort of graham-cracker-like giraffe treat to give them, but apparently since we had last been down, they changed to selling hunks of lettuce. Once you buy your lettuce for a dollar or two, you can rip it up and offer it to any giraffes who are interested. As we quickly discovered, they were ALL interested.



Giraffes have black tongues, which is one of the weirdest parts about feeding them.



We made so many new friends among these beautiful animals! The first one, pictured above, hung out around the entrance. He was smart because everyone who bought their lettuce was looking for a good giraffe to start feeding, so he never had to wait long.

Our next favorite giraffe was this fellow. He seemed to have some sort of problem with his tongue, so he could only stick it out a couple inches. He also didn’t seem to have much control over it.



He was very glad for a snack!



There was also a baby who was having trouble reaching the level of the platform, so of course we had to give him some of our lettuce.



After we’d given out our whole lettuce allotment, we moved on through the rest of the zoo. We saw lots of great animals.

Hippos, a.k.a. the deadliest animals in Africa.



This kind of bear actually loves to eat honey! We loved him because he’s like Winnie the Pooh.



Here’s Tracy with a grizzly in the background.



And me getting hugged by one…



Loved the wallabies.



And the zebras.



Unfortunately, I didn’t get that many good pictures through the various fences and cages, but we saw a ton of animals! This zoo is actually built on the side of a mountain, so it is quite the workout trying to walk all the way up to see all the animals. On their website, it says that the elevation gain from the bottom to the top of the zoo is equivalent to walking up a ten-story building—and it certainly feels that way! Nonetheless, it’s still one of my favorite zoos to visit. The giraffes alone are worth the price of admission, but beyond them there’s a great group of animals.

This actually marked the end of our trip down to Colorado Springs. After we finished seeing everyone at the zoo, we made our way back down the mountain and drove back up to Boulder. I don’t even have any pictures from the drive back because we didn’t pass anything too exciting. On the whole, we had a great weekend. It was packed with things to see and do, and we got to catch up with family. I’d say Dumbo’s first road trip was a rousing success!

Continued in Next Post
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1987 - WDW Visit in the Womb * 1990 - First WDW Visit * 1993 - First DLR Visit * March 1996 - Family Reunion at Treehouse Villas * March 1999 - Family Vacation at Treehouse Villas * March 2005 - One Day at MK with Friends * May 2008 - First Visit with then girlfriend (now wife) at POP * June 2010 - Disneymoon at Best Western LBV * Sept 2011 - Return to Disneyland at PP * May 2012 - Grand Prize WDW Radio Trip at POR Royal Room * November 2012 - Move to CA to become DLR locals!

Can We Move Here and Be Pancho’s Handlers? A Sept '11 Throwback Disneyland Trip Report
Duffy is Going to be ECSTATIC! a.k.a. Thank God She Was Jewish - May '12 WDW Trip Report
We Moved to Disneyland!! Now What…? Stories from New DLR Locals

Last edited by tayalltheway; 02-07-2013 at 02:11 AM.
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Old 02-04-2013, 02:29 AM   #45
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Gorgeous pictures of the animals. Nice that Dumbo even got a look-in.

Sorry that you didn't get quality sleep that night. Hope you made up for it the next day.
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