We drove through pouring rain on Friday afternoon on our five hour journey to Colorado Springs. When we arrived in town Alan saw gas for just $1.99 per gallon, much cheaper than the standard $2.25 to $2.50 we’d paid on our trip. I asked him if we needed to fill up, and he said, "The tank’s pretty full...we’re down to only three-quarters." Coleman only heard the last part and yelled, "Oh no, just three quarters left for our whole trip! What are we gonna do?!" He didn’t know we were talking about gas, and thought that was all the money we had left. We laughed and assured him that although money was getting low, we had more than 3 quarters left!
It was about 7 PM when we arrived in Colorado Springs. I had booked a room on Priceline and ended up with a really nice Doubletree Hotel for just $45 a night! We called my cousin Sandy, whose son Justin was playing in a basketball game at Manitou Springs High School, so we headed over to watch him play. After two weeks away from home, it was wonderful to see relatives, especially ones we don't see very often. We made plans to get together with them again on Sunday.
After the basketball game we were starving hungry and really in the mood for Chinese food. We couldn't seem to find any, but saw many Korean restaurants, so figured that would be close enough. As Alan ordered "beef & broccoli," they said, "This is not Chinese food," and pointed to the menu where the first thing listed was "beef intestines." Um, no thanks! Our search for Chinese food continued, and we finally found a place, just as they turned their lights out. We ran in quick and convinced them that we were desperate for Chinese food! We got it to go and really enjoyed our Chinese feast when we got back to the room. Coleman quite possibly won the award for biggest eater! His appetite has been huge on this trip. When we go out to eat, he’ll often order what he wants, and then add "Actually, I’ll take two of them!"
Colorado Springs is a really nice town. On our trip, we’ve been in a lot of neat towns, but most have been built solely on tourism, with gift shops galore. But Colorado Springs seems more like a "normal" city than other places we’ve been, plus still has a lot of fun attractions. Also, it is swamped with Mexican restaurants which is fine by me!
On Saturday morning we swam at our hotel for a long time. Then we took showers and struck out for Focus on the Family’s headquarters. We’ve been Focus on the Family supporters for a long time and really appreciate their ministry. First we went to the Welcome Center where there were a lot of fun things for the kids to do and a huge bookstore for the parents. Then we went on a tour of the Administration Building. It was really interesting, and would have been more so if it was a weekday and we could have seen the employees in action. http://www.family.org/
On our way back we toured through Garden of the Gods, an area of rock formations. Although they were neat to see, they didn't compare to the mammoth red rocks we had seen in Utah, so we drove through the park to see them but didn't get out to hike.
I forgot to mention that our hotel was right beside a 20 screen cinema called Tinseltown. We were all in the mood to see a movie. The problem was that the boys wanted to see Sharkboy and Lava Girl, and the girls wanted to see Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, a definite chickflick. So we parted ways, the boys putting on their 3-D glasses to see their movie, and the girls joining throngs of other girls at our movie. We spotted just one man in the entire theater, poor guy! Our movie was about four 16-year old friends who found a pair of pants at a thrift shop...oh, actually, forget it, it’s too long a story and you can see it if you want to! It received pretty good reviews, and wasn’t bad, but wasn’t great either. Most of all it was fun to be at the movies with my girls. I am so thankful for the "sisterhood" they share.
On Sunday morning when we woke up Coleman wasn't his usual chattery self, and we knew something was wrong. His head hurt, his tummy hurt, and he had absolutely no energy. Alan and the girls went out for brunch while Coleman and I stayed in the room. He got back into bed and fell asleep, waking up every now and then to throw up. Poor kid. After a couple hours, he woke up and said very cheerfully, "Guess what? I’m fine!" And he was.
Next he announced he was hungry...and you'll never guess what he wanted. A corndog, of all things! Even when I am feeling fine a corndog doesn't appeal to me, but it's really what he begged us for. We were headed for the town of Manitou Springs, and found him a corndog there. He gobbled it up and from then on seemed perfectly fine!
Manitou Springs is a very artsy kind of town and we didn't like it much. Mostly it seems very New Age, with several psychic shops on the main street. We felt uncomfortable there, and didn't care to spend much time there. We did stop at a place that had been recommended to us called the Penny Arcade. It was full of old-time pinball machines, really old ones! Most of them cost a nickel or dime to play. The more modern ones were two games for a quarter. We had a lot of fun there. I told Alan if I was the owner of that place I'd sell those pinball machines on ebay and retire! Really these were extremely vintage machines and surely are worth a lot of money.
We headed back into Colorado Springs to have supper with my cousin Sandy and her family. We spent a few hours with them and laughed so hard at the similarities between our families. It was a great time that passed way too quickly. We left there wishing we didn't live a couple thousand miles away from them.
It was 10 PM as we arrived back in Denver for the final few days of our trip. Hard to believe that just two weeks and 2400 miles ago we were here! We checked into the Red Lion Hotel that I had booked on Priceline. Before you think I get all kinds of incredible deals on Priceline, you should know it doesn't always work that way. This hotel was supposed to be a three-star, and maybe it was at one time, but it was extremely dated. Definitely a huge notch below the other places we've stayed, but oh well, it was only $45. Really we were only there to sleep, and got out of there early on Monday to head to Water World, one of America's biggest water parks. http://www.waterworldcolorado.com/
Water World was a blast! Waterparks are always so much fun. We laughed so hard on the way there as I told the kids of a childhood memory of my family at Wet & Wild in Florida. My dad & I went down a huge waterslide...a straight drop in about two seconds into a small pool at the bottom, the kind I would never consider going on now! Anyway, at the bottom the lifeguards always hurry you out of the water so the next person can go, but my dad wouldn't get out. He kept saying, "Tell your mom to bring me a towel!" Turns out the force of him hitting the water had ripped his suit in two! The lifeguard was so frustrated that he wasn't getting out of the water and my mom was doubled over in laughter as she brought him a towel! The kids all decided if they saw a ride like that one they might just skip it in honor of Gippy!
There were so many fun rides at Water World, and the weather was nice, although it was pretty breezy. The sun was bright, though, so we kept slathering more sunscreen on, having learned our lesson last week at Glenwood Springs. There were a lot of family raft rides which we all loved. The most fun ride was a long trip in an innertube down a lazy river with a lot of waterfalls to go over. Now that's my idea of whitewater rafting!
Tuesday morning we will stop at KBM, a ministry we support. http://www.christianity.com/kbm (If you click on their website you can get a free subscription to "The Laborer's Journal," one of the best devotional magazines I've ever read.) Anway, the head of the ministry is Dwight Robertson, a great guy who knows Alan's family from their days in Indiana. We'll visit there for an hour or so and then head on to the airport and our flight home. On Wednesday I'll post my last entry of this trip journal from "home sweet home." Gets me excited just thinking about it!