kWe were excited to get to Colorado Springs and set up camp at Mountaindale Cabins and RV Resort so we could catch up with friends, Tom & Melanie Golden of Tom Golden Travel. We met Tom & Melanie at the Grand Design National Rally last August in Elkhart, IN and immediately hit it off. I am sure the "little beers" had something to do with it! We then met back up with them later in the month for dinner and to help them celebrate their anniversary in Southern IN. We also met up again in Houston, TX in January for dinner. It amazing how paths cross with fellow travelers! BTW...if you ever need someone to help you plan a vacation, especially a cruise here or abroad, Tom is your man! Unlike some travel agents, Tom and Melanie actually actively cruise, are knowledgeable about the various tour companies and can help you determine which one is best for you, your likes and your budget. A European River Cruise may just be in our future!
After successfully dodging some nasty thunderstorms in southern Colorado, we arrived at Mountaindale and were escorted to our beautiful FHU, pull thru site in the back side of the park next to the rather large "hill/mountain". The spot was beautiful and quiet, however, because we had the hill between us and the Colorado Springs cell towers, we had very hit or miss cell service, even with our cell booster. It was a good thing the park had good wifi so we could have online access. Because of the hilly area, several of the sites, like ours are terraced with a natural boulder look. A nicely kept park and they were continually doing some sort of landscaping or maintenance. In fact, when they moved a camper in the spot behind us, they came back with a bobcat and graded the site and road gravel.
The first night we arrived, the Colorado Springs area had a freak late May snow storm and some areas north and west of the city got as much as 16 inches of snow overnight. We were lucky to only get a dusting but we took a drive into the city the next day to take in the beauty of the snow. We went for a drive thru North Cheyenne Canon Park to see the Helen Hunt Falls.
We also made a stop at Fort Carson to visit their free 4th Infantry Division Museum at the visitor center. It was very well done and was interesting to talk with the soldiers there about the history of their unit.
We spent quality time with Tom and Melanie as they were kind enough to offer their RV as the landing spot for us to watch the Milwaukee Bucks play in the NBA playoffs a couple nights, but alas, it was not in the cards for them to be in the championship game.
We also took a day and ventured down to Canon City to the Royal Gorge Bridge. Unfortunately, Mother Nature made sure that we knew she was in charge and the day was windy and cold with spotty, light rain and temps in the 40's. However, we soldiered through and had a good time exploring the gorge. We were fortunate to get a gondola ride up and over the gorge before the windy conditions shut down the gondola. Our ticket also got us into the movie about the history of the gorge which was soo interesting and the big fire of 2013 where most all of the buildings and gondolas were destroyed, but the bridge was saved. Interestingly, they left some of the scorched trees in place near the bridge as a spooky reminder of the devastation and yet beauty left by the fire.
Unfortunately the campground was booked for Memorial Day weekend and we had to say goodbye to Tom and Melanie and head northeast of Colorado Springs to Elizabeth, CO and an interesting little city park where most of the residents were there permanently. Our site was fine for a couple days but I would not pay $35 for that again. They did not have fire pits or sewer hook up, there is enough road noise to make it too loud to sit outside and enjoy yourselves and our neighbor looked to be a hoarder. I will spare you pictures of their delightful homestead. But, like I said, it was fine for a couple nights.
While in Elizabeth, we visited Castlewood Canyon State Park for a wonderful day out hiking. The weather was beautiful and we got soo caught up in the hike that we forgot to take pictures! Here are a couple pictures of the rocky canyon and the original Lucas family homestead.
Our last Colorado stop was the National Museum of WW II Aviation. We really did not know what to expect and thought it would be just a small museum with a couple of planes to walk thru and check out but it was soo much more! If you ever go, do take the docent led tours. The tour is 2 hours long and they have a wealth of information and demonstrations. It is absolutely worth the $12admission and $10 for military. They are undergoing a large expansion so that they can display even more planes, which they have stored in other areas. They also have air shows every other year and there is one this fall. Most of the planes there have a storied past and have been lovingly restored. They even have simulators and other military vehicles, which Rick could not resist sitting in. We had a great time listening to the history of the war from the docent and how these planes played a crucial part in it.
We enjoyed our time in Colorado and look forward to exploring more of the western half of the state in the future, with perhaps, better weather! On to Kansas and Nebraska!
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