Woke up still feeling exhausted. Even with a twelve o’clock checkout time I was struggling to get it together to get back on the road. And I was facing a long drive day. Several folks had mentioned recently that I shoulda (coulda woulda) built in some rest days. It seemed like my body was telling me that now would be a good time to do just that. So, with no small sense of guilt and frustration because I had JUST gotten back on schedule after the Texas detour, and now I was going to have to cross ANOTHER item off my list, I called a Time Out, and extended my stay for one more night at the Colorado Springs Residence Inn.
Enjoyed a hearty breakfast . . .
. . . and later Annie and I recharged at lunch with some deliciously nourishing Chicken Soup for the Terrier Soul . . .
Still later in the afternoon, my faithful companion was getting restless, so I decided to take her for a longer walk at Garden of the Gods. This MAY have been a mistake. The place was PACKED. The two parking lots that accessed the trail I wanted to hike were completely full, and it was hard to navigate the one-way road that winds through the park because so many folks had pulled over at unauthorized stops for photo taking. Finally we parked at the Visitors Center and walked across the busy highway to get to a different trail that was filled with bicycles swarming and weaving about. And then I started to realize that it wasn’t just the non-stop pace of the previous nineteen days that was leaving me so tired – it’s the altitude stupid. I was winded before we even started the walk, just going into the Visitors Center to use the restroom. If we hadn’t driven ten miles to get there, and if it weren’t for Annie needing to stretch her paws, I probably would have given up at that point! I was wiped. I don’t think I’ve stopped being wiped the whole time I’ve been here. I’m almost 7,000 feet above sea level and my body does NOT like it! We did a snail’s pace hike for about an hour and I made a failed attempt to do a smoochie face selfie in front of the kissing camels and then I was spent.
It did remind me of a funny story I forgot to put in yesterday’s blog though. So, when I first arrived at Garden of the Gods, I parked Marigold in the Visitors Center, and got out to meet Carol. For convenience sake we used her car to travel around the park. Later on, when we decided to drive over to the Manitou Cliff Dwellings, I asked in the “Trading Post” how late I could leave my van at the Visitor Center. I was assured 9pm. No problem. We toured the dwellings and returned to the parking lot around 5:30pm. Only to find the lot COMPLETLY devoid of vehicles other than the Campervannie and locked gates blocking both entrances. (And a sign saying “These gates close at 5pm-you’d really be an idiot to leave your car here past that” (or words to that effect.) PANIC!!! What was I going to do? Leave the van overnight? Carol was planning on leaving town after dinner so how would I get back there? On Carol’s suggestion I climbed under the gate, got in the van, and drove around the lot looking for hidden exits. Nada. I drove close to the gate to see if it might open automatically. Negatory. I was out of options when Carol said “Hey, what’s that slip of paper under your windshield wiper?” Oh that? Nothing? THAT’S JUST A PIECE OF PAPER SAYING ‘PSSST-SOUTH GATE IS ONLY FAKE LOCKED YOU CAN TOTALLY GET OUT THAT WAY MORON!’ (or words to that effect). So the day was saved once again.
Getting back to the present, after our pathetic walk attempt at GotG, I decided to swing by the nearby historic district of Old Colorado City. Old Colorado City was originally established in 1859 to serve as a supply center for all the gold prospectors crying “Pike’s Peak or Bust!” and racing to find riches in them thar hills. It was also established as the first capital of the territory of Colorado. However, when they assembled to have a legislative meeting, they found the log cabin which had been provided for them (pictured below) hopelessly inadequate, and said “Screw it, let’s go to Denver” (or words to that effect). Now it’s a cute little area in Colorado Springs with historic buildings filled with artsy shops and tasty restaurants. It also has a central park with THE seediest portapotties I’ve ever been in. Seriously, there was a soiled teddy bear floating in one.
I would also be greatly appreciative if anyone can translate the sentence on the top part of this sign.
Anyhow, that shopping stroll took the last of the life from me. I was too light-headed to even focus on making a purchase (other than a pig’s ear for Annie), so we returned to the hotel (with a pizza) for an evening of utter laziness and lounging.
4 thoughts on “Day Twenty: Pressing Pause: Colorado (Colorado Springs)”
Seems like a couple of the city’s early madams, Queen Laura Belle and the charmingly named Prairie Dog O’Byrne, were auditioning for Fast and the Furious Old West Edition by drag racing elk. Elk named Thunder and Buttons. As you do.
Great post – and I feel you on the altitude sickness. When I visited Colorado I was miserable the whole time I was there. It takes time to adjust, especially if you’re from sea level or below like this Texas Gulf Coast gal. The good news is that by the time you get to your west-of-Colorado destinations, which are all lower in altitude, you should be fine.
Colorado has such a colorful history. Sorry to hear you’re having a rough time of it!
While looking into Ole Prairie Dog, I found this excellent book about Old CO City’s history, (it’s a text-only online book): http://www.occhs.org/pdf/Remember%20West%20Word%20no%20pictures.pdf
Lots of really fun old west stories there.
Glad you decided to lengthen your stay. You should be feeling better soon!
I forgot to mention “tums”. I always eat a roll with a bottle of water before I head up the hill from Denver. Don’t know why but it always prevents any altitude sickness.
Since the train would stop here overnight to let the staff sleep, a lucrative opportunity to provide various entertainments to them and the passengers existed; this led to the establishment of many businesses to cater to those needs.
Janine already translated the second sentence, which goes with the engraving.