At Cheyenne Mountain State Park, Colorado Springs, CO…
Ed and Marilyn are such nice people. Even though they have served as tour guides for countless friends who have visited during their seven summers at Mountaindale, they seemed no less enthusiastic to show the local sights to Sandy and me. They met us here at Cheyenne Mountain, and on the way to Old Colorado City, we stopped at a local farmers' market and picked up some fresh tamales, jam, corn and cookies. We love nothing more than finding these little pockets of local citizen commerce. We've already tried the cookies and jalapeño jelly, and they are so good!
Ed and Marilyn are buying some fresh corn in the photo below; these ears appeared to have been picked earlier in the morning. So fresh looking!
After driving past the famed Broadmoor Hotel, we made a stop at the Michael Garman studio in Old Colorado City. This remarkable sculptor has constructed a massive display of miniature old towns, complete with sculpted inhabitants and detailed so completely and accurately that it defies the imagination. We enjoyed this a great deal and, although they had seen it many times, Ed and Marilyn were gracious to give us all the time we desired to gawk at Garman's handiwork.
Here are a couple of samples; the human figures in these photos are only about 2 inches high; every item visible--including all the wall decor and items as small as a cigarette, are handmade:
Touring this huge exhibit made us hungry, so we moved a little farther down Colorado Boulevard to Jake and Telly's Greek Restaurant, where we had a wonderful meal al fresco in perfect sunny weather. We lingered quite a while talking, wondering if any day could be more perfect for what we were doing. I don't think so.
Next was a driving tour of the magnificent Garden of the Gods, a formation of red sandstone monoliths pushed up and turned to the vertical when the Rockies were being formed eons ago. Magnificent views were everywhere, of course; here's a sample:
We then drove to Manitou Springs to check out some possible shopping venues for Sandy for later in our visit (unless I can distract her enough so that she won't remember it. Yeah, it's a long shot, I know).
Ed then magically found the Lower Gold Camp Road and drove us up a mountain to what seemed like a mile-high overlook of Colorado Springs. The road we were traveling was a former railroad right of way, complete with two tunnels and a waterfall. We enjoyed this immensely. Here are some of the photos we took:
After thanking our guides profusely for their insider's overview of Colorado Springs, we determined there was still way too much to see in only one short visit. We drove up the mountain to Phannie's parking spot to rest up a bit, and we began to hear thunder as a line of storms bore down on our camp, soon to inundate the whole area with small hailstones, followed by very heavy rain. We were dry and safe in Phannie, but the hail on the roof was really noisy. Here are some photos of the aftermath:
All this excitement made us hungry again, so we decided to try out an Italian restaurant we had seen earlier during our tour with Ed and Marilyn. The place, named Paravicini's, is in Old Colorado City:
We decided to share a bowl of wedding soup and a shrimp pasta dish with sun dried tomatoes, capers and olives. Soon after we arrived the server brought a small loaf of salt-encrusted bread, piping hot from the oven. Dipped in the olive oil and basalmic vinegar available at each table, this was a perfect starter to the meal.
The dishes were both tasty, but the soup was slightly too salty, and the capers and olives in the pasta dish contributed to a saltiness of that dish that distracted from the freshness of the ingredients. The salt crust on the bread didn't help, either. The service and ambiance were fine, and the place is quite popular. I only wish we would be in town long enough to try some other selections that might have less reliance on salt.
Tomorrow we are going to try once again to eat lunch at Na Ri, the Thai restaurant recommended by Ed and which, of course, was closed when he sent us there. Redemption may be nigh, Ed.