Phannie

Phannie
Photo taken at Winchester Bay, Oregon

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Visiting With Friends in Colorado Springs

At the Colorado Springs KOA, Colorado Springs, Colorado...

In the last post, I opined that I had not heard the last of the mischief by our friends at Mountaindale, for whose cookout we showed up a day early.  I was right; our arrival on the correct day and at the correct time was met with the usual hijinks. Ed was guiding me with hand signals to a place he had left empty for us to park, or so I thought. As we were following his directions, he suddenly motioned for us to bypass the parking place and proceed in the direction of the park exit. Nice, huh? During the waveoff, however, he relented and motioned us into the shady spot he had saved for us. 

As Sandy and I exited the car, the cookout attendees burst into applause and cheering, obviously the kind of faux praise that would be given to an imbecile for having learned to tie his shoes. Needless to say, the theme for the rest of the afternoon was set: Get Mikie! For this sort of thing, they are professionals. They go for a person's soft underbelly like catfish to stink bait. It was okay, though; if it hadn't been my turn in the barrel, it would have been someone else's. Here is a photo of the group, in case any of them are wanted by law enforcement:


From the left: Marilyn, Jesse (with the blue cup on his head), Eddie, Jan, Sandy, Janet, Ginger, Ed and Bob. (Good breeding keeps me from commenting on Marilyn's posture or what may be causing it.)
The next day, we had plans to visit with Phyllis and Vicki, longtime high school friends of Sandy's who now live in Colorado Springs. We had a little time to kill beforehand, so we made a quick round-robin drive to Canon City for a look at the Royal Gorge, which Sandy had not previously seen. Having a bit of acrophobia, she elected not to go across the bridge, but we got a good view without much uneasiness on her part:



On the way back, we drove a little out of the way on highways 9 and 24 to come into Colorado Springs from the west and see the "other" side of Pike's Peak. It was a beautiful drive, which we enjoyed a lot.

Our visit with Phyllis and Vicki included dinner at Kura, a Japanese hibachi restaurant in Colorado Springs that we agreed was the best of its genre we had ever patronized.  It will go on our list of favorite restaurants.


Phyllis, Vicki and Sandy at Kura
It was fun to catch up with these sweet sisters, and we talked and laughed until the place closed. Thanks, ladies, for an enjoyable time.


The next day, we joined our Mountaindale friends again for lunch at the English Dockside seafood restaurant in Old Colorado City. Joining the group this time were two additional couples, Jim and Ellie and Rod and Debbie, nice folks whom we had not met before. 


Still smarting from the ribbing I had previously taken at the cookout, I decided that it was time for a little payback. As Ed has a deserved reputation for choosing restaurants where everyone would meet, only to find them closed, I decided to arrive early and conspire with the restaurant staff to pull off a practical joke. This involved affixing to the restaurant door a sign reading, "Sorry, Closed For Private Luncheon." As our group of friends arrived (all of whom were well aware of Ed's problem with closed restaurants), I asked them to wait with Sandy and me outside the door, pointing at the sign when Ed and Marilyn arrived. Ed's reaction was sort of stunned befuddlement, hardly believing what he was seeing, as he knew that Ginger had made reservations for our group. As soon as it became obvious that he had swallowed the bait, we took down the sign and went inside to our table, much to Ed's relief. 

We weren't quite finished with the harassment, however. We also conspired with the waitress to tell Ed, upon his ordering lunch, that his selection was not available and instead to recommend a "horn fish" entree that the chef was offering as a special. Ed's natural response was to inquire what a "horn fish" was, precipitating several other mentions of the term. Every time "horn fish" was mentioned, Sandy (who was more than willing to become a co-conspirator) would surreptitiously blow a bicycle horn hidden in her purse. Yes, it was all decidedly juvenile, but everyone laughed themselves silly. Ed was the best of sports through it all, but it will probably be time to pick on someone else next time. There will be plenty of targets, as there are many deserving mischief makers in this bunch.

Ed and Marilyn. Ed was the target of today's mischief.
I should mention that Ed is the author of a recent book, "My Journey to the Clouds," the story of his career as a corporate pilot, which he asked me to edit for him, presumably due to my own long career in aviation and a penchant for writing. I was happy to do so, and I had the honor of writing the forward to the book. I'll include that forward below, in hopes that it will entice you to read his inspiring story, available as a Kindle e-book from Amazon, or as a Nook e-book from Barnes & Noble:

It is an old saw among pilots that there are no “old, bold” pilots--meaning, of course, that 

pilots who take unnecessary risks while flying may not be around to collect their Social 

Security benefits. For humans to fly above the earth in a machine is an unnatural state of 

being, and gravity will eventually win out over man’s best attempts to defy it: The 

machine will return its occupants to the ground in one way or another.


This is the story of a man’s quest to fulfill a lifelong desire to become a pilot and, having 

achieved that goal, a recounting of some of his exploits as a corporate jet pilot. It reveals 

not only an impression of a corporate pilot’s career but the nature of the man who 

understood the dichotomy of “old” and “bold” as they pertain to aviation safety.


Growing up in Missouri, Ed Dray was fortunate to be surrounded with the Midwest 

values of God, country, family, honor and hard work, and he had in his DNA another 

attribute essential to becoming an “old” pilot: Common sense. While he does not try to 

thrill the reader with tales of daredevil stunts or narrow escapes from death, he discusses 

the thoughtful yet methodical manner in which he molded his career and in which he 

handled situations while airborne that, through his actions, never made the evening news.


At times funny, the story also reveals a great personal sadness shared by relatively few—

one that never goes away and never fully heals. His faith and the strength of his family is 

tested, but these very things allow him and his devoted wife, Marilyn, to overcome the 

unthinkable.

"My Journey to the Clouds" is suitable for all ages and could be especially inspiring for young people in the final years of their education and making decisions about their careers.

By the way, all but two couples having lunch today are fulltimers. Jim and Ellie were fulltimers for eight years and are now part-timers, and Eddie and Jan are part-timers about to become fulltimers. I think the takeaway from this is that the fulltime RV lifestyle doesn't mean that people necessarily become more isolated. On the contrary, we have met and made friends with scores of like-minded people who have jettisoned the stress, bondage and expense of stick-and-brick house living for the freedom of the road. It's also easier to make friends if you are carefree and stress-free and have a common bond. And so it is for us.

We have one more day in Colorado Springs, then we're off to Santa Fe. Stay tuned!

Thank you, Lord, for this wonderful life; please forgive me if I don't appreciate it enough each day.


21 comments:

  1. What a fun time with good friends with lotsa laughs and good food.

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    1. Amen, George. Life is good, isn't it?

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  2. Fun, fun, fun. We were in that area when the fire destroyed the bridge at Royal Gorge.

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    1. Oh my! We were surprised that some of the front facade of the new visitor building was made from some of the wood that was salvaged after the fire. Nice touch!

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  3. Fun, fun, fun. We were in that area when the fire destroyed the bridge at Royal Gorge.

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    1. Oh my! I was surprised to learn that they used some of the wood that had been salvaged from the fire to build the facade of the new visitor center. Nice touch.

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  4. Sounds like a great time with great friends. I bet Ed will think twice before going after you again. That was really funny.

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    1. Ah yes, we have a good time, Joe. And luckily, it's all in fun.

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  5. Wave at the KOA in Colorado City where our rig is and we'd be if it wasn't for doctor appointments in Pueblo. I'll be having a slopper (open faced burger smothered in Pueblo green chili) for which Pueblo is known.

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    1. Hi, Roger; thanks for stopping by! I never heard that burger called a "slopper" before, but I'll bet the name fits it. Sounds great; wish I had one right now.

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  6. You know they really like you when they take the time to give you a hard time:)

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    1. I think you're right! I am grateful for all our friends, and I even enjoy it when I am the target of their pranks!

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  7. Nice to see Ellie & Jim and Deb & Rob, miss their blogs. Looks like a great time was had by all. Becki

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    1. Hi John! So glad you joined the conversation. It appears that you are a friend of these good folks, so maybe they can be talked into blogging again. That's a really good way to keep with friends; it makes the absences seem shorter.

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  8. This trip sounds like a lot of fun was had by all. You know you've enjoyed yourself when your cheeks are sore from laughing. My husband, Bill, loves most things to do with planes so I might have to try and download the book for him. Just beginning our life style as full-timing this year, we are looking forward to meeting new friends too.

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    1. Hi, Patsy! We've been excited right along with you as you begin what have been, for us, the best time of our lives. Maybe we'll cross paths one of these days...I hope so!

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  9. We loved Mountaindale! Wish we could have joined you all there! Our spot there was one tier down and to the right! Beautiful area. The antics you all indulged in were awesome! What fun with super people! Hope to see you all this winter.

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    1. You guys would have made it perfect. We've got to do some better coordinating in our travels. I hope nothing happens to the plans for the Valley.

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  10. It has been more than 30 years since my trip to Colorado Springs. The memories are still vivid however. Walking across the Royal Gorge bridge is exciting. Did it but also don't like heights.

    I was reading about how time seems to move quicker the older one gets. One author suggested that when your younger everything is new and therefore you take more in. Then when one replays the memory in your mind it seems longer because there is more of it.

    That past two years have flown by. I wonder if reliving old memories or taking in new ones will slow things down?

    It's amusing to me when I'm asked a question about time, such as when I first meet someone, I generally underestimate it by half of what the actual time was. Your trip in Colorado has me thinking back. Keep up the wonderful posts.

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    1. Thanks, Mark, for this theory about one's perception of the passage of time when young and old. It is not until we're old that we realize what a vapor our time on earth is and how vital it is to make the most of it. Each stage of life has its blessings; you are preparing yourself for perhaps the best stage of all.

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