Tom & Charlene's Excellent Adventures travel blog

Pitsenbarger Memorial

Top of Pikes Peak

Our view at top of Pikes Peak - Fog!

Seven Falls with Peggy

Seven FallsLook for the people on the stairs we did not climb

Creek behind our RV spoy

Garden of the Gods from Visitor Center

Balance Rock

Tom & BiBi


SATURDAY – SUNDAY, JULY 29-30, 2017

Saturday dawned cloudy and dreary. Started the day by heading north to tour the Air Force Academy. Peggy’s late husband, Mike, graduated from the Academy. The Visitors Center was our first stop. There is a very informative video explaining the four years of training that make up the Academy. Visited the 17 spired chapel. It actually contains 4 chapels plus private worship rooms. The chapels are Protestant, Catholic, Jewish and Buddhist. The spires and stained glass windows make for a very impressive building. The plaza near the chapel contains bronze models of many iconic air force planes. There was also a memorial stone dedicated to William Pitensbarger from Piqua. He was a medic killed during the Viet Nam war. He volunteered to stay on the ground while the rest of the crew flew an overloaded helicopter of injured soldiers to safety. He and the rest of the soldiers in the company were killed in a fire fight.

In the afternoon we had tickets for the Cog railway up the side of Pikes Peak. Unfortunately the clouds turned to rain and fog. By the time we reached the summit visibility was about 20 ft. with winds of 15 MPH. Wind chill was 32⁰. After the photos we went into the gift shop/snack bar. It was packed with people trying to escape the cold and was about 80⁰. Between the altitude and temperature changes I developed a nasty headache. After we passed 6000 feet on the descent the pain went away. We picked up 26 hikers for the return trip. The train was packed – 214 crowded together. All was not lost because of the fog. The scenery was beautiful. Colorful wildflowers greeted us as we approached the summit. We saw mountain sheep with curly horns and marmots standing on their hind legs greeting us. We sat with a family from Northern Kentucky and had some interesting conversations.

After the Cog we met Peggy for a late dinner. She took us to the German restaurant Edelweiss. The food was authentic and very good. We then rolled over to the Broadmoor – Magnificent! There was a wedding reception taking place that wowed us with the decorations. Crystal vases filled with large white plumes (ostrich feathers?) centered the tables, each reaching about 4 ft. high. The band was rocking and so were the beautiful people!

Peggy showed us around the hotel grounds, quite impressive. The Broadmoor changed hands several years ago followed by many renovations and the addition of beautiful art work and sculptures. We finished the night at the bar. How about a $40 bar bill for a beer, martini, mixed drink, tax & tip!! It was fun to pretend we were the “beautiful people”.

Earlier we checked in at the Pikes Peak RV Park. As we drove there from Peggy’s it was pouring rain. The street lighting in CS is poor and the rain did not improve visibility. Hard to see the lane markings, luckily the traffic was light. The park has very tight spaces but lots of shade. A creek flowed behind our site. Arriving back at camp we grabbed the flashlight to check the creek’s level. The current was very swift but the water level well below the banks. Fell asleep listening to rain on the roof and the creek flowing outside.

Received a wonderful surprise Sunday morning. This park has the best and cleanest restroom and showers we have encountered. There was even a make-up area in the women’s rest room. Peggy picked us up for Mass at St. Paul’s. Really nice church that seems to have a very active congregation. After Mass we headed over to the Broadmoor to catch the shuttle for Seven Falls. Until recently you could park near the falls and walk up to get your tickets. Since the Broadmoor purchased the site they have changed the procedure to parking near the hotel and catching the shuttle to the falls. We had a healthy walk from the shuttle to the ticket office then back to the falls. We opted to take the elevator instead of the steps up to the observation deck. We were treated to spectacular views of the falls from the deck. We could also admire those walking up the 100 or so steps to the observation deck. We watched the zip liners coming into the last platform and rappelling down the side of the mountain. Enjoyed lunch at the 1853 restaurant on site. After a cool start the afternoon became hot and sunny.

Our next destination was Garden of the Gods. My family visited there in 1958, things have changed a bit. There is now a drive through route to see the formations. Many used the hiking trails to get closer to them. I need to search through Dad’s slides to compare how much the area has changed in 50 years. About ¾ through the drive the skies cut loose with heavy rain, thunder and lightning. We observed many drenched hikers coming off the trail. Peggy calls July-August their monsoon season.

Peg drove up through the foothills to pick up BiBi, a poodle she would be dog-sitting this week. Tom sat in the back seat holding BiBi during the ride home, he instantly became BiBi’s best friend. She jumped on the sofa to sit beside him and followed him around the condo. I did laundry and Peg fixed us “Peggy’s Surprise” for dinner – best frittata and salad ever! Peggy said BiBi pouted and stayed in her bed the rest of the evening when Tom didn’t come home with her.

Checked the stream when we arrived at the RV. All was well so we again slept in peace. Thank you Peggy for being our tour guide, chauffeuring us around Colorado Springs and your hospitality. Hope we get to make a return trip.



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