Written by ripplefan2 on 15 Jun, 2007
On Memorial Day Weekend 2005, my best friend graduated from the US Air Force Academy and asked me and my other friend to come out for it. So we decided to fly out to Colorado Springs, stay a couple of days there and then drive his…Read More
On Memorial Day Weekend 2005, my best friend graduated from the US Air Force Academy and asked me and my other friend to come out for it. So we decided to fly out to Colorado Springs, stay a couple of days there and then drive his car back to New York. We took a cheap flight out to Denver via JetBlue Airlines (back when they used to be reliable and cheap) and caught a ride from there to Colorado Springs with some of our friend’s family. The air in this place is very thin, so our first day was wrought with breathing abnormalities, but not enough to ruin the atmosphere.
The place that his family was putting us up at was this phenomenal resort called the Broadmoor Hotel (www.broadmoor.com) in the heart of Colorado Springs. What a place! I mean, if you have the means, I highly recommend it. Here there is a bar that used to be in New York, then was packed up, and rebuilt out there just for the Broadmoor called the Golden Bee. They have gigantic yard glasses that you fill with beer and there is a signing piano man who plays Piano Man. We had a really great time.
Anyway, back to the road trip. After spending a couple of days in Colorado Springs, we drove into Denver, rented a hotel room and prepared our journey back to New York. First though, we decided to blow off some steam in Denver by exploring the city and trying out all of the bars. After waking up with a decent hangover, we headed off to the Coors Brewing Company in Golden and did the tour. It was very informative and fun because they give you fresh Coors that’s only maybe a minute old. I was a very cool experience. After that, we trekked over to the Red Rocks Amphitheater to soak in the nations only completely natural Amphitheater. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a show going on at that time (I have heard the best shows are at Red Rocks) but the place was still awe inspiring.
As the noon day sun raced over head, we thought it was time to get rolling, so we packed up our stuff and jumped on Interstate 70 East towards St. Louis. After arriving in St. Louis just after the sun lost its battle to the night, we found a hotel way off our price meter, but with one hitch. This hotel, The Adam’s Mark (www.adamsmark.com), located across the street from the Arch, and had last minute rooms for rent for only $99. Not a bad deal considering this place is one of those 4-star hotels you always hear about, and what a place! They really cater to the customer, no matter how important they are. Also, the hotel is located right across from the dock strip where all of the bars are located. Now this is a strange place, because when we were there, it felt like every engaged woman in the tri state area came to this strip of bars for their bachelorette parties. No joke, we saw at least 35 different brides to be and there entourages. This was definitely a fun strip to grab some good barbeque and cheap drinks.
The next day, we peeled ourselves out of bed, and headed over to the Budweiser Brewery to see if they stood up to the Coors tour. And they did, but they weren’t as hospitable. After that though, we jumped back on the I-70 to Cincinnati, swung a left on the I-71 North to Cleveland. I had always wanted to see the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, so we detoured a bit and checked it out. What a unique structure for a building, resting right over the water while the base is on land. And the building is covered in glass and full of some of the coolest things a rock-minded person would enjoy. That night, we stayed in a crappy motel outside of Cleveland (it was cheap) watched some TV and detoxed.
The following morning we arose with the feeling of just wanting to be home, so we drove form Cleveland back to New York in one go by following Interstate 80 across. Unfortunately, we were slowed down in Pennsylvania by a truck accident that shut the highway down for three hours. Finally, after passing through New Jersey, we arrived home to the warm comfort of the stale New York air. I couldn’t wait to get into a bed that was crisp with starch, but broken in like my own. Also it was so nice to be out of the car. But I would do it again in a heart beat. Everyone should experience at least one road trip through our country. Enjoy yours!
Written by tamtbell on 21 Oct, 2003
Flying from Honolulu, of course we had to leave in the evening Hawaii time and fly all night to arrive at Colorado Springs airport early the next morning. My supervisor and I arrived at the airport barely awake and extremely jet-lagged; however, as we…Read More
Flying from Honolulu, of course we had to leave in the evening Hawaii time and fly all night to arrive at Colorado Springs airport early the next morning. My supervisor and I arrived at the airport barely awake and extremely jet-lagged; however, as we began walking towards the baggage claim and Avis car rental counter, I began to feel revived as I was greeted by the appearance of huge, magnificent mountains surrounded by forests of evergreens through the large picture windows in the airport. Once we walked outdoors, the clean fresh air, so unlike downtown Honolulu, wiped away almost all other traces of my sleepiness. My supervisor and I stayed at the Sumner Suites (now an Amerisuites) off of Garden of the Gods Road, which was very convenient, both because our call center was right down the road and also, of course, we were extremely close to the Garden of the Gods National Park, as well as many of the other local attractions.
After a bit of sleep, we of course had to get up and do a bit of shopping to take advantage of all the great mainland prices. The concierge advised us that there was a great mall right off Academy Boulevard that was relatively close to our hotel. Since we visited the mall during a weekday, it was very empty, which was great, but the staff seemed rather annoyed to see us. Who knows? Maybe we were interrupting the gossip or lunch hour with our presence. After a day or so of adjusting, we went out every night, trying a small restaurant here or a bar there. I have to advise anyone who visits here and stays at the Sumner Suites to stay away from the restaurant right across the parking lot. It was an Applebee’s when we were there; who knows what it is now. Our entire dining party (a group of five) had our waiter first sit down with us and begin to talk with all of us about everything from the weather to how he hated his boss and his work, all while counting his tips on the table. Later, as we waited somewhat patiently for our dinners to arrive, the restaurant manager finally advised us that unfortunately, our server had just quit and wasn’t coming back. Let’s just say that was quite an experience (one you’ll laugh at after enough drinks).
During our stay in Colorado Springs, we toured Garden of the Gods, Manitou Springs during a late summer festival, Cave of the Winds, Seven Falls, and Glen Eyrie Castle. Each attraction we visited, each person we met, except for of course that really odd waiter, seemed genuinely happy to be both living here and be happy that we were there. Of course, we were only there for two weeks and didn’t meet everyone or see everything, yet I have a feeling I will someday return to this land of clean air, nice people, pine trees and mountains, and truly amazing scenery and history. Oh boy, I can’t wait!
Written by El Gallo on 14 Sep, 2000
Tourism has always been part of the picture in Colorado Springs, from the very first--so it hasn't deformed things much. And if there were nothing else here but the Garden of the Gods, people would flock here to…Read More
Tourism has always been part of the picture in Colorado Springs, from the very first--so it hasn't deformed things much. And if there were nothing else here but the Garden of the Gods, people would flock here to see it. As it is, it's just the biggest headache for the City Parks Department.
The sudden upthrust of the Rockies left the entire front range with huge spires of red sandstone. Down in New Mexico, it gives a name to the Sange de Christo range. Up by Boulder you know it as Red Rocks Amphitheater, the most imposing natural music venue in the country and site of U-2's 'Under a Blood Red Sky' video. Around Colorado Springs the rock spires thrust up all over the place--in Glen Eyrie there are obelisks of stone 70 feet high and only 5 feet thick. As a boy (very impressed by the huge brilliant red Indians that loom over Manitou Avenue) I imagined a red Indian skin lying under the landscape, that pressures under the earth blew up into the sky like flames. Now, in my years, I don't see much to change about that image. And nowhere is that eruption of blood/fire/stone as hallowed and chaotic as in the Garden of the Gods. People come up with these names for a reason.
There is a little something for everyone among these ruddy monoliths. We used to skateboard down through them (leaving more red stains). Now there are mountain bike trails. An old Indian trading post still sells souvenirs. I've seen cheap Taiwan crap come out of there, and some really nice turquoise. There is great climbing, from thrilling to impossible, while all the doves in the wind-scoured holes up above watch, their cooing amplified by the natural curve of the stone. I threw a rock concert in the Garden in 1972 (and did I get in trouble with the city for taking out a permit for a Sunday school picnic and drawing 10,000 hippies who shut the park down on Mother's Day) and at one point raised my peyote-glazed eyes to the huge slabs hanging over the concert stage--and saw dozens of climbers listening to the music while hanging on ropes and hammocks hundreds of feet above.
There are certain famous configurations, the Kissing Camels (now floodlighted, creating a popular makeout zone). Balance Rock, sitting there impossibly poised. Steamboat Rock (okay I have no idea why they call it that, but it's a damned impressive chunk of stone), all located right off parking areas, right off roads. But you can slip off into the trails between the slabs and spires, crawl up into the crevices, stare through crevices at sudden precipices, lope along through the little pines surrounded by the silent clamor of the Gods. And, really, I think you should. Close
They built this since my time, when the only thing that put the Springs on the world sporting map was ice skating. Well now they have an entire training center in place (and a good place, when you train at…Read More
They built this since my time, when the only thing that put the Springs on the world sporting map was ice skating. Well now they have an entire training center in place (and a good place, when you train at 6000 feet you have that much more edge on the rest of the world--a lesson from the Mexico City games of 1968) and it has even become the headquarters of of the U.S. Olympic Committee (despite a bid and big bribe from Salt Lake City).
If you dig the Olympics and couldn't get to Australia, there is always a trace of it going on here--and it's a great place to inspire the kids. You can watch a 90 minute film on the Olympics and take a guided tour of the facilities--all for free. And what you see on the tour is not Universal Studios--it's real Olympic Athletes and hopefuls doing their training at fencing or uneven bars or judo or boxing or whatever.
1750 E. Boulder St. (719) 578-4618
But speaking of the ice-skating days, Colorado Springs has long been the major name in U.S. figure skating. People would send kids here to grow up into medal hopefuls and Ice Capades stars. The plane crash that killed the U.S. team created a casualty list of mostly Springs residents. And now there's a Hall of Fame and World Museum for Figure Skating--and it's only right it should be right up by the Broadmoor World Arena. No fee to check out their memorials, art collection, costumes, medals, and library. (719) 635-5200.
Now listen, rodeo is a sport, too, okay? And they have their Hall of Fame and Museum, too. And it's just north of the Springs (exit 147 off Interstate 25). Spurs, trophies, gold buckles, paintings, photos, and some cool saddles. Yeehaw, ya lil dogies. (It's $6, 528-4764).
The 'uphill' side of town--after Pikes Peak avenue slopes up thorugh Colorado City to Manitou Springs--is crammed with a nutso swarm of tacky tourist traps, most of which are flat-out fakes. Why visitors to this spectacular and dramatic region would need these cheezy sideshows…Read More
The 'uphill' side of town--after Pikes Peak avenue slopes up thorugh Colorado City to Manitou Springs--is crammed with a nutso swarm of tacky tourist traps, most of which are flat-out fakes. Why visitors to this spectacular and dramatic region would need these cheezy sideshows is a mystery: why they would have to be faked in the face of the bedrock integrity of the mountains probably says something negative about our whole species.
The 'Cliff Dwellings' are a Mesa Verde knock-off built in 1906 and featuring generic 'Indian' dancers doing Plains Indians dances. Hey, the real thing is only a few hours drive away.
The 'Ghost Town' is even stupider--for one thing it's indoors! We used to go over and shoot out the windows when they were building it, so it's not really old west, but was actually the scene of shootouts by bad guys (one of us kids was actually named Billy). You can see Roosevelt's bulletproof limousine here, and (I kid you not) a two-headed calf. You get the picture. Santa's Northpole Workshop is NOT at the North Pole, is NOT a workshop, and, Virginia, does NOT feature Santa Claus.
Even Seven Falls is mostly a light show...and they turn them off at night to save water (and wear and tear on the rocks, I guess).
The Van Briggle Art Pottery studio and showroom is sort of half ass real. It's really where they made the pottery that gained such acclaim and awards since 1899 and you can see some beautiful examples of Art Nouveau gesture in clay. But it has become mostly a hustle with high-pressure salespeople pushing you to buy.
The Cave Of the Winds is also sort of half-fake. It really is a cave. And it really has real limestone formations inside. But the stagmites have been moved around, colorized, spotlit, and otherwise messed with over the years. The biggest attraction is a huge pile of junk where people leave stuff from bobby pins to souvenirs to hygiene products for the enlightenment of future visitors. There have been a lot of marriages performed in the Cave (incredibly)--none in front of natural formations, all in the room full of junk! I was a guide in the Cave for one summer (those who call me a troglodyte have a certain basis in fact) but was fired when my ennui hatched the dreaded Truth Tour. ('Here you see the famous Painted Curtain, so called because...we just painted it. Notice that when you throw you coins into the famous Bottomless Pit, they stop sinking three inches below the surface? Obviously there is a shallow bottom, but with a trick coat of paint. But please continue to toss coins, we guides fish them out for lunch money. And so forth.) But I will say this, the cave has a great location up a canyon. It's worth a drive out just to stand on the precipitous porch of the shop, munch some popcorn, and look down. The drive back takes you through some cool little canyons, and past some very unique 'Springs' type houses carved out of live rock.
But basically, why not just go up Pikes Peak, to the Garden of the Gods, take the Cog Railway up the Peak, check out the incredible grounds of Glen Eyrie and leave this crap to the true 'tuna' (as we cavemen called them--'Pisolites' were girls in cavespeak, 'Chrysolites' were babes, 'Mesomorphs' were hags, 'train wrecks' were tours with more than usual quota of assholes). If you go for these roadside attractions, you earn whatever name they call you. Close
The Air Force Academy is a sort of triumph of Jetsons architecture, everything built out of lightweight aircraft materials. If you are into the whole aerospace, Jet Jockey scene (we used to call Cadets 'Sugar Jets', but it was…Read More
The Air Force Academy is a sort of triumph of Jetsons architecture, everything built out of lightweight aircraft materials. If you are into the whole aerospace, Jet Jockey scene (we used to call Cadets 'Sugar Jets', but it was obviously because they beat us out for the girls) there are tours. One sight at Birdland stands out for me, and I would recommend it to any fan of church architecture. The Chapel, that famous row of pointed steel teeth, has a gorgeous interior that can't really be evaluated in photographs. The Jewish Chapel downstairs is cozy and somehow manages to feel sort of traditional in an ultra-modern way, but the real show is the main goyim chapel upstairs under those thrusting triangles of steel. Between the 'teeth' are strips of cement imbedded with big chunks of stained glass, in the style big in modern churches in the sixties. But here the colors gradually modulate from a deep restful violet at the entry to a golden blaze at the altar. As you walk up the aisle you and your mood gradually lift up through the spectrum, until the yellow shining at the front is positively exalting. It's a very different way of achieving the uplift aimed at by all the gold and vertical eye-leading of European cathedrals, but it definitely works. The cross (a sort of distorted propeller) is ridiculous, the three legged, cylindrical white marble pulpit looks like a vintage Maytag, the pipe organ looks like a Gatling gun--but the light in this space demands it's own respect and even reverence.
Written by mrserb2 on 13 Oct, 2005
If you are looking for the experience of gambling, try visiting Cripple Creek Colorado, less than a 1-hour drive from Colorado Springs. This old mining town also offers little shops and many places to dine. If you like a good steak, you should try one…Read More
If you are looking for the experience of gambling, try visiting Cripple Creek Colorado, less than a 1-hour drive from Colorado Springs. This old mining town also offers little shops and many places to dine. If you like a good steak, you should try one of the many restaurants here.