Joe and Nancy

Joe and Nancy
Our Home on Wheels (Click on image above for our web albums.)

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Pikes Peak or Bust

Well, we arrived at the Air Force Academy on Tuesday afternoon, and Wednesday morning we got up, fixed us some eggs, country ham & bacon, and sunny side ups eggs with some buttermilk Grands, butter & honey. Hmmm!  We only do this about twice a month.  Other times it's whole/multi grain cereals & fruit & Silk (soy).  So, after a breakfast like that, why not climb Pikes Peak?
We picked a nice day to go.  It was 88 degrees when we left the Academy around 10 and was a short drive of about 25 minutes.  I had some reservations about going up there, but I had hydrated for a couple of days, so decided to do it.  After we paid our $22 (I got a $2 discount for being a vet.) off we went, Miss Jeepy & us.
Met this & many more brave (translated: crazy) souls biking up this 19 miles into the sky, over 14, 000 feet elevation.  Super lungs!
Can you see the tiny little gnats on the windshield?  Yuk!  They got in the Jeep & in our hair & eyes.
Miss Nancy took most all the pics as I tended to other business, ie, keeping Miss Jeepy on the right side.
It's a long way down there.
Our lucky day!  We passed all these modified hill climbing vehicles all the way up to this point, about half way up the Peak.  Ha!  The 91st running of the Pikes Peak Hill Climb.  They qualify for three days, rest and do PR things on Sat while the TV crews set, and then race on Sunday.  There are like three different classes I think.  The world’s most famous hill climb and America’s second-oldest motorsports race will be live streamed online for the first time in its 91-year history. The live stream will kick off on June 30, 2013 at 10 a.m. EDT and run until 8 p.m. EDT.
 New records are anticipated especially since Sebastian Loeb and his Peugeot 208 T16 Pikes Peak ran a blistering 3:26.153 on the lower portion of the climb. (below) He is the most successful driver in WRC history, having won the world championship a record nine times in a row.
Sebastien Loeb Dominates the First Pikes Peak Qualifying Unlimited Class Session

       23 seconds separated the first and second qualifiers

This guy zigged when he should have zagged.
Awesome views.
But I'm getting a little light headed now...
We finally rolled on to the Peak parking lot, and there were a hundred cars up there.  It was 52 degrees. Check out our nav system elevation numbers.  Whew!  Above, see the men on the roof of the snack bar/gift shop?  Well, it just so happened that they re-pitching the roof.  OK, no big deal.  Well, at least not till we got out, walked over to the doors of the shop, and the wind is blowing ALL the smoke fumes from the tar kettle right past these doors. There's not much air to suck up there anyway, and when these pre-meditated oxygen depriver sons-a-guns took that away, well, I was down & out for the count.  Well, not all the way down, but close to it. There was an EMT there (stationed there full time for old fogies like me), and I think someone called ahead and said Joe was coming, so you better get an EMT there. Well, all he did was teach me how to La Maz breathe, as Nancy learned when we had our babies, and I was ok.  Chugged down another quart of water (my fourth of the morning), let Nancy get a few post cards, and off we went, back down the hill.  I held my breath outside the doors. (Sons-a-guns $&%#@!*&)
Not sure what class this old boy was entered into, but sure he howled all the way up in first gear.  Sorry!
Nancy caught me taking pics of the bikers coming down the hill. (Crazies)
...and I caught Nancy looking miles away...
Nancy picked us up a couple of T's here at this little shop about 2-thirds the way up...
Here I am in front of the qualifying sheets for the different classes.
Well, that about does it for our trip up the Peak.  Above is the Cog Train.  For a fee of about $25, it will take a slow ride up & down the mountain.  We elected to drive it and save a couple of bucks & take stops whenever we wanted.  So, it is Saturday night here in Elk Lodge & RV Park in Estes Park, CO and we'll be heading out for Casper, WY in the morning, and hopefully find us a church service in Cheyenne along the way.  So, the next blog, RVing Beach Bums bid adoo!


Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, CO

So, on Tuesday morning June 25, we pulled out of the Cabela's RV Park in Sidney, NE and drove straight to Colorado Springs & the Air Force Academy FamCamp.  It was a relatively short drive of less than 200 miles. Another hot, dry day, and at 7300 feet elevation.  Who would have thunk it!  It was 90 plus.  The Academy emphasizes extra-curricular activities, including athletics.  Above is a story board overlooking the outside facilities.  (For some reason I forgot to get a pic of their football stadium, Falcon Field, which holds around 45,000 I was told.
 Here a few pics of these facilities.
Note the chapel in the background, as well as the dorms, and the gymnasium to the right.
Above, the practice football field.
We discovered that where ever you are on this campus, there is a "Kodak Moment".  What a beautiful campus in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, if you consider 7300 feet foothills.  :-)
Here a few pics from within the huge campus.
On Thursday morning, we made it over to the visitor's center, very near the chapel and the dorms.  While there, we took in the 15 minute video.  It was entitled, " One Year of the Class of 2014".  The incoming class of cadets arrive in late June, and for approximately 40 days, they have a "boot camp" of sorts.  And wouldn't you know it:  This morning was the dreaded "DAY 1" for the class of 2017.  The campus was a buzz of activity, especially around the visitor's center and the dorm area.  Parents everywhere!  Parents only it seemed, because all their kids were already being yelled at and told what to do and keep quiet by the upper classmen class leaders.
We walked the short distance from the visitor's center down the asphalt path to the chapel.  From the vantage point of the chapel front, we could view the large "Terrazzo", the very large concrete plaza inlayed with rows of granite stone.  The Terrazzo is where all the 1220 new cadets-to-be of the class of 2017 were being processed into their dorms, and being yelled out.  Below is a pic of the Terrazzo, and in the pic you can see some of the new cadets.
And here are a few pics of the class of 2017.
Across this grassy area the cadets were walking up from a ramp below the level of the Terrazzo after departing from the buses.
From the web:  "If any of you are not a person of absolute integrity, stay on my bus," the first officer-cadet hollered. "If you are not willing to sacrifice for your nation, stay on my bus. If you accept the minimum as your own personal standard, stay on my bus. If you are not ready to give your best...stay on my bus. (And) you'd better be ready to live up to the legacy in front of you...and that begins right now!"
With that, the doors opened, and the veteran cadets screamed some more, now ordering the newbies off the bus at an even higher volume than before.
This where "intake" was taking place, the Falcon Club, about five blocks from the cadet area.  This is where all the newbies were being dropped off by parents, taxis, buses and friends.  We saw many anxious and sad, yet proud looks on many parents faces.  We experienced a day like that at Virginia Tech about 15 years, with our daughter, Jennifer.  :-(
There were hundreds of parents and newbies everywhere it seemed, and a traffic snarl right here as well.
OK, enough of Day One events.  Most exciting.  Here are a few pics of the world renowned chapel and dorm area.
Quite piece architecture...The main buildings in the Cadet Area are set around a large, square pavilion known as ‘‘the Terrazzo’‘. Most recognizable is the 17-spired[25] Cadet Chapel. The subject of controversy when it was first built, it is now considered among the most prominent examples of modern American academic architecture.
From the front doors of the chapel looking at the dorms...
The path from visitor's center to the chapel...
the visitor's center...
the path to the chapel...
Colorado Springs below the campus...
And so that about wraps up our visit to the USAF Academy.  I must say that it was both enlightening and exciting to be here around the many proud parents of our future pilots and Air Force leaders of the future.  Thank you all for your dedication & confidence in our nation and your willingness to support and defend our freedom.  Good luck and fair winds into the wild blue yonder young cadets.  You have my support!  And till the next blog, (from Rocky Mountain National Park in Estes Park, CO) RVing Beach Bums...