June 19th, 2007

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Road Trip, Jun-16-2007

Falling behind on LJ entries. Must post faster.

Saturday was the day of the wedding that was our nominal reason for coming out here.

Began with breakfast at IHOP with Kevin and Alaina. Pretty good, really. I had scrambled eggs with chorizo; Lori had pancakes and bacon.

The wedding and reception was at Garden of the Gods. We had some time to walk around Garden of the Gods before and afterward. Garden of the Gods was really splendid; we were delighted to see the magnificent rocks there.

The wedding was very nice, marred only by a very intermittent AV system. The weather was nigh-perfect for an outdoor wedding. The reception was indoors, with plenty of toasts--the groom Sam was clearly very happy and very much in love with Tracy.

After we finished up our second tour of Garden of the Gods, we went out to Sam and Tracy's house for an after-party. I didn't know many people, of course. I did manage to find some conversation with my one trick for talking with unknown people at parties: find someone who's a geek about something and encourage them to geek out at an understandable level. So I had an enjoyable time talking with someone who's an engineer with the Air Force about their testing procedures and their data storage challenges.
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Road Trip, Jun-18-2007

For a day that was supposed to be a lot of driving, we sure did a lot of tourism today.

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First stop: Manitou Cliff Dwellings. These are Anasazi Cliff Dwellings "reconstructed" (according to the web site--does that mean "transported") near Manitou Springs. No matter how authentic they might be, Lori found them fascinating, and was glad to visit.

We got to see an Indian dance performance there too. (Doing Plains Indian dances.) I don't think I had ever seen a performance like that, and Lori was really delighted to see it.

Side comment: the gift shop is enormous. At least it meant less time shopping in Manitou Springs.

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Sampled the natural soda water from one of the springs in Manitou Springs. Didn't care much for it at all.

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Lunch at Conway's Red Top, recommended in Roadfood. The burgers here are broad flat patties--an 8 oz. patty, but flattened to the thickness of a McDonald's quarter pounder. Lori and I each had half a burger with soup. The burgers were pretty good, but I doubt I'll be reminiscing longingly for them the way I will be for the Goody Goody Diner.

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Attempted to start a tradition for the drive back: we're trying to take a photo of the landscape every fifty miles. The reason: it's interesting to see how pancake-flat plains shade into rolling hills, and it's hard to decide "okay, this is the right place to take a picture of these plains." Instead of time-lapse photography, it's space-lapse photography. We'll see how that series works out.

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Visited the Wonder Tower in Genoa, Colorado. This claims to be a museum, but fails to grasp the important distinction between "museum" and "22 rooms stuffed full of every sort of random junk." The sign for the tower says, "see 6 states!" so I dutifully climbed all the way to the top of the tower--but all you can see is plains for miles around, and there was no signage or anything to help me figure out whether I was looking at the plains of Kansas or the plains of Nebraska or the plains of Wyoming. The guy running the museum was a garrulous old codger who subjected us to a pop quiz guessing the functions of various things, with a promise that if we could guess ten in a row, we could get our dollar admission back. Oh, and I should also mention his racist jokes, like the "Indian washing machine (2 cycles)."

I started to get really creeped out in the Wonder Tower. I'm sure it didn't help that I was whispering gruesome fantasies to Lori: "This is the sort of place where you open an obscure door, and discover the collection of body parts that have been collected from former tourists" or "This is like a Neil Gaiman story where, if you stay too long, your soul becomes one of the knickknacks in the collection."

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The Kit Carson County Carousel was much more pleasant. The town of Burlington, Colorado bought a carousel in 1927, and in 1976, they put in a lot of money and effort to restore it to its original glory. It's really quite a pretty sight, with lots of fantastically carved animals.

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Dinner was at a Mexican restaurant in Burlington whose name I now forget. I had chicharron gorditas (chicharrones are apparently pork rinds), which were pretty good; Lori had fajitas, which she found too spicy but I liked. Dessert was excellent sopaipillas. I'd happily go there again.

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Hardly any exercise today except for walking around with tourism and shopping. The rule is intact, but the long winning streak may have been broken.