The Springs in Fall — 2015 Photos #29: Outtakes, Colorado

Rocky Mountains!

Those amazing colossal Rocky Mountains up in Rocky Mountain National Park. Better or worse than the shots we shared before?

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: we guided you through our second trip to Colorado in twenty-eight episodes — November 1-6, 2015, Sunday through Friday, which represented our very first experience with air travel. We didn’t lose any luggage, eat any airline meals, wait extra hours for a delayed flight, land early due to onboard nuisance, see any Muslims snap-judged, or throw up at any point. And between the flights there and back again, we saw lots more Colorado we hadn’t seen our first time around when we drove out there from Indianapolis in 2012.

Here, in our grand finale: a selection of outtakes from various chapters — a few skipped by dumb oversight; a few that captured isolated moments disconnected from the rest of the narrative; and a few left behind due to inadequate wow factor. We may be aging amateurs who don’t have thousands of unconditional superfans, but we do have light standards.

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The Springs in Fall — 2015 Photos #25: Colorado Cookery II, or “Snacks and a Plane”

Airplane Restaurant!

Usually when an airplane is lodged halfway inside a building, it’s called a disaster. The Airplane Restaurant proves they can achieve peaceful symbiosis.

As with our July road trip to the South, I was determined to find places to eat in Colorado Springs that we didn’t have back home in Indianapolis. Here we backtrack a bit to recap a couple of culinary experiences we had in the margins between the last several chapters in this series. Not all of them were trendsetting, but two of them were more creative than anyplace I’ve seen in Indianapolis.

For one of those establishments, the creativity was in the structure itself. Pictured above is my lunch option for Day 5 — the Airplane Restaurant, a perfect companion to the National Museum of WWII Aviation down the street. This 13-year-old eatery is attached to a Radisson Hotel, housed partly inside a normal building, and partly inside a Boeing KC-97. Once a refueling tanker for other planes, now it refuels people.

Right this way for more about the Airplane, plus donuts!

The Springs in Fall — 2015 Photos #23: War Relics II


Some airplane restoration jobs take a tad more paint than others.

Visiting the National Museum of WWII Aviation without my wife was a bizarre experience. She’s the one who’s a WWII aficionado, the one who aced history classes left and right, the one with the PoliSci degree, and the one who doesn’t need a tour guide through museums like this. While she spent another Colorado Springs morning fulfilling the company business obligations that made this trip possible, I did the best I could to take photos and notes of what she was missing. Maybe she already knows it all, but if I could bring her just one new trivia tidbit, then this tourist’s mission was a success.

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The Springs in Fall — 2015 Photos #22: War Wings II

Douglas A-1 Skyraider Missiles!

The wing of a Douglas A-1 Skyraider housing presumably unarmed missiles.

Last July my wife and I had the pleasure of visiting the National World War II Museum in scenic New Orleans, Louisiana. Anne is the big, big WWII buff in the family, but I enjoyed myself well enough to devote four chapters to it in our nearly completed July 2015 road trip series (here, here, here, and especially here). Four months later, I was surprised to discover Colorado Springs has a place that’s the perfect sequel — the National Museum of WWII Aviation.

I previously posted about my Day Five visit later that evening from the hotel and used up most of my intro material in that one sitting. The single plane pictured in that entry, their F7F Tigercat, was hardly the only aircraft on the premises. The museum is 30% display cases and 70% actual war planes in various states of disrepair, restoration, and flight capability. Tonight’s presentation, then: another batch of World War II fighter planes to go with our July set.

Right this way for another lineup of America’s WWII airborne warcraft!

The Springs in Fall — 2015 Photos #21: Lithic Landscape Lollygagging

Palmer Park!

Day Five was the last full day of our week in Colorado Springs. I had a late-morning appointment that left me with an hour or so to waste after hotel breakfast #4. I scoped out my options on the east side of town and decided to hang out at Palmer Park, nothing I’d heard of before my vacation research. It’s a plot of land slightly smaller than Central Park, but encapsulating all the Rocky Mountain scenery I’d been exploring and driving around all week. The best part was, the petite peaks of Palmer Park were a picnic to perambulate.

Right this way for nature and scenery and panoramas and such!

The Springs in Fall — 2015 Photos #20: Three Cities, Much Rock

Castle Rock!

Castle Rock, a 37-story butte sitting next to the town of Castle Rock, Colorado. No relation to the Stephen King Literary Universe.

Day Four was a busy driving day for me, trying to cover as much ground as I could before we had to fly home on Day Six. I spent the first half up in Denver and the late afternoon back in Colorado Springs, with a stopover in between to stare for a while at the formidable formation above. Works of God and of Man were each the order of the day.

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The Springs in Fall — 2015 Photos #18: Colorado Comics Cavalcade

Mile High Comics!

Captain Woodchuck, the official mascot of Mile High Comics, welcomes you to the wonderful world of graphic storytelling!

On our annual road trips I usually hold off on my weekly comics fix until after we return home. It’s a selfish impulse I’m fine with deferring for the sake of family quality time, because a few of my least favorite travel memories involve shops in other states. It doesn’t help that some cities we’ve visited simply had no decent comic shops near any of the points of interest on our to-do list. Between the late-’90s Heroes World debacle and the late-’00s recession, America has several thousand fewer comic shops than it used to when I was a kid. (Examples of both extremes: when we took Manhattan in 2011, you can bet I swung us by Midtown Comics’ two-story location in the city with the mostest. On the other hand, our 2015 journey to New Orleans found exactly zero shops in the French Quarter or in the CBD/downtown district to the south.)

But this wasn’t our usual trip. With Anne’s business matters keeping her preoccupied and frazzled, I was free to plan my one-man sightseeing as I saw fit, to drive wherever I wanted to drive, to indulge in whatever flights of fancy came to mind without any companions to bore. So when I woke up on Day Four, a Wednesday as it so happened, I had two major events coded as Priority One, and one of them was a very special out-of-town New Comic Day.

Right this way for pics and shopping list for my one-day three-shop experience!

The Springs in Fall — 2015 Photos #17: Bowling for Fish

Shark Ball Return!

Just when you thought it was safe to go bowling…

After our tour of the Air Force Academy we declared suppertime. On the other side of I-25 we found a place in Colorado Springs where seafood meets sports, tenpins meet pin bones, and you can bring your own ball but not your own bait.

Welcome to Uncle Buck’s FishBowl & Grill.

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The Springs in Fall — 2015 Photos #16: The Air Force Academy Is…


A tiny Thunderbolt is one of several statues on display in the Honor Court next to the Cadet Chapel.

While the distinctive Cadet Chapel is one of the most impressive architectural features of the U.S. Air Force Academy, it’s not the only sight to see. Visitor access is limited to select areas within their 18,500-acre campus, but in all honesty, the fact that we civilians are allowed within a thousand yards of the place is generous in itself.

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The Springs in Fall — 2015 Photos #14: Colorado Cookery

Oysters on the Bay!

Two. Two! TWO meals in one entry!

As with our July road trip to the South, I was determined to find places to eat in Colorado Springs that we didn’t have back home in Indianapolis. Here we backtrack a bit to recap a couple of culinary experiences we had in the margins between the last several chapters in this series. One was very much Of Colorado, while the other gave us a mostly happy case of vacation déjà vu.

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