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 #26: Mission in Manitou Springs

Manitou Springs!

One last time in the shadow of Pikes Peak.

The week was winding down before we knew it. Anne got off work so late on Thursday that we had time only for dinner and an all-new Sleepy Hollow before she faced one last earl bedtime and one last shift in Colorado Springs. Friday is usually a time for rejoicing in the work week’s end, but this one would prove bittersweet. We loved the mountains and the culinary forays, but we missed our home and our dog, and I’d crossed all the high-ranking attractions off my to-do list. The remaining options ranged in curiosity level from “maybe” to “meh”. Colorado Springs and the surrounding areas have a lot to see and do for a variety of interests and tourists. Not all of them were for me, but I tried to keep an open mind.

I spent the morning of Day Six as a lot of normal travelers might: I lounged around the hotel room for a few hours and did virtually nothing. I procrastinated the MCC Sleepy Hollow recap in favor of reading, relaxing, and catching reruns of Supernatural on TNT. I’d never watched a single episode before, and perhaps it was a bizarre choice to begin my viewership with the season-7 finale and the season-8 premiere, but that’s the beauty of vacation: you get to have fun and break some rules no matter what kind of looks people give you for it.

Eventually I snapped out of my lazy doldrums and came up with a plan. I checked out of the hotel, leaving behind ten of the twenty-four bottled waters that I’d picked up on my way to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo and taking three with me for the road. Just as the previous guests had left us a fresh half-gallon of milk and a box of breakfast Hot Pockets that neither of us could bear to touch, so did we pay it forward to the next guests in our own way.

Then I launched myself on a side quest of sorts to cross a few items off Anne’s own to-do list. This wouldn’t just be a time-killer or selfish indulgence: it would be an act of service for someone I loved, frivolous though the targeted treasures might be.

And that’s how I wound up once again in Manitou Springs for my final close-ups of the Rocky Mountains.

Right this way for one last walkabout before heading home!

The Springs in Fall: 2015 Photos #4: Quest for Snow


Last Saturday, November 21st, Indiana got its first snowfall of the 2015-2016 winter season, a month ahead of its official kickoff. Three weeks earlier, I drove my wife up the side of a Colorado mountain just so she could throw a snowball.

Right this way for teaser photos of precipitation coming soon!

The Springs in Fall! 2015 Photos #3: Rocky Mountain Higher and Higher

Rocky Mountains!

As we promised last time: MOUNTAINS. We saw some.

Welcome back to Rocky Mountain National Park in beautiful Estes Park, Colorado.

Right this way for mountains! And clouds! And mountains with clouds on them!

One of Several Rockies

Rocky Mountain!

Life must be easy for Colorado residents. Whenever you need money, just walk outside, take a photo, turn it into postcards, sit back and wait for tourists either onsite or faraway by internet to make your payday. I don’t see how they can get used to walking out the front door without saying “WOW” every ten minutes and getting on each other’s nerves. Then again, I live in a state where mountains are more or less against the law. To me, mountains are a such staggering part of Creation, and yet in other states live people who think of mountains the same way I think of maple trees. Your everyday context determines what’s mundane and what’s extraordinary, I guess.

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2012 Road Trip Photos #40: The Season Finale: Look Back in Outtakes

Nine days. Five states. 2,887 miles. 828 photos. One mountaintop. Fourteen stops for gas. Innumerable sights and memories. Nine consecutive entries for journals written on location. Forty entries for photos, additional commentary, and hindsight. My wife and I have taken a road trip in some fashion each year since 1999 — before we were married or even dating, back when we were best friends. Our week-plus excursion to Colorado via Kansas was one of our most ambitious, successful, and draining road trips to date. Thanks sincerely to those lovable readers who followed along with us and offered encouragement throughout the process, whether in ways great or small, conscious or unwitting.

As my way of concluding the “2012 Road Trip Photos” series and holding the blogging equivalent of a post-production wrap party, please enjoy this assortment of previously unshared photos from the journey. Some are alternate viewpoints of sights you’ve seen; some are little moments bypassed till now. For the complete itinerary, check out the 2012 Road Trip checklist for the ultimate reading guide, with links to all the notes and photos, day by day. They’re a fun way to kill an afternoon or help decide how your own future trips to these locales will be even better.

Let the montage begin!

F-14 Tomcast, WaKeeney, Kansas

DAY TWO: my wife peeks out from underneath the F-14 Tomcat in WaKeeney, Kansas.

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2012 Road Trip Photos #24: War Memorial on the Edge of the Rockies

After we reluctantly departed the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park, Day Six continued east on U.S. Route 50 from Cañon City to Pueblo. The distance was a relatively short hop of thirty-five miles, but we paused for one unplanned attraction in our path, the Colonel Leo Sidney Boston War Memorial Park. The park was established in 1997 as a tribute to veterans alive and dead. I’d pegged its location as Florence in my original notes, but online sources say the official address is in Penrose. Its namesake was a Cañon City native who fought in Vietnam, was declared MIA circa 1971, and presumed officially dead in 1997. In April 2011, his family was notified of a positive DNA match for him contained in a set of recovered remains. I wouldn’t presume to imagine the toll of such an experience.

At the time, when we pulled over to the roadside for a gander, we knew nothing about the eponymous hometown hero. All I knew was that we were standing before a military hardware collection stationed in an unusual spot.

Ah-1 Cobra Helicopter, Colorado

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2012 Road Trip Photos #22: Royal Gorge Bridge, Part 2 of 3: Animals and Apparatus

Previously on Day Six: We traveled southwest from Colorado Springs to Cañon City for the pleasure of visiting the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park, home of the professed highest suspension bridge in America, with optional attractions posted on either side to provide visitors with incentive to cross back and forth and truly enjoy the bridge experience to its fullest.

If you’re feeling saucy or afraid of swaying bridges that remind you of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, you have the option of crossing the bridge on the Aerial Tram. Up to thirty-five passengers can travel 2,200 death-defying feet across a much wider gap in the Gorge than the bridge itself traverses. Pray your fellow passengers aren’t prone to panic attacks.

Aerial Tram, Royal Gorge Bridge, Canon City, Colorado

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2012 Road Trip Photo #18: Coming Down from Pikes Peak, Physically and Emotionally

With only forty-five minutes to enjoy the top of Pikes Peak as much as possible, we tried to savor the view, the thin air (for the uniqueness of the experience, not because we liked gasping), and the near-freezing temperatures that perfectly counteracted the summertime heat that had been hammering us at ground level. Alas, forty-five minutes flew by in about ten minutes flat.

One last shot for the road, then:

Pikes Peak

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2012 Road Trip Photos #14: Morning in the Garden of the Gods

With sweet sorrow we parted with Denver on Day Five and headed south toward Colorado Springs. The tragic wildfires had been extinguished barely a week before our arrival, but we steered clear of Waldo Canyon and other affected areas. Those affected didn’t need voyeuristic out-of-towners traipsing around for scrapbook subjects.

Our first major stop was a park west of the city called the Garden of the Gods, whose claim to fame is a collection of geological oddities that don’t remotely blend in with their surroundings. Once you reach the Visitors Center, where I stood while snapping this, you can just tell which part of the landscape is the actual Garden.

Garden of the Gods, Colorado Springs, Colorado

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