On our 27th day of our trip we filled the motorhome with gas ($3.52/gal), left Santa Fe and headed for Colorado Springs. As we headed toward the 7800 ft high Raton Pass that separates MN and CO we drove through grasslands that extended far to each side of the freeway. We saw more antelope than we could count. Some were even hanging out with herds of cattle and there were lots of babies- one mommy with cute little twins. We tried to decide what this type of terrain would be called. “Home on the Range” says “where the deer and the antelope play” and since we didn’t see any deer we weren’t sure we could call it a “range”. We weren’t sure we could call it a prairie since we didn’t see anything that looked like a “Little House on the Prairie” or Laura Ingalls. Oooh wait! I think Laura is still recuperating from her appearance on Dancing With the Stars. Sooo…was it grasslands, a range, a prairie or all of the above? We voted for all of the above-that way we are pretty sure we got at least one of them rightJ The signs said we were traveling on the Santa Fe Trail. So what were all those pioneers complaining about? A 4 lane road through the mountains doesn’t seem so bad. Have to admit the road surface was pretty rough and bumpy but that must be from all those wagon wheels. Once we crossed the mountain pass we finally saw a deer.
We stopped at a scenic overlook and while I fixed lunch Wayne found a geocache. On we went to the campground at Cheyenne Mountain State Park. Incredible place and we have the best site in the park. We checked this out on Google Earth and made our reservation online last December. Our door and patio overlook the entire valley just south of Colorado Springs. This park is located between Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station and Fort Carson. We think we might be in extreme danger in case of military aggression against the US while we are here since the Cheyenne Mountain Complex is near here. At the height of the Cold War in the late 1950s, the idea of a hardened command and control center was conceptualized as a defense against long-range Soviet bombers. The Army Corps of Engineers supervised the excavation of Cheyenne Mountain and the construction of an operational center within the granite mountain. The Cheyenne Mountain facility became fully operational as the NORAD Combat Operations Center on April 20, 1966. On the fiftieth anniversary of the NORAD agreement–May 12, 2008–the Command Center located within Cheyenne Mountain Complex was officially re-designated as the NORAD and USNORTHCOM Alternate Command Center. The Cheyenne Mountain Division of NORAD and USNORTHCOM was re-designated as the J36 branch within the NORAD and USNORTHCOM’s Operations Directorates.
Tomorrow we set off to explore the Colorado Springs area.