Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Random Ramblin' in The Springs

©2014 by LeeZard

Here are some random thoughts and observations after two weeks in and around Colorado Springs or, as they call it here, The Springs.

There is this somewhat familiar big shiny yellow ball in the sky. It emits tremendous heat and the sky around it is always blue. I do remember something similar in the Pacific Northwest but here it seems more intense, as if it has more confidence it will show up nearly every day. I’m told it even makes regular appearances between blizzards in the winter. What a concept!

As in the Northwest there are mountains here, lots of ‘em. They’re called the Rockies and, while they are quite beautiful, I still find the Cascade Mountains more dramatic. I think this is because the Cascades are viewed primarily from sea level while The Rockies grow from the high plains.
Mt. Rainier From 50-Miles Away
Pikes Peak Up Close
The Springs sits at 6,035 feet – sorry Mile High City – and in the shadow of one of the most famous mountains in America, Pikes Peak. At an elevation of 14,114 feet it is only a few hundred feet “shorter” than the Northwest’s beloved Mt. Rainier. But the so-called gateway to The Peak is at more than 7,000 feet and the illusion is that it is not nearly as mighty as Rainier. Plus, Pikes Peak does not sport the sparkling white glaciers that cover the top of Rainier.  

I can hike to Pikes Peak’s peak in running shoes while my dear friend Peter Sandler had to endure weeks of mountain climbing classes before he could even attempt to conquer Rainier. Still, the Rockies have majesty of their own and I delight every day living in their shadow.

The people in Colorado are much better drivers than those in Seattle and environs. But then, so is almost everyone else in America. I’m told motorists here even know how to drive in the snow, which apparently falls in abundance in winter, one of the area’s distinct four seasons.

The Jeep is celebrated here much like salmon are in The Northwest. To my knowledge, there haven’t been any treaty wars over Jeep purchasing rights but they are everywhere. I’m not surprised since I’ve owned five. Their legendary four-wheel drive is, well, legendary. Out here people trick ‘em out with lots of lights and humongo wheels/tires. I’m sure it’s a macho cowboy thing. My little ’06 Liberty is dwarfed by most of its cousins but it has a nice patina of Colorado mud thanks to my isolated, rural location. I love it!

While we’re on the subject of wheels, The Springs, like most of America, has its share of shady auto repair shops. I had the misfortune to fall into the clutches of one but I had no choice; the bearings in the Jeep’s A/C unit were about to seize which would’ve taken the whole engine down with it. At 5:30 pm on a Friday I had to use the only place I could find that was still open. The end result was a $670.00 bill that I later found out would’ve been about $300 if I could’ve waited to find an honest grease monkey. Ironically, the place I used was called (I can hardly write this with a straight face) Honest and Accurate Auto Service (ROFLMAO).

Guns. Colorado is an open-carry state and, while you don’t see a lot of openly carried sidearms, as near as I can figure almost everyone has one either on his/her person (a concealed weapon permit is required) or under the pillow at home for self-defense. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t considering it.

In sports, I am shocked – shocked, I say – by the endemic amnesia that’s crippled the region. Hardly anyone can remember the score of this year’s Super Bowl. Yet they crow about a recent pre-season victory over the champion Seattle Seahawks. So sad. Other fans here are very quick to point out their allegiance to any team other than the Denver Buncos. Given the climate here, it’s no wonder these folks are called fair weather fans.

In Colorado, the term “passive aggressive” is used primarily in Psych 101 classes. Back in Seattle it’s a pastime. You know who you are.
My "Driveway"
Finally, what is it with dirt roads and me? I just love ‘em. I think everything happens for a reason and, when my apartment wasn’t going to be ready for my arrival, I immediately found this amazing 750 sq. ft. loft In-the-Middle-of-Nowhere, CO, otherwise known as Franktown. It is halfway between Castle Rock – my Starbucks gig – and The Springs, where I push my other remaining drug, cigars. 
That's Moi Above the Garage

My palatial domicile is two miles of dirt road off State Highway 83. My Jeeps’ wheels haven’t touched the freeway since I moved in.

Nice to Have Good Neighbors
My nearest neighbors are friendly but have little to say, although they neigh.
The 'Hood'
All in all, it's been a grand two weeks in my new 'hood.'