The weather finally cooled and it looked like it would remain cool for the next few days.  In fact, it had cooled enough that we wore long pants and light jackets.

Yesterday, we spent the day in Colorado Springs sightseeing and running a few errands.  There is a Borders Books in town, so we went there to update the computers and browse the store.  We didn’t buy anything, but it was nice to have a large bookstore close at hand.  We also made some phone calls while we had a good cell phone connection.  Before returning to the coach, we stumbled into an vegetarian restaurant featuring noodle/pasta based meals.  The food was marginal at best, but it was a good concept.

Today the weather was perfect for a long drive and we headed to the small town of Cripple Creek, which is way, way up in the mountains.  Jeanne remembered it as a tiny mountain community of mostly boarded-up storefronts and abandoned gold mines.  Well, 30 years can mean big changes to a sleepy community, especially if it is rezoned to allow gambling.  Although it is still a small town, the storefronts along the main street have been turned into small casinos and the inflow of money has allowed for a general cleanup.  The development has been well managed and the mega-casinos you would find in Las Vegas or Laughlin have been kept out.  However, at the end of the day, it is still a gambling town.

In the one-thing-leads-to-another department, we hopped on a shuttle and got talking with the driver.  He gave us some tokens and dropped us at one of the casinos off the main drag.  We signed up for the player’s club and received $5 each in gambling credit.  Of course, we each lost the $5 and headed to the cafe for lunch.  We ordered the lunch special and found out today was seniors day — the meal was free for Jeanne.  After checking to see that we did some gambling, my meal was also free.  Not bad: free ride, free gambling, free meal.  It doesn’t get any better than that.  We were way ahead of the game and decided it was time to leave.

The drive to and from Cripple Creek was along winding well-maintained mountain roads lined with stands of pine and aspen.  This was high country and the road topped 10,000 feet at one point.  Where the view opened up, you could see for miles and the scenery was spectacular.  We very much enjoyed the trip.

On the return trip we stopped at a pottery studio in Colorado Springs.  The place was supposedly world famous, but the basic ceramic designs left us underwhelmed.  What was interesting was watching one of the potters throw vases on the wheel.  Watching a ball of clay slowly transform into a smooth, flowing form is mesmerizing.  Maybe when we settle, I’ll set up a ceramic studio.

That evening we had dinner with Jeanne’s cousin Vicki and her husband Tim.  They moved to the Colorado Springs area several years ago and seem to have become part of the community.  They bought a house about five years ago and have worked hard to turn it into a home.  Their hard work is clearly apparent.  We enjoyed the visit and hope to have them stop by the coach before moving on.

By the time we returned to the coach, it was late, dark and lightly raining.  Our spot is on the edge of the campground somewhat overlooking the rest of the RV park.  Slowly driving up the road, we momentarily caught a coyote in our headlights.  One leap and it disappeared into the brushy hillside.  It was a reminder that we are right on the edge of some wild country.

We immediately went to bed and listened to the soft sound of the gentle rain before falling asleep.