What a fitting title for our 100th day on the road. We have seen so much of our country and are constantly in awe of what nature and man have created. And there is still so much we have not seen. Kathryn Bates was similarly moved by the spectacle she saw while touring Pikes Peak, and was inspired to write America the Beautiful. We had reservations to take the cog train to the top of the 14,000+ foot mountain. If you have been following our travels you may be aware that making plans usually don’t work out for us. Today was no exception. The winds at the peak were too severe for the train or cars. We were offered a refund or for a reduced fee we could travel part way up. We didn’t really like either choice but then we became aware of The Santa Train getting ready to depart in 6 minutes. One look at the crew and we knew that the Santa Train was the Party Train.
The Santa Train is for children of all ages and it was even less than the reduced fee regular train we had been offered. We traveled to the same lookout point but we had entertainment, cookies, hot chocolate and SANTA. After visiting with the elves and other wintery hosts the entire train, led by a talented minstrel, sang Christmas carols all the way down. Oh, and there were temporary tattoos for all. Brent and Arden got matching gingerbread men (see top photo).
With the train trip not taking as long we had time to visit the Air Force Academy. Our host, Mike is a graduate of the Academy. The F-15 on the grounds is not just the type of aircraft he flew during his service, it is THE aircraft he flew. Wouldn’t we all love to have such a monument to visit at our alma maters.
The iconic chapel certainly dominates the grounds and the inside is just as awesome. The architecture and lighting are breathtaking. Once again, the simple iPhone camera captured just how it appears. The pews have details to reflect the aeronautical foundation such as pew ends that resemble propellers and aluminum strip atop the pews that resemble the edge of a wing.
Our host family is Mike and Teri. Teri is my mother’s cousin (same family as cousin Drue whom we stayed with in Wisconsin). Their home is already decorated for the holidays and with other house guests, Andy and Jake, our stay has been like a Holiday family reunion; grand meals together, great conversations and bonding over football.