I spent the Fourth of July weekend in Colorado Springs visiting my very good friends Pete and Cristine.  Pete is at Fort Carson and took me on a brief tour around the base.  It's pretty mundane and boring for military types, but getting to look inside the gated, heavily armed community is intriguing to us civilian types.  Cristine and I spent the mornings hiking in the hills.  July 4th included Leadville Airport, fireworks in the mountains, and a trip to the Colorado Renaissance Festival.  I took a few pictures along the way and heard Ceann for the first time.

I went hiking with Cristine around Red Rocks Canyon Open Space.  It was a beautiful park in the barren, exposed rock sense.  That's meant to sound a little sarcastic, but the truth is it's true, too.  We were a mile above sea level in a desert, and yet there were smooth river polished rocks lying around.  The stones were embedded in crumbling sedimentary rock was fractured and thrust upward eons ago and they were eroding back out.  The cycle goes something like this: igneous rock formed, it was pushed up, crumbled into a river, polished clean, covered with sand.  The sand was buried, compressed into rock, pushed up again where it was exposed to the weather and eroded, releasing the river stones.  As I tried to wrap my mind around the geologic times involved, all I could think is that there are people who think the Earth is 6,000 years old.

July 4th was spent mostly driving up to a condo in the mountains that overlooks a small lake.  It's a ski resort town so apparently there is lots of money to throw into fireworks even though there aren't many people living there.  On the way up into the mountains we had to drive through Leadville which is famous for having the highest airport in the US.  As a "technical" pilot I insisted that we drive to the actual airport itself for a picture or two and to look around.  There were general murmurrings of protest but I was insistent.  Fortunately, the airport was only a mile or so off the main road and there was some cool WWII era torpedo plane tied down outside.  Pete was thrilled and made Cristine get on his shoulders so they could get a picture of the cockpit.  It was a marvellous diversion and everyone was glad we stopped there to take a look around.

The fireworks were wonderful, as was the company!  The owner of the condo turned out to also be the man in charge of the actors at the Ren Fest.  We played with lightsabers on his roof as dusk fell and took some great time-lapse motion pictures.  On the way down the mountain to the Festial, Cece played "The Worst Pirate Song" which is absolutely hilarious.  I found out later the group is Ceann and they happened to be playing in DC while I was there the following weekend.  Crazy coincidence, huh?

I was dressed all in borrowed gear as royalty for a day at the Ren Fest.  "Just act aloof and pretend you don't see anyone.  You're royal, it's expected."  I thought "alright, I can do that!"  I had a grand time and enjoyed that weekend's theme party: white trash.  I had a wife-beater T which I custom stained with ketchup, mustard, and salsa.  I paid $2 for a pair of sliders from Wal-Mart and borrowed some camo pants from Pete.  I looked terrible!  The women mostly dressed as strippers or Brittany Spears, and it became increasingly difficult to tell the difference...  One young woman came dressed formally, beautifully and tastefully attired.  "I'm a divorce attorney," she announced.  "Anyone have a custody disbute I can help with?"  She had a soul-shattering evening, and I only mention that so I'll be sure to remember it.  Fascinating party...

Additional information