We did get up right at 6:00 and were quick to knock the tent down, and get our personals together. As I had just put a new tire on the day prior, I was doing some checking up and pumping to make sure my pressure was good… it would help up the hill. Paul decided to do the same, since his rear tire was perfect and he enjoys making things more interesting sometimes. Sure enough, he deflated and couldn't get it back. No big deal, we only had expensive non refundable tickets awaiting us atop an 8 mile hill.
Eventually Maverick was able to remedy the situation, and we headed over to the buffet with a tighter schedule. We absolutely stuffed ourselves again figuring we wouldn't be eating for a while, again right before a massive climb. Oh well, we'd need it.
As we were on the roads trying to make good time, apparently an officer mistakenly thought we weren't completely abiding the traffic laws (imagine that), so we got pulled over. He pointed to the sidewalk, and although I have never had a problem with authority in the past (Halo), I gestured that we were not going to do that. He quickly sprang out of the car, and explained how he had seen us run a few lights (completely safely mom and dad, and Nina). As we stated we were in a bit of a rush, he was understanding, but demanded we follow the same rules as the cars. There were only a few more lights before the hill anyway, so we respectfully obliged.
Quite the challenge, was the 8 mile hill, and appropriately named. We started getting a taste of what we'd be in for for a while. We arrived at the place with plenty of time, so we did all right despite Paul's attempts. Being on a budget, we decided against the wetsuits, even though the water was 45 degrees. We were the only ones, it was hilarious. It was a bright, sunny day (of course) and we figured we'd be fine. I had already been acclimated as I had swam in the Long Island Sound every month throughout the winter. Paul did however get booties to protect his feet in the case of getting ejected from the raft.
Unfortunately, I couldn't bring the camera, as it would for sure get ruined, so we don't have any pictures of the rafting. It was a great time, however. Paul and I were in front paddling with 4 other riders and an instructor. No one ever got thrown out unfortunately, but I did take a swim in one section that was particularly calm. The water felt nice, and Paul had to yank me back in when I was done.
Rafting was a blast, and afterwards, the bus brought us back to the top. We got a late lunch, and then headed for the Royal Gorge. This was another 4 mile ride up an ever more challenging ascent.
Once we finally arrived, we were amazed at some of the spectacles. The bridge crossing the gorge was surprisingly rickety in appearance. There were often large gaps between the wooden planks, and cars that passed shook it quite a bit. There was a helicopter there doing amazing tricks like driving directly at the wall, and also a gondola type thing going straight across the gorge. Scary. Along the bridge, there were flags from each state. As we contemplated a picture next to the Connecticut flag, we noticed a familiar face walking by. One of the Cold Stone employees was there with her boyfriend, and passed us at just the right time to take our picture on the bridge.
After that, we hung out for a while, watching a movie about the gorge and emaging in the great passtime of people watching. It was fun. We then headed back into Canon City. We figured we'd camp again that night, and make the trip to Colorado Springs the following morning.
As buffet style was our favorite meal option, we had one again for dinner. Afterwards, we stopped in Walmart to check for tubes since we were fresh out, and would be in bad shape if we popped a flat before Colorado Springs. Paul and I both hadn't played Guitar Hero in a while, and when I spied it in the electronics section, we would wait our turn along the other 10 year olds for a chance to rock. I gained another fan who asked if I would be in the tournament the coming weekend. After the no that left him in disappointment, and no dice on the right tubes, we left.
While setting up the tent at the same site, I realized I needed to get online for the following day's post. We again went back to Cold Stone to see if I could get some wifi. Able to attain a signal, I uploaded some stuff, and finished the blog entry. It was hopping again there, but this time I didn't get anything.
Returning to the site, tired from a long day, we fell asleep quickly. The following day we would head into Colorado Springs, the second biggest city in Colorado, to stay with couchsurfers again. What a great state.
Life was good.