After waking up and packing, we stopped by the buffet again. We'd get in as many as these things as possible while the opportunity was there. After that, we stopped at Coldstone again to get online. We were there before they opened, and Stacey, the same girl we had seen at the gorge was working. She opened the doors and offered us some ice cream before we left. We didn't have any, as we were full, but it was a nice gesture. We talked to her again for a bit, and left.
Our first stop would be Penrose, just outside of Canon City. We filled up our water bottles there. You really need water at that altitude. We'd have to climb back out of the foothills to get to Colorado Springs.
The first half had us working up a nice sweat. There were some pretty intense hills, but we conquered. The second half of the ride would be a nice downhill cruise into "the Springs" as the locals say. There are 5 military bases in the Springs, the coolest being Norad. Norad, the worst acronym ever, stands for North American Aerospace Defense Command. There base is a hollowed out mountain front. You can tell from all of the antennas on top. Pretty cool.
Once we got all the way in, we stopped at a Panera where I would be able to get online, and we could also get some good food. As soon as we pulled into the parking lot, a van stopped and asked us, "Do you guys need a place to stay?". We said no, (bad move), as we had already had couchsurfing people that we had arranged to stay with. We spoke to him for a few minutes, and then went on into Panera. As soon as he had pulled away we thought, shoot, we should have at least gotten his number in case things had fallen through with our present hosts.
While getting some food inside, I hopped online. We found out that the hosts we were staying with were actually 25 miles north of downtown. Yikes. We wanted to see some of the Springs, and riding all the way up that day would have made it a chore to come back. We contacted one person on the warmshowers website (hosts for bikers) who seemed eager to host cyclists. He shot us down. We called Jenny, our new friend from Pueblo, who mentioned that her friend might be able to host us, shot down. Hmmmm, we decided that we would just camp. We looked up a few sites that were looking to charge close to $40 for a tent site. Get out of here. Instead we found a cheap motel right in the downtown area, and figured we'd head over there from Panera.
As we rolled over to the motel, and pulled out all of our negotiating stops again, we settled up in a decent place and showered. We headed out to the downtown bar scene and got some food. We went to an Irish place (go figure), where they were playing live music. A young couple burst onto the scene dancing up a storm right next to our table. It was pretty entertaining and quite odd, but they were pretty good, and quite intense.
We did a bit of bar hopping, as we were a little disappointed with the crowd, but it was a Tuesday night. After a while of that, we decided to head back to the motel. I would be getting in a badly needed tire shipment the following day, and we were going to go to the Garden of the Gods, a natural garden of rock formations on the west side of the city. It would be fun, but we were still awaiting a badly needed day of rest where we didn't look at the bikes at all. Either way, we had a nice bed to sleep on and breakfast in the morning, and we were in Colorado the Beautiful.
Life was good.