Sunday, August 8, 2010

Saturday August 7, 2010-Garden of the Gods Campground

Today we slowed down a little bit. This is Mike and Patrice's (and of course, their grandson Ryan's) last full day here in Colorado Springs so we decided to go to the Manitou Pancake and Steakhouse for their breakfast buffet. Stella and I had been to it many years ago on one of our previous trips, so we were confident that it would be good. It was... We all had plenty to eat, but that was the plan because while Stella and I took all three boys to the zoo, Mike and Patrice were going to start packing up to leave tomorrow and then we were all going to go back to the Ultimate Buffet for supper again.

We made our way to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, only one of two mountain zoos in the United States. It covers 70 acres of gently sloped walkways up onto the side of Cheyenne Mountain, and I think we walked every square foot of it. As I said, the walks are gentle slopes but Stella's bad knees limited her mobility and she took an elevator when she could. The boys enjoyed the zoo and the animals there. Tyler liked the many chipmunks that ran all over the park and Cameron liked the grizzly bear best. The grizzles enclosure had a small pool that is right next to the viewing area, so when one of the grizzlies got into the water, they were within an arm's length of the visitors, but of course safely behind a heavy piece of glass or Plexiglas, so there was no danger. the bears are very large and intimidating, with huge paws and claws. It is easy to see how deadly they could be. The chipmunks were very cute and begged for treats all over the park.

The giraffes were also unusual in that they are the largest herd of reticulated giraffes in the United States. Visitors are able to feed them with specially-made giraffe crackers in inside or outside viewing areas. The giraffes come right up to be hand-fed and seem to be very gentle. Many of the small children were frightened by the large animals.

We returned home and I took a very-much needed nap to rest from the 150 mile march-uphill-that I was forced to do this afternoon. After an hour or so of recuperating, we took the boys back to their favorite restaurant, the Ultimate Buffet oriental food buffet restaurant. The boys found some sort of fruit that looked like an eyeball, but although everyone else tried it, I was chicken and wouldn't experiment with one. They said it tasted faintly like a pear but had a different flavor. We all ate more than we needed, but we had promised the boys that we would bring them back here, so we enjoyed out meal.

We returned home and went over to Mike and Patrice's site which is directly behind ours and across a drainage ditch that we called "the river". Every time it rained, the rainwater filled the river with a rushing stream and the boys all wanted to walk across it, but we wouldn't let them. Careful grandparents! We sat outside and chatted about their trip home. Patrice had bought ingredients to make S'mores for the boys. Even after eating at a delicious buffet, they managed to put away an amazing number of the chocolate/marshmallow treats.

Tyler and Cameron told everyone goodbye in case they didn't get up in time to see them off in the morning and it turned out to be a good thing... We enjoyed our time with them, and talking about our past adventures and dreams of the future.

So long.

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