Monday, September 6, 2010

Another Kind of Bird!

After returning from my visit with daughter Pamela and her family, Bill told me he had a surprise planned for Labor Day weekend. He wouldn't tell me what we were doing - but promised that I wouldn't be disappointed. I was instructed to bring a bathing suit, change of clothes, hiking boots, $100 cash, casino cards, binoculars and my camera. I made lots of guesses - white water rafting, hiking in Mueller State Park, Cripple Creek, etc., but Bill remained mute.

On Saturday morning, we stopped to pick up Bill's daughter, Laura and her husband, Tim. Tim drove saying we were going to the Colorado State Fair in Pueblo. I knew that was not the surprise. We headed towards Canon City and Tim pulled off where the sign pointed to Sky Diving Adventures - telling me this was the surprise. I told them to have fun - but I wasn't getting out of the car. I knew Laura wasn't either. Tim laughed and turned around, heading west on Route 50 along the Arkansas River towards the white water rafting launch point - but they told me rafting season was closed so that was not the surprise either. By this time I had a hunch where we were going.

Sure enough, we were going on a helicopter tour of the Royal Gorge! Now this was not a calm ride looking at the pretty views - this was a real ADVENTURE. Imagine the scariest roller coaster ride you've ever been on and multiply it by 100 - that was our ride!

We took off and headed to the canyon. Tim sat up front with the pilot; Bill, Laura and I sat in the back.

This was going to be fun! I had no idea what was coming.

Bill sat across from me.

Laura, beside me, was all smiles.

Wow, the views are great.

The pilot asked if we were ready...

...and suddenly he banked hard to the right and dove into the canyon!

This was the view as we plunged towards the river. My stomach was in my mouth. It was terrifying!

After we leveled out we could see rafts on the river below.

It was gorgeous - but we knew we had to pull up before we got to the suspension bridge that goes over the Royal Gorge.

And pull up we did!

The bridge was just ahead.

What a view!

I thought it would be fun to fly under the bridge - but I'm sure that's not possible.

I don't know how the pilot knew which gauge was which - maybe he didn't! After crossing the bridge, we turned and headed back. On the way he asked if we wanted to take one more dip into the canyon - which we did. What a thrill!

Bill and I had a great time! Thank you, Bill, for the best surprise EVER!

And thanks to Laura and Tim for sharing this adventure with us! You guys are so much more than family - you are great friends.

After our ride, we headed to the Colorado State Fair in Pueblo where we ate corn dogs and curly fries.

Labor Day weekend in Colorado Springs just wouldn't be the same without a visit to the Hot Air Balloon Festival at Memorial Park. Early in the day, almost a hundred balloons take to the sky. This picture was taken at night during the "glow." Too cool! Today, Labor Day we are going to a float fly and barbecue. I should have more neat pics to share tomorrow.

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