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Wi-Fi, Retro Games, Ancient Volcano: A+ Roadtrip

October 20th, 2012 · Tags:Cities · Restaurant · Uncategorized


Garden Of The Gods, Colo.

BTW, This blog was written inside a volcano … most of it anyway.

On the way to Colorado Springs, I sped on by the Capulin cone because the weather was a little sketchy. On the trip back to Texas, I could not resist. Hmmm … I have visited the dormant landmark before and “scaled” it’s circular ascent in an SUV. But this was my first visit on a motorcycle. Two wheels certainly add a different dynamic when circling and climbing the 8,000-feet phenom — on a two-lane road with no guardrails.


Capulin View

(My dad took me to the volcano when I was a kid, a sidetrip when my brother’s Vega Longhorns team played a football game in somewhat nearby Texline, Texas … ha … another Longhorn team.  No … wait, Lazbuddie are the Longhorns … Texline Tornadoes, that’s it.  I digress … I also did Capulin on the 18,000-mile tour of The Wi-Fi Guy blog.)

On one side is the lava rock reinforced slope and on the other … what appears to be a straight drop. Ha! On the way up, I confess I held the handlebars a bit tighter as I gazed out high above the surrounding plains, dotted with ancient lava flows, a few cattle, mesquite and prickly pear.



Ha … I have a confession too. But don’t tell my friends. On the way down after I had conquered Capulin, yes, I played a little game to see how far I could ride the motorcycle, coasting with “no hands.” Why? I don’t know. (“That boy ain’t got good sense.”) I guess so I could blog about it. … I digress.

At the top, I circled the rim on foot, a bit winded from the thinner air and the hike. And yes, I fired up the iPad that had been tucked under my leather jacket for a couple of hundred miles to check for a data connection. Ooh AT&T. You let me down. I am pretty sure a few years back i got signal inside the volcano using a Verizon aircard. I could be wrong. This time … definitely no way to check in on Facebook from the crater, with my iPad or iPhone.

But … I jotted notes for the blog anyway and took a few photos with the iPhone. (Should have brought the Nikon …)

So, what the dormant volcano lacked as a hotspot, it made up for with dried magma, magnitude and beauty. Highly recommended!


You know, these orange pings are just little volcanoes turned on their sides … and today we sacrifice 7 of them to the god of the volcano.

Last thought on Capulin — a friend of a friend tells of a high school prank 20 years ago, in which a bunch of buddies gathered up old rubber tires, traveled to the volcano in winter — when its vegetation was safely covered in wet snow — and the group lit the tires to create a huge, long-lasting plume of thick black smoke that poured from the landmark. Environmentally friendly? Perhaps not … but funny all the same. Can you imagine what the locals must have thought initially?

Before Capulin, on the last few outings in Colorado Springs, we hit two more great places.

Pizzeria Rustico in Colorado Springs, or “Rustic Pizza” as this Gringo calls it … yum. Ha … touted as hand-made food and hand-crafted beers. And, lest we forget … hand stretching of the dough and a pecan wood-fired oven.


I highly recommend the Quattro Stagioni … but then i like olives …


Rustic Wi-Fi? Beyond rustic … nada! No Wi-Fi. Put that in your oven and smoke it. Bummer … but still worth the trip. Great atmosphere, and cool patio, although a bit cold and rainy during our visit – 5 pings.



Then we went from rustic to retro …

Perhaps the biggest attraction on the main street in Manitou Springs, the Penny Arcade, right in the heart of the touristy retail scene.

What a treasure trove of coin-operated magic! There is an arcade — a menagerie of retails spaces filled with video games, skeeball, air hockey and yes pinball. But it is more than an arcade. It is a living museum, a time capsule of fun, 25 cents at a time. The arcade has been in operation since 1931, and they still have some of the original games.



Pinball Report

I would guess that would be pretty expensive real estate to rent, so guessing the arcade owns their space. The arcade has been there since 1931! Have you seen it? Lots of the machines are about that old too … probably priceless antiques if the right picker were to come along … not that they would sell. Oh … there something for everyone … pinball, skeeball, video games, air hockey, old-fashion target shooting … you name it. (I did not see foosball!?! Good thing we had that at the WesterFunk Villa.) So cool. Again no Wi-Fi per se … but plenty of other electronic tools to spark your interest.



I am no gamer, but “that deaf, dumb and blind kid sure plays a mean pinball” so we appreciate the history. The antique technology is among the coolest things I have seen. Plus, you can walk a few feet away and use the free municipal Wi-Fi provided in the retail section of Manitou Springs – 7 pings.


Manitou Springs


WesterFunk Hikers





Riding back home to Texas … oh the nostalgia of a road trip. This time it was all about the shadows. I can always tell the lighting is different in Fall. The shadows get so long because of the planet’s … well … whatever it is that causes that in Autumn.

As a kid, I sat on a school bus for a couple of hours a day, staring out the window and watching the rambling shadow of the bus projected on to the bar ditches, barns, ranchland, corn stalks or whatever along the way. I remember the bus shadow shrunken, stretched, “oblongated,” distorted … by the afternoon sun on the way home … appearing to be a few feet long and a few feet wide.

On this recent ride, the motorcycle shadow was messing with my head as well. But, the morning sun was casting a big long shadow of the bike … making it appear to be 10 feet long and 15 feet tall. Ha … and imagine the man of girth in the shadow, cold, bundled up, riding the bike. It was a very cool visual, gliding down the road … trying to concentrate on the road and not the beautiful scenery through Colorado, New Mexico and Texas.


Know what I sayin?