Colorado Springs is the second largest city in Colorado and the hub of entire Southeastern portion of the state. It is about an hour's drive south of Denver, and about a half hour more to the Denver airport. It is situated on the "front range," and grew to become the de facto capital of southern Colorado because of its location directly beneath Pike's Peek and along Fountain Creek, which undoubtedly was a lot more important to early settlers than it is now.
There are roughly half a million people in the general vicinity of Colorado Springs, and it the 41st largest city in the entire country - which obviously means that it is larger than any city at all in quite a few States. It has spread out over time, but the principal direction has been to the north, in the direction of Denver. Development to the East continues, but there is little out there but scrub land, and large parcels have been held up until recent times, stifling development in that direction. There have been a couple of smaller towns directly to the west, such as Manitou Springs and Old Colorado City, but they either have been outright annexed or survive basically in name only.
|Typical Mule Deer|
Colorado Springs has good bus service, both locally and to the rest of the country via Denver. The Colorado Springs Airport is small but efficient. and is very conveniently located. Unfortunately, the prices for flights there are usually much higher than out of Denver, so people who fly regularly usually wind up making the pilgrimage north up I-25.
|The road to the Air Force Academy|
Every May, the AFA has its graduation. You cannot miss it, because there is a jet flyover that thunders across every five minutes. It is great theater, and worth a visit at that time of year (when the weather finally has become nice again) just to sit back on someone's porch and watch the various maneuvers.
|Falcon Stadium at the USAFA|
The AFA, incidentally, makes the news regularly for one wicked behavior or another (alleged) by its cadets. It's amazing how many parties they apparently have over there, with one female cadet or another coerced one way or another into getting familiar with fellow cadets (alleged). It's a regular beehive of activity up there. Incidentally, the main north/south drag in the Springs is "Academy Boulevard." If you get lost and need to find your way to the AFA, just find Academy Boulevard and head north. It runs right into it.
|Training at the US Air Force Academy|
The national Olympic center also is located here. In my ten years here, though, the only time I've ever heard anything about that was when its lease was up a few years back and they worked a sweetheart deal from the city to induce them to stay. Was in the local paper for a good week or two. Good for local prestige to have it here, I suppose, but an absolute non-factor in everyday life.
|USOC Training Facility on Boulder Avenue|
Aside from the airports, there are basically two ways out of town. You either take I-25 north to Denver or South to Pueblo and then New Mexico, or you head up into the mountains through "the pass." Below is the road through "the pass."
|Highway 24 heading west through Ute Pass|
It isn't really all that exciting, though locals will try to impress you with how wonderful their pickup is because they went "fully loaded" through the pass. When they say that to me, I'm usually not sure if they mean their truck was loaded or....