Pikes Peak

Ron called first thing this morning and said he wasn’t sure about going up Pikes Peak today since the weather did not look too good and it was drizzling off and on.  
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I looked out the window and it did look a bit iffy over the peak.  We had made reservations for the 2:40 train because there was a $5 each discount (get the coupon on the web at www.cograilway.com) for the final ascent of the day.  We checked the weather forecast and it called for thunderstorms starting at 2.  We decided to go anyway and even though it was overcast the views were still great and we could see all the way to Kansas.

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We stopped part of the way up to let another train go by that was on it’s way down.  This critter which I think is a marmot came out of a hole and watched us until we left.



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This is a view from the top.  Ten minutes before leaving to take the train back down to Manitou Springs the weather changed for the worse and it started sleeting and getting very overcast.  It was 30 degrees Fahrenheit.
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There is a gift shop and snack bar on the summit.  As soon as we walked in we were met by a display of fudge and donuts and since we were all light headed at this 14,115 feet altitude Ron bought us donuts even though they were a jaw dropping $2.99 each.  Just fifteen feet to the left was the snack bar and after we gobbled our donuts we meandered over to see what they had and would you believe the same donuts were 99 cents each!  What treachery. 
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We were given 40 minutes on the summit and that’s just about the right amount of time.  A few statistics:  There are 44 cog railways in the world with most being in Europe.  The Pikes Peak railway is the longest in the world at 8.9 miles one way and is also the steepest with grades up to 25%.
It’s a good thing we didn’t turn on the television news before we left because there was a blizzard at the summit around 12:30.  Tourists that had driven up were temporarily stranded until the road could be plowed.  I’m sure we would have made the decision not to go today and that would have been a mistake.  Ron was totally thrilled and thought it was a wonderful trip.  And I had a great time yakking with Ron because he wants us to go to Alaska and New Zealand and China together!!!! 
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