These skylines start to look the same...
Whew...we made it through Denver. I can relax.
Under the influence of Judy, we decided to visit the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. We've seen the picturesque Naval Academy campus, and while the USAFA campus was much different, it was just as pretty.
Love your mountains, Colorado Springs.
After the guards oo-ed and aaww-ed over Faraday on a leash in the car, they directed us up to the visitor's center. We took turns cat-sitting and walking around the nice displays on Academy life. Then, the parents and I switched off cat-sitting and hiking up the 1/3 mile trail to the Chapel.
The Chapel was incredible.
I overheard a tour guide describe a bit about the chapel's design. It was designed by the company that created the plans for the tower-formerly-known-as Sears, and was this architect's very first project. He used aluminum siding and the silhouette to represent airplanes and aviation. Also, there were originally going to be 21 spires, representing the Academy's continuation into the 21st-century (though it was finished in the 1960's), but they ran out of money. The most they could add was 17, so there are 17 spires.
Looking up at the roof from inside.
The stained glass is lovely!
Driving out, we admired the whole campus.
Air Force Stadium
Our next stop was the park Garden of the Gods, closer to downtown Colorado Springs. Here there are huge, red rock formations out in the middle of the typical scrubby landscape. They were gorgeous!
We continued on our journey and soon hit another several-hour stretch of wilderness with very little civilization. Unlike our previous day, the scenery changed quite dramatically every so often, from flat plains with views of mountains...
to being actually in mountain passes at 9000 feet (I drove this leg and my parents mostly slept, so no pictures for you) back to different-looking scrubby plains:
Somewhere nearing the border with New Mexico, we saw some impressive dust devils/whirlwind/thingies. Can you see? The one on the left is a dust devil and the circle on the right is a reflection in the window of a cord. Ignore the circle on the right.
I missed the "WELCOME TO NEW MEXICO" sign, but HERE IS NEW MEXICO!!! My new state!
It's pretty, no?
About two hours later, after passing through Taos, Chimayo, and Española, we reached The Hill. Los Alamos was purposefully built up on a mesa, fairly far from anything else, as the site of a government research lab, army post, and secret city during WWII. The Hill was terrifying to drive up and down the first time--during my interview visit, it was snowing and icy. Thankfully, we had a completely typically gorgeous New Mexican day to drive it this time.
Pausing at an overlook. I'm in love with this view.
Dad saw at least one of the Truchas Peaks, which he climbed as a teenager. Getting our fill of pictures for now, we drove around the last few bends in the road...
...to my new hometown. Hello, Los Alamos!
States visited: Colorado, New Mexico