During my business trip (I am not making that up, the business part) to Pueblo, Colorado, we spent the afternoon on a jaunt from Manitou Springs to the top of Pikes Peak and back. It's not unusual for me to leave some things unsaid in the frenetic pace of a trip, but they eventually need to be said. If you've read Dear Boston and/or Catching up on Correspondence, then you know the drill...
To the Buffalo Bill look-alike / wannabe in Manitou Springs,
I have never, I mean never, seen anyone unholster, twirl and re-holster a six-shooter like that save for when I was sitting in the dark in front of a screen. Man, I hope that thing wasn't loaded. We would have stopped and gotten out of the car to watch the whole show, but we figured you'd want a "contribution." Engineers!
To the Pikes Peak Cog Railway Company,
You need good equipment to climb those 25% grades. I was relieved to see the plate over the door noting that the train was made in Winterthur, Switzerland. The Swiss have never seen a slope that didn't look like a good place for a train track. I'm sure it was a challenge, but I can report that they were up to it...so far.
To the lawyers for the above-mentioned railway company,
Looking through the brochure while waiting for the train, I came across your contribution to full disclosure: "The M and PP RY will not be held liable for for delays due to weather, track or mechanical problems or any other reason." Do you think, just maybe, you've covered all the bases?
To the gift shop at the Manitou Springs station,
My sincere apologies for the (thankfully) unspoken thoughts I had at learning water was available ONLY in 1 liter bottles. The thought: Just a scheme to get $3.00 from a captive audience. Well... I finished the bottle before the train returned from the top and was glad for every drop.
To Sarah Conductor,
Yes. You were right. The falls we passed ARE higher than Niagara Falls. Did you every consider writing boilerplate for the legal team that came up with the disclaimer for your company?
To the smokers at the summit,
NOW do you think you might want to quit?
To the guys (from MY group) exercising 14,115 feet,
I don't think you'd have really had to hand in your man-cards if you didn't do the push-ups.
Oxygen at 14,000 feet. Would it have really been so hard? The May snow showers at the top were a nice touch, though.
To our waiter at the Stagecoach in Manitou Springs,
A. __ My parents named me
B. __ I chose the name later in life
C. __ It's a nickname attached to me by my friends
If you chose:
A. What WERE they thinking
B. What were YOU thinking
C. You need to find another group of friends
To Mike, one of our seat-mates on the train,
Cool - visiting the high points in all 50 states. Alaska is in the 42 you've already done. That means Denali. I am impressed. It doesn't seem the remaining 8 will provide anywhere near the challenges you must have already faced, what with Florida, Alabama, MIssissippi and Louisiana being among the states left to climb. Good luck!
To the rest of you out there,
You really should get to Colorado sometime.