Weekly Update - Week Ending July 22nd, 2022

By Blake Nichols |

With all thats been going on, I missed the update last week. Don't fret, I'll cover some of what has been going on over the past couple weeks. So buckle up and let's get started.

Family Visits

My dad came up to visit so naturally we had to get the guest room ready which involved a bit of painting and furniture assembly. First things first, we had to get to painting. We went with mostly a white with a soft grey accent wall and back wall in the closet. It was the same grey we painted the living room if you've seen it on Facebook or Instagram. Ashley was a pro and assembled the nightstands shortly after the arrived, but due to some damage we had to re-order the dresser. The new dresser was delivered hours before dad was scheduled to arrive, and naturally Ashley had it together before he arrived (she really is the best).

After my dad rested from the 12 hour drive, it was time to show him around. The kids suggested we take him up to the mall (Centennial Promenade) to show him the Lego store. You know these kids aren't as sly as they think they are because they have been asking to go get more Legos for a couple weeks, but my dad also knows how kids are and instinctually knew that was the case and agreed with them (thanks dad). Maybe they do know what they are doing. Once the kids scored their legos, and we walked around the mall we grabbed dinner at the Cheesecake Factory. All in-all it was an enjoyable evening and it was nice to catch up with my dad.


Little side-bar on my dad: We went out of touch when I was in my late teens and early 20's. It wasn't that anything happened we were both just busy as Ashley and I started our lives together, and he was busy with work. Over the years we started making more of an effort to call and see each other more often. I started working for a software company in downtown Dallas we started having weekly lunches, which continued when I moved jobs over to Highland Park. Once I moved out to Granbury the lunches were on a more monthly basis, but we still talked all the time. Not seeing him for a couple months has been hard, but I knew the visits would be fewer once moved to Colorado. Now go reach out to your parents if you can, they would love to hear from you.

The next day we made the trip over to the Garden of the Gods where we walked with him down to the central path and gave him the quick rundown. I wasn't about to have him go on a hike, he didn't have enough time to acclimate to the higher elevation, and even though it's one of the lower parts of the springs, even I was winded after walking around this place during Spring Break, before we moved up here. On the way out we stopped by Balancing Rock on our way to Manitou Springs.

After finding parking in Manitou, which is always scarce, we made a stop in to the arcade to the kids could show grandpa some of the games they like to play before heading over to Rocky Mountain Beignets. Ashley and I didn't partake in the deliciousness as we both are on Keto, but the kids and my dad loved them. I've had them before and will recommend them to anyone who visits Manitou, they are delicious.

Technical Updates

There have been some additional maintenance items that have been rolled out for The Car, including: Belt and Hoses Checks, Exterior Light Checks, Replacing the Fuel Filter, and some additional engine checks. Version 0.3.1 was released to the App Store and should have been automatically installed if you had a previous version. Major addition is each vehicle now has a Transmission type that can be selected (Automatic or Manual), which will be used to show transmission specific maintenance that needs to be done.

There have also been some database optimization so things should seem snappy as you go through the site.

Adventure #1 - Cave of the Winds

Our trip to the cave of the winds started with the climb up the road leading towards the parking lot. It's a steep narrow road with breathtaking views of the foothills of pikes peak. We arrived 30 minutes before our tour time as instructed and had a little time to look around the gift shop and some of the other attractions.

Our tour started right on time, as they said it would, and our tour guide was amazing. You could tell that she really loved her job, and I can see why! We took the adventure tour, which was about 45m long and took us pretty deep into the mountain. The paths were well light, except for the one.

About halfway through we went down a long dark passage guided by (fake) candle light, once we had all come to a stop the guide turned out the light and it was pitch black (picture not included). The kids didn't seem to mind the darkness, but it was only for a few seconds. Once she turned the light back on we headed back up and wrapped the tour.

I very much enjoy it and it was the first cave tour I've been on since I was a kid when we toured the black hills in South Dakota. Definitely recommend this tour. Just make sure to get your tickets ahead of time as the group sizes are limited.

Adventure #2 - Mt Herman

With Ashley down with what we think was a light sinus infection, I decided the kids and I should get out of the house for a little while to let her rest so I popped open the All Trails app and found the closest mountain path we could go climb, which was Mt. Herman. After packing some snacks and water bottles, we we off to climb our first mountain!

The drive was scenic as we passed Monument Rock and entered Pikes Peak National Forest for the drive to the Trailhead. Once in the park we hit what I can only describe as the bumpiest road that I have ever driven. We stopped after a few hundred feet to check the tires as it was jarring so much I was sure something had popped. Thankfully they were all solid, so we pressed on towards our destination.

Upon arriving at the trailhead, we parked next to the only other car in this tiny parking lot at the edge of the hairpin turn. I read that parking can be an issue but thankfully we lucked out, or so I thought. The views on our assent were exactly what I was looking forward to when we moved up here; majestic rock faces surrounded by trees and bushes, running water, and signs of life everywhere.

It took us about 1h15m to climb to the summit, with a few stops to enjoy the scenery and hydrate along the way. There was one section of the hike that was composed of larger rocks that slowed us down, mostly to keep our breathing steady and get out of the sun for a moment. Once we reached the top the views were breathtaking, we could see all northern Colorado Springs, Monument, and our neighborhood! It is said that on a clear day you can see Kansas City from the top, but it was a bit hazy and we couldn't make it out. Considering that Kansas is flatter than a pancake, its no surprise that we could see over to Missouri on a clear day with that kind of elevation (nearly 9k feet).

Once we got our summit pictures in, it was time to start our decent. Remember how I said we lucked out with the parking? Well ... I didn't look at the forecast and there was rain moving in quickly. As we started our way down we were slightly off path, which quickly turned into pretty far off path as we were in a bit of a hurry. Thankfully I had downloaded the trail map before we started so we weren't lost, just had to reestablish ourselves on the correct course. With things getting slippery from the rain, Austin took the lead and found us a way back to the trail with me guiding from the back.

The decent was harder than expected, as the grade of the path was steep and there was a lot of gravel. The kids handled it like pros, taking their time and working as a team on the parts that were hard. We didn't get too wet as the rain mostly just cooled us down and dried quickly. This was a "moderate" trail and we will be on it again, next time we will just have the right shoes and probably some hiking poles.

Weekly Update - Week Ending July 8th, 2022