04 Sep 2000 - Johnny B: Colorado Springs

'Pine Peak, what's that?'

As you have already read it was quite hard for me to start my diaries again after my trip home, so I am well behind. I am gonna jump to present day and fill the rest in as I go along. They're not gonna be in sequence though… So shoot me!

After the Minneapolis gig, which we flew to on the day, we flew out straight after the gig that night. After a quick shower at the gig Captain 'set change please' Bruce, Nicko 'I've already mentioned it in my diaries', Jim ' You've never been to Pine Peak, really?' and my good self did a runner to the goose.
It was a tough flight as we were all tired already. It never fails to amaze me how Bruce after a flight there, a very energetic gig can then fly for two hours, at night, to the next place.

We flew straight after the gig as Bruce and Nicko both wanted to get to Colorado Springs as quick as possible. Nicko was keen to get there for golf and Bruce was meeting his family there. Colorado Springs is fabulous. It is clean, picturesque and fantastic fun.
We stayed in the Adams Mark Hotel downtown but if you can afford it I suggest you go to the Broadmoor which is one of the few 5 star RESORTS in America. It had everything from spars, boating lakes, golf courses even an Irish pub.

We didn't get into 3am but even so Jim told me to drag my butt out of bed at 10am and he would give me a day to remember. We were gonna be in this hotel for 4 days travelling to the gigs in between and coming back. I moved rooms twice. First I moved rooms because they put me in a cupboard (well it seemed like it) with a small single bed. Then they moved me to a room that had obviously been occupied by a smoker's convention and it was situated right next to an air conditioning duct. I had to wait to the next morning before they could move me.

We are flying over the Rockies at the moment …what a great site. It is gonna be 104 degrees in Dallas… bit worried abut that to say the least.

At 8am I was out the bed like a shot and before I even washed and showered I was down that reception area like a rat down a drainpipe. I got the details of my new room and was up there to check it out. It was much better with the added advantage of a view right over the picturesque mountains. I did Wally's (Man Mountain) famous 3S's (shave, shower and sh……. You can guess I'm sure!) and was down on time to meet Jim at 10am. We went to Denny's for breakfast, as the hotel breakfast was cack. After yet another lecture on Days off are Days off and get our of ya room … we then set off on an amazing trip.

Jim drove through some of the most picturesque countryside I have seen to date. It was visually stunning and you should be able to see the shots on the site under COLORADO SCENES. After a brilliant hour drive we arrived at the entrance to PIKE PEAK.
Now then… Pikes Peak is the highest spot in Colorado. It is at the top of the mountain range and is 14100 feet high. To travel the trail is 18 miles and a good 2 hour round trip. After Jim had asked me was I sure I wanted to do this… and a resounding YES from me … we set off.
Jim is a top bloke to have with you on a trip. He is so fricking knowledgeable and as he was a New York cop for eons he is always spotting things nobody else does. He pointed so much stuff out on the way up. Deer, bear and some weird and wonderful little creatures that came right up to the door of the car. They looked like a cross between a beaver and a chipmunk. Pita I think he said they were.
1/3rd of the way up you have to stop and go through a checkpoint. This is where Santa's Grotto is… The North Pole. I joke you not. I thought it all a bit strange. However… I can see that in the winter when the whole place is covered in snow it would be easy to convince the kids they had travelled up to Santa's home. In the height of summer though it all seemed a tad weird. I put it all down to the lack of oxygen.
Jim explained that they have an annual race for sports cars up the mountain trail… the Pike's Peak Race. After travelling some of the journey in a comfortable car I would hate to think what it must be like for the racers. The road is VERY, VERY windy and narrow in places. I'll have to get my mate Davey, the rally driver, to enter us.

30 minutes later we came to the second check point. They recommend you get out of the car here and wander about to acclimatise yourself to the height. After a quick wander Jim and myself did the last stage.

When we reached the top the view was… well… breathtaking … literally! It was a weird mixture. The sun was so bright it made you squint. The air was cold and you felt a little chilly (so I went in and bought a cool Pine Peak jacket. Typical tourist me, I'm afraid). Also you felt a little woozy due to the lack of oxygen. Jim took me to the edge of the mountains where the 'Cog Train' ended. The 'Cog train' is like a tram but it runs on a cogged track to help it get up the torturous mountainside. The view was absolutely magnificent. You could see all the way to Denver and you had a fantastic view over Colorado Springs. We could see the Rockies in the distance and there was a sign to say, 'You can see 250 miles today'.

I stood there transfixed by the view. It was like being God and being able to see the ends of time. It was a bit of a spiritual type thing for some I guess. Johnny pagan here was just happy to have experienced it. I will come back again…. and bring my Jan and my boy. It was fricking, totally amazing.

Jim was great. He took me into the little souvenir shop and showed me what not to buy and what would make great momentos. Another 60 bucks less of DVD's I'll be able to get I guess.
I didn't wanna leave but Jim had a flight home to Phoenix in the afternoon as it was his partner's birthday and he has been home only 3 days since April. Poor sod.

We eventually started the trip down. When we were going down the views looked even better than coming up. The rocks were really reddish and I stopped to grab a small red pebble as a souvenir. When we came to the top checkpoint they use a machine to check the temperature of your brakes. If they are too hot they won't let you travel on and you have to pull over and let them cool down for 10 minutes. We passed, so we carried on.
We passed some of the great treking spots. Great waterfalls, the great dam and the magnificent hanging rocks, the size of houses. It was also fun watching all the lightning strikes from the clouds over Colorado. Little did I know what the evening held in place for me!

When we finally made the bottom I felt a little overwhelmed and a little disappointed. I had remembered to bring my camera and you should be able to see some shots on the photo section of the web but I so wished I had brought the videocam. I will from now on take it ANYWHERE Jim takes me. It reckons he has two more major surprises left for me before the tour end.

We drove back to the hotel on the scenic route. Jim said on the next day off he will take me to Crickle Creek. An old western mining town that is the same now as it was 100 years ago.

We arrived back at the hotel around 3.30pm. I went to my room but within minutes the phone had rang. It was Man Mountain. I am worried about him as he is in a bit of a state. He was one night in Chicago doing his normal security thang. He was escorting harry and family off a van and into the gig. He was standing at the back of the van and opening the back door. Jim, Harry's USA driver suddenly took his foot off the brake not realising he had NOT put the handbrake on. The van rolled back and pinned Wally between the wall and the van door. He screamed and they moved the van forward. Wally dropped to the floor.
Wally has injured and bruised his liver and torn dozens of muscles in his stomach. He is really in a lot of pain. We are all keeping an eye on him and as his breakfast partner I wanna make sure he is okay.

Wally and Coxie are gonna go to Wall Mart. Did I wanna go? I wanted to get some stuff and keep an eye on Man Mountain. Little did I know what an adventure it would turn out to be.

Same time, same channel tomorrow folks for part2 of Colorado

See you somewhere, with my cameras.

Johnny 'Oxygen bars… phooey, Colorado's the place' B

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