Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Day 4: Salina to Colorado Springs

Welcome to Colorful Colorado!!! We have made it to Colorado Springs at the base of the Rocky Mountains. The mountains rising in the distance as we neared the city were a welcome sight after hours of driving through flatlands and rolling fields. The main source of excitement during today's drive was the acres on acres of wind farms covered in windmills with blades each the size of a semi. 

    (Windmill farm in Kansas)

Upon reaching Colorado Springs we made our way straight to the United States Air Force Academy. For those who do not know, USAFA is the youngest of the military academies and only accepts about 1000 freshmen each year. Students attend the Academy just as they would most other colleges with taking courses through the four years leading up to earning a degree of their choice at graduation. The special element is the training and special courses they get from before their freshman year up to graduation that will prepare them for life and work in the Air Force. On graduation day the cadets from the Academy don't just receive their degree but also they get commissioned as officers into the US Air Force. Many go on to become pilots, para-jumpers, medics, lawyers, and engineers in the USAF leading squadrons along the way. 

(The whole crew at the US Air Force Academy Cadet Chapel)

Our main focus at USAFA was the museum including a video depicting the life of a cadet from basic to graduation and the Cadet Chapel. Students were in awe of the large architecturally unique chapel with its beautiful stained glass windows. Inside the chapel there are multiple worship areas: Christians, Catholics, Jews, and Budhists can all worship in their separate sanctuaries within one building. Outside the Chapel the crew could look over the wall that separates the visitors from the students into what cadets call "the zoo" (walkways between buildings and classes). As it is summer there were not many people on campus but the crew was able to get a glimpse of what life at the Academy looks like. 

Our crew of travelers got a chance for some relaxation and free time at the hotel after leaving the Academy. Many students used the time to workout or go to the pool while others indulged in the Chic-fil-a next door or walked to over various shops in the area. Some students even took advantage of the laundry machines provided by the hotel. We went to dinner at Fargo Pizza Company rejuvenated by our free time. Fargo is the largest family owned pizza parlor in the United States and has been open since 1973. The old west style pizza parlor had a flair unlike any most of us had seen. Overall the group have the whole experience two thumbs up! 

      (Doing laundry)

   (Enjoying Fargo's Pizza)

Now it's off to bed for the crew as tomorrow is a big day exploring more of Colorado Springs. 

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