Sunday, November 16, 2008


Snow storm in Colorado Springs

Not all my traveling has met with pleasure. One such trip was to a meeting, along with our Editor-in-Chief, when we were invited to Colorado Springs, Colorado. This city is scattered in a beautiful valley stately guarded by the dominance of Pike’s Peak which towers over 14,000 feet.

The host organization had put us in a new, and very nice, motel that was just off the interstate. My first thoughts were, “This is great being able to get on the highway without any difficulty.” The sun began to hide early beyond the high mountain in the west, so I departed from the lobby to my room to gaze out the wide window and watch the handiwork of this majestic view. As the sun set, dark rolling clouds began to move in. I watched with disbelief that things could change so fast. While sitting there I heard freezing rain on the windows which soon was followed by very large snow flakes. I was mystified by this since I had not seen snow like this in years.

Since the day had been long, and the darkness occupied my thoughts, I was soon put to sleep where I lay for a number of hours in my dim lighted room. However, the darkness was now brightened as the sun burst through the blue morning sky which had been cleaned by the snow of the previous evening. Being an early riser I headed, as I do every morning, to the bathroom to shave and shower. After the morning ritual I slipped into a suit and readied for the day scheduled. However, before I opened the door to go to breakfast, I went to the window and with amazement could not even see my rental car or any others since they were under about 8 or 9 feet of snow. The highway was dead still and there was no activity anywhere. This suddenly sobered my dull sleepiness and I was made aware that my day activities would be changed.

At the desk the clerk advised that the day crew could not get to work and even if they were permitted on the highway they would not be able to get to the motel since the access road was filled with blowing snow and was probably 16 or so feet deep filling completely under the overpass bridge.

Well, the next week was spent in a motel that used up all their breakfast food in three days. However, they had gotten dough from a pizza shop directly across their parking lot left from the night of the snow. They provided this and the motel made biscuits from pizza dough until it was gone. I never thought I would like pizza biscuits, but when you are hungry most things suffice. Beds went unchanged unless you changed your own. Thanks to a demanding mom from my youth I was able to do a good change. Vacuum the floor and even wash towels. Teamwork became our mainstay.

The snow took a few days to allow cars to move, but then the backup of air flights became my next nightmare. Everyone was doing all they could to accommodate, but schedules were full and our time was governed by others. I was glad I had learned patience early in life.

Colorado Springs is one of my favorite towns, but as I finally was given a ticket to depart I looked out my airplane window with, “I hope I don’t see you again for a while. Enough is enough!”

“ And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope:,” -- Romans 5:3-4

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Crossing Highest Bridge in Canon City, Colorado

I was working toward a business certification from the University of Colorado and had sometime in Colorado Springs. A minister friend of mine and I had discussed viewing parts of the area I had not seen on former visits, so I suggested we travel down to Canon City and see the highest single suspension bridge in the U.S. which was near there.

My friend and I decided to take the Tram across and walk back on the bridge. Boy! Was that ever a mistake? I was terrified on the ride and even more afraid during the walk back because you could see through cracks between each plank all the way back. At 1,100 feet I was sure I saw China once or twice. My friend is a rather large manly fellow and I admitted to him of my deathly fear and he invited me to hold to his arm until we got back to the other side. Honestly, I held on for a while until my composure had returned.

I suppose everyone has a fear of some type and I discovered on this day mine was of height. For you see this is the world's highest suspension bridge which was build June 5, 1929, and completed in November 1929 in a time when building was not to be compared with our time. In fact, the architect only used a slide rule, pencil and paper, for his guidance. This bridge is 1,260 feet long and is 18 feet wide as it spans 880 feet. The walkway is made of 1,292 planks of deck with about 250 are replaced annually. The original cost to build was $350,000 which would cost today about $20 million.

The tram is also the longest single-span Aerial Tram in the world and was built in 1968. It too cost $350,000 and is 2,200 feet long spanning the Arkansas River at a height of 1,178 feet with more than two miles of cables utilized in the tramway system. I didn’t know that is had wind-warning gauges working at all times keeping the tram from operating during severe weather or gusty winds. If you ask me it should have never left for the other side because the wind blew all the way.

Besides the worlds longest and highest, this area boasts of having the world's steepest Incline Railway. By now you would think I would not try anything else. But I did!

How did all this come to be? Well, two railroad companies were fighting for the right-of-way to bring gold down out of the mountains through the rugged Royal Gorge. Only one company could win – and to make sure they would, the Santa Fe Railroad hired Bat Masterson and his gang to defend their position while their men laid track along the edge of the Arkansas River.

It was an exciting day but I don’t plan to visit there again until I stop shaking.

“It is as high as heaven; what canst thou do? Deeper than hell; what canst thou know?”
.-- Job 11:8

Sunday, November 2, 2008


Rhodes is truly the island of Roses

Rhodes, the beautiful island of roses, has unique physical scenery that does not cease to impress its visitors. Also unique is its climate with more sunny days than any other place in lower Europe. Like other Greek cities most chose a mainline god or goddess so the people of Rhodes chose Helios, the Sun, as their signature god. With practically zero crime rate and friendly and hospitable people you'll be surprised how easy life in Rhodes can be.

Rhodians are proud to note their city was the first ever built on an urban plan. In fact, 2,400 years ago, the famous architect of the ancient times, Ippodamus, designed and applied the first ever urban plan based on a perpendicular system.
Probably the most frequented part of the city is the ancient harbor - today called Mandraki - with the statue of the deer and the fawn at its entrance. Tradition tells us that this was where the famous Colossus of Rhodes, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, stood. Near the old city you will find exposed sparse remains of the Temple of Aphrodite.

Even after centuries of conflict and wars, Rhodes remains beautiful. Its beaches are among the cleanest in the Aegean, and its interior is still home to unspoiled mountain villages, rich fertile plains -- and butterflies.

With Richard and Carolyn, our traveling companions, we agreed that one of the highlights of our visit on the island was a trip by bus over to Lindos, a distant of 47km from the city of Rhodes. After arriving at mid-day we went to the shops underneath the Acropolis before we began our long walk to view this very historical place

Vendors were everywhere selling their wares. Our wives not desiring to make the trip up the hill suggested we consult one of the vendors and ride a couple of his donkeys up to the top. Well, two big men took their suggestion and boarded the animals. I am sure we looked like two giants on these little creatures. About half way up the trail my donkey slipped on a flat rock and his feet lost his footing and he went down fast. So did I, but I was able to remain upright. As fast as he had gone down he popped right back under me. The rest of the trip was at a slower pace and we finally entered the gate in good shape.

The village has perfectly preserved its medieval character, with pebble-covered streets and whitewashed houses built on a slope just over the beautiful sea. A series of steps leads to the ancient Acropolis with its Doric Temple of Athena. Through the main gate we discern the ruins of the Knight's Lodge and the Byzantine church of St. John. We cross the Doric Stoa (5th century BC) with its 42 columns (20 have been restored) and climb the majestic staircase to higher terrace with Propylaean ruins (5th century BC). From this point we reach the Sanctuary of Lindian Athena, with its elegant bi-prostyle temple on the edge of the cliff (4th century). Ruins of an ancient theater have been found on the slope of the Acropolis. The ancient Acropolis was then built into a castle.

After a few hours of touring the entire area we looked toward the sea and saw a magnificent view of a little inlet with a small white-walled building with a blue top. According to scripture, St. Paul the Apostle landed there when he came to the island of Rhodes; accordingly, the tiny harbor on the other side of village has been named Agios Pavlos. What a view it was since we were to high in the air looking down and toward the beautiful sea.

We felt sorry for the donkeys so we decided the walk down would be better for us both since the trail was a continuing down grade. About three fourths of the way we heard the voice of familiar ladies. Sure enough in the shop were our two first ladies. My wife’s first words were, “look what I just bought!”

Well, my wife stills wears a windbreaker jacket she bought in Rhodes that is beautifully embroidered with, “Cruising the Aegean Sea.”