Then off to Manitou Springs, perhaps the earthiest-crunchiest place on Earth. First the annual Commonwheel Arts Festival, held on the green: dozens of artists vying to separate us from our money. A triptych of magnificent photographs tempts me, but my more rational better half points out that we really can't afford two grand for them. We do wind up buying an iron pelican, though.
The town is made up of a strict alternation of kitschy tourist shops and little craft stores, the tacky side-by-side with the beautiful.
The dead center of Manitou is The Arcade, certainly one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World. It stretches on for half-a-dozen shopfronts, the most remarkable collection of entertainment devices ever assembled. From four different baseball games (the pinball-shaped 1920s ones that roll a ball and let you swing a flipper to knock one out of the park), through dozens of pinball machines, every classic videogame console ever made (Centipede, Joust, Tron, Space Invaders -- you name it), to the most current devices (one DDR Extreme set dominated by teenage girls) and even a couple of air hockey tables, I realize that I have found Geek Paradise. I don't even start, being unsure that I am capable of stopping once I do.
A few silly purchases made, we retire back to the inn, and its hot tub. There are few better ways to relax than just the two of us in the tub, looking out and up at the Rocky Mountains looming right outside the window.