Ring Hunting

Ring Hunting

Manitou Springs, CO – July 9, 2012

We were on a mission today — find Leslie a gold and silver ring.

We thought Manitou Springs, Colorado would be the best place to accomplish the mission. We arrived there at about 10:00. We parked in front of the Stagecoach Inn, the eastern edge of the real touristy section of Manitou Avenue. From there, we began walking west. As we walked along, we went into several stores looking for the ring. At one store, we found a magnet for Leslie’s collection. It was a ceramic disk that had the imprint of an aspen leaf. We walked to the roundabout with no luck on the ring front.

On Manitou Avenue looking west. On the mountain, one can see the scar of the Manitou Incline Railroad.

The Wheeler town clock.
A sculpture of the moon.
A sculpture of a Native American woman.
Some beautiful wall murals.

We crossed to the other side of the street and began to repeat the process. In one of the stores, the lady did not have what Leslie was looking for, but she thought she knew of a store that would. She took us outside and pointed out a store on the other side of the street. We crossed over and headed to that store until we realized we had already been in it.

When we discovered that, I sent the kids across the street to save us a spot at an outdoor cafe. Leslie went with them. I stopped at Patsy’s Candy and Gift Shop, a Manitou tradition. I think it opened in 1910. I bought a box of caramel popcorn with nuts. Wonderful!!!

I then went across the street to meet everyone at the cafe. The name of the cafe was Coquette’s Bistro and Bakery. To drink, Leslie and I each ordered a glass of Zestos Spanish Tempranillo, for $7 each. For that amount in Spain, we could have bought almost two bottles of our favorite wine. For lunch, we all had a sandwich called the Dotty, made with Black Forest ham, bechamel sauce, mushrooms, and Swiss cheese. It was delicious.

Looking from the restaurant to Patsy’s Candy and Gift Shop.

One of our lunch diners.

It had been very cloudy the entire time we were out and about. As we left the café, it began to rain. The restaurant was about five blocks from where we parked. Leslie and Tyler started walking back while Hillary and I finished paying. Once we got on the sidewalk, it was lightly sprinkling. After walking about a block, it started raining harder, so Hillary and I ducked into a store. While we were standing inside, it was pouring. I took the opportunity to buy Hillary a pullover jacket, Leslie a metal and turquoise cross for her collection, and Tyler a pocket knife for his collection. After that, we just stood at the door and watched the rain. After about five minutes the rain let up a little bit. We took the opportunity to walk about 100 feet further east and duck into another store. The two ladies in that store were rather frantic because rainwater was coming in the side of their store. We left after only a minute or two.

When we stepped back outside, it was still raining but not pouring. However, since it had been raining so hard, when we crossed the street, we had to go through some reasonably high water that was coming from the roads higher on the hill. The bottom of Hillary’s blue jeans was soaked. It did not impact me because I was wearing shorts and sandals.

Coming out of that store we found it was just sprinkling. Hillary and I went into another jewelry store and then a comic book store. By this time the rain had stopped. Tyler walked into the comic book store. Leslie had sent him to find us. We found out he and she were soaked. They had opted to not duck into any stores.

Since we still had not found the ring, we got in the truck and headed to Old Colorado City. When we arrived, our first stop was the Chocolate Factory. The kids each bought a treat. Then we began walking along Colorado Avenue looking for Leslie’s ring.

We stopped in one store that was a woman/fair-trade store. They sold different types of art and other items made by women from around the world. We bought a small alligator that made of aluminum cans. When we paid for it, a man was sitting there. He had heard Leslie talk about my job. He asked me if I knew anyone from the British Embassy in Madrid. Before I could answer, he said he worked for the British Ministry of Foreign Affairs. His wife, who had been helping us in the store, told us he was the Ambassador from Britain to Estonia. What a small world!! He said he was waiting to leave for his next post, Fiji. We compared a few notes about how things work in our respective organizations. Then we departed to continue our quest. The name of that store was Olive Tree Traders. When I looked up the Ambassador to Estonia, I found Peter Carter. The photograph confirmed it was the man we met.

Finally, in the very last store, we went into, we found Leslie’s ring. It was a simple silver band with a band of gold going around the center. It was incredibly inexpensive, so we bought it. A few days later, we found two rings to complement it on either side. The two additional rings we found were explicitly made for Leslie by William Browning through the Hunter-Wolf Gallery on West Colorado Avenue.


A mural in Old Colorado City behind our trusty “steed.”

An old brick building in Old Colorado City.

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