The trip is from Lewis & Clark Monument, Illinois, to Kickapoo State Park, Illinois, by way of the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, Arizona
Cheyenne Mountain State Park, Colorado
Driving north on Rte. 115, we turned off and got a site in Cheyenne Mountain State Park just outside of Colorado Springs. It is just at the edge of the Rockies overlooking Colorado Springs.
We had a clear view of the Air Force Academy.
Of course, there is more to see underground than there is above ground. Towers like these are all over the mountain, evidence of the Strategic Air Command buried deep in the mountain.
Here is a Wikipedia article:
Cheyenne Mountain is a triple-peaked mountain in El Paso County, Colorado, southwest of downtown Colorado Springs. The mountain serves as a host for military, communications, recreational, and residential functions. The underground operations center for the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) was built during the Cold War to monitor North American airspace for missile launches and Soviet military aircraft. Built deep within granite, it was designed to withstand the impact and fallout from a nuclear bomb. Its function broadened with the end of the Cold War, and then many of its functions were transferred to Peterson Air Force Base in 2006.
In the 1950s, during the Cold War, the interior of the mountain became a site for the operations center for the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD).:1 The center, deep within Cheyenne Mountain, was completed in 1966 after spending $142 million and using 500 tons of explosives. The result was an underground city operated by the Air Force. Popular Science wrote in 1965, before the dedication of the facility, that Cheyenne Mountain is the only mountain known to have buildings constructed on the inside of a mountain. It was built to withstand being bombed: eleven multiple-story buildings stand on coil springs to absorb the shock of a blast and it was designed so that up to 800 people could survive fall-out of a nuclear bomb. The buildings are encased in steel, surrounded by granite, and the facility is behind blast-proof doors. It was designed to be the “nerve center” for NORAD.
The NORAD center has been staffed by Canadian and United States military personnel to monitor North American air space for intercontinental ballistic missiles and incoming Soviet military aircraft.:194–195 Locally, this military boom during the Cold War included the establishment of the United States Air Force Academy, Peterson Air Force Base, and Fort Carson.:1 After the Cold War, NORAD monitored objects orbiting the earth and aircraft without flight plans. It is also known for monitoring the Christmas Eve orbit of Santa Claus.
NORAD used to offer public tours, but due to security concerns they were suspended in 1999. The off-ramp on NORAD road has been staffed by Air Force Security Police since September 11, 2001. Most of the center’s operations were moved to Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs in 2006, then in April 2015, the Pentagon reported that a few operations would be moving back in.
The park has many good trails to hike, which I explored.
The next morning a person camping next to us knocked on our door to report seeing a bobcat prowling around our motor home earlier. She sent us photos she had taken.
After breakfast, we continued north on Rte. 115 into Colorado Springs to see Garden of the Gods.
Next Location – Garden of the Gods, Colorado