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When you think about summer you probably think of heat, lemonade, bugs, camping, baseball, gardens, and of course, vacationing! This summer I went to Washington D.C. in early early June, Colorado Springs, CO. in late June, and then headed up to Toronto, Canada, for the first few days of July. Of course, the only reason I went was so I could report to you loyal readers about what you can see and do in these cities, not for my own personal enjoyment...*ahem.* Anyway, onto my report.

Our nationís capital is located in Washington D.C. Now, although I could go ranting on (I know Iím good at that!) about the Washington Monument, the White House, and the Capitol building, instead Iím going to treat you to some of Washingtonís lesser known points of interest that donít make the headlines.

You usually donít hear anything about the Metro, which is the cityís subway. You donít hear about any cityís subway system much, but the Metro is another anonymous helper. Why no news? Itís because the Metro works so smoothly. Thereís no graffiti (unless you call an advertisement for The Magic Hour graffiti) , and Iíve yet to see any major crime in the area.

I have to complement our nationís capital on is their fine dining establishments. For the true dining connoisseur, I suggest The Orleans House. Itís a great restaurant that has the greatest salad bar in the city and the best prime rib you can get anywhere. Oh, and by the way, they did not pay me to say that.

Colorado Springs, CO., has been a memorable place for me. I saw O.J. Simpson racing through downtown Los Angeles in his White Bronco because someone was sick...or was he just shocked about the murder...*Ahem*...nevermind. Iíve also seen the U.S. Olympic Training Camp where some of the United Statesís finest athletes train year round for their one shot at Olympic gold. So, it was a natural choice to go there on a vacation.

To set the tone of the city, picture the massive Rocky Mountains overlooking the city, with Pikes Peak being the center of attention. Many people dream about getting to stand at the summit of the peak and, thanks to the Pikes Peak Highway, itís possible for you to just hop in your car and take a nerve-wracking, hair-whitening drive up a steep, gravel road.

Really, it wouldnít be so bad if the Pikes Peak people couldíve done something with the roads, and that is put up guardrails! For some unknown reason, the owners of the road decided to not put up any guardrails along the way. The only plus that no guardrails brings you is a weird sensation of actually feeling your face getting whiter as the roads get narrower and steeper!

Colorado Springs is also a great place for Air Force buffs to go, since itís the home of the U.S. Air Force Academy. The Academy is situated at the foot of the mountains, and it has a number of great facilities for the cadets to use. I even got to use one of them, and I have to tell you, they really keep those bathrooms clean there!

One more great place in the Springs area is the Edelweiss restaurant. You can get some of the best food in town! Sauerkraut, bratwursts, and all kinds of other home-made German food. Plus, you can get ready to do a little Friday and Saturday Night Polka, since on those two days they have live German music. These guys have everything; the Tyrolean hat, the lederhŲsen, the knife, a guitar, and a great-sounding accordion! The atmosphere is a nice, traditional, old-style German decor and aside from a stuffed head of a deer that appeared to be older than dirt, it seemed very authentic.

Toronto, Canada, can be described as New York City using the metric system. Itís just so big, with so many cool things in it, it has to be compared to The Big Apple. Of

course, it can also be compared with Seattle since it has the CN Tower, which looks like a Space Needle rip-off, and even compared to Chicago because of the mass advertising everywhere you go. Itís become so bad that flowers on hillsides have been ďbeautifullyĒ pruned into the AT&T, Motorola, and Royal Bank of Canada logos. A true testament to the beauty of nature...*ahem.* Boy, my throatís bugging me today!

I have to give a big Ďkudosí to D.C., Colorado Springs, and Toronto for making my stay fun. I got to experience some of the best food, activities, and bathrooms that the cities had to offer, be a witness to a crime (donít ask) , and gained a new appreciation for the city I call home, Bismarck.

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Karl Becker, the author of all these articles, uses New Tricks for his writings.

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