Is Manitou Springs one of the best places in America to live? You often hear about different city rankings based on this or that statistic or quality, but “Krusing America,” a series planned for television, is taking a more direct approach: Victor and Lori Krus are driving around the country with their children, 8-year-old AnnaMarie and 6-year-old Anthony, in a truck and fifth-wheel trailer, while a film crew records their adventures.
After a year on the road, the Krus family plans to pick their favorite town and settle down. The family began the trip in North Carolina four months ago, the day after Victor Krus, 42, retired as a lieutenant colonel after 20 years in the Army. The Kruses had planned the trip for the past six years. “It’s a neat opportunity to see the United States — the country I’ve defended for 20 years,” Victor Krus said. Coincidentally, Victor Krus’ sister, television producer Linda Kruse, was working on a similar idea for a show, initially involving a fictional family. Kruse thought following her brother’s real search would make for a more interesting travelogue. “Our show is geared toward that whole (idea of), ‘If you could pick any place in the country, where would it be?’” Kruse said. What the Kruses are looking for is pretty much what many of us want in a town, Kruse said: A nice home, good neighbors, close to big-city amenities but without being stuck in a big city. “Their parameters are very normal,” Kruse said. “The show isn’t about the family, it’s about the town.” Which brings us back to Manitou Springs. The Kruses arrived in Colorado in December to visit relatives in Denver and Glenwood Springs and friends in Colorado Springs. “The kids have always been saying, ‘We want snow,’” Victor Krus said, “so we thought, ‘Let’s go where we’ll find snow.’” Despite being so close, the family didn’t visit Manitou Springs until last weekend, in order to keep their reactions and opinions fresh for the TV cameras. Although the annual fruitcake toss was postponed, the family still got the chance to launch fruitcakes with a trebuchet. They also visited Miramont Castle, the Stagecoach Inn and rode the Cog Railway. “Manitou Springs is a unique place,” Victor Krus said. “What I liked was the diversity of the people. I liked the homes, they had that old feel to them. I think we’re losing that in America.” Lori Krus didn’t sound as sure. You know the cliche: It’s a nice place to visit . . . “Manitou is kind of a weird place, but they’re proud of their weirdness,” she said. “It seemed like a fun place to play.” After moving so often in the Army — Anthony has already lived on four continents — settling down will be a novel experience for the Kruses. “Lori says, ‘God didn’t put us two together to have a white picket fence,’” Victor Krus said. Kruse is shooting “Krusing America” independently but hopes the show will find a home of its own with a cable channel such as the Travel Channel or the Disney Channel. “If all that comes out of this is a home movie that we can pop in the video (player), we’ll be happy,” Victor Krus said. And if the show is picked up and becomes a success? The Kruses may keep on cruising. “There’s so much of America to see,” he said. CONTACT THE WRITER: 636-0275 or firstname.lastname@example.org Find more TV commentary and news on the Web at springstvtalk.blogspot.com For more information on “Krusing America”: www.krusingamerica.com