Saturday, September 26, 2015

September 2015–Trip back to home base in Houston–Day 1–Colorado Springs, CO

DSCN5470Our time at Sweitzer Lake State Park ended right after Labor Day so we started back toward Houston.  Have a dear friend’s daughter getting married in October so we are going to make it back for the wedding and will be doing some BBQ judging in Brazoria County. 

Our first leg was to go to Colorado Springs as we wanted to spend some time with our friends Rick and Pat, plus Fred had never really seen much of that part of Colorado.  Pulling the car for the first time and we were told that Monarch Pass would be tough so we took advice from locals by taking Rt 114 around the pass.  What a beautiful drive.  It was not as hard on the coach pulling the car and we did great. 

We actually stayed at Rocky Top Motel and Campground which is located between Woodland Park and Colorado Springs.  It is a campground that is owned by the son of a couple we park hosted with at Roper Lake in Arizona.  Really was a nice place.   We had a place up on top of the hill looking out over the area. 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         We met up with Rick and Pat the next day for a day of fun.  They took us to Cripple Creek, CO. – once was a gold mining town and now is the center for casinos.  Lots of history and lots to do around the town.

We took a ride on the Cripple Creek & Victor Narrow Gauge Railroad for a journey back into gold rush history. You are taken by a restored steam locomotives and tickets are purchased at the historic 1894 station house.  There were remains of the past history of gold mines and those who looked to but never found the gold.  The veins of gold were so narrow that someone could hit it rich and 20 feet away the next person could not find a speck.  There were numerous mine that have been closed and some that were still operating.  The conductor was very informative and it was a neat ride.


Then on the ride back down the mountain we were told about the town and its history.  In its time the town was full of miners that were looking for a good time, drinking and a good meal.  The local madam had her place and was well know for her value and was treasure of the town.  The white building was her location.  The town at one time was all built out of wood but a fire destroyed most of the town one evening and then the next day a grease fire caused the rest of the town to burn to the ground.  Due to the fire when the town was rebuilt it was ordered everything was to be built from bricks, so they were brought in and the town was rebuilt entirely from brick. 






One of the neat things in Cripple Creek was the old graveyard.  I have always enjoyed walking through historical graveyards as some of the tombstones can be interesting and funny.  This particular graveyard is the location where the lady whom the TV series “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman” was written about.  Contrary to the series she was not in Colorado Springs, but rather lived and worked in Cripple Creek.


Next we headed to the Garden of the Gods – one the places I had been looking forward to seeing.  The Garden is a free park that was donated by the Perkins family to the City of Colorado Springs after the death of their father.  It was his request that the beauty of this land be given to the people and remain free so that all could come and enjoy it.  The Garden now sits just on the city limits of Manitou Springs, a unique city itself.  The trading post within the Garden has been there since the early 1900 for the selling of carved pieces by Charles Strausenback, then in 1924 he made it into a place where people could come and study the Pueblo Indians.  At this time it became a private business employing the Pueblos to dance and make native items for selling.  Today much of the original building and structure is still in place but things have changed as it has grown and big business moved in.

Cathedral SpiresThe Garden itself is really interesting with lots of hiking, rock climbing, mountain biking or just sit in their shadow of the mountains for a picnic. 





One of my favorite was what is known as the Kissing Camels



One of the most known is Balance Rock.  For more pictures see album below.