Saturday, August 15, 2009

Colorado Springs

It's 300 miles from Durango to Colorado Springs, a lot for one day when the roads are narrow and winding. We were pleased, however, that The Falcon handled legendary Wolf Creek Pass with no problem. Friends have horror stories of having to stop mid-way up to allow their engines to cool down, or coming down with brakes on fire, but we had no problems. After lunch at the top of the pass, we continued to Cheyenne Mountain State Park southwest of Colorado Springs, where we spent 8 days.

Cheyenne Mountain State Park is only 2 years old, and absolutely first-class! It is one of a handful of state parks with full RV hookups, and the camp sites are designed to accommodate not only large RVs, but also tents alongside them. The camp has plenty of activities for adults and children, and even has a laundry, another rarity in state parks. We highly recommend it. In fact, the only negative we could come up with is that dogs (even on leash) aren't allowed on the park's trails. However, this appears to be true of all Colorado state parks as well as national parks, so it's something we have to live with.

On Friday, we put Gage on a plane to visit his grandparents, Sergio and Charlotte Vargas, in Maryland. We enjoyed our time with him, and look forward to hearing about the rest of his adventures when we return. Gage has been a super traveler, and has helped us to exercise the dogs, and prepare the RV for travel. He also has boundless energy, especially when he can have regular root-beer floats! (He says the very best are from Sonic.)

While in Colorado Springs, we visited with Michal's long-time friend (since first grade!), Carolyn (Stinson) Cochran, and her husband, Doug. Carolyn gave Michal a tour of the city's highlights, including Garden of the Gods, the museum located downtown in the historic courthouse and lunch at The Broadmore.

They also saw the steel wind sculputres created by artist Starr Kempf and placed on the grounds of his home near Cheyenne Canyon between the mid seventies and his death in 1995.

Carolyn and Doug also introduced us to their favorite restaurant, the Sunbird, which overlooks the city and the surrounding mountains.

For all you members of the Class of '61, here is a picture of Carolyn and Michal taken last week. (See the Shutterfly site for others.)

We also took a walking tour of Garden of the Gods, and drove to Cripple Creek to visit the historic Molly Kathleen Gold Mine. The mine was in operation from the 1890s until 1963, and has the country's only vertical gold mine shaft, which reaches 1000 feet underground. Our tour, which was led by an actual, working, hard-rock miner (non-union he proudly advised us) included demonstrations of equipment in use at the time the mine was in operation and a discussion of how blasting and removal of the ore was done. According to our guide, there are still deposits of gold and silver ore in the mine, but since there is no smelter in the area, so it is not cost-effective to operate it.

You shouldn't be surprised that other highlights of our trip to Colorado Springs include visits to a number of their outstanding dog parks. There are at least half-a-dozen off-leash areas in the city, including a 25-acre fenced area in Bear Creek Park, which includes a running stream, lots of shade and many happy dogs. Palmer Park also has a fenced area, plus miles of trails where off-leash activity is allowed so long as the dogs are under "voice control." The same is true, I'm told, of the Red Rock Canyon Open Area. Even Garden of the Gods has an 18-acre off-leash area. The Bagley Girls enjoyed their time there and will be happy to return.

1 comment:

  1. Ahhh. I have memories of Wolf Creek Pass. I was in grade school and my parents & my best friend were on vacation. My friend and I hid on the floor of the back seat & refused to look as my dad drove. Now he would never have cussed but let's just say he was making "comments" the entire way. I hope the roads are better 50 years later.

    Your photos are terrific. Post more!