Friday, July 31, 2015

"Colorado Livin"

Our first month of living in Colorado is coming to a close.  We really like these comfortable temperatures (low to upper 80s) and the low humidity (average25-35%).  You can sit in the shade, feel cool and enjoy the breeze.  We're enjoying all that Colorado has to offer and looking forward to exploring more of the state.

We spent an afternoon browsing the shops of Old Colorado City. It is a national historic section of Colorado Springs.

We found lots of quaint shops and restaurants to check out.

We also spent an afternoon enjoying Pueblo's Riverwalk.  Unfortunately the temperatures were very hot the day were were there.  The upper elevations of Colorado have somewhat cooler temperatures.  Pueblo's elevation is 4,662 feet while Canon City's elevation is 5,312 ft.  Mountain View RV Camp, where we are located, is 6,488 ft.

While strolling along the Pueblo Riverwalk, we found a pub advertising 2 Bloody Mary's for 1.  They had a cooling effect this warm afternoon.

Canon City has a couple of "Rail to Trails" bike paths.  We selected a cooler day to try out these bike trails.  This section is called "Tunnel Drive Trail".  It was a bit scary for me as the path rode along the side of the mountain..just as the old train did in the 1890's. Click here to learn more about the history of the Royal Gorge Railroad.

There are 3 tunnels along the bike trail.  This is the longest one, around 250 feet long.

The terrain was very desert-like with cactus, juniper and a few pinion trees.

There are 3 trestle bridges too.  This is the last one and the trail goes downhill from it, ending shortly afterwards.  We turned around after we crossed that last trestle.
Then we rode our bikes on the Canon City Riverwalk.
The trail is flat and convenient, right beside the Arkansas River. It was a cool ride with a tree-lined path, very opposite in comparison to the open, desert-like, side of a mountain Tunnel Drive Trail.
This take out area along the Riverwalk is used frequently by kayakers and rafters.  Canon City also has a Whitewater Festival in June.
We didn't bike the entire 7 miles of the Riverwalk Trail. We had just ridden the Tunnel Drive Trail and we were give out!

We have experienced some tasty meals while here in the Canon City area.
                               Here are a few that stood out.                                       
Pizza Madness in Canon City: MeatLovers/ Colorado Chicken
Rudy's BBQ Chicken and BBQ turkey with Baked Beans in Colorado Springs
Look at the size of those Meatballs!  Rosario's at the Pueblo Riverwalk

We discovered
They have only one menu item: great steaks.

We celebrated our 31st anniversary at Michael's On Main with baked salmon & candied ginger/raspberry sauce. Outstanding!

We frequently see the magpies here too.  I always think of the funny Windex commercial when I see Magpies!


More later of our "Colorado Livin" experiences as we Eas-On Down The Road to Pagosa Springs.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Monarch Pass = 11,312 ft

We tried to choose the clearest day of the week for our drive up to Monarch Pass.  On this day trip, we had good weather, saw fantastic mountain scenery and enjoyed a tasty lunch in Salida too.

  From Canon City, we traveled west on US Hwy 50 through Salida, to reach the Monarch Pass area.

The views of the Rocky Mountains are especially clear on this day even though the clouds started to build.

With our tummies full, we're ready to continue our trip.  Highway 50 West passes by the old Madonna mine.  Ore containing silver and lead was mined here.  It's also listed as part of an old  Colorado ghost town.

 Ron notices in his rear view mirror, coming up fast behind us in the passing lane, a Ferrari, 3 Porches, a Jaguar F-type and a Lamborghini.  He tried to catch up with them in our Jeep..didn't happen.  We finally caught up with them at the road construction stop.  We think they were all traveling together.  What a collection of sports cars!
Traveling westbound towards Monarch Pass, it is a 6% grade for approximately 10 miles. 

We make it to the summit of Monarch Pass and the Continental Divide.
Out goal is to also ride the Monarch Pass Tramway.

The gondola ride was smooth and even a bit of fun.  Once we arrived to the enclosed viewing platform on the summit, the scenery was just spectacular!

Monarch Summit..12,000 feet and the temperature was 53 degrees with a 25 mph breeze..gusts to 35 mph.

The enclosed viewing platform also has a walkway around it for easy 360 views.  Inside there are visuals that describe all five mountain ranges.
Pikes Peak is visible this day yet it's hard to note in this photograph.
                         Mount Ouray is the far mountain on the right.

Mount Aetna is the far mountain on the left. 
There were a variety alpine wildflowers on the summit.

I think this alpine wildflower is called Sky Pilot.
Our views during the gondola ride back down to the parking lot.

More views from the gondola.

Our drive back to Canon City on US Hwy 50 East travels through the Bighorn Sheep Canyon. 
Again, a terrific road for more gorge scenery and whitewater rafting as the road follows the Arkansas River.
We enjoy traveling this road to get to the town of Westcliffe too.

Ron spotted a family of Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep as we traveled through the canyon this day.  I had just enough camera battery left to capture one up close with the telephoto lens.

And this is what Little Boy does while we are out exploring Colorado.

More later.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Pikes Peak = 14,115 ft

We last visited Pikes Peak in 2003 opting to drive the road to the top rather than take the Cog Railway.  We remember it then as an intense drive on a dirt road with no guard rails.  On this trip, however, the experience was some what less stressful since the road is now paved the entire length and strategic guard rails have been placed along the route.  Never the still was an exciting drive for Ron and his

There are also several signs reminding you to travel with your vehicle in its lowest gear.

Our first stop is at Crystal Creek Reservoir.

Zoomed in view of the switch back section, headed towards the summit..

Our clear day was beginning to develop some clouds.
No guard rails here.

No guard rails here either but at least it is paved.

Beautiful views are everywhere.  Click this LINK to get a detailed description of the drive to the Pikes Peak Summit.

We're back on top of Pikes Peak once again.
One has to boulder hop to get to that look out.

Due to the nice weather this day, there were crowds of people.

View of the Cog Railroad tracks.

We took turns taking photos of each other. 

It was extremely crowded in the gift shop/restaurant.  We stayed outside enjoying the views that inspired Katherine Bates to write the poem America The Beautiful.

It was 52 degrees up there..
chilly with a stiff breeze.
After while, we decided to drive back down the mountain.  The weather changed and a shower was developing.

As we traveled down, we came upon a family of Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep.

These lambs were playing "king of the mountain top".  We watched them jump over and on top of this rock for about 5 or 10 minutes. Very cool.

Lots of wildflowers in this alpine section.

Great, there's a guard rail!

It's always amazing to look back and see where you have traveled.

Once we were down off the mountain, that shower we viewed from a distance, arrived and it was accompanied with strong winds.

Of course we were hungry from this trip so we filled up on some delicious BBQ at Rudy's Country Store and BBQ in Colorado Springs. pictures of that fantastic meal.  It was eaten before I even thought about my camera.

More later.