Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Colorado - Pueblo - 1st stop


Colorado at last! June 27, 2017 was our arrival date in Pueblo West, which of course is just west of Pueblo. The drive was pretty well a straight shot down Hwy 50 from our last stop. It seemed strange as we drove through miles of prairies that we would be at the mountains in just a few short hours.

We stayed at the Haggards RV Campground. It sits in the valley with a beautiful view of the mountains to the west and north. There are over 60 sites, a mix from no hook ups to full hook ups. Sites are all gravel, a few have a bit of grass. They are level and ours, B4 had full hook ups with 50 amp.

The water is well water, so we used bottle water for drinking. The bathrooms and laundry were clean, as is the entire park.
There is a huge fenced pet area, that Mielikki loved.The walking path around the perimeter of the park was also great for walking the dog. They have two small decks from which you can enjoy the view and Nancy found a Click Beetle on a morning walk.
We paid $28.00 a night with a Military discount.

There is so much to do that we couldn't get it all in, which is usually the case.
Bishop's Castle was very interesting. Jim Bishop has spent over 60 years
building his dream.
In 1959 when he was just 15 he paid $450.00 for a two and a half acre parcel of land surrounded by the San Isabel National Forests.
Beautiful iron work
There is even a fire breathing dragon
He earned the money mowing lawns, on a paper route, and working with his father in the family owned iron works business. His parents had to sign the papers as he wasn't old enough to do so. Jim and his father camped on the property for years and built a small cabin.

It was during the building of the cabin that the idea of the castle was born. There is a gift shop where we each found a new hat!
You can have a custom made stained glass window installed in the Great Hall, where many people have been married. Jim's whole story can be read on the website.
The Great Hall

We found another town by the name of Florence. Not only is the town called Florence but one of the buildings is called Wilson Block, plus there is an antique store with the name of Fox Den.

We drove through the town on the way to the castle and came back at the end of the day to check out the Florence Brewing Company.
It was the perfect day to do so as it would have been Nancy's dads 100th birthday. Both he and her mom loved a good cold beer.
The old sewing machine was the best as Nancy's
mom was a seamstress and worked for Singer. 
The brewery is in the old newspaper office and what a great place. It is your typical neighborhood bar, but with really good beer. We enjoyed a flight of their 8 different beers and Nancy liked all of them, even the IPA and Les like seven of them, which is unheard of. It is also dog friendly which we love and Mielikki made a few new friends on our two visits there.
Lucy was waiting for a bite of pizza ~~ Mielikki getting her picture taken for the Colorado Brew Dogs and Ranger is as timid as our dog
Pikes Peak is of course what brought us to this area. 14,115 feet to the summit makes it the highest mountain peak in the lower 48 that is easily accessible.

The original plan was to take the cog railway so that Les could enjoy the views and Nancy might not be so freaked out. Well, that didn't happen as you need to purchase tickets all most a month in advance. So we drove to the top, and yes Nancy freaked out!

Sitting in the
backseat helps, so that is where she sat. The view from under the headrest was surprisingly good and she was still able to get some nice pictures. Except for when Mielikki sat up and blocked the view! As you can imagine the road twists and curves a lot and in many places it appears that you will just drive off the edge.

These two bikers were at about 11,000 feet! 

Each turn in the road gives you another great sight to see. Amazing rock formations, snow, and lakes.

It truly is an amazing place, the views are spectacular. We were fortunate that we had a fairly clear day. The clouds were slowly moving in as we were heading back down.

 When you reach the top there is a large parking lot, a gift shop and restaurant along with views that can't even be described. It was pretty chilly so we were glad we had our sweatshirts with us.

We stopped at a couple of overlooks on the way down. The high altitude didn't really bother us at the top, but heading up a slope around 10,000-feet probably wasn't the best idea. The views and the ladybug did make it worth it.

We have run into the legend of Big Foot in other places on our travels, we have yet to actually run into him - not sure if that is good or bad!

Kissing camels
The Garden of the Gods, in Colorado Springs has to be the most amazing city park we have ever been to. Wow, wow, wow! Searching a Thesaurus will not give you enough descriptive words to describe this place.
The Visitor Center offers a movie that explains how these incredible rock formations were formed, along with a gift shop and cafe.
The park is free and you can drive through it, bike through it or hike through it. The majority of the paths are also handicap accessible. Coming here after Pikes Peak and still being effected by the altitude we chose to drive it. We did walked one of the shorter paths and got to watch a rock climber. This is a place that requires more than one day to fully explore.

Downtown Pueblo was about 10 miles east of the campground.

We spent a day enjoying the Riverwalk and finding some murals and roadside oddities.

The Riverwalk is about 2-miles long with three loops. There are restaurants with patio seating, hotels and lots of artwork along the way. Garden sections and flowers are everywhere and they even have a pet drinking fountain!

On our list of exploring we had planned to go to the Royal Gorge, but after reading all the information we decided that the cost to get in would be wasted on Nancy, as there is no way she could get out on that bridge.
Instead we checked out CaƱon City where we found some
dinosaurs, the "Coolest store in the Universe" and a beautiful Abbey.

Then we drove up to Cripple Creek. Yes, the one from the song, and when they say "Up on Cripple Creek" they mean it as it is at an altitude of 9,500 feet.
It was a long and winding road to get there and we saw a turtle crossing the mountains. 

The old gold mining town is now mostly all casinos, along with shops and eateries. The old buildings have been restored and it really is a cute little town.

The brothel that was once a thriving business is now a museum. There is a train ride you can take and a history museum to explore. Lots of ghost signs and the trolley stops look like old trolley cars. 

On the way into to town we stopped in Four Mile at a small store and found a working phone booth with a phone book!

We found a campground we might want to stay in the next time back. If we come in the RV we will NOT take Shelf Road. This is the road we took out of town.

First, it is all gravel and dirt, second it is very narrow in places, third there are some pretty steep drop offs, which you all know Nancy loves so much. The upside of all of that is the insane beauty you see along the way.

One of the best stops of the trip was a visit with Nancy's cousin Shirley and her husband Lee. Shirley was Nancy's dad's niece. They live in a beautiful house north of Colorado Springs on a hill that overlooks the mountains and the city. We enjoyed a delicious meal and great conversation. We hadn't seen each other since Nancy's dad passed away in 2001. This really is one of the things we have enjoyed about our travels, meeting up with family and friends we haven't seen for awhile.

Next up is Estes Park where we will explore more of the Rocky Mountains, Boulder, Fort Collins and more.

Till we meet again...

Happy Trails to You!

Tips and things we have learned along the way.
~ Sorry no tip this time
Seeing we are so far behind in posting blogs due to lack of internet we will not take the time for a tip - other than to say don't let yourself get so far behind!! LOL Go make it a great day.

No comments:

Post a Comment