Monday, September 26, 2011

Cripple Creek

Today is our last day in Colorado Springs, tomorrow we leave for New Mexico.  We decided we would drive out to an old gold mining town, Cripple Creek. Back in the day, when Bob was a Spec 4 at Fort Carson, he used to take his '62 VW over Cheyenne Mountain to go to the cities of Victor and Cripple Creek.  When we checked at the Visitor Center about directions.  The docent said if we liked 4-wheeling we could go over the mountain, so that road is still there, but we took a modern highway.

Fort Carson where Bob was stationed is at the foot of Cheyenne Mountain where we are staying.

The highway up had beautiful Aspen trees turning from green to bright oranges and gold.

We thought these trees were Birches but learned they were Aspens.

Our first stop was at the Heritage Center.

On October 20, 1890, Robert Miller "Bob" Womack discovered a rich ore and the last great Colorado gold rush was on.  Thousand of prospectors flocked to the region, and  before long W. S. Stratton located the famous independence lode, one of the largest gold strikes in history.  In three years, the population increased from 500 to 10,000 by 1893.

The Heritage Center was a beautiful three story building with an incredible view.  The main floor told the story of Cripple Creek as a mining camp town.

The top floor had dinosaur bones and fossils.

The bottom floor had mining equipment,


and covered wagons.

We headed into town.  In 1961, Cripple Creek became a Historical Landmark.

The cities buildings have been restored and most have been turned into casinos.

 Yes, in 1991 the city introduced gaming and it has become one of the major industries of Cripple Creek.  Mining is still done in Cripple Creek and its sister city Victor.  The old underground mines are exhausted, but open pit mining has operated since 1994.

Cripple Creek is 9494 ft. elevation.  It was about 65 degrees when we were there about 1:00 pm.  When we returned to the RV is was 85 degrees.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Garden of the Gods

In 1871, General William Jackson Palmer founded Colorado Springs while extending the lines of his Denver and Rio Grande railroad.  In 1879, General Palmer repeatedly urged his friend, Charles Elliott Perkins, the head of Burlington Railroad, to establish a home in the Garden of the Gods and to build his railroad from Chicago to Colorado Springs.  Although the Burlington never reached Colorado Springs directly, Perkins did purchase two-hundred and forty acres in the Garden of the God for a summer home in 1879.   He later added to the property but never built on it, preferring to leave his wonderland in its natural state for the enjoyment of the public.  Perkins died in 1907 before he made arrangements for the land to become a pubic park, although it had been open to the public for years.  In 1909, Perkins' children, knowing their father's feeling for the Garden of the Gods, conveyed his four-hundred eighty acres to the City of Colorado Springs.  It would be known forever as the Garden of the Gods "where it shall remain free to the public for all eternity." 

When we entered the Garden of the Gods, we saw The Balanced Rock.  Like everyone else we had our picture taken by the rock.

We continued around the loop and the scenery was breathtaking.

We next went to the Trading Post established in the early 1920's by Charles Strausenback.  He built the Trading Post to resemble the homes of the Pueblo Indians.  Since that time, the Trading Post has expanded six times to become Colorado's largest art gallery and gift shop.  We had lunch at the Balanced Rock Cafe.  We ate out on the patio, which was shaded and we had a very pleasant lunch.

We headed up to the Visitors Center and took these pictures from the deck on the second floor.  We also ate ice cream.  When you are retired ice cream is a requirement daily.

As we continued around the loop we saw more and more of God's beauty.



No more words.

We headed home after another wonderful day.  We are asked all the time what is the most beautiful part of the country.  As you can see, that is a question that has no answer.  America is Beautiful!

FYI:  The lyrics for America the Beautiful was written by Katharine Lee Bates as a poem, Pikes Peak. Katharine, a Professor of English at Wellesley College, hastily jotted down the first draft of this poem, later song, during the summer of 1893.  Bates spent that summer teaching English at Colorado College in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Olympic Training Center Colorado Springs, Co.

Today, we had the opportunity to visit the Olympic Training Center.  There are three facilities for training the USA athletes, one in Colorado Spring, CO., one in Lake Placid, New York, and one in Chula Vista, CA.  At this training center 130 athletes are in residence at present.  You have to be in the top 10% of your sport to train here for free.  Free lodging, food, trainers, and coaches.  You can also come here for short periods of training if you are not in the top 10% if you pay.

This is at the Olympic Plaza in  Colorado Springs, CO.

This is the dormitory and cafeteria where the Olympian stay and eat.

What a view from the campus!

Inside the lobby is a lot of memorabilia.  This is the torch from LA 1984 Olympics.

The torch from Atlanta 1996.

Salt Lake City, 2002.  Did you know the torches were different?  I didn't.

We toured the gyms....

The Olympic pool.......

The shooting gallery.

There is a Hall of Fame for Olympians, Paraolympians, and Radio and TV sportscasters.

Originally in 1983 pictures were in black and white and

later in color starting 2009
It is round room with a skylight that symbolizes the Olympic torch.  This is sponsored by The Gates Foundation.

London is the location for the 2012 Summer Olympics.  This will be the 3rd time they have hosted the Summer Games.  

This facility made us proud to be Americans.  By the way, our government contributes nothing to the training  of  our athletes.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Manitoba Springs and Pikes Peak

Today we drove to a small town called Manitou Springs.  Bob remembered it from being stationed here.  After decades of stagnation, in 1970's, Manitou began to reinvent itself based on its original strengths.  The formation of a National Historic District encouraged the restoration of neglected structures and an art colony began to grow.  To me that meant shopping.  There were many unique shops.....

and beautiful flowers.

Also many antiques! Made us think of our friends Larry and Judy Drake, as they have several old gas pumps.

We then headed up to the summit of Pikes Peak.  It was 19 miles up, with several construction delays.  When Bob drove to the summit in 1968 only part of the road was paved.  Today, it was paved all the way.  Bob even came to the mountain to watch a race, where various types of cars raced to the top of Pikes Peaks from the 6 mile mark and it was called, "Pikes Peak Hill Climb."  Today that race is still run in July of each year.  Driving up this road with all it's switchbacks I can't imagine anyone doing racing on this road.

It took us almost an hour to reach the summit. 

Bob and I thought maybe Pikes Peak was so famous because it must be the tallest mountain in the US.  So of course we Googled it and found out we were wrong.  In fact, Colorado has 54 mountain which are at least 14,000 ft. and Pikes Peak is the 3lst in that list.  But it is the second most visited mountain next to Mt. Fuji in Japan.  It also was the symbol of the 1859 gold rush, "Pikes Peak or Bust."

What a view from the top!! 

and rocks.

From the bottom, another beautiful view.
We had a great trip.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Colorado Springs

We arrived at Cheyenne Mountain State Park on Tuesday, September 20th.  The campground is located at the bottom of Cheyenne Mountain.  NORAD, North American Aerospace Command, is located in Cheyenne Mountain. The organization was established on May 12, 1958 (an effect of the Cold War) as a joint command between the governments of Canada and the United States. The Cheyenne Mountain Directorate serves as a central collection and coordination facility for a wordwide system of sensors designed to provide NORAD with an accurate picture of any aerospace threat.  More important to Bob, at the base of the mountain is Ft. Carson, where he was stationed in the U.S. Army in 1968.  He is anxious to see how things have changed in the last 43 years.

We have a beautiful site,

 overlooking the city.

When Bob was here in the 60's he did a lot of skiing.  He skied at The Broadmoor.  Today it is a 5 star resort and the ski slopes are closed because winter is too short and they can't make enough money to keep it running.

You can see Bob duty at Ft. Carson was tough.  In all fairness, he was sent from
here to Vietnam.