Tag Archives: Colorado

Western Adventure, Day XIII – Colorado at Canon City and Salida

The Gorge

The Gorge

Yeah! The sun came out today! And no fluke snow or rain storms either. Yes! Even though, the day turned out grand. The kids could not bring themselves to trust the weather and they all overdressed. Zachary was dragging at one point; complaining incessantly. I have no clue how he’s going to survive the 80’s in New Mexico. I hope the pool at the next park is up and ready for us. We headed out on Highway 115 south to Canon City. We stopped there and had breakfast at Denny’s. Briana was in French Toast heaven. Her most favorite good is French Toast. She always says breakfast is the best meal of the day.

Funny story happened to Briana at the Denny’s. The women’s bathroom is typically always on the right side. So she proceeded in the bathroom without looking to verify. Upon entry, she said there was a man with his pants around his ankles, leaning back and whizzing. Another man was peeing and he just gaped at her. She was so shocked, she said she couldn’t move fast enough. She did scamper off to the ladies room where she hung out an extra amount of time hoping the men would leave so she didn’t have to see them again. She later told me she spotted the pants around the ankle man and was mortified. Funny girl!

From there, we headed a few more miles south to the Gorge. It was kind of funny how CO tourist areas tout they’re something special. This place of course had the highest suspension bridge in the US. I think they even claim the world. All I can tell you is when I reached the middle, it was a mini Galloping Gerdy. Scary!! I was so freaked out I forgot to take pictures off the bridge. Then a car crossed over the bridge… oh my… get me off. I had to have the kids promise to pull me to one side if I passed out before I could make it across. There were a few times I did forget to breathe and got a bit lightheaded. But I made it across. Zachary had a heck of a time too; he hates heights as bad as I do. Nathan and Briana hung on the side, looked through the cracks on the deck, jumped up and down and made jokes about how we were going to fall through. Little Nikcompoos!

The first thing we did upon arrival at the park was to take the incline railroad down to the Arkansas River to look at the bridge from the bottom up. Rose Quartz was used to make all the walls as headed down to the RR cars. At the bottom, we could walk around and got within thirty feet of the River and watched several rafters go by. After we were done down below, we headed back up on the incline RR and went to the bridge. On the other side was the mountain man area… trading posts, animals, cowboys, and a literal “cow” girl. Yes, folks, she was riding a bull like one would ride a horse. Then we saw our first white buffalo. He was almost unbelievable. There was also a calf that was white. My question to the kids was I wondered how the Native Americans feel about them having two such animals contained in such a pathetically small area that has no open grazing Fields? I did manage to talk the kids into riding the carousel. Nathan specifically told me no pictures of him. How embarrassing! He told me.

My newly developed bookworm, Briana, was hard and heavy into her book. She had been a reading fool for the last five days. She had already gone through three books. We will need to stop in Pueblo tomorrow to find the next book in the series she is reading. She was very upset tonight when the Borders Book Store was out of the book she was looking for. Love her reading, so I will definitely stop.

We headed on 219 to 24 east to Colorado Springs. It was nice loop drive. CO was definitely not what we expected. We thought it was going to be lush and green, much like Western WA, but on a grander scale. Nope, it wasn’t. It was dry and desert. Lots of scrub brush and no green, except for the small pines tree bush thingies. We leave for New Mexico tomorrow.

After the Gorge, we drove up Highway 50 to Salida. I had heard from there you can see the Rockies. I heard right! My pictures are not so good because I was driving, but they were mammoth looking as they jettisoned right out the ground. On the way to Salida, we found a spot along the river to let the dogs out. They were in doggy heaven! I let them swim for about an half an hour while the boys and I rock hounded. Found a few good rose quartz pieces too. We also found our first flowering cactus in nature. Zachary tried his darnedest to catch a lizard. No luck. He did get bit by one at the Gorge.

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Western Adventure, Day XII – Colorado at Wolf Sanctuary in Divide

Wolf Sanctuary in Divide, CO

Wolf Sanctuary in Divide, CO

The dogs and the bunny have been good sports on this trip. The dogs are always ready to go and get so agitated if they think they’re going to be left behind… and I haven’t even left them behind once yet. Mac and Schatzy were ready to go everywhere with us. Thank goodness for the last minute purchase of a used canopy for our truck. It has made it very comfortable for the dogs to travel in the bed of the truck, while Mr. Buttons rides in the trailer in his roomy home.

Not having an oatmeal cylinder for awhile now, Mr. Buttons was getting a bit cranky. So we stopped by the store and purchased one. He was very busy all night. So busy, he had a hard time staying awake on this morning. He had us in hysterics. Briana said he needed the stress relief. 12 hours later, I do believe he was a mellow dude. The container was a bit chewed up, but still usable.

This morning was the easiest to get the kids up. All I had to do was remind them about going to see Pirates and they were up and ready., especially the boys. They’ve been waiting a whole year since they found out a new movie was being made. We got there in plenty of time and the movie was cool, amazing and Jack was the best! (That was according to the boys.) They definitely left it open for another movie. The kids are ready for it.

After lunch, I wasn’t ready to go back to the trailer.. So we headed out on Highway 24 west towards Pikes Peak. We did try to go up and and found it closed at the gate; closed due to “Volatile Weather”. Still not ready to head back, we keep heading west. In little time, we were in Divide. I remembered seeing a 4pm walk in the wolf sanctuary in the Colorado Visitor Booklet. It was 3:45pm and we arrived just in time to be part of feeding time.

This sanctuary was started by Darlene, who rescued a wolf from the Humane Society some years ago. Now it has grown to over seventeen wolves, a good number of foxes, a few coyotes and a few other animals. We walked with Darlene as she fed the animals. It was a dream walk! We got to get within one foot of most of the wolves. I have to tell you I was speechless most of the time. What amazing animals! Up close… their eyes were striking and they were so tall at 36″ at the shoulders.

We had a great time with Darlene. She told us all kinds of stuff. Whatever questions she tossed our way, Briana answered as though she was a true wolf biologist. All those books she has read and videos she has watched showed through in her answers. Darlene was so impressed with her. Darlene mentioned she see thousands of people a year and rarely ever meets a person who impresses her. She wants Briana to come back when she is old enough to intern. You should have seen the smile on Briana’s face over the idea of a internship taking care of wolves.

Briana’s dream is to have a sanctuary for wolves. She plans on finding an occupation that will give her the funding to purchase the land and build the containing areas. So being at this place was fantastic for her. Briana loved Darlene’s passion for the wolves and how close she was able to get to them.

Tomorrow is to be the best weather day while our stay in CO, so we plan on heading to the Gorge to walk over (drag… as in my case) the Nation’s highest suspension bridge and drive to see the Rockies.

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Western Adventure, Day XI – Colorado at Cheyenne Zoo

Zachary, Briana and Nathan at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado Springs, Colorado

Zachary, Briana and Nathan at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado Springs, Colorado

We were eager to head out today and explore some parks in the area of Colorado Springs. Last night was a flood from the skies. I was amazed at how fast our awning filled up… dumping every five minutes throughout the night.

As of the morning, the weather had shifted to mostly cloudy. We figured we would go to Seven Falls. It was touted as the most beautiful canyon in the world. From what we would see upon the drive in, we agreed. But due to the significant rainfall, the trails were closed and the staircase next to the falls were closed too. The ranger suggested we try tomorrow.

Since we were close to the Zoo, we decided to make that our next stop. Its claim to fame was the only zoo in the mountains. And it was in the mountains, on a hill side to be exact. The Zoo had five tiers. We climbed up one side and came back down the other. Their best exhibit was the giraffes. There were over 20 of them and we could even touch them. Briana was especially giraffe crazy. It was hard to pull her away.

We liked the interactive bird display the most. Zachary had been missing our bird, Maximus. When we saw one in the bird area, he became a bit melancholy. To our delight, and his, the Zoo had a budgie room full of parakeets, cockatiels and canaries. The kids had a blast! We stayed in the room for over an hour and the zoo gal Kay spoiled the kids by giving us more sticks, full of food, than we paid for. Kay even allowed them to hold the birds. One bird in particular hung with Zachary… a cockatiel. Kay found a feather from one of the cockatiels and gave it to him to take home. To say the very least, Zachary was extremely pleased. We also got to see one of my favorite zoo animals the Okapi. I first saw them at the San Diego Zoo some years ago. I just love how they look. They’re a close relative to the giraffe and have their infamous 18 inch long purple tongue.

As it started to storm, we went inside the food court for some ice cream and watched it sun, then rain, then snow, back to sun, and then to cloudy. We purchased tickets for tomorrow’s first showing of the Pirates fo the Caribbean IV at the local theater and went to bed early.

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Western Adventure, Day X – Colorado at the Garden of the Gods

The morning sky was full of clouds and the expectation for the day was heavy rain with potential thunder and lighting. Yesterday, Mike and I bought the boys the new Lego Pirates of Caribbean video game. when we stopped at Target to eat up the last hour before Mike had to be at the airport. The boys have been so jacked up over the release of the video, so we were happy to add it to their library of games. Now could you imagine how the morning went? Yep! The kids played Lego Pirates. The boys even let Briana play too. Nice bros! By noon time, I was ready to explore after getting our blog up-to-date.

Our first and only sight seeing for the day was Garden of the Gods, a city park, due to the heavy rains. Nathan’s first response to the place was it would have been impressive if we just didn’t spend time at the Badlands. He was right. It wasn’t as impressive as all the reviews claimed when we compared it to the majestic Badlands of South Dakota. The colors of the Garden were intense and very attractive. We stopped at the trading post at the park. Zachary found the best black cowboy hat and another knife to buy. After driving through the park, we returned to the trailer. The rain got so intense at one time driving we couldn’t even hear the music playing in the truck anymore. Noisy! The boys were super excited about the Pirates of the Caribbean IV movie. I wonder if we will be able to stay up for the midnight showing at the local movie theater?

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Western Adventure, Day IX – South Dakota to Wyoming to Colorado

Today was a sad day for us.

We got up early, hooked up the trailer and headed away from South Dakota to Denver Int’l Airport to drop Mike off. (That was the sad part.) The kids and I cried for a good half an hour after dropping him off. We tried to figure out a way to keep him and tell Randy, his boss, he’s ours until the 13th of June. But we couldn’t come up with a good enough plan. So we reluctantly let him go.

I personally haven’t been in the Denver area in over 15 years. I was surprised all the wheat fields were gone and replaced by businesses and homes. Fifteen years ago, you had to drive forty minutes through wheat fields, after wheat fields, before you reached the airport… not anymore.

The kids and I had no particular plans from the time we dropped Mike off to when we pick him up in Albuquerque, New Mexico later in the month. A bummer for us was the darn weather! It wasn’t looking good in CO and in NM. Lots of thunderstorms wherever we went. So with the help of Google maps, we found a nice RV Park about 20 miles from Colorado Springs. It was so far out of town, there was no cell serve and what WiFi we had was sketchy at best. It even had a nice big sign on the door, “YOU’RE IN BEAR COUNTRY!”.

We plan to take it easy tomorrow.

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