Saturday, August 1, 2009

Thurs, July 30: Fountain, CO

It rained most of the night...hope this system will make it to Brenham, it is still pushing the century mark with just spotty rain there. Both of us sleep in until nearly 10AM. While we have a breakfast of blueberry pancakes and sausage, we plan our day. The rain is just spotty now and the forecast is for some clearing and showers in the PM. With that information we go with the original plan to head to Cripple Creek and a drive through Phantom Canyon.We cross over the pass west of Colorado Springs into bright sunshine. But by the time we get to Cripple Creek, at nearly 10,000 feet, we reach the ceiling and are in the clouds again. We first came to the Cripple Creek/Victor area when our oldest son was 15 months old, 41 years ago. Then Cripple Creek was almost a ghost mining town, but it has been rediscovered and has several Casinos and lots of tourist places. However Victor has not been so lucky and looks much like it did 40 years ago. For us the main attraction is the wonderful, crooked, 30+mile gravel road through Phantom Canyon down to Hwy 50 and Canon City.This road runs on the road bed of the Florence & Cripple Creek Railroad, built in 1894 and in use until 1912, to bring gold ore from the Cripple Creek and Victor mines down and supplies for the communities back up.If you are over 25 total length, you can’t drive the road!It has some very narrow and crooked sections and two tunnels just wide enough for a car, but it is a great scenic drive!Today is the third time we have been on the road and we find that it has changed only with the addition of several nicely done historical markers, including one for the 1894 train bridge which is the last of the original bridgesand two "long drop" rest areas. It is part of the Gold Belt Scenic Byway system now.

At Canon City, we head west to the Royal Gorge, thinking we will pay maybe $10 dollars to drive across the gorge toll bridge. Well, I am glad we saw this Gorge in 1987 since now it has changed a great deal and is $24 per person to drive across the bridge! Apparently it is now an all day type of deal and an amusement park. Needless to say, we kept our money and moved on north.

So, we head back up Hwy 9 to Hwy 24 along the rest of the Gold Belt Scenic Byway and then back to the KOA. We have never done this part of the drive and it is wonderful...a paved road, running through beautiful high mountain valleyswith very nice ranch homes ever so often.

Back "home" we visit with a guy on his way to a motorcycle rally in Sturgis, SD. He wants to show off his "to die for," brand new, red, Harley Davidson three wheeler (trike). We were drooling. Maybe some day we can replace the toad with a trailer and a trike! Since it is trying to shower again, we make garlic spaghetti in the rig and call it a night.

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