Monday, September 28, 2015

28 September 2015 Loveland - Golden - Pikes Peak - Garden of the Gods - CO Springs - Denver - St. Louis, MO

   Loveland, CO, was a great base for cycling and hiking and we took advantage of as much of as time permitted.  We moved on to Golden as a station for Pikes Peak and Garden of the Gods neighborhoods.  


     We drove to Colorado Springs to visit the USAF Academy and its beautiful campus.

  USAFA Chapel


     It had been years since we’d been to Pikes Peak, so we opted for the Cog Railway since the drive up there is on a curvy 2 lane road with switch backs and no guard rail that consumes 2 ½ hours.  The tram was fun and provided the opportunity to chat with other tourists.  At the summit, we were at 14,110 feet and the wind chill was 38 degrees.  We were desperately seeking O2——but amazingly some people are actually lighting up! We were having a hard time breathing with our crystal clear lungs!

Rocks atop Pikes Peak

Our view from the top of Pikes Peak where the oxygen is a commodity

Our round trip ride to Pikes Peak.
      Curiosity took us to Central City, CO, which is older than old with abandoned mines, ancient buildings and lots of casinos which seemed to be the only reason for its being.

     We loved Cheyenne, Wyoming. The RV park where we stayed, Terry Bison Ranch, is a real sure ‘nuff working ranch of 2700 acres. There’s a gift shop, breakfast cafe, lunch and dinner restaurant, nightly campfires, horse back riding, fishing, and even a train that runs around the perimeter of the property.

      The little black horse was born just a few hours prior and he's is taking his first tenuous steps. 

     There is a “zoo” of animals with 6 camels, 3000 bison, llamas and alpacas, but I didn’t know which was which; and either emus or ostrich.  I don’t know much (if anything at all) about farms, but it was interesting to wander around and enjoy the “fresh” barnyard scents. There’s an old decorated bus made into a chicken house with chickens that have fancy feathers around their feet—think they’re the type used in cock fights.

      This was a real serendipity; an adventurous place to spend a few days and definitely a different atmosphere for us. The saloon has live music with dinner--all on the property and just a stone's throw from our coach. This should be a very interesting visit. Already have my Fake Cowgirl Gear "laid out" and ready to wear.

Nothing special--just one of the things I love which is wood grain.

     Zip lining has been on my bucket list for a very long time and I don’t mean one for little children but one that would provide an over-the-top adrenaline surge.  I found the perfect one and as their ad states, we “embraced the wedgie”. 

     Our day of zip lining, for me, was the denouement of our 6 months and was far more than an adventure.  It was an experience!  We rode down Colorado’s longest and fastest zip lines ranging from 850 feet to over 1,900  feet long.  Our speeds were up to 60 mph even though it didn’t seem that fast and up to 250 feet above ground!  This was an absolute blast!! Almost four hours of longest and fastest zip lines in CO---6 of them.

The Mile High City

Beautiful gold leaf atop CO's capitol in Denver

Bill has a knack for always finding old cars, trains, planes, tractors...anything that was once mechanical

     After watching the vivid azure skies punctuated by the whitest,  fluffiest, marshmallow clouds of the wild west diminish in our rear view mirrors, we spent three very long days crossing KS and MO to land in St. Louis, MO, for the Labor Day weekend. The MS River divides MO and IL and the bridge connecting both cities was bicycle friendly. Right in the center of down town is a strange place for an RV Park but that's where we were and the location was perfect for scooting around playing, very well, the roles of tourists.

     President Thomas Jefferson brokered the greatest real estate deal in US history with the Louisiana Purchase from France’s Napoleon.  Our country doubled in size for a mere $15 million making St. Louis the gateway to the West. Its Gateway Arch celebrates a 50th birthday/anniversary this year.  

The St. Louis Old City Hall framed by the Gateway Arch to the West

    The monument is such a pristine beauty to behold with its brushed stainless skin and its clean catenary shape.  The height is 630 feet and the width at ground level between the outer sides of the legs is also 630 feet.  This testament is quite secure with a foundation of 60 feet.  Does it face true north?  No, it’s 18 degrees off.  Late September, the National Park Service plans to honor the Arch’s half-century marking the setting of the final piece of the nation’s tallest manmade monument.  

     We took the trip to the top and you can see the Cardinal’s stadium in the distance with game in progress.

Beautiful landscaping along the main drag downtown St. Louis

     The City Museum is not just a museum! We read its story prior to our arrival which was amazing and exciting, heightening our anticipation but there is absolutely no way to describe it. You’ve got to personally experience it to be able to “get it”.

     It occupies a 600,000 square-foot former International Shoe Company in down town St. Louis. The museum is an eclectic mixture of a children’s playground, surrealistic pavilion, and architectural marvel made out of unique, found objects. It’s the brainchild of internationally acclaimed artist, Bob Cassilly, a classically trained sculptor and entrepreneur.

Thousands of tiny gears mounted on the walls with marbles placed in their centers
Remember Shoney's Big Boy from 50 years ago?

     The artisans have constructed the museum from the very stuff of the city, reaching no farther than the city’s borders.  They are using reclaimed building and industrial materials with features such as old chimneys, salvaged bridges, construction cranes, miles of tile, a cantilevered off-the-roof school bus, 2 old fire trucks, a 10 story slide, and even two abandoned airplanes upon which children of all ages can play.

     St. Louis is the home of Anheuser Busch Brewery which provides a half day of entertainment and education.  The visitor's center is extravagant and welcoming to tourists.  

     The dream of every Clydesdale is to have the correct coloring and to be chosen to be a Budweiser Clydesdale.  Check out their indoor climate controlled stalls with their names hanging above their "slots" carved and in gold leaf--complete with stained glass windows.

The Anheuser Bush Clock Tower

Validation by a satisfied consumer
     So much to see and do and so little time to do it.

Bill and Laura heading east...then south.
St. Louis, MO 

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