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Spanish Peaks, Colorado

Monday, January 31, 2011

A Scottish Bagpiper!

As cold weather and snow threaten, we have RVers stop by the KOA for overnight shelter from the storm. Last night this man and his wife came in, driving their motor home, and since they were on their way to a Scottish Bagpipe performance, Mr. Campbell (a truly Scottish name) needed to practice. We lent him the meeting room, turned up the heat, and then left the inner doors open so we could listen. What a treat! He played many Scottish tunes, and played them wonderfully and skillfully. We never know what unusual experiences we might have, even on a cold wintry night. We treated the couple to a pizza in thanks for the performance!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Divine Appointments!

 Our faithful little Focus surely gets some hard use from us as we go adventuring around the country. On this day we set out early for Boulder, Colorado, planning to spend the day. We were innocently traveling down a country highway when we hit something that made a loud bang under our car. We immediately lost power and coasted to a stop in a wide spot by a little farm. As I spent time on the phone talking with someone from our Good Sam Emergency Road Service, 3 ladies came out of the house, helped Mr. Keith push the Focus a little further off the road, and then kept us company for the hour that we waited. One was 9 months pregnant, and we really enjoyed hearing about her life, her schooling, and her hopes for the future. We said we'd pray for her, for a safe delivery of her baby. We got hugs from her.

 In due time the tow truck driver arrived. He put the Focus up a little on his truck and then began to look underneath the car and under the hood, trying different things to see if he could fix anything. We were amazed at his determination to save us some money! He was a gruff, biker type with skulls on his vest and across the back of his truck, but we talked about God and had a wonderful time with him! He did finally find a little switch that reset the fuel pump, and it worked! That's all there was to it! We were back on 4 wheels with our motor purring nicely, just like it was supposed to! We all hugged good-bye and the tow truck driver, John, followed us for several miles to make sure we were okay, then he left us as we headed on to Boulder for the short time we had left.

 I am always amazed at how beautiful the Rockies look from out on the prairie. I wish I knew the name of this peak. There are many that reach the 14,000 foot mark. This was our view as we got nearer to Boulder.

Boulder deserves another visit from us, one that begins earlier in the day, as we had intended. We had time to find an Arby's, wolf down our food, and then go up into the hills a little way to see the view. My pictures are few and not good. This is a view of the University district from an overlook. All the buildings were red brick. The whole town was gorgeous, with the Rockies right there at the edge of the town. We will go back and I'll have some good photos to blog about.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

One Humongous Pancake!

 I'm posting these pictures of the critters we are feeding because I didn't get a picture of the amazing dining experience we had this morning for ourselves! I'll tell about that further down. I love this picture of the bunny and the sparrows eating together. They don't seem to mind each other and are sharing the birdseed with doves and starlings, too. I wish all critters, human, too, could share like that.

 This cottonwood is right outside my bedroom window and computer desk. I'm able to sneakily photograph the birds eating the seed I put in the crook of the tree. These are sparrows, but the starlings also come, and once I saw a hairy woodpecker here.

One little squirrel likes this spot, too. I've put peanuts and apple cores out for him.

Now for our dining experience! Mr. Keith asked if we could go out for breakfast this morning. Since we're out on the Colorado prairie, restaurants are not too plentiful. We decided to go 5 miles east to Byers to see if they had a likely looking restaurant. They did, the only one in town. It was called the Country Burger. Entering, we saw groups of men in cowboy hats and boots or baseball caps with their ranching clothes. "Hmmm! This must be the place", we said to each other. Mr. Keith loves pancakes, so, even though the menu stated the pancake was really big, he ordered one anyway. When it came, our eyes popped out. The pancake was on a 12 inch pizza plate, and it was hanging over the edges, easily 14 inches across! We couldn't believe our eyes! I noticed the man in the booth next to us was laughing. He was a local who knew the pancake size and had specifically asked for a "small" one for himself. He showed us his, about 8 inches across. In addition, the meal included a large hashbrown and 2 big sausage patties. Well, Mr. Keith managed to eat 1/4 of the pancake. I didn't help him, as I had all I could handle with my french toast and bacon.  The waitress got quite a kick out of our reaction. We told her we worked at the Strasburg KOA and we'd tell everyone about this restaurant. What an experience! We'll go back, but we won't order a pancake again without asking for a small one!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Denver's Four Mile House

 As promised, we did return to the Four Mile Historical Park, on a day it was open. The name comes from the fact that the house, built in 1859, is exactly 4 miles from downtown Denver, at the corner of Colfax and Broadway. This roadway is part of the original Cherokee Trail, which was the major north/south highway through Colorado in the first three decades of the 19th century. The House wasn't built as a stage stop or inn, but did serve in that capacity various times in its history. Settlers came to the Denver area in search of gold, which was plentiful in the foothills of the Rockies. Inside this fence reside several horses, used to pull the wagons and stagecoaches used for festivities at the park during the summer.

 We were greeted by a friendly, but strange-looking goat named Betsy, who showed her teeth for a picture! She and her 2 cohorts had the freedom to roam the park grounds.

 This is the House. It began as a log house, to the left, later covered with clapboard, then built onto with planed boards, to the right, and eventually with a brick addition. It has the distinction of being the oldest building in Denver. The inside and the outside have been restored beautifully, and furnished with many of the owners' original furniture and household items. The white picket fence encloses a garden.

 A root cellar beside the House.

Here is a typical covered wagon used to cross the prairie. The Mennonite gentleman to the right was our tour guide, and a very knowledgeable one he was. We enjoyed his explanations and stories of old time life. I was surprised to see that the old wagons were so narrow, only 4 feet wide. Our guide said the people who owned the wagon mostly walked alongside and slept on the ground because there was no room inside the wagon! Our RV, with slides out, is 16 feet wide! We're living in a palace! We truly enjoyed visiting the Four Mile House. There is so much to see and learn in this part of our country, as well as in every place we've visited. We are grateful for the opportunity to live this lifestyle!

Goin' Fishin'

 We picked a good day to go to the Downtown Aquarium in Denver, since it was snowy and very cold and we didn't want to be outside. This edifice is huge, holding tons and tons of water and fishes. It was expensive to get in, even with the senior discount, but well worth the money and the time.

 Most of our photos of the fish didn't turn out because the fish wouldn't hold still and pose while we clicked away! Some did, however, so we got a few good shots. I didn't have a pen and paper to write down the names, and my memory fails me.

 This is one gorgeous guy! Or gal?

 We were so amused by this critter, who was sticking to the glass wall of his enclosure so that we could see his underside. His real eyes are on the top of him, but whatever this is, it sure looks like a cute little face!

 Can you spot Nemo in this photo? I saw the movie with Nemo the clown fish living inside the anemone. It was fun to see the real thing! 
(Click to enlarge.)

Believe it or not, there was a tiger at the Aquarium! He wouldn't hold still, either, but Keith did get a pretty good photo of part of him. 

 We ate at a lovely restaurant inside the Aquarium. The entire place was lined with huge tanks full of fish so that we could watch them while we dined. This photo isn't the greatest but you can see that our table was right up against the glass where we could see lots of big fish swimming by. We didn't have the heart to order fish to eat while we watched live ones, so I had chicken and bacon on a croissant, and Mr. Keith had a Reuben sandwich. Yum!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A Tuesday Drive

 I am amazed by the huge numbers of Canada Geese that reside in and near Denver. There are fields of them out in the country, and in the city they find every pond and sports field and park to gather in. This is a typical 'convention' of geese. Maybe they're having church!

 We intended to tour the "Four Mile Historic Park" in Denver, but it was closed. We could only take pictures through the fence. The building in the picture is the oldest standing structure in Denver, built in 1859. I can't wait to go back on a day it's open! There is even a small barnyard with farm critters to pet.

 We're always driving past intriguing buildings. These twins caught our interest. I think they are office buildings.

 No, this is not the sun setting! It's the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Assumption, very magnificent — another fascinating Denver structure.

 For my daughter Jessi...
As we drove once again through the old Lowry Air Force Base we saw the Jackie Robinson Field. There are several baseball diamonds there. This one, we noticed as we passed around the other side of the building, was jammed up with more Canada Geese. Maybe they were waiting to hear, "Play ball!"

(Click on photos to enlarge.)

Monday, January 10, 2011

Rocky Mountain High!

We left home early one cold morning and headed across Denver, trying to beat the worst of the freeway traffic. We'd been told that Winter Park, a famous ski area, was worth seeing, so we made that the farthest point in our day, hoping to see some interesting little towns on the way. There isn't much snow in the foothills directly above Denver, but up high at the 10,000-12,000 foot elevations we found all we could wish for. The ski area was jam-packed with happy skiers, and was very beautiful.

Here's a sign I have not seen before — Moose Crossing! We were not so lucky to see the real thing, however.

Several little old mining towns in the foothills proved very picturesque. This one, Empire, boasts of the "Original Hard Rock Cafe´". It said so on our map, too, so we believed it. We did not go inside, since we'd just eaten breakfast at a McDonalds. If we'd only known! Driving through parts of the Rockies, I now understand the term "hard rock"! I used to think it had something to do with rock music. Not so!

In the town of Idaho Springs we found a completely frozen waterfall and an old wheel with a sign that said, "Charlie Tayler used this waterwheel to power a stamp mill at his gold mining operations on Ute Creek. Tayler, who attributed his good health to the fact that he never kissed women or took baths, built the waterwheel in 1893. It was moved to its present site in 1946, a gift to the people of Idaho Springs by his estate." We had to hike a trail under the highway to see this amazing sight up close.

This huge building was another intriguing sight in Idaho Springs. "In 1893 construction of the Argo Tunnel began. It would be 17 years before it would reach Central City, over 4.5 miles away. The tunnel would provide water drainage, ventilation and economical transportation of the gold bearing ore from the many mines it would intersect along the way. The Argo Mill was constructed to process the gold bearing ore from these mines. When completed, the Argo would be the largest mill of its type in the world. The mill processed over 100 million dollars of gold ore at the old time prices of $18 to $35 per ounce and stands today as a memorial to the hard rock miners of the day when gold was king!"

Our main destination for the day was the quaint Victorian village of Georgetown, begun in 1859 as a mining town. The first thing we saw was this large, completely frozen lake, with cars driving around on it! Up close we read a sign saying that permits were necessary to drive on the lake, and there were orange cones set up on the ice, maybe to mark the safest spots. I don't think I'd want to try it anyway!

There are many very old buildings in Georgetown. This was the original school, built in 1874. It looked as though it was still in use.

As we shopped for birthday gifts for our daughter, we asked the sales clerk if she would recommend a good place to eat lunch. She sent us to this restaurant where we did find wonderful food and a good atmosphere. We were amused by the sign!

Many of the very old storefronts in the town have been carefully restored and kept up, but this one seemed to be deliberately left to rack and ruin on the outside, but was a lovely souvenir shop on the inside. I loved the ghost town effect! I've found, in our travels, that the towns I seem to like the best resemble this one, all old mining towns. Among my favorites are Deadwood and Lead in South Dakota, Silver City New Mexico, Wallace Idaho and Phillipsburg in Montana. Now I can add Georgetown, Colorado to the list! May we find and explore many more!