Travels with Bentley

Travels with Bentley
Bentley - our Heartland Bighorn

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Sunday, May 29, 2016 - KOA Colorado Springs, Fountain, CO - Canon City & Royal Gorge


Sunday, May 29, 2016 - A Day at Canon City & Royal Gorge

We were up early this morning so we could head to Canon City.  I made some breakfast burritoes and froze them before we left.  We pulled out a package of them and heated them up in the microwave this morning.  They were pretty good and the pre-preparation made it nice and quick.  Before we left I put some chicken and noodles in the crockpot for when we return later today.  I found the recipe on Facebook.  I tried it once at home last week but did not fix it in the crockpot.  Marc, Kamron, Misti and Haleigh were there and they all thought it was good.  I thought it would be something easy to have cook while we are gone and with little to finish up when we get back.

As we traveled toward Canon City we began to see more mountains with several of that were snow topped.  We traveled through the Cheyenne Mountains as we left our campground.  The mountains were beautiful and of course I took way too many pictures.  I tried to pick out the better ones to insert below. 





We passed this large rocking chair in front of this restaurant.  Surprise Dacy - you got included too!

As we drove through Canon City we saw the Colorado Territorial Correctional Facility.  It looks like it is built right into the rock behind it.  I don't know if it is but looks like it all goes together.

We drove through Canon City however we did not stop, we will do that on the way back.  We want to get to Royal Gorge early to beat the crowds if we can.  We noticed a sign for Skyline Drive on the way out of town and noted we needed to be sure and drive it on the way back.  

As we neared the Royal Gorge turnoff we started seeing lots of adventure rafting tours and zip lining information.  The girls both think this sounds fun and it probably would be but we told them we didn't feel comfortable taking them on or permitting them to do either of these.  We felt this was something the parents should decide on.  They were pretty understanding and didn't balk.

As you near the Royal Gorge entrance you drive through kind of rough and brushy looking countryside.  Dean and I faintly remember there being lots of small deer in this area last time we were here (about 17 years ago).  We did not see one although there were a number of crossing signs up. Fortunately we did arrive pretty early and was able to park right near the visitor's center so it was very easy to come and go if needed.  
Our parking spot at Royal Gorge - right in front of the train engine and car.

After we finally got our tickets (for some reason the first booth's cash register would not take either of our credit cards, so we had to move to the next cashier and it worked fine), they told us to head out and immediately to the left to the gondolas that will carry you across the gorge.  The gondolas are 3 cars that each carry 8 persons, with one car running from each side.  We didn't have to wait too long at all.  
Gondola car to the left and two zipliners coming in.

Gondola car as it is leaving for the other side of the gorge.

Our selfie, by Dacy!
This was a great way to see the scenery a little differently than you can from the bridge.  It didn't take too long to cross over but it was a little eerie looking straight down at the river below us.



The gentleman overseeing the loading of the gondolas told us this was the best way to get to the other side.  If you walk across the bridge, you have to walk uphill quite aways to get to the gondolas to cross back over - and he was right.  It was very steep hills!  Sure glad we chose to follow their instructions.

As we left the gondolas we walked below the gondola area and watched the zipline for awhile as well as another feature they have there called the Skycoaster.  The zipline is across the entire gorge - 2 at a time.  The Skycoaster allows for two people to be strapped into an apparatus that holds them with arms and legs outstretched hanging from a belt.  Then the Skycoaster shoots them out over the gorge and it goes back and forth until it stops.  I think I might either be sick or pass out if I rode this!  Not for me.  The girls were not even too excited about it.  A few pictures I took below the gondola loading dock.



Pictures from above were taken after we got off the gondola.  The first two were standing underneath the gondola station, and the last one was taken from near the same area back towards the bridge and the skycoaster, which is located on the right.

The next level has a theatre where they tell about the building of the bridge over the gorge.  The girls were not interested in hearing it so we passed this up.  They had a live band playing some blues and 50's music.  They were quite good and I could have set and listened for awhile.  :)
snack area, outdoor seating and the theater is to the right. 
Dean and I with the bridge and the stage where the band was playing behind us.
All of us with the bridge behind us.
Panoramic View from the Gondola Station.

We finally made it to the bridge.  Even though I've been over it more than once it is still an awesome sight to me and really interesting that they can build such amazing things when you are dealing with a gorge of this size.  We stopped several times on the way across to take pictures, look down, read notes along the bridge side.  Here are several of those below:

The river and railroad below the bridge.
The day before we visited, the main conductor of the railroad train, a young woman somehow fell off the back of the train as it was backing up.  We heard this on the news the night after we were there. The train was shut down until further notice.  I pray for her family and her co-workers.

You can see the gondola on the right at the first drop from the far right.


 

Yeah, right!  Can you imagine enough fishing line to reach the bottom?  You'd need a good weight just to make sure it got to the bottom.


You are encouraged to find your state flag and take a selfie - so that's what we did!

If you enlarge this I think you will see zipliners going across the gorge.



At the far side there was a sign telling a little information about the bridge and the girls posed for this picture.


We were relieved to make it back up to the Visitor Center where we first entered the park, and set outside for a few minutes.  We took one last selfie here at the water clock just outside.

Of course we had to do some souvenir shopping before we left.

From Royal Gorge we headed back down the entrance road to a picnic area so we could have our lunch that we brought with us.  Sandwiches, chips and a snack.  While there a couple came in and set at the table beside us.  The girls told me they were from Kansas too.  They noticed the license tag when they pulled in.  So I asked them if they were from Kansas.  They said yes, they were from Junction City.  We visited with them through most of our meal.  They gave us a couple of tips and we told them about Skyline Drive.

After our lunch we headed to Canon City.  We were soon at the turnoff for Skyline Drive.  What beautiful views from this very narrow one way roadway that leads back into a residential area of the town that is near the old downtown area.  By the way as we were driving Skyline Drive, I happened to notice our lunch neighbors waving as we drove past them.
At the top of Skyline Drive.  

We drove down mainstreet of the old Canon City area and then we drove over to their riverwalk along the Arkansas River.  

Downtown Old Canon City
We saw a few rafts and kayaks.  There were small riffles in the water but we didn't get to actually watch any of them pass through these areas.  The girls were busy picking up "pretty" rocks.  


From there we decided to head back to the campground.  There were some nasty looking clouds back our way and sure enough a pretty good rain had gone through while we were gone.  



Once we returned to Bentley the chicken noodle mixture was smelling pretty good.  I had thrown 4 chicken breasts in 2 cans of cream of chicken soup, 32 ozs. of chicken stock with 1 stick of butter.  I pulled the chicken breasts out and quickly shredded them, then added the chicken back into the soup along with a bag of frozen Reames noodles.  We cooked them about 30 minutes or so - Reames has a quick cooking (10 minute) variety.  The recipe says to let the noodles cook 2 hours.  I probably should have left them another 20 minutes or so but they were still really good.  I think we all had a second bowl.

Afterwards, Dean took the girls up to the pool and I stayed here and worked on the blog.  Was glad to get two days worth updated.  I would like to finish this tonight along with a post for Monday and today but not sure I'll make it that far.

It was another great day in Colorado Springs area.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Saturday, May 28 - Fountain, CO - Checking out Colorado Springs and the Neighboring areas

Saturday, May 28, 2016

We all tried to sleep in this morning and just took our time getting around.  I pre-cooked quite a few meals before we left so this morning we had breakfast burritoes.  We enjoyed this changed from our quick breakfast yesterday.

We took our time getting around this morning.  Dean went online to see when we could check into our campground in Fountain, CO (a suburb of Colorado Springs) and we found out it was noon, so we decided to go ahead and get around so we could have a good part of the day to check out the area.

We pulled out of Shady Grove at 10:00 with the sun shining.  Here are a few pictures I took along the way.

You can't miss Flagler, CO.

Our first sighting of the mountains.

Two chinooks flew over as we neared our campground.  I love these aircraft.

We arrived at the campground and were set-up by 12:50.  We had a little lunch and then walked around the campground.  First stop was the office to pick up a few brochures of the area and to get a map.  We had to visit the pool and the girls are excited about making a trip there later.  Then we walked the perimeter of the campground where we found a nice creek running behind it.

This is the view out of our back window.  Pike's Peak is to the right and is partly hidden by one of the trees.  The girls told Papa he should go cut it down!  Lol!

A creek that runs behind the campground.

And a little further down it has a bit of a waterfall or spillway.
We discussed various things to do.  We finally decided we would drive to Manitou Springs and do some looking around.  Our first stop was Garden of the Gods.  We stopped at what we thought was the Visitor's Center but soon discovered it was a VERY LARGE gift shop.  The girls informed us they want to come back here before we leave Colorado.

Driving into the Garden of the Gods Park.

When we first arrived and got out of the truck I was envious of Haleigh and Dacy who had worn shorts and t-shirts. I wore my lined sweats with a t-shirt.  I brought a jacket in case I needed it - and I did not.  After leaving the gift shop we decided to drive the loop through the Garden of Gods to check things out.  I'm not sure if it was because it is the beginning of a holiday weekend or just later in the day but this place was packed.  It was impossible to find a place along the road to park our big dually truck so we just drove around and oohed and aahed.  We will come back here later in the week but we will come early in the morning before the crowds hit - we hope!

We did stop at the main parking area where we did finally find a place for the truck.  There was a large area where we could climb around on some of the rocks.  It was a little cool when we got out and the girls both grabbed their jackets as did Dean and I.  Pretty soon it began to rain but I managed to get a couple of pictures of the girls before it was too bad.  They were pretty cold.



We found the Visitor Information Center and wandered through it for a bit checking out exhibits and a model of the park.  Dacy really enjoyed a large moving wall picture depicting 4 seasons of the area with a fast forward feature that she enjoyed moving along quite fast.  It was a pretty neat exhibit.


I'm sorry I was unable to get very many good pictures so I'm not including most of them at this time since we plan to return.  I hope to have a chance to get out and take pictures next trip.

Here are a couple I took that were decent.



After leaving Garden of the Gods we drove through Historical Downtown Manitou Springs.


Metal sculpture.

After our drive through Manitou Springs we drove  over toward Pike's Peak to check out what was in the area.  That will be a full day since we can see water falls, drive to the top (or as close as we can get due to the snow) of Pike's Peak, visit the Cliffdwellings, and Wind of the Caves.  The girls decided to pass on Santa Claus' Village.  It was interesting to me to see it opened in 1956.  We visited here when I was 5.  I don't remember the Village but I do remember walking and driving across Royal Gorge.  My dad took alot of movies at that time and it might have helped keep the memory alive.

Nana was tired after 3 days of driving and touring so everyone gave me a break tonight.  We stopped at Red Robin for dinner.  Dacy had never ate at a Red Robin and we told her she was in for a treat.  She really liked it, and the rest of us did too.

When we returned to the campground the girls wanted to go swimming so I walked up to the pool with them.  Anyone under the age of 16 must be accompanied by a parent/grandparent.  I didn't mind sitting with them as the sun was setting behind the mountains and I was able to enjoy the view.  They were very pleased to find out the water was heated, but they sure were cold when they got out.  Brrr!

Here is a picture of tonight's sunset from the pool area and out Bentley's back window once we returned.
The sun hitting the clouds to the east.

It was a little cloudy but if you enlarge the picture you can see there is a little color too.
Colorado Springs KOA is a nice campground that we would definitely return to.  The sites are close but not too intrusive.  We have full hook-ups with 50 amp service.  The water pressure is a little low, and we especially notice it about the time folks get up in the morning and again in the evening.  Otherwise it isn't too bad.  Our cost for five nights is $248.96 with tax, so close to $50 a night.  More than we would normally pay but part of it is the area, the luxury of full hookups, internet, and the heated pool, especially with having the girls traveling with us.  They were so excited to have internet service after two full days without it.  We are in site #136 which is fairly close to the office, laundry and pool area.  Each site has a fire ring and a nice picnic table.

Tomorrow we are headed to Canon City and Royal Gorge.  The girls are very excited!