August '08    Page  1            | back | index | forward |


Friday, August 1

Well, here we are with no Sower work planned until the Friday before Labor Day in the Capitan Mountains of New Mexico.  This year is our 20th anniversary, and we decided to take a month off (August in Colorado) as our present to ourselves.  We determined to spend the $1200. "economic stimulus" check from the government on diesel fuel.  After we saw the price of diesel fuel climb to near $5 a gallon, it would bring us a lot less far than we had originally thought. The plan was to drive 50-100 miles and then stop for two days and see the sights in that area, then repeat until we got tired of the idea.  Lets see how well we did...

In the morning, we started down CO 115 and west on US 50 towards Canon City.   (The plan was to go west over the Monarch pass, spend some time in the Gunnison area, hen south from Montrose towards Durango. Let's see our progress.)


Here we are in Canon City, close to Royal Gorge.


We camped at Mountain View campground, about 5 miles west  of Canon City. On this first day, we drove to Royal Gorge, took pictures, but decided that $24 apiece was too expensive to go in. 




See the railroad tracks down below next to the Arkansas river: they were once part of Denver & Rio Grande Railway!  You'll see soon that we never got really far from General Palmer and his railroad...






That's a cable car that crosses the gorge.


Deciding that we had enough of the gorge, we went east again to Red Canyon road to look for rocks.  We found out later that Garden Park Dinosaur Monument was just up the road, where many big dinosaur fossils were found, and are now in major museums.  One story we heard was that an archaeologist thought he found a fossilized tree trunk, only to find out later that it was a dinosaur bone.




Saturday, August 2

In the morning, we spent some time in a rock shop near Canon City to buy a few rocks for our grandchildren (maybe one or two also for ourselves!) then went rock hunting near the Royal Gorge City area, and found some quartz.  We then drove west on US 50 with the truck to Texas Creek Gulch, about 20 miles west of campground, looking for rocks.  We found a few on the dirt road that goes north following the gulch.  Up this road was a rose quartz mine, unfortunately closed to the public. There was a rock shop close to the turnoff, and we spent a while talking to the owner.   Apparently, he was the brother of the person that owned the first rock shop and his family had owned the rose quartz mine!  He was shutting shop after 37 years there, and offering big rocks at wholesale prices.  If we had the room, we would have been tempted to buy some of his big rocks; as it was, we still got a few smaller rose quartz pieces.

Sunday, August 3

We moved the trailer on US 50 a few miles west of Salida to a new campground: Heart of the Rockies Campground and RV park.  Here we are parked at the campground.








On this first day, we drove west on US 50 to FS 240, soon a dirt road, and then soon a Jeep road!  We got some pictures of the waterfalls just north of Angel of Shavano campground.  We wanted to go further to see the lakes up the mountain at 11000 ft, but the truck was not made for that road: about ˝ mile per hour up hill on washboard  and over fair sized rocks.  In addition, the right side, where Patty was sitting, was a shear drop of several hundred feet! 

The aspen trees were beautiful here.


We went back to town for a Wal-Mart run (also to pick up another big box for stone collecting).

Here are some things we saw in Salida:

Flowers in horse troughs!

Wooden bicycle.








Someone who appreciates signs like Ed appreciates bumper stickers...


Ed is now collecting more bumper stickers, wherever he can find them.  Will it be OK for him to paste them on the pickup camper even though only the trailer has been there?






Sky on the way home.








Monday, August 4

Second day: rock hunting again.  North of Salida, off CO 291, is county road 175.  We found several sites up this road, then forking off to county road 185, that were marked in our rockhounding book.  We brought back a bucket full of stones. We then took north on US 285 towards Buena Vista, but stopped short  to go west on county road 162 (you guessed it: dirt road) up Mt Princeton  to St Elmo – a ghost town (or so we thought).  We found many Jeeps and 4-wheelers staging here for trips further up the mountain. Then, we drove up 285 to Buena Vista to Quincy’s – a restaurant that sells only prime rib on Friday and Saturday, and only filet mignon the rest of the week.  The only choices you have to eat are:  what size (4 sizes) and what you want on your baked potato.   Filet Mignon , for the 6-ounce size starts at $7.99!  There are two of these (one on Leadville – wish we would have known when we were there about a month ago) and another opening in Salida in 2 weeks!  Great food!


Some flowers along the way...








Tuesday, August 5



You guessed it - over Monarch pass - 11, 312 ft!







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