Colorado Road Trip

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Angela and I recently embarked on a road trip to Colorado Springs. Of course we took Chloe, our Yorkshire Terrorist (sorry, Terrier), and we also took along two Angora Cats, Fatso and Baby Face to re-acquaint them with their owner. The prospect of driving 23 hours with Chloe and two large cats was terrifying. I thought we would never survive the inevitable dog versus cat altercation. However, we were completely surprised when no such confrontations occurred. In fact, Chloe slept on our laps in the front seat and the cats stayed quiet and comfortable in their kennel in the back of our rented SUV. Angela constantly checked on the felines and fed them food and water, but they were entirely content remaining in their comfy kennel.

Those of you who know me well, know that I have just a little trouble staying awake past 9:30PM:) so Angela and I agreed to drive in 6 hour shifts to avoid my inevitable onslaught of drowsiness. I convinced myself that I could make it 6 hours before I was overwhelmed with the need to sleep. I know this is hard to believe, but somehow I managed to drive the entire 23 hours by myself with just a brief 2 hour nap at rest area outside of St. Louis! Of all the accomplishments I have had in my life, this makes my top five. Angela tried many times to take over, but once I made the 11 hours to the rest area, I was rearing to go and totally committed to driving all the way through.

Once we got to our hotel in Colorado Springs after dropping off the kitties to their joyful owner, we pretty much crashed until the next morning. We went awoke the next day, we were surprised to find 50 degrees and rain. We decided to drive 2 hours north to Estes Park and visit The Stanley Hotel where “The Shining” and “Dumb and Dumber” (2 classic movies) were filmed.

On the drive, we were blown away by the scenery and stopped several times along the way to take photos. Of course Angela found some new friends at an overlook, a herd of chipmunks whom quickly took to Angela, but not so much to Chloe.

Headed for Estes Park

Chipmunk Love

Angela's new friend

Estes Park and The Stanley Hotel were awesome! Angela explored the inside while Chloe and I explored the surrounding grounds. The only disappointment was the missing giant maze of bushes that were so prominent in “The Shining.” That’s Hollywood for you.

Ang and Chloe at the Stanley Hotel entrance

The Stanley Hotel front entrance

Chloe on the rocks above the Stanley Hotel

The weather changed dramatically once we got to Estes Park; from rain to shine, from wintry to springtime…it was a great day.

The next day we went to The Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs. This place is a public park and is unbelievable, one of the most beautiful places I have ever experienced. We hiked the various paths for several hours and came back the next morning when it was cooler and less crowded. We took several photos, here are just a few.

The Adams Family

Ang poses while Chloe enjoys the view

Ang and Chloe in one of the many stone crevices amidst the towering rocks

Adamo and Chloe on top of the boulders

Garden of the Gods

Young elk at the Garden of the Gods entrance

Chloe enjoying the view

The next day we headed to Bishop’s Castle, south of Pueblo. On the way we decided to go see Seven Falls which has 7 separate falls that tumble 181 feet down a sheer granite cliff. To get to the first viewing platform, you have to climb 184 steps up a steep and narrow staircase. It was all I could do to keep up with Chloe as she jetted up the stairs. Angela made her way up behind us and as you can see from this photo, Chloe was somewhat impatient with her progress:)

Chloe watching as Ang traverses the 184 steps

Chloe enjoying the cool breeze from atop the falls

Chloe reading about the dangerous critters roaming the Rocky Mountains

After leaving Seven Falls we made our way to Bishop’s Castle. Less than an hour’s drive from Pueblo, Bishop Castle’s tallest tower rises 160 feet from the forest floor, peeking above the tops of pine trees that shield it from a clear roadside view.

Made of native stone that castle builder Jim Bishop extracted from adjacent national forest land, the castle features intricate wrought-iron bridges and walkways that cling to its towers. Bishop’s Castle is decorated with stained-glass windows along its front wall; a metallic dragon’s neck and head jut from the apex of the castle’s great hall. The dragon, made from recycled metal hospital trays, used to shoot fire from its gaping maw with the aid of a burner from a hot air balloon. Apparently the dragon hasn’t spewed fire in several years. When he was age 15, Mr. Bishop bought the 2 1/2 acres of land in 1959 for $1,250. The structure that started as a family cabin in June 1969 grew over 42 years into the castle visitors see today and it was constructed by one man, Bishop himself.

Bishop's Castle, main tower and dragon

Angela at the foot of the steep staircase to the highest tower

Stain glass and roof of main floor

Angela at the top of the highest spire

The former fire-breathing dragon

Chloe taking a break in one of the many castle niches on the way to the top

The bridge to nowhere

The girls at the Bishop's Castle mailbox

Bishop's Castle at dusk

The following day we drove to Royal Gorge, near Cañon City, Colorado, within a 360-acre theme park. The bridge deck hangs 955 feet above the Arkansas River, and held the record of highest bridge in the world from 1929 until 2003, when it was surpassed by the Beipanjiang River 2003 Bridge in China. It is a suspension bridge with a main span of 938 feet. The bridge is 1,260 feet long and 18 feet wide, with a wooden walkway with 1292 planks. The bridge is suspended from towers that are 150 feet high. We drove across the bridge and then walked back across several times.

The Royal Gorge bridge

Angela, Chloe & Adamo at the Georgia flag marker

Ang & Chloe catching their breath after crossing the bridge

Chloe taking a time out

On the bridge again, Chloe is careful with her steps

Ang crossing the gorge on the tram

Bison feeding at the gorge park

Ang and Chloe at the elk pen

Chloe making sure the elk don't escape

Chloe decide to upstage the singing dog when she jumped on stage in the middle of his performance

Angela and Chloe after a long day at Royal Gorge bridge and park

We left for home the following day and this time I decided not to try for another “accomplishment” as Angela and I took turns driving. We had a little delay in Kansas City, as major construction on I-70 was in full swing. Angela drove the last 8 hours and allowed me to sleep in the backseat. We only stopped for gas and potty breaks, and made it home in 24 hours on Saturday morning.

When you gotta go...

Chloe decided she wanted to go to the park by our house to play as soon as we got home; and because she did so well on the trip I had to oblige and play ball with her at the park for 3 hours. However, when it was time to walk the 2 miles home, I had to completely rely on Chloe’s sense of direction as I was overcome by my customary drowsiness:)

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