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On the Road to Colorado

We left New York on 7/9 and arrived in Colorado Springs 5 days later, a total of 1650 miles.  The trip was uneventful except for the last 15 miles.  There were 3 short steep hills that combined with the 100 degree temperature here caused the engine coolant temp to get to 240 degrees.  Too hot for my comfort!!!  The altitude at the campground is 6600 ft. but Judy has been accused of bringing the heat along with her because they just started a heat wave.  The forecast is for above normal temps for the next few days.     Campgrounds along the way
Day 1 Town & Country Resort
West Salem, OH
Day 2 Cloverdale RV Park
Cloverdale, IN
Day 3 Cottonwoods RV Park
Columbia, MO
Day 4 Triple J Camper Park
Russell, KS
Day 5 Mountaindale RV Resort
Colorado Springs, CO

Seven FallsStairsWe stayed in Colorado Springs for a week.  The campground is on the eastern edge of the Rocky mountains at 6600' elevation.    The picture at the left is Seven Falls. logo
Those are stairs  along the falls with 224 steps leading to the top.  To get to the observation platform where I took the picture you could climb the 14 story stairway or use the elevator.  Guess which way we went!
gardengarden logoclimberGarden of the Gods is a city park owned by Colorado Springs.  The land  was given to the city in 1909 with the stipulation that it would forever be free for all visitors.  In the upper picture the park is in the foreground and Pikes Peak  is in the background.  The picture was taken from the visitors center.  The right hand picture was taken on one of the many  trails, this one being paved.  If you zoom in on the center of it you can see the 2 climbers on the face of the rock.  They have many programs and tours including a segway guided tour.

Royal Gorge

logoThe Royal Gorge (also Grand Canyon of the Arkansas) is a canyon on the Arkansas River near Caņon City, Colorado. With a width of 50 feet at its base and a few hundred feet at its top, and a depth of 1,250 feet in places, the 10-mile-long canyon is a narrow, steep gorge through the granite of Fremont Peak. It is one of the deepest canyons in Colorado. 
bridgeThe bridge is the highest suspension bridge in North America at 1050 ft.  It's in Royal Gorge Bridge Park, a privately owned park.  We spent a few hours here and walked across it.  You can drive or walk but we chose to walk it to enjoy the view.  Since I don't like heights it was exciting.  inclineincline2We also took the inclined rail down to the bottom of the canyon.  It's the steepest on the U.S. at 45 degrees and 1500' long.
traincoasterThere is a rail line that goes through the canyon next to the river.  In the left picture a tour train is stopped at the bottom of the inclined railway at the hanging bridge.  There are also rafters on the river. 
 The right picture is the 'flying coaster'.  It's a large swing the riders are strapped in and then swung out over the canyon.  The speck you see is a rider at the top of the swing.  You could hear the screams clear across the canyon.  Needless to say we didn't do it!!!

Manitou Cliff Dwellings


logoThe Manitou Cliff Dwellings are a tourist attraction, located just west of Colorado Springs in Manitou Springs. The Anasazi peoples did not live in the Manitou Springs area, but lived and built their cliff dwellings in the Four Corners area, several hundred miles southwest of Manitou Springs. The Manitou Cliff Dwellings were built in their present location in the early 1900s, as a tourist attraction. The building stones were taken from a collapsed Anasazi site in southwest Colorado, shipped hundreds of miles to Manitou Springs, and assembled in their present form as Anasazi-style buildings, some of which are replicas of well-known buildings in Mesa Verde National Park.

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

logoCheyenne Mountain Zoo is a mountainside zoo, located southwest of downtown Colorado Springs, Colorado on Cheyenne Mountain in the United States at an elevation of 6,800 feet above sea level. The Zoo sits on 70 acres out of a 140 acre footprint. It is located west of the Broadmoor Hotel Resort along the slopes of Cheyenne Mountain's lower north end. Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is
one of only two mountain zoos in the United States (the other being Mill Mountain Zoo in Virginia). The animal collection includes more than 750 animals, representing nearly 150 different species, with more than 30 endangered species.giraffe
Reticulated giraffes flourish at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo's African Rift Valley exhibit and are the largest herd in the United States. The public is able to hand feed specially formulated "giraffe crackers" to the giraffes at inside or outside enclosures. The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo giraffe breeding program is the most prolific in the world with 191 births since 1954. There is also a giraffe web cam for online giraffe viewing or the herd outside along with zoo guests.

gorillaCheyenne Mountain Zoo is one of only a handful of Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) accredited zoos in the country that does not receive local or regional public tax support, nearly 100 percent of the Zoo's income is generated from earned revenues, gate admissions, gifts, membership dues, donations, corporate sponsors and grants.
During our stay in Colorado Springs, Judy kept having problems with ear aches and nose bleeds.  We were told that this was caused by the altitude and would go away in a few days.  Well it didn't.  We decided to try a lower elevation campground and moved to the Riverview Campground in Loveland Colorado at 5100'.  While there we tried a couple of day trips into the mountains at Estes Park.   This is the gateway to the Rocky Mountain National Park.

Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park, known as the "Gateway to the Rockies" encompasses more than 265,000 acres of land including 178 mountain peaks above 10,000 feet in elevation, 355 miles of trails, nearly 600 campsites and more than 140 lakes.

sleetWe drove through the Big Thompson Canyon to Estes Park on two different days.  The first trip we  walked the downtown shopping area and had lunch.  We then drove into the park to a trailhead that was 9500'.  We had planned to hike a short trail but it began to rain and we chickened out.  When we went back through Estes Park, Judy commented that it looked like snow on some of the roofs.  I said that it was impossible because the temperature was about 70 degrees.  We got about a mile down the road when it began to sleet and the road became completely covered.  She was right!!
The next day we decided to drive the Trail Ridge Road over the Continental Divide.  It is the highest continuous motorway in the United States, with more than eight miles lying above 11,000' and a maximum elevation of 12,183'. The name "Trail Ridge Road" derives from it proximity to historic pathways used by native peoples to cross the Rocky Mountains.
At about 10,800' when the edge of the road looked directly over the side of the mountain I remembered how much I'm afraid of heights.  Judy started complaining that my knuckles were turning white from gripping the steering wheel and I kept edging over into the oncoming lane.  We stopped at the next overlook where I took this picture.  The white lines are the road as it snakes it's way up.  We turned around and went back to the park restaurant for lunch.  This was our view at lunch.

The adage that in order get acclimated to the altitude you "sleep low and visit high" didn't work.  After the second day Judy's ear and nose problems got worse.  We had made reservations to meet John and Jane Canfield in the mountains but we had to re-plan that.  They were headed west toward Denver so we met them east of Denver in Strasburg at the KOA for a few days.  From there we made day trips to Denver.

Denver Aquarium

The Downtown Aquarium provides guests the opportunity to not only view lots of fish and underwater wildlife, but also plenty of ecosystems and animals that depend on the oceans and rivers for survival. Exhibits include North America, Desert, Wharf, Rainforest, and more.

The facility is owned and operated by Landry's Seafood Restaurants, so it should come as no surprise that the centerpiece of the venue is the Aquarium Restaurant, where guests are seated around a 150,000 gallon aquarium. 
We spent a couple of hours going through the exhibits and then had a great lunch in the restaurant.

Denver Zoo

The Denver Zoo is an 80 acre park founded in 1896.  It is home to more than 4000 animals.  We spent several hours touring and of course having lunch.

While the campground a Strasburg was average as campgrounds go, the two restaurants in the area were excellent.  There is a BBQ place next to the campground that has the best onion rings in the world!!!  They have a batter that tastes like funnel cakes at the fair.  It was worth the trip just to eat there.
There was also an excellent Mexican restaurant in town.  Jane ordered a margarita and when asked "large or small"  she at first said "small" but having second thoughts said "oh, make it a large".  Well this is what she got---.    But never fear, she got it all down!! 
We decided to go to Cheyenne, Wyoming for our next stop but couldn't get reservations because of Cheyenne Frontier Days.  It's a big deal and no campsites were available until it was over in a few days.  We decided to go half way there back to Loveland until spaces were open on Sunday.  We took the opportunity to do laundry and fix a couple of things on John's coach.  Next stop Cheyenne.


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