Our Trip Across America- Part 10

12 Dec

A Slice of Life

   Bill Lites

                            Bill

The next major attraction we visited was the Great Salt Lake.  As we neared Salt Lake City, Utah we discovered the city is skirted by some of the most formidable looking mountains we had ever seen.  We swam (or I should say floated) in the super salty water of the lake, bought a package of freeze-dried brine shrimp, and took pictures of the famous Mormon temple.  That night at the campground, we were surprised to be entertained with, of all things, an outdoor movie, and even popcorn.

12

The next day we headed Southeast, through the Southern Utah and into Western Colorado mountains.   After an overnight stay in Grand Junction, we headed East, on US-50, which runs along the Arkansas River.  This was familiar territory for DiVoran as she and her parents had made many trips along this route.  This leg of the trip took us through Montrose, Gunnison and Salida to Canon City, Colorado to visit some of DiVoran’s relatives. This was where she spent a lot of her growing up years with her grandmother and her grandfather who had worked as a guard at what was originally the Colorado State Territorial Prison.

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It became a Colorado State Prison in 1876 and operated as such until it was closed in 1988. At that time, it was converted into a very interesting museum, showing conditions at the prison during those early days.

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An aunt and three cousins and their families were still living there. We had some great visits with them, and enjoyed a wonderful walk along the Arkansas River that runs through town.

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Canon City is well-known for the America’s highest suspension bridge, which spans the Royal Gorge.  Amazingly, we discovered the total cost of building the bridge in 1929 was $60,000 and only took 5 months to complete.

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The railroad that runs alongside the Arkansas River, at the bottom of the gorge, was originally used by the Denver & Rio Grande Western (D&RGW) Railroad in the 1870s & 1880s as the transcontinental bridge between Denver, Colorado  and Salt Lake City, Utah.  Use of the Royal Gorge portion of the track system was ended in 1997.  Then a couple of years later it was purchased by a private corporation and reopened by the Royal Gorge Route Railroad to provide daily scenic excursion trips from Canon City to Parkdale and return.  On one of our many trips back to Canon City, DiVoran and I took that “Scenic Excursion Trip” and it was an outstandingly beautiful experience.  We can highly recommend it.

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Another less known attraction in Canon City is the Skyline Drive, located on the western edge of the city.  This is a 3-mile long road that runs, one way, along the top of a 800 ft. high ridge overlooking the city.  Skyline Drive was a prison project started in 1903, and was built entirely by hand by the prisoners.  The road has been improved over the years, and offers a glorious view of the city below.

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—-To Be Continued—-

 

One Response to “Our Trip Across America- Part 10”

  1. DiVoran Lites December 12, 2012 at 12:20 pm #

    Ah, yes, I remember it well. C-o-l-o-r-a-d-o, skies of blue, I love you.

    Like

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