Mount Rushmore Road Trip Part 2

28 Oct

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 2 Thursday 

9/10/2020

I started today’s activities by visiting the “Cars Remember When” restoration center located in Littleton, CO.  The center consists of a relatively small working shop with lots of active restoration projects in progress.  There is a display room where some 30+ beautifully restored cars are rotated.   There were Mini cars, Muscle cars, Sport cars, and family cars.  I especially enjoyed seeing a beautiful 1955 Buick Roadmaster hardtop just like the one our family had when I was a teenager (except ours was red & white).

Just up the street a short way I visited the Littleton Museum.  This 40-acre museum site consists of artifacts and memorabilia representing local farm life from the 1860s to the 19890s.  There is also a living farm with a 1880s cabin, farm implements, and farm animals including cattle, sheep, pigs, and turkeys.   Museum staff, dressed in period costumes, are available to help guests re-live mid-1800s farm life in Littleton and the South Platte Valley of Colorado.

Next I visited the Vehicle Vault Auto Gallery located in Parker, CO.  This unique building houses a museum that displays some 40+ beautifully restored rare and exotic automobiles from all over the world.  New finds are continually being restored and the inventory is rotated periodically to give guests a fresh view of the history of the auto industry.  The building is also available and used for special events and conferences.

On my way to visit the Mining Museum I stopped in Monument, CO to check-out the Greater European Missions (GEM) facility.  I have relatives that work for GEM as missionary training counselors and wanted to see where the facility was located.  My nephew, Brian, and his wife Karen are based in the Chicago area, but travel to Monument periodically during the year for training sessions.  They were not there today, but were scheduled to arrive there later in the week and we had made plans to get together for dinner then.

A few miles south on I-25 I visited the Western Museum of Mining & Industry located in Colorado Springs, CO.  This museum displays antique drilling and mining equipment, such as pneumatic machines, and steam engines used for mining gold and silver in central Colorado in the mid-1800s.  The museum also has a recreation of an old miners assay office inside, with examples of a stamp mill and steam shovel outside.

The USAF Academy was just a few miles on south on I-25 and I was looking forward to visiting the famous Academy grounds and their aviation museum.  However, when I got to the gate, the guard told me the museum (located on the base) was closed to the public until after the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions were lifted.  What a Bumber!  So, I headed south on I-25 a few miles to visit the Rocky Mountain Motorcycle Museum located just east of the interstate.  This museum has a great collection of vintage motorcycles of all types, and I enjoyed the thrill of revisiting my teenage motorcycle past.

Now I took a couple of back-roads over to visit the Garden of the Gods Park located on US-24.  This is an amazing place!  It is said that the mysterious red rock formations were formed as a result of a geological upheaval that took place along a natural fault line millions of years ago.  The resulting rock formations had many different shapes; some toppled, there were some that got overturned, while some were pushed upright and others were pushed around and ended up slanted.  

While I was in the area I drove on over to check out the Miramont Castle Museum located in Manitou Springs, CO.    The 14,000 sq. ft. Victorian-era castle that houses the museum was built in 1895 as the private home for the French-born Catholic priest Father Jean Baptist Francolon.  Around that same time the Sisters of Mercy were allowed to use a part of the castle, for the private Montcalm Sanitarium that they operated, with the blessing of Father Francolon.  Museum visitors can tour some 42 of the castle’s lavishly furnished rooms when the museum is open.

On the way to the motel, in Colorado Springs, I picked up a three-piece chicken dinner from KFC and enjoyed a delicious meal with the Colonel in my motel room.  Then I recorded the day’s activities and finally put my tired and aching body to bed for the night.

—–To Be Continued—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 63 years in Titusville, Florida. He was born and raised in the Southwest, did a tour of duty with the U.S. Navy, attended Northrop University in Southern California and ended up working on America’s Manned Space Program for 35 years. He currently is retired and spends most of his time building and flying R/C model airplanes, traveling, writing blogs about his travels for Word Press and supporting his wife’s hobbies with framing, editing and marketing.  He also volunteers with a local church Car Care Ministry and as a tour guide at the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum there in Titusville.  Bill has two wonderful children, two outstanding grandchildren, and a loving sister and her husband, all of whom also live in Central Florida, so he and DiVoran are rewarded by having family close to spend lots of quality time with.

One of Bill’s favorite Scriptures is:  John 10:10

3 Responses to “Mount Rushmore Road Trip Part 2”

  1. Onisha Ellis October 29, 2020 at 9:30 pm #

    You had a busy day! No wonder you were tired.

    Like

  2. ludyja October 28, 2020 at 8:28 pm #

    Great story, Bill. Only thing – I thought our Buick Roadmaster was a 1956, rather than 1955. Hmm?

    Like

  3. divoran09 October 28, 2020 at 3:19 pm #

    So that’s when you had the KFC.

    Like

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