Tag Archives: Colorado Museum tour

Mount Rushmore Road Trip Part 5A

18 Nov

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 5 Sunday 

9/13/2020 

Before leaving Canon City this morning I took the time to stop at the Royal Gorge Route Railway Depot for a photo.  In 2006 DiVoran and I had made a trip to Canon City to visit family and friends.  During that visit one of the tourist things we did was to take the Royal Gorge Route train ride.  The ride starts at the old Santa Fe Depot in Canon City, travels under the Royal Gorge Bridge and returns to the depot.  It’s a really great experience for anyone who hasn’t ever ridden on an open-air train car and the scenery is awesome.

Then since it was on the way out of town to my next stop was at the Royal Gorge Dinosaur Experience for a photo.  The Dinosaur Experience is new since our 2006 trip to Canon City, when DiVoran and I had explored the dinosaur footprints, located along the Skyline Drive.  I figured they were still there, if I wanted to see real dinosaur footprints, and I didn’t have time to see the museum’s exhibits.

Next I took the road to the Royal Gorge Bridge for a photo of the world’s highest suspension bridge (at least it was in 1929 when it was built).  I’m not sure they have improved the road much since then, but the view of the bridge from the Park & Visitor Center is spectacular.  Back in 1975, when our family took a six-week cross-country camping trip, we were allowed to drive or walk across the bridge.  What a thrill that was.

Now I took CO-9 north 75 miles to visit Fairplay, CO which was founded in 1859, during the Pikes Peak Gold Rush days.  The historic old town is located on a hillside just east of the Middle Fork South Platte River, and has been maintained as the open-air museum called South Park City.  There was not much going on this morning, as most of the old town was closed off because of COVID-19.  So I headed northeast another 25 miles on CO-9 to Breckenridge, CO. 

On my way to Breckenridge I crossed the Continental Divide at Hoosier Pass (Elevation 11,539 feet) and had to stop and have my picture taken at that historic spot.  A couple from Illinois was kind enough to take my picture after I offered to take theirs, in front of the Historical Marker.

Then it was downhill to Breckenridge (Elevation 9600 feet).  It was Sunday and some of the streets in Breckenridge were blocked off for a street fair.  Greta (my Garmin) couldn’t get me close to the Underhill Museum, so I parked and walked a few blocks to find the museum closed for the festivities.  A couple of blocks from Main Street I visited the Erwin Carter Museum, which is a small local natural history museum filled with all kinds of taxidermy displays, mostly done by the miner-turned environmentalist in the late 1880s.

As I was leaving Breckenridge I visited the Lomax Gold Mine located in the Lomax Placer Gulch.  This original 19th century gold mine offers visitors the experience of panning for gold in a setting of 1860s gold mining equipment and historic cabins.  I didn’t have time to try my hand at panning on this trip, but maybe next time I’m in Colorado I’ll give it a give it a whirl.  

—–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

Mount Rushmore Road Trip Part 4

11 Nov

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 4 Saturday

9/12/2020 

I started today’s activities with a visit to the Weisbrod Aircraft Museum located adjacent to the Pueblo Memorial Airport, and it was close to my motel.  This is a great aviation museum with 40+ beautifully restored aircraft and lots of other aviation artifacts and memorabilia in two large hangers and outside.  The museum’s show-piece is a Boeing B-29 by the name of “Peachy.”  I just wish our Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum at home had more of these rare WWII aircraft in it’s collection.  

Now I drove into downtown to visit the El Pueblo Museum.  This museum displays artifacts and memorabilia related to the history and culture of the ethnic groups from the southern Colorado area.  It also has an archaeological excavation scene depicting the original 1842 El Pueblo trading post site, and a re-created scene showing what the El Pueblo Trading Post & Plaza would have looked like in the mid-1840s.

A few blocks away, and adjacant to the Arkansas River,  I visited the Pueblo Railway Museum located in a part of the old original Pueblo Union Depot.  The museum displays artifacts and memorabilia discribing the railroad history in and around the Pueblo area from the 1880s to the 1940s.  The musuem’s outdoor  displays include historic steam engines and other rolling stock from the 1940s    Pueblo has continued to be a major rail center, and at one time or another as many as five different railroad systems served the city.

Next I drove over to inspect the Steelworks Center of the West which houses the Steelworks Museum and the Steelworks Park.  The Pueblo Steel Mill, Located just south of downtown Pueblo, was founded in 1881 and has been productive thru many turbulant times.  Today with only a fraction of the number of employees it once employed, the mill still produces a smaller quanity of steel products from rcycled scrap metal.  Interesting tours of the mill are still available to visitors that focus on preserving the history of the coal and steel industry in the Southwestern United States.  DiVoran remembers the day her grade school class made the trip from Canon City to Pueblo for a field-trip to the (working) steel mill.  What a thrill that was for the kids.

Now I headed west on US-50 toward Canon City.  On the way I stopped in Penrose long enough to take a photo of the Estes Model Rocket factory.  My son, Billy, and I have fond memories of building and flying model rockets over the years.  We even introduced his son, Jacob, to the sport when he was a teenager.  My, how the time does fly.  It seems as if it was only yestarday when the three of us were launching model rockets from the local school yard.

I arrived in Canon City in time to meet DiVoran’s cousin, Lois, at the Museum of Colorado Prisons (Old Max) for a tour.  The old Colorado Territorial Prison was built in 1871 and served as such until 1935 when it was converted to a women’s prison.  A new prison was built in 1993 and the old prison was renovated and opened as a museum.  The museum displays artifacts and memorabilia of the Colorado Prison System from 1871 to the present day.

After the prison tour, Lois went home to pick up Hank,  and I took a drive over the famous Skyline Drive.  I always get a thrill when driving over that one-way (no guardrails) 3-mile long  ridge road over looking Canon City.  Built by the Colorado Territorial Prison inmates in 1905, it has been a little-known tourist attraction over the years.  I found this really great video of the drive on the internet.

I met with Lois, Hank, Carol & Rob for dinner at the Quality Inn where we had a some really good food (beer battered fish and ‘O’ rings) and a wonderful visit.  After dinner Lois and Hank invited me to their house for home-made brownies and Otter Paws ice cream.  I couldn’t very well turn down that offer now could I?  While enjoying that dessert Hank’s son, John, came in for a visit.  Before I knew it, the night was late and I headed for the motel.

—–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

Mount Rushmore Road Trip Part 3

4 Nov

A Slice of Life

Day 3 Friday 

9/11/2020 

The American Numismatic Musuem (Money Museum) located in Colorado Springs, CO was the first stop on my list this morning.  This museum has three display galleries that give visitors a look at many different rare and historic types of coins from all over the world.  Included as part to the museum’s exibits is a mini-mint machine that allows guests to learn how gold and silver coins were made in the early 1500s-1800s. 

Down the road a few miles east I visited the Lester Fire Museum located in the Head Quarters building of the Colorado Springs Fire Department.  This museum temporarly was closed due to COVID-19, but Wikipedia informes me that the museum displays artifacts and memorabilia covering the early history of  the Colorado Springs Fire Department including hand-drawn fire fighting aparatius and equipment from the mid=1800s. 

On my way east a few miles, to visit the Peterson AFB museum, I stopped at the National Museum of WWII Aviation located adjacent to the Colorado Springs Airport.  This is one of the best aviation museums I’ve visited on this trip.  The 28 beautifuly restored flying aircraft are conveniently displayed so visitors can get good photos of the planes.  The docents are well-versed in the history of the museum’s collection and their restoration area is a deticated work in progress. 

I was disappointed that the Peterson Air & Space Museum (located on the base) was closed to the public due to COVID-19, but their website informes me that the museum displays some 20 (mostly Cold War era) restored aircraft.  The museum also displays multiple Air Defence Command early warning system artifacts and mumorabilia to educate future generations about the advancemet in defence technology during that time period.

Now I headed a few miles west, across I-25, to visit the Penrose Heritage Museum located in the north Cheyenne Canon Park area.  This museum showcases the history and heritage of the Pikes Peak area with hundreds of vintage artifacts and memorabilia.  I was not aware, until now, that the Pikes Peak Hill Climb and the Manitou & Pikes Peak Railway exhibits were associated with this museum.  WOW, three for one!

I traveled south on CO-115, on my way to Pueblo,  for a quick stop at the Fort Carson 4th Infantry Division Museum located just south of Gate 1 to the Fort Carson Army Base.  This small museum displays scenes of U.S. Army 4thDivision’s participation in various campaigns from 1917 to the present, along with other 4th Infantry artifacts and memorabilia.  The Tank Garden outside displays the different tank models the 4th Infantry has used during their assignments throughout the world.  The Fort Carson Army Base was named in honor of Brigadier General Clearance (Kit) Carson who pioneered much of the western expansion of this area and later commanded Fort Garland during the Civil War. 

Now I headed on south another 40 miles to Pueblo, CO where I originally had plans to see DiVoran’s friends for dinner.  They had a situation that interrupted our meeting, so I just headed to the motel.  After I got checked in at the motel, I asked the desk clerk for his recommendations for good restaurants in the area, and he pointed me to DJ’s Stake House where I enjoyed a plate of their Grilled salmon with honey chipotle glaze.  Yummmm!

—–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

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