Tag Archives: Colorado Travel

Mount Rushmore Road Trip Part 1

21 Oct

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 1 Wednesday

9/09/2020

I packed a wool vest and a lined jacket and headed for the Orlando airport.  The Southwest flight to Denver was uneventful as it was cloud cover the whole way.  But the passengers were rewarded with fresh mini-pretzels, small cinnamon cookies and ice-cold water.  It was 39 degrees in Denver when I arrived with snow on the surrounding mountains.  I was witness to an unusual sight after picking up my rental car.  As I headed for the Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum I noticed that all the houses in the sub-divisions were covered with snow, but there was no snow on the driveways or on the streets.  I guess the sun baked road surfaces had melted the snow as soon as it hit the pavement.  

The Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum is located within the former Lowry AFB, and displays some 40+ beautifully restored aircraft and lots of aviation related memorabilia.  I am always glad to see the history of aviation restored and displayed in this manner.  I believe it helps to preserve the evolvelution of aviation in our country for future generations

Next I headed a few miles west to visit the Denver Firefighters Museum.  The Volunteer Hook & Ladder Company No. 1 was formed in 1866 and was the first in the Colorado Territory.  This museum is located in the former Fire Station No. 1 built in 1909.  The four-gallery museum displays over 30,000 artifacts and memorabilia.  Beautifully restored displays include fire fighting apparatus such as early 1800s hand-pulled & pumped fire fighting equipment as well as modern day fire engines and trucks, covering the history of Denver firefighters dating from mid-1800s.

Now I drove another few more miles to visit the Forney Museum of Transportation located in historic downtown Denver.  Established by J. D. Forney in 1964 with a single 1921 Kissel Tourister the museum has expanded, over the years, to cover the history of transportation.  This museum’s collection is absolutely amazing.  It consists of over 600 artifacts which include all types of transportation devices such as bicycles, buggies, wagons, motorcycles, firetrucks, automobiles, steam engines and the Fornair airplane.  

After experiencing that amazing collection, I found the Molly Brown House Museum located in downtown Denver.  The museum was closed, but Wikipedia informs me that the house that now houses the museum was built in 1887 for Isaac and Mary Large.  It was sold to James and Margaret Brown in 1894.  In 1902 it was used by the Governer of Colorado  while the Governer’’s mansion was being remodeled.  Margaret became known as The Unsinkable Molly Brown after surviving the sinking of the RMS Titanic in 1912.  The house was purchased in 1970 by Historic Denver, Inc and restored to its original Queen Ann style architecture and opened as a museum.  I took a photo and moved on to the visit the Cussler Museum.

The Cussler Museum is located in Arvada, CO and displays some 100+ beautifully restored classic cars collected by the novelest Clive Cussler.  I had the opportunity to talk to the Curator of the museum, and he told me that the Denver collection was only part of the  Cussler collection, as there are more cars in a museum in Arizona near the Cussler home.  I was thrilled to get a chance to see a few of the classic cars mentioned in the Clive Cussler novels I have read over the years.

As I made my way toward the motel, I stopped at a local Walmart for a styrofoam cooler, water,  and morning breakfast supplies.   I also picked up a couple of pre-packaged “Heat & Serve” dinner meals to enjoy in my motel room.  I was tired and hungry from the day’s activities, so I just crashed in the room and recorded the day’s activities.  Then I watched some TV while I enjoyed a good hot ready-made meal.

—–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

Gunnison Adventure ~Part 3

9 Sep

A Few Things

Patricia Franklin

The most memorable Gunnison trip we took was one into the high mountains via Steers Gulch Road. My husband rode horseback up here as a child with his Uncle on a fishing trip. He had not been up here since, and neither of the guys knew the road or the way there and down the other side into Antelope. The road was not well traveled, but they figured it would get better as we drove up on this round trip down memory lane. We drove for two hours uphill and were still climbing. We had forest service maps with us, but these maps did not show the roads that these guys travel, so we were not too sure where we were going to end up. Finally we came to a deep valley with an old road leading down to a cabin, which my husband remembered as “April’s Cabin.” So we knew we were on the right track, even though there were old logging roads or hunting roads leading off in other directions.

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As we drove on up, we saw field after field of flowers and more varieties of mountain flowers than I have ever seen, and we had to get out many times and get close up pictures along the way. Several were very rare and only bloom for a short time when conditions are perfect. We ran across many we did not recognize.

After enduring this rough “road” for many miles, we finally came to the top of the mountain and were able to look over into the next range of mountains, the Baldy Mountain Range, which is visible on the horizon from Gunnison.

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This is where my husband and his uncle rode horseback down the side of the mountain to Beaver Creek, where they caught a “pillow case” full of trout to take home. Of course, that is not legal any more, but I don’t know of anyone who would make this trip just to fish anyway. This was a beautiful area with a big old stump at the top of the meadow with Columbines growing all around it. This made a wonderful picture, with the Baldies in the background.

 

We then started down the other side of the mountain and headed for home. It was not supposed to rain that day, but the clouds were building up and we did not want to get caught up there in a rain storm. We had a couple of choices of roads to take, and we figured out later we took the road that was not a road, and I’m sure had not been traveled or maintained forever. We ended up going down over huge rocks and just hanging on till we got to the bottom of a ravine. At the last bump going down, our brand new off-road tires got scrunched by the rocks and we blew a tire — 20 miles out in the wilderness on a non-used road, and no cell phone service. So the guys got out to change the tire, and of course it started to rain. 20 miles out in this country could have been 100 because of the rough up and down terrain, the rocks, gullies and then clay-like mud and swampy areas. Well, they got the tire changed and we started up the hill on the other side of the ravine, not knowing for sure where we were going or if we would end up at a dead end. The guys kept saying the road should get better, as they were sure this was the Antelope Road, but in fact, it got worse and we were bumping over rocks, then sliding down the clay-like muddy road that just kept going up and down, through the trees and gullies. It was a very long, tedious ride for many miles, as everyone got quiet, the road got worse and rain kept coming down.

Finally, we topped a hill and they saw the city of Gunnison in a valley many miles away. The “road” we were on looked like it would continue on, so in spite of the conditions, we were relieved, even though we knew if we slid off or lost another tire, we would be walking this road for many hours in the dark, without proper clothing or lighting. We finally came to civilization again as we spotted a ranch house about 1/2 mile away. After that, we felt like we could breathe again, and finally came upon a main road that took us home.

You would think that someone of our age and experience would know getter than to get into a situation like that, but after all, we were just out for a “little Sunday drive.” That was our big adventure for this year. I would not do it again, but we did get some beautiful pictures and saw flowers that we will never see again. And I got closer to the Lord as I did a lot of praying

The original family homestead with new construction.

The original family homestead with new construction.

 

Slide show of the flowers we saw.

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