Thursday, August 19, 2010

Three for the price of one...

Our two weeks is about up here in Monument Colorado. The park where we are staying is very nice with lots of trees and fills up on the weekend with lots of kids so it keep us thinking about our grand kids that we miss.

We have spent a lot of time seeing the area and at the same time doing some family research, mostly Dick's side of the family but still looking for details on Jackie's grandfather who was born in Boulder Colorado before they registered births. Without a birth certificate or listing we can't find his parents details. We met a wonderful lady in Castle Rock (yes, Castle Rock, CO) at the historical library who, as an archivist, was a terrific help to us regarding Dick's family. We even went back a second time and she helped us find even more. Thank you, Johanna.

We have had several days with afternoon thunder storms so do most of our site-seeting before the rain starts. We have been to over 14,000' high and to 1,000' underground in a couple of days. One day we went on a tour of a gold mine and they took us down 1,000' to the main drift saw a lot of equipment both old and newer, still working. Newer being early 1900s. The tour was great but the pictures are not, so have not posted pictures of this trip. Did see some gold in the rock that they plan to take out another day.

1) The trip to 14,110' was via a Cog Rail Road that took us to the very top of Pikes Peak. We could have driven up but they wanted $12.00 per person to drive your own vehicle to the top. We thought it would be a lot more fun taking the train. When we got to the top the temperature was 42 deg. but with the wind chill it was right around freezing.

We finally reached the top in this train with a maximum grade of 25%. It looked like straight up but looked worse when going down. Glad the brake system works.

A little hazy but you could see 5 States from the top.

Again a view looking off in another direction. Notice that what looks like a third rail down the center of the track is just the Cog strip used for pulling us up and taking us down. Also notice that we are above the tree line and the top of this mountain is all rock.

Just a little proof that we did it. No running at this elevation and glad we brought sweaters with us.

2) This day trip was at a more normal elevation. As normal as you get here in Colorado. Between the freeway and the base of the mountains is the Air Force Academy with a nice visitors center and self guided tours of the property. Hiking a trail we got a look at the student lodging, class area and the chapel. The chapel can be seen from all over town; it's quite a landmark.

The chapel is built primarily of aluminum and stained glass and is a beautiful structure with room for several denominations using it at the same time.

This view just shouted Black and White so why not?

There are several areas around the academy where they have historical airplanes mounted on raised platforms but nothing bigger than this B-52. Wow, what a monster.

3) Back underground but not far, just under the edge of the cliff is the Manitou Cliff Dwellings and Museum. They have done a great job bringing it back to a condition where you could wander through the buildings. This is about half the width of the Dwelling with the other half extending off the the left.

I think the handrails were added later.

You can see that they had several floors just like what we have now. Very interesting and glad we took the time to see it.

There is so much to see in this area, we are sure we will be back again. And in spite of the thunderstorms, the weather has been great.
We are off to the Rocky Mountain National Park so not sure if we will have Internet or telephone.

To be continued...


Ron and Thelma said...

A few years ago we were at the Air force acadamy thought the chapel was the best. How bueatiful it is. We would like to go back someday.

Gary Maisonneuve said...

You two don't slow down one bit do you. It looks like a good trip, we may have to do that one day. Take care and see you at "Q"

Gary and Judy