BC Boomers...2 4 the Road 'The Wild West Spring' 2016 travel blog

The View Pikes Peak

Pikes Peak Cog Railway

Top of the World

Garden of the Gods

Garden of the Gods

Wed. June 22 we are leaving Terry’s Bison Ranch & RV Park & our slide won’t go in properly. They were most helpful & CW got the slide in manually hoping we can get it looked at our next stop Manitou Springs. Hey All, I drove the MH for the First Time!!! Out of the site & down the road & made 2 turns inside the park. (:

Today we drove through Denver & it is the typical large city with 6 lanes of traffic, & a rapid rail system beside that. It took about 1 ½ hours to get through but gave us a chance to see the Denver City Wide Sport Complex, the downtown buildings & know the big city it isn’t for us.

The country side takes over again & we find ourselves in the foothills. We are spending the night in Monument, so named for the large outcropping of rock, population 6,400.

Elevation is everything here in Colorado. It is mentioned everywhere. We went from 5,000 ‘ to 6,400’ & both of us can feel the difference. Not only is the sun hotter due to the thinner air but breathing is more difficult for us when we are exerting ourselves even a bit.

Thurs. June 23 is a bit cooler at 85 degrees. We drove Pikes Peak. It is 19 miles to the summit but the 38 miles return trip uses 80 miles worth of fuel during 156 turns at 10-25 mph posted speeds. Elevation 14,115’ with 54 degree temp at the top today. There are few soft shoulders, few guard rails & a moment’s lapse in judgement could send you off the cliff. It was terrifying & awe inspiring & I eventually turned the movie camera on myself, as suggested by CW, to show my pathetically terrified face. The air is at 60% oxygen so staying there more than 20-30 minutes is not recommended for people unaccustomed to altitude. I could really feel the stress on my breathing & my heart. A few pictures a memento & we left, but so glad we did it. They were preparing for practice runs & setting up viewing areas for the Race Cars for the Pikes Peak International Climb when we were there.

Now for some background; The first European/American to see it was Pike. First to climb it was Edwin James a botanist. Katharine Lee Bates wrote America the Beautiful after viewing the sights from the Peak in 1893. The first car to drive it was 1913 & it took 5 hours & 28 minutes. There was a ski resort there from 1939-1984. There is a research lab doing work on high altitudes since 1969. The cog railway which one can take instead of driving was first built in 1889 by the inventor of the Simmons Beauty Rest Mattress, Zalmon Simmons. The steam locomotives had their boilers at a 16% grade to accommodate the climb & still keep working. Over the years others have taken over the railway. There is an annual Pikes Peak International Climb which is 100 years old this race (they did not race during the 2 World Wars) To date 6 drivers have died in accidents.The Record time is 8:13.878, set in 2013 by a French driver Sebastian Loeb in an 875-hp, rally prepped Peugeot. This year 65 cars & 35 motorcycles have made the cut.

Next was Garden of the Gods, a truly beautiful 6 mile drive through towering red sandstone rock formations. The land was originally owned by a rancher who bequeathed it to the city in 1909 as long as it remained free for visitors to enjoy. Donations have added more land, built a wonderful visitor center & paved the roadway. A storm rolled in while we were there with booming thunder & piercing lightening plus the rain which all made for some interesting photos. Tomorrow the MH goes to the doctor. Fingers crossed.

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