Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Northern Colorado Roadtrip & Foliage Tour

September 17, 2014

We never like to go back the way we went, however that WAS our plan when we visited The Rockies. However after dealing with bumper to bumper crowds, not wishing to get anymore oil on the jeep (road crew was resurfacing a part of Trail Ridge Road), feeling heartbroken over the changes happening to the park we decided to take on a different route and see more foliage...hopefully, fingers crossed!

Jerry started playing with the GPS and our route developed.  Instead of the 175 up and back planned trip, how about 242 miles round trip and a good 9 hours to complete the journey.

We were only going from point #1 to #2 and back...REALLY!
It was a beautiful trip on the west side up to Wheat Ridge, however we had already seen the east side several times heading to Denver.  Not much foliage to be seen on the east side, but has a really cool  "farm" market in Brighton (straight off the vine - you pick or just purchase). ;)

We enjoyed more foliage, lakes, mountains, cliffs, rivers, tunnels and bridges....glad we decided to see a different route.  Part of it we had seen while heading up to The Rockies in 2002, but who can ever get tried of a stunning mountain drive.  NOT ME!

Ready to Sail...Grand Lake, Colorado

Ski Runs @ Winter Park

More Twisty and Turns

Believe to be Mt. Evans

Well this is not what we want...I-70 traffic jam.  There has to be another route off the highway... and yep the gps agreed but not until we got down the highway a few miles - thank goodness.


 Yep our kind of road again... 

One of five tunnels

Clear Creek

Completely was caught off guard with this bridge

Bridge over Golden, CO

The scenery ended, but remember that farm on the west side.... Jerry enjoyed buying, but I much more enjoyed the pets. This will end our very long day....until next ~D
Berry Patch Farm

Some interesting chickens, its as they have socks on

Pop belly pig posing for his picture

some sort of berry bush

Rolls and rolls of fresh produce...we wanted to stop and pick a few

Rocky Mountain Nat'l Park ~ Celebrating 100th Anniversary

September 17, 2014
WOW what a view!!

 RMNP has been on our radar ever since the moment we left back in 2002.  We held onto the fond memories all these years and couldn't wait to get back this time, since we were only about 35 minutes from the Este Park entrance. 

Here's one of our first memories Jerry likes to shares:
Snapshot of some of the twist and turns
We arrived at RMNP mid-evening and was looking for a place to camp, so I was looking at the map and said; lets go to Este Park (after all it showed camping on the map).  He chuckled and said that's a town, it doesn't have camping. However I insisted the map showed camping, so up the pass we go...twisting and turning our way up... continuing onto Este Park as we just passed a campground.  By the time we got on top of the pass it was DARK and WHITE OUT blizzard conditions...  babe do you see the road? 
Finally saw something off to the left (barely), so we turned toward it, hoping we were not going over a cliff.  Making for an interesting turn of events from this point; I was already scared and have not so fond memories of driving in Texas snow/ice...much less a blizzard or being in a high mountain region.  Unable to see how to get turned around Jerry ask me to get out and direct him; and the story went something like this..

Me: You're joking, right?  I'm not getting out there! 
Jerry: No, I can't see how to get turned around so I need some guidance.  Why want you get out there?
Me: I'm not getting out there a "bear" might get me! 
Jerry: Laughing...There's no bears in this dam weather. I didn't see the humor, as I was frighten to death!!!!    After he finally stopped laughing...well you are going to have to get over here and drive then.
Me: You're crazy...I can't drive this big thing (29' Class C RV with jeep in tow).  I can't even see where I'm going.
Jerry: Well I can't do both!!   I don't want no bear to get you, so you have to drive.
Me: Scared, pouting, and obvious being naive to the situation I finally got in the driver seat...but fighting it the whole way (like that was going to help). Snow flying in the window and Jerry screaming orders at me, we finally managed to get turned around enough...  And it didn't take long for me to get out of that driver seat :).

Finally, we got down the pass and to a beautiful campground (happen to be the one we passed on the way up and had no snow).  Luckily they had an open spot and we stayed there the rest of the trip.  If only I wouldn't be so hardheaded sometimes - LOL!  (Wanted to share some photos of our fond memories in comparison to now, however we didn't have any digital photos..sad face).

Welcome to The Rockies!

Did you spot the snow?

Although The Rockies have already received some snow this year, we didn't have to deal with any of it on our trip this time - YEA!  

First site of color!

See the gray areas?  Mountain Pine Beetle are killing the pine tree.  This was just a small section compare to other areas.

Passed several bikes on the road

Road cut thru the rock

It is fall ~ a magical time in the Rockies.  The mating season or "rut" begins for the elk.  The elk of RMNP are able to retain their natural, wild state and go about their fall mating rituals IF we, as humans, don't interfere. Elk viewing is huge part of the park between September-October around 5p.m. daily and has 5 viewing areas in the park: Moraine Park, Horseshoe Par, Upper Beaver Meadows all located on the east side of the park. Then on the west side, elk can often be seen throughout the Kawuneeche Valley, especially Holzwarth Meadow and Harbison Meadow  Its amazing to learn and watch the elk it is a site to see a bull elk lifting his head and massive rack of antlers high, as he begins his stately march across the moonlit meadow.
We missed Hearing the Call this year, but an amazing site to see.
Although still an amazing place, our fond memories turned into devastation after seeing its current conditions.  Yes it is still worth the trip, especially if you've never been, however due to the 2013 flood to the region and the mountain pine beetle disease killing off the pine trees, it's heartbreaking to see the change to this beauty. 
Happy trails from behind the lens~D

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Brewery, Historic Downtown & Vintage Motorcycles

September 14, 2014

Adolph Coors established the Coors brewery in Golden in 1873 on the banks of Clear Creek. Today, MillerCoors is the second largest beer company in America, capturing nearly 30 percent of US beer sales and the Coors brewery tour attracts 300,000 visitors to Golden each year. 

Coors Brewery Plant
Back into my childhood days, my dad enjoying a cold "Colorado Kool-aid" after a long hot day of work, which of course us kids wanted some!  After all kool-aid is for kids, right?  It was years before we got that taste...YUCK....believe were my exact words - LOL.  Still to this day I'm no beer drinker.  Actually not much of a drinker at all, so why go to a brewery?  Simple...just for the experience after all we where already going to Golden, CO.  NOTE: if you rely on your GPS to get you there and need a physical address, you just might be out of luck, well unless you read lots of reviews.  This address will get you straight to the tour parking lot - 1401 East Street.
The above photo was the best part of the tour.  Arrived to the parking lot around 1:30 p.m., greeted with a super nice security guard to find out the tour was being EVACUATED!  We gave our best wishes and took a different tour...just happen to be across the street.

Golden's Historic Downtown is pedestrian/bicycle friendly with free parking.  It's a perfect get-away spot; two first class hotels, several bed and breakfasts, an RV park, several museums, more than two dozen restaurants, and plenty of  shops...all within easy walking distance.

Picturesque Clear Creek runs through Downtown;  take a scroll or bicycle along the paved trail,  benches provided to relax and take in the scenery,  or view the sculptures along the creek and downtown.  Some even take advantage of the fishing, kayaking, and tubing also available within walking distance!

As mentioned already the Coors brewery is located two blocks east, however two blocks west explore the Colorado School of Mines.  Guess we have plenty of things to come back to explore, but for now Uhl Studios was our main focus.

The 2014 Cannonball Run was rollin' into Uhl Studios around 4 o'clock; after weeks of waiting we headed over to cheer on the riders as they rolled into the check point for the evening.  It was as if they were rock stars; the street was lined with people cheering, clapping, and snapping photos!  So what's the BIG DEAL?!?  Image yourself on one of these beauty's ....

#57 - Gary & Linda; only side car in the run. 

The second bike with two riders

Nice Henderson

Loving the patina to this bike...see the oil can by the front wheel

250cc w/2 stroke engine...goes a whooping 35 mph... on a good day

Oh did I mention they have just completed 1825 miles on a pre-1936 vintage motorcycles in 11
days!!!  And it doesn't come without anguish for the ride and their support team, most days there are mechanical issues to address before the start of the next day - many go without sleep.  There's still 1353 mileage to go before they complete their coast-to-coast adventure, which a full post will come at that point.  I ask that you please keep each of the riders in your thoughts for safe travels - thank you! ~D

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Best Model Train Museum

September 5, 2014

Calling all model train railroaders, train enthusiasts of all ages, or even the average joe to make a stop at the Greeley Freight Station Museum (HO scale).  

First of all, we are NOT a model railroader. However we both have a little railroader in our blood; Jerry’s dad worked on the Rock Island RR for 30 years (and even went on the train with his dad) and my great-grandfather had his own model train setup in the homestead.

This 5500 sq. ft. outstanding layout details the fall of 1975 Oregon, California & Eastern Railway with outstanding mountainous scenery, 15 bridges, 11 tunnels and several speculate wooden trestles and more than 20 scale miles of mainline track, hundreds of buildings and thousands of hand-made trees and scenery. There are about 175 locomotives on the layout which are all powered and over 2,000 cars such as box cars, gondolas, tanks, flats, passenger cars, and more! The amount of work and talent put into the variety and detail of the layout is mind boggling.  Staff member commented that it took about 4 1/2 years to put together and over 100,000 volunteer hours.

It only takes about 45 minutes to an hour to see it all but we found ourselves spending more time just looking at all the intricate details of the landscaping and then wanting to catch every single train going by!  Make sure to check out the main command post up front and really look at all the tiny landscaping. You'll see a mama bear and her cubs, passengers inside the passenger trains, folks fly fishing, a forest fire, little girl playing with skunks, the bear in the boat and the two guys pushing a car off a cliff, etc.....  Hmmm...That looks a lot like a triceratops back there in the valley (I found 4 of 5)! Great way to engaging the kids (and adults); ask for the treasure hunt list, can search for the multiple dinosaurs and other things "hidden" in the layout. The more you looked the more you saw.  We went all the way around the layout twice and kept finding different details and interesting scenes.  


It is fun to explore the inside of a real caboose; see the bunks, wood stove, RR lights, and climb into the look-out cabin area.  

The museum also features more than 1,100 railroad artifacts from across the United States.

Admission is very reasonable: Adults $8.00/ Children $4.00/ Seniors $6.00. Call for hours of operation since they have summer and winter schedules. On Fridays and Saturdays the museum runs member trains with digital command control. Staff is friendly knowledgeable and eager to share information.  For hours of operation and more general information, please check out the museum's website at: www.gfsm.org


           On our list to go back for sure!

Sure miss the days waving at the caboose, which they would bring them back.  What's your thoughts...did you ever wave to them?     ~D