Final days in Creede Colorado

 Ok, we mentioned in our last update that the internet service at our campsite in Creede simply S,,, ok I’ll keep it clean,,, was pathetic at best so we will bundle the last week of our stay together into one update.

 We also mentioned in our last update that we drove the Bachelor Loop and we enjoyed it so much that we drove it again, this time during the evening hours in hope we would run across some critters.

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 We must have seen 15 or more deer but the highlight was a moose spotting. It was laying down when Diane spotted it but after saying MOOSE she immediately said, No I think it’s a stump. By that time I had stopped and also had a hard time telling if it was a stump or an animal, it was roughly 75 yards from the road and was dead still.

 So I grabbed my camera and got out, left the motor running and the door open and slowly walked in its direction. After I walked about 20 yards it turned its head and proved that Diane was right in her first assumption of it being a moose. As soon as I took one picture it stood up and amplified its proof of being a big ol moose!! About then I retreated before snapping another picture LOL!! It didn’t seem to mind us being there too much and never showed any aggression but we were not about to be the next You Tube sensation gone viral so we admired from afar and then continued on our journey as did the moose.

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 On two other days we drove to Lake City, a nice small town 52 miles northeast on highway 149. Why make the drive twice you ask, scenery is the answer. On our first drive over the weather was not the greatest and even though the leaves were starting to turn colors we knew they would turn a whole lot more before we planned to leave the area so we decided then that we would drive over again.

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 During our first visit we walked the streets of town and ate lunch at Southern Vittles that we had heard was the place to eat. Diane had Catfish and I had chicken fried steak. I thought my meal was pretty good but Diane wasn’t overly thrilled with hers. But I will say that while we were there 80% of the people were eating catfish for what it’s worth so they must be known for it in the area.

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There are more ATV's used to get around than cars in some towns.

There are more ATV’s used to get around than cars in some towns.

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 On our second trip to Lake City it was our intension to take in the views once again and drive what we could of the Alpine Loop that starts just outside of town. We had read that after a few miles the loop turned into an ATV or 4×4 road but we still wanted to drive it as far as we felt comfortable.

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I love the choice of seating in Lake City

I love the choice of seating in Lake City

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 We drove roughly 12 miles on the loop before finally turning around even though we could have gone farther but the road was pretty slow going for us and by the time we turned around about every other vehicle on the road was either a side x side or some other type of off road rig so we figured turning around wasn’t a bad idea. I guess you can drive that road all the way to Silverton or Quray, but not in our rig. It was one of the times we missed having the Jeep and OR having an ATV,,, hmmm.

 On the way home from that day trip we stopped at Freemon’s General Store to try one of their hamburgers that we heard so much about. The building is very old and reminds me of a place we might have gone while growing up on the farm back in Iowa, no frills, a little bit of everything not a whole lot of anything but a spot you just like to go that has real friendly people behind the counter.

Freemon's General Store

Freemon’s General Store

 Diane had a cheeseburger and I had a bacon burger and both were really good. It lived up to the hype as far as we were concerned right down to the beer battered French fries and the sautéed onions on the burgers.

 Let’s see, I guess we are talking about food so let’s continue. While in the area we also had to try the pizza joint in town called Elevation 8852 that we were told about. The pizza was really good and the young lady running the place and her husband manage 5 different businesses in town, a couple restaurants, an ATV rental outfit and a cabin rental business and I don’t remember the other. They run the shops for owners that are just owners and are hands off in the everyday operations which makes it nice for the couple. They run the shops 5 months out of the year then close them down and travel the remainder of the year. Damn, why couldn’t we find a gig like that while still in the work force?

 And yes, we did more than just eat, we toured the Creede Underground Mining Museum one morning with Debbie & Steve before they left town. Like the Last Chance Mine Tour the entry fee was $15 each and lasted a little over an hour I would guess.

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 You can do a self-guided tour with headsets if you want but we opted to do a tour led by a retired miner that added a little something to the tour we felt and he did a great job of explaining the equipment on display and different methods of mining.

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 Instead of going into detail here is a link you might find interesting. http://www.undergroundminingmuseum.com/

We did the tour on a Sunday so right afterwards we rushed home to watch Kansas City play a fantastic come from behind game on TV. GO CHIEFS!!!!

 Another fun event was an annual car show. For a small town it was a pretty good show and roughly 150 cars were in attendance.

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Car show in Creede

Car show in Creede

 We spent a good part of the day checking out all the eye candy and sitting in the sun in benches watching the event.

Car show in Creede

Car show in Creede

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 The car show was on a Saturday and on the following Sunday was a Fly In at the airport just across the street from our campground.

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 Everyone flew in, had breakfast, visited for a while and flew away. It was a short event but long enough to walk around and check out the planes and watch them all take off. Pretty much all of them did a low fly over as they left the area.

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 To top it off the next day we had a herd of sheep go down the road next to the park LOL!!! A car show, an air show and then a sheep parade, how can it be any better LOL!! It was fun watching the dogs work.

Watching the dogs work the herd was fun & interesting

Watching the dogs work the herd was fun & interesting

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We mentioned in our last update that after only 2 days we decided to extend our stay from 1 week to 2 weeks but in order to do that we had to change sites. Our new site was right on the Rio Grande River. The nose of our coach was about 30’ from the river’s edge which made for a great place to just relax, listen to the water and enjoy a little down time. On those “down days” we took a couple walks and chatted with a number of RVers that had been coming to this campground for years and we can see why.

That's out site to the left of the brown deck

That’s out site to the left of the brown deck

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 The town does have a number of events each year like a ATV Poker run in early June, an annual 4th of July Street Festival, a Woodcarvers Rendezvous, a Rock & Mineral show, a Hot Air Balloon Festival, Salsa Fest, a Quilt Show and of course the Car Show and Fly In and a few others. All in June July and early September. Plus the park has hiking group, a group that goes golfing each week, an ATV group and it sounds like there are a number of gatherings on top of everything else so a person could stay pretty busy and it all sounds like fun to us.

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Damn those Beetles!!

Damn those Beetles!!

They are working on cutting away a bunch of the dead tree's closer to the roads it seems.

They are working on cutting away a bunch of the dead tree’s closer to the roads it seems.

That pretty much sums up our stay in Creede. We are already talking about reserving a site here for next summer, maybe for the months of mid-July to mid Sept. but I think that will hinge on if we end up buying an ATV like we have talked about. We really like the area but ATV’s and hiking are a big part of the draw to this area and we are not sure we could just hang around that long otherwise.

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 We had originally planned to head a little east and then start our migration south when leaving Creede but because we stayed an extra week we decided to just start a slow move south so we wouldn’t need to pick up the pace any. Plus the temps were starting to get pretty cool at night (low to mid 30’s) and high’s during the days were low 50’s to mid-60’s during the daytime. Nit horrible but a chance of snow popped up on the forecast one day and that was the final straw LOL!!

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North Clear Creek Falls Between Creede & Lake City

North Clear Creek Falls Between Creede & Lake City

So on Friday (9/23) we lifted our jacks and drove back over Wolf Creek Pass and on to the Sky Ute Casino where we will spend a few days. The drive wasn’t bad except for the ice buildup on the windshield LOL!!!  I think we need to drive a little faster south.

 

I took this from our campsite.

I took this from our campsite.

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Hanging around Creede Colorado

 

We have been in Creede for a week now and in our last update we mentioned driving the Bachelor Loop along with our friends Debbie & Steve so we thought we had better elaborate a bit more on that because it is one of the most popular areas around Creede.

The loop is a seventeen mile drive that takes you high into the hills above town and through Creede’s former mining district. Scattered around the mountainsides are numerous old mines and ghost towns.

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NOTE – We would recommend a stop at the Visitor Center before taking the drive and buying a $3 guide map that will give you some history about certain numbered sites along the way.

Another note – If you are like us and you visit the area you will hear a variety of opinions about the road itself on Bachelor Loop. We heard everything from “I drove my Prius around the loop” to “We barely made it in our Jeep Cherokee”. Well let me set the record straight. We probably would not drive a Prius over the entire route only because about the first 2 miles would be a challenge but if you drive the route in reverse I would do it in a Prius except for the last 2 miles.

There is a section at the beginning that is a steep climb and in our pickup I did put it in 4 wheel high and had no issues at all even though there are a few rocks that light cause a low clearance rig some problems but if you pick your line correctly you will not have issues.

As you drive the route the old mines are bound will spark your imagination about the struggle of miners digging ore in the steep cliffs above Creede. And about what life would have been like back in the day.

About half way through the route we came across the Last Chance Mine, another key spot to visit while in the area. As soon as we pulled up we were guided to a parking spot, asked to gather around and was told a story that went something like this: img_1275

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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** The Last Chance Mine would likely have become just another forgotten Creede mine had it not been for Jack Morris. A Missouri native, Morris became interested in mining and minerals via an unusual route. As a professional trucker, he had hauled heavy equipment to mines in Missouri’s lead belt, Arizona’s copper belt, Illinois and West Virginia coal mines and Missouri iron mines; where he met many miners and began collecting minerals. In 1995, to further his interest in minerals and mining, Morris began spending his month-long annual vacations in Creede.

Of all the historic Creede mines, the Last Chance most intrigued Morris. The owner of the Last Chance was Nancy Granger Schallen, the granddaughter of Ralph Granger, one of the businessmen who had grubstaked Theodore Renniger’s successful 1891 prospecting trip. Over the years, Granger had passed sole ownership of the mine to his son Paul, who eventually passed it on to his daughter Nancy. When Morris contacted Granger Schallen to learn more about the Last Chance, she asked if he wanted to buy the mine. After thinking it over, Morris replied that, yes, he was interested, but he couldn’t afford it.

When asked why he wanted the mine, Morris explained that he planned to open it to the public, generate revenue from the sale of the Amethyst Vein dump material, then use that money to restore mine buildings and preserve the mine’s history. Hearing that, Nancy Granger Schallen offered to sell Morris the Last Chance for nothing more than its assessed tax value.

Morris purchased the mine in 1995. In 1999, Jack moved to Creede and he then began the full-time restoration of four mine buildings. In 2005, he opened the Last Chance Mine as a fee-collecting site and historic attraction. **

After hearing the story we all (Debbie, Steve, Diane and I) decided to pay the $15 entry fee 14330865_10202147548246435_719928106_n1and take a guided tour of the mine.

Our guide “Fish” made the tour interesting and certainly was filled with knowledge but I will admit it was a little less than I had hoped for. But even though we have done a number of cave tours during our journey’s we have only one mine tour to compare to and that was the Copper Queen Mine in Bisbee Arizona and it really isn’t fair to compare the two because Copper Queen has been doing tours for years and the Last Chance Mine is in its infant stages. Oh, here is a link to our tour of the Queen Mine in case you are interested and didn’t see it before. https://daveanddiane.wordpress.com/2013/03/21/our-visit-to-bisbee-arizona/

 

Come to think about it the cost to tour the Queen Mine was $13 for a much more extensive tour. Oh well what’s $2, plus taking into consideration the expansion that is in progress at the Last Chance Mine by the time we return next year (if we do and I think we will) the tour should be pretty exciting AND SCARRY from what Fish told us.

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After the tour Steve really had a hankering to get down in the tailings and look for some treasures and of course Diane was totally on board with the idea. So they both went to sign a waiver saying if they fell and broke something the mine was free from any blame and away they went.

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Visitors that do not bring their own equipment are provided with a bucket, rock hammer, and plastic spray bottle filled with water and safety goggles. The charge to take material from the mine dump is $2 per pound.

 

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Debbie and I opted out of the hunt and settled out on the deck and shot the bull while Diane & Steve beat the heck out of rocks looking for something cool.  After about an hour they both came up with what they thought were great finds but ended up tossing them over the edge when the excitement over lol. Better luck next time.

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Debbie & Steve are into Geocaching so here they are after finding there 1 shy of 1100th cach if I remember correctly

Debbie & Steve are into Geocaching so here they are after finding there 1 shy of 1100th cach if I remember correctly

After the mine we continued our drive until eventually we ended up back in town and found our way to Tommyknockers Tavern where we shared an order of chicken wings and adult beverages and talked until well after dark.

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After Tommyknockers we all headed home with plans of meeting at 10am the next morning and visit the Creede Underground Mining Museum.

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I will say again that the internet in this area just sucks so we will fall behind on the blog by design because I just don’t have the patience to toy around with f and on again connections. Life is too short to be frustrated by the little things LOL!!

 

 

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We made our way to Creede Colorado

 Friday (9/9) we lifted our jacks and waved so-long to Tiger Run RV Resort and Breckenridge and drove about 220 miles south to our next destination at Mountain Views at Riverside RV Resort in Creede Colorado where we had reservations for a week.

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 You might remember in a previous update that we took a daytrip to Creede while staying in Pagosa Springs and was intrigued enough to backtrack this direction after our stay’s in Buena Vista and Breckenridge instead of continuing on to new territory. Well I guess Creede is still new territory if you think of it.

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Creede was the last silver boom town in Colorado in the 19th century. The town leapt from a population of 600 in 1889 to more than 10,000 people in December 1891. The Creede mines operated continuously from 1890 until 1985, and were served by the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad.

We are behind the tree's behind the tractor.

We are behind the tree’s behind the tractor.

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Creede’s boom lasted until 1893, when the Silver Panic hit all of the silver mining towns in Colorado. The price of silver plummeted and most of the silver mines were closed. Creede never became a ghost town even though the boom was over and its population declined and after 1900 Creede stayed alive by relying increasingly on lead and zinc in the ores and the last mine closed in 1985.

We are just to the left of the roofline of the building on the right. We have a view of the pond and the Rio Grande River.

We are just to the left of the roofline of the building on the right. We have a view of the pond and the Rio Grande River.

 In its hay days characters such as Bob Ford (who killed Jesse James), Frank James, Martha Cannary (“Calamity Jane”)  and her pal Poker Alice, Bat Masterson and bunco artist “Soapy” Smith gave the town its reputation as one of the wildest camps in the state.

 Now the town has turned from a wild a crazy place to a mellow, kicked back artsy type of town with a few unique gift shops, galleries and places to eat and a nice mix of things to do without the introduction of chain or big box stores.

We are the second rig from the left up on the ridge.

We are the second rig from the left up on the ridge.

  While downtown you can’t help feel and see the cliffs rising nearly 1,000 feet right at the edge of town.

 We have been in town 4 days now and we have done a few fun and interesting things already like meeting up with our fellow nomadic travelers and friends Debbie & Steve, we drove the Bachelor Historic Loop through the silver mining district, we toured the Creede Underground Mining Museum, we took a guided tour through the Last Chance Mine, we have sampled a couple eating joints and enjoyed meals & adult beverages with Debbie & Steve and a few other oddball things but I think we will leave the details for another update and call this a “ wet your whistle” update. Besides, out internet in this area is moderate at best so doing short updates will be less painful on our part.

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 We will make mention that we had originally planned only 1 week here but have already extended our stay to 2 weeks. It’s just beautiful country plus the leaves are starting to turn so we want to stick around and see more.

 So stay tuned, we will be back!!   

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Breckenridge Colorado and surrounding areas

As we mentioned in our last update, Saturday (9/3) we raised our jacks and headed north to Breckenridge Colorado, a location we had on our radar (more me) since hitting the road almost 4 years ago that I thought just might be an area where we would want to hang our hats during the warmer summer months when it comes time to slow down our travels a little, so I was very excited about finally getting a chance to explore the area.

 Plus this week is Diane’s Birthday and our Anniversary so I try to make it a little more special and find nice places to be during that week of the year.

The 1st site we had for the first 2 nights.

The 1st site we had for the first 2 nights.

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 Our travel day was easy, we drove Hwy 24 from Buena Vista up through Leadville and then branched off on HWY 91 and followed it until we reached I-70. Once we reached I-70 we drove it east about 9 miles and took the 2nd Frisco exit which put us on HWY 9 that took us to our new home for the next week.

The steam behind our 1st site.

The steam behind our 1st site.

 Our destination was Tiger Run RV Resort located between Breckenridge and Frisco, a resort that I also researched before ever hitting the road and one that always came up as one of the top RV Resorts in the country so it was a must visit spot as well even though more costly than we normally like to spend, but it’s a special occasion.

This is the pull-through site we moved to..

This is the pull-through site we moved to..

The pull through site we moved to

The pull through site we moved to

 Of course with Breckenridge and Frisco, well the whole area actually, being a resort area it was pretty darn busy the first couple days because of Labor Day holiday so our first knee jerk impression was “this place is NOT for us”. But once Monday rolled around and the crowds dissipated we actually started too really like the area.

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Driving into Breckenridge from the south.

Driving into Breckenridge from the south.

 We won’t do a day by day on what we did while in the area because, well, at this point our visit has all ran together in my head and I can’t remember LOL!!! But we made our way into Breckenridge probably 3 or 4 times to walk around and have meals & adult beverages.

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CHEERS!!!

CHEERS!!!

Inside the Breckenridge Brewery. Look at he size of that Nacho!!

Inside the Breckenridge Brewery. Look at he size of that Nacho!!

 We ate and had drinks at the Breckenridge Brewery (really liked it).

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We had Pizza & Chicken wings and of course beverages at “Downstairs at Eric’s” for Diane’s Birthday dinner. That’s what she wanted, Pizza, hot wings & beer. Another reason I love that women, simple to the bone.

The Canteen Tap Room

The Canteen Tap Room

 We stopped in for drinks at “The Canteen Tap House and Tavern” which was very small and seemed to be a locals hang out.

 We rode the gondola. I guess we shouldn’t be surprised because the area is such a well-known ski resort but we read that the system can carry 3,000 people per hour in their 121 gondola cars. That seems amazing to me but if people want to spend money to ski they better have the means to handle it or they will go to one of the many places in the area that can.

Taken from the gondola.

Taken from the gondola.

A nice day for a gondola ride. A FREE ride none the less.

A nice day for a gondola ride. A FREE ride none the less.

 We also spent some time walking around the town of Frisco that is only 9 miles from Breckenridge. We probably went to Frisco 2 times during our visit and actually think we liked it a little better than Breckenridge only because it tended to be less busy but still offered an eye appealing downtown area with plenty of shops and eating establishments.

Frisco

Frisco

Frisco

Frisco

Frisco

Frisco

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Frisco

Frisco

Frisco

Frisco

Frisco

Frisco

 We only ate at one place is Frisco called “The Butterhorn Bakery” which was recommended to us by friends. And after walking the streets it was the busiest place in town and that is always a good sign.

Frisco Colorado

Frisco Colorado

 They are only open from 7:30am to 2:30pm, so a breakfast and lunch place for sure. We stopped in just after noon and Diane had the Turkey Rueben and I had the mushroom, onion & cheese Frittata and both were really good. There pastries looked great but we both refrained from sampling any.

 We also spent some time driving around the Dillon Lake and touring the towns of Dillon, Silverthorne and Keystone. Dillon & Silverthorne didn’t seem to be the big tourist towns that Breckenridge and Frisco do but offers more of the big box shopping in the area.

Dillon Lake

Dillon Lake

Dillon Lake in the distance

Dillon Lake in the distance

Some nice folks offered to take our picture during a short hike we did.

Some nice folks offered to take our picture during a short hike we did.

 It’s obvious that skiing is the big draw here with four major ski resorts located in close proximity, Copper Mountain, Breckenridge, Keystone, and Arapahoe Basin.

 We spoke with a realtor and he said it’s very busy in Breckenridge and Frisco during July and August but nothing like during the winter months with all the skier’s. After Labor Day it really slowed down and is more the speed we like so we will need to keep this in mind if we plan to visit the area again.

Diane said she was going to rub Tom's nugget. Look at the smile on his face from everyone walking by rubbing his nugget.

Diane said she was going to rub Tom’s nugget. Look at the smile on his face from everyone walking by rubbing his nugget.

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A trail that leads right out of the park

A trail that leads right out of the park

 On Diane’s Birthday we decided to drive a scenic loop. We jumped on I-70 and headed east until we reached Copper Mountain and then headed south on 91 towards Leadville until we reached highway 24 just before we reached the actual town of Leadville and headed north again.

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A house we came across during our day trip on Diane's Birthday in some little town that I bet most blow by.

A house we came across during our day trip on Diane’s Birthday in some little town that I bet most blow by.

 Highway 24 wound through the mountains and through a few very small towns. One of the towns was Gilman, a deserted old mining town.

Gilmon

Gilmon

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 Gilman was founded in 1886 during the Colorado Silver Boom, the town later became a center of lead and zinc mining in Colorado, centered on the now-flooded Eagle Mine. It was abandoned in 1984 by order of the Environmental Protection Agency because of toxic pollutants, including contamination of the ground water, as well as unprofitability of the mines. It is currently a ghost town on private property and is strictly off limits to the public. We so wanted to walk in and check it out.

  Eventually we ended up at Vail and I-70 and decided to park and do a walking tour through Vail. Vail has to be another crazy and expensive town during the winter months but during our visit the streets were pretty empty, just the way we like it LOL!!

Vail

Vail

Vail

Vail

One of the many places to stay in Vail.

One of the many places to stay in Vail.

Vail

Vail

Vail

Vail

Vail

Vail

 I thought we had been to Vail before on a motorcycle trip but as it turned out I had it confused with Aspen which is a good thing. Why a good thing you ask, well that means Vail was a new town to visit instead of a repeat LOL!!

 

Vail

Vail

Vail

Vail

Vail

Vail

Vail

Vail

  

 From Vail we headed home and then out to dinner and a little bar hopping. Very little I might add, we sure don’t party like we used to. In fact we asked ourselves when the last time we closed down a bar and the answer was just a couple weeks ago!!! Lucky for us the bar was in a restaurant and it closed down at 9PM LOL!!!

Vail

Vail

Vail

Vail

Vail

Vail

Vail

Vail

  We enjoyed our stay in Breckenridge and Tiger Run is the nicest campground in the area. In fact it’s about the only full hookup campground within 50 miles either direction. And we feel that’s partly why the campground fees are so high at Tiger Run because we have certainly stayed at nicer that cost less. Location Location Location. We will toss in a few pictures of the campground at this point.

One of the premium sites.

One of the premium sites.

basic site

basic site

Look how tall that hydrant is. I guess you can tell they get snow here LOL!!

Look how tall that hydrant is. I guess you can tell they get snow here LOL!!

Premium site

Premium site

 There are a couple campground outside of town with no hookups or maybe 30 amp and water spigots spread around but after driving through a couple we would be hard pressed to fit comfortably with our setup.

A nice drive through corner site

A nice drive through corner site

Premium site

Premium site

This is the site we had for the first couple days

This is the site we had for the first couple days

Premium site

Premium site

 I had high hopes that this area would be a spot we could come back to and hang out for a month but during the peak season (June 1st through Sept 2nd) they do not offer monthly rates and I’ll be darned if we are willing to pay $100 per night for a premium site or even $80 for a standard site for a month. That’s $2400 for the cheapest site. And of course we would want to be here in July.

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Nice wide roads and plenty of tree's

Nice wide roads and plenty of tree’s

One of the cabins in the park.

One of the cabins in the park.

 We got here just as the regular season rates kicked in so our first site was $75 per night minus a 10% Good Sam discount and our second site was $65 minus a 10% Good Sam discount which was still too much as far as we are concerned. Overall our average nightly came to $61.

A crazy bike park between Breckenridge and Frisco.

A crazy bike park between Breckenridge and Frisco.

They also had a great kids area at the bike park. What a great place for the little ones.

They also had a great kids area at the bike park. What a great place for the little ones.

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No chance in the world would I be doing that.

No chance in the world would I be doing that.

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CRAZY!!

CRAZY!!

Look at the air these guys are getting

Look at the air these guys are getting

 We liked the area well enough that we will probably come back but not during the peak season and we will probably stay at Tiger Run if we do.

 Well, that pretty much sums up our Breckenridge (and surrounding area) visit. We will be lifting our jacks Friday morning (9/9) and backtracking about 220 miles south to our next destination, another long travel day. I guess it better be bedtime right after the opening night football game.   

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Final day in Buena Vista

Friday (9/2) and our last day in Buena Vista (for this trip). The morning started out a little wet but by 9 or so it started to dry out so we decided to check out the tunnels that served the Colorado Midland Railroad back in the day.

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 The tunnels are located at the edge of town on County Road 371 just north of town.

While in the area we came across a section of BLM land that had a bunch of ATV trails that led all over the country outside of town. We drove a short distance on a couple trails before turning around making the comment that if we end up with a ATV we would return and do some exploring.

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 After the tunnels we headed to the Barbara Whipple Trail that we talked about a couple updates ago to at least hike part of it.

 The Barbara Whipple Trail is a grouping of several trails on the east side of the Arkansas River but because of timing we could only hike a small section of it. Once again we made the comment that when we return we will hike all it. Do you see a trend here that has us returning to this area?? We do.

Heading up the trail outside Buena Vista

Heading up the trail outside Buena Vista

 After Barbara Whipple we made a couple stops and then made our way home to kick back a little before we drove out to meet up with Debbie & Steve who were boon-docking about 20 miles away.

 We have been following there blog (“Down the Road” in the sidebar of our blog) for some time and met them while camping outside of Capital Reef National Park in Sept. 2015 and then again in Quartzsite last winter (Jan 2016) so it was fun meeting up again. We sat around there campsite visiting for a while before driving back to town for dinner at the Eddyline Brewery. I don’t know what time it was when we got there and I’m not sure what time we left but I do know the closed sign was lit when we did leave so we must have sat around a good chunk of time LOL!! But time flies when you are catching up and visiting with friends.

 Both of us talked of asking our waiter to take a group photo but neither of us did, I’m getting bad at not getting pictures while visiting it seems. After dinner we said our “see ya down the road’s” and with talk of meeting up again in a couple weeks at a different location in Colorado we were off in our separate directions like happens so often in this life style and with that came the end of another pretty darn good day, AND the end to a good stay in Buena Vista.

Well we all like to eat downtown Buena Vista

Well we all like to eat downtown Buena Vista.

 (Side note: A good friend of ours offered to be my editor for the blog so now every time I start using comma’s, hyphens and other do-dads I start questioning myself LOL!! I declined the offer saying that without all the mistakes it just wouldn’t be me.)

 Yup, Friday was our last full day in Buena Vista and we had a pretty good time and have moved it to the top of our list for places to maybe hang out at next summer for 1 month. But we have a couple more stops in Colorado before etching that in stone and we have high hopes for all of them.

 So after a good night’s sleep we woke to another travel day and after a few “see ya down the road’s” to a couple neighbors we lifted our jacks and traveled about 80 miles north and about 1700 foot higher in elevation to our next destination where we will celebrate our 18th Anniversary and Dianes ## Birthday. (I’m not about to fill in those blanks LOL!!)   

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A drive over Cottonwood Pass and a visit to Tincup Colorado

Thursday (9/1) we decided would be a great day to drive over to an old mining town called Tincup we were told about during coffee in the clubhouse on Tuesday.

 To get over there we needed to drive over Cottonwood Pass (elevation 12,126 feet in the Swatch Mountain Range on 306 which eventually turned into 209.

 The road over is really pretty nice. It’s paved all the way to the summit where the Continental Divide is marked at the saddle point of Cottonwood Pass and then it’s a dirt road down the other side until it Tee’s at Taylor Park Reservoir. When we reached the TEE we turned left on 742 and drove a couple miles until we reached Taylor Park Trading Post and turned left again on 765 and followed our nose to Tincup.

Taken from the summit of Cottonwood Pass

Taken from the summit of Cottonwood Pass

Taken from the summit of Cottonwood Pass

Taken from the summit of Cottonwood Pass

The 1880 census shows the town with a population of 1,495 and it was incorporated that year as Virginia City but due to confusion with other towns of the same name the town was reincorporated as Tincup in 1882.

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 The area rocked as a mining town in the 1880’s and 1890’s but it was a tough place to live, the town marshall, Harry Rivers, was killed in a gunfight in 1882 and the next year Marshall Andy Jameson was shot to death to. And because of extreme conditions in the winter and danger of Indian attack, it took several years for Tincup to be established with year-round residents.

A road leading into Tincup

A road leading into Tincup

As the mine’s riches were slowly depleted the population of the town declined, the post office closed in 1918 and the last town election was held that same year.

The church in Tincup

The church in Tincup

Tincup

Tincup

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We were told that only 2 or 3 people live in the town year around and the most popular activity in the area is riding ATV’s. In fact the area is promoted by the state of Colorado as the best ATV area in the state. It seemed to us that most of the people that hang around the area stay in the Taylor Park section and ride from there.

 The first thing we did when we reached town was find the old cemetery at the edge of town.

The wooden walkway leading from the parking lot

The wooden walkway leading from the parking lot

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 In the cemetery there are four distinct knolls, one for the Jewish, Protestant, and Catholic religions, and a fourth knoll, Boot Hill, for nondenominational burials and violent deaths.

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A wooden walkway leading from one knoll to another

A wooden walkway leading from one knoll to another

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 T.L. Stormes of New York died on April 30, 1879, in Tin Cup Camp and was the first person buried in the Tin Cup Cemetery.

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Tell me you wouldn't be happy to be laid to rest in a spot like this.

Tell me you wouldn’t be happy to be laid to rest in a spot like this.

Many of the grave sites have no markers remaining and many are not readable.

Many of the grave sites have no markers remaining and many are not readable.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We spent some time walking around checking out dates on the headstones that you could still read anything on and I’ll tell you what, I always told Diane that when I die I wanted her to spread my ashes along a specific highway that we rode numerous times on the motorcycle that I loved so much but after seeing this peaceful place with such great view I would almost change my mind.

 Anyway, here is a link to a great read about the Tincup cemetery if you care to take a look. http://cozine.com/1996-october/tincup-the-cemetery-of-four-knolls/

After our cemetery tour we drove into town for lunch at Frenchy’s Café that we heard so much about. Frenchy’s closes for the season on Labor Day so we were lucky and happy we made it before they closed down.

Kids can fish in the pond up front.

Kids can fish in the pond up front.

You can click on the picture to enlarge.

You can click on the picture to enlarge.

ATV's parked up front is a very common site I guess.

ATV’s parked up front is a very common site I guess.

 We split a Frenchy’s double cheeseburger and then each had a piece of pie alamode. Diane had a mixed berry and I had apple. Well we actually shared each and bother were very very good.

 Frenchy had a pretty good story but instead of typing it all out maybe you can click on the picture and read about him yourself.

 After our bellies were full we jumped in the truck and headed back over the mountain towards home. But before we made it home we took a little side trip to Cottonwood Lake to have a look.

Cottonwood Lake

Cottonwood Lake

At 9,552 feet in elevation, the lake and area offer a multitude of outdoor activities including fishing, camping, kayaking, hiking and 4-wheeling in the summer, and snowmobiling, cross-county skiing, ice skating and ice fishing in the winter. Of course we have NO intention to check out the ice skating and ice fishing.

Cottonwood Lake

Cottonwood Lake

Another great day touring the area.

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A day trip to Salida Colorado

Wednesday (8/31) we decided would be a good day for a day trip to Salida which was an easy 30 mile drive south of our campground. Why Salida you ask, why not we say LOL!!

Because of its history, 7038ft elevation and population of only 5,400 people it popped up on our radar for a possible place we might want to hang out during the warmer summer months. Plus we were told it had a nice downtown riverfront and a couple good places to eat we should check out.

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Salida was first established in the 1800s as a stagecoach stop and later as a stopover for travelers on the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad and it has a nice assortment of old historic buildings scattered around town.

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Salida is located at the foot of the Central Colorado Rockies on the western bank of the Arkansas River at an elevation of 7,038 feet as mentioned. U.S. Highways 24, 50 and 285 meet near this historic railroad town making it the “Crossroads of the Rockies”.

 Once we reached town the first thing we did was find Spiral Drive. You know how many towns have their initials or the first letter of their name on a nearby hillside? Well Spiral Mountain (formally known as Tenderfoot Mountain) is where the “S” is seen from downtown.

Just another shot of downtown and Spiral Mountain in the distance.

Just another shot of downtown and Spiral Mountain in the distance.

This was taken from the top of Spiral Mountain

This was taken from the top of Spiral Mountain

 The name Spiral Mountain is very suiting because the road to the top spirals itself around the mountain until you reach the very top. We drove but we came across a few mountain bikers, walkers and joggers on the narrow road. We would say it would be a great workout doing ANY of those three things a couple times a week. But we didn’t go for the exercise so after a few pictures we jumped in the truck and headed towards town.

 Of course the first thing we did was do a driving tour around town and even out of town on highway 50 through a narrow canyon we had heard about just to take in the views before heading to historic downtown to walk around.

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Nice old buildings in town on Main Street

Nice old buildings in town on Main Street

 Like always we popped in and out of shops buying nothing but I enjoy looking at the inside of the old buildings more than anything else.

 And we found an area of the river that runs along downtown where they have a kayaking course set up. We have seen this type of thing on TV, most recently in the Olympics but never in person. So we pulled up a couple of boulders and watched for a while until my stomach started talking, then it was time to find the Boathouse Cantina that a couple of our friends told us about.

See the rods hanging down over he river?

See the rods hanging down over he river?

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 The restaurant is located right on the river and if you are lucky enough to get a window seat you can watch all the activities on the water while you eat. However we were not lucky enough to get a window seat but we did get a nice table outside on the patio with a peek-a-boo view of the river and there wasn’t much activity going on to watch anyway. But the service was good as well as the food so we walked (waddled) away happy.

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The rear entrance but the main entrance

The rear entrance but the main entrance.

 After lunch we wandered around a little more before jumping in the Jeep and leaving town. Before going home we decided to take a side trip and ended up in a town called Fairplay but to be honest it was getting late in the day and I was worn out so we only walked the streets a very short time and visited the Visitor Center before deciding on heading home and leaving Fairplay for another day so we will talk more about that at another time.

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 Another nice day trip under our belt. Our next update will be on our day trip to Tincup Colorado. Yes, we are behind on the blog again LOL!! But with the active days we have been having it’s just hard to keep up.     

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