After arriving back in Colorado from Iowa and spending a bit of time doing stuff around Golden, Kevin and I took off for a mini-tour of the state now that things are slowly reopening. I mean, I had to see some of this place before I take off after spending so long here, and what better way to social distance than camping and being outside. So he, being an excellent tour guide of the area having lived here off and on for many years, plotted a loop, packed our hand sanitizer and donned our face masks (when around people or inside), and off we went. The van was so happy to be on the road again!
First stop was south through the pretty, winding roads through the mountains and into the more open and arid areas near Cañon City and Pueblo, where we ended up staying over with Kevin’s friend who lives in the area. I learned all about some bizarro fungus that takes over ants and other insects and gets them to basically self destruct and spread spores thanks to the nature show we watched, but I digress.
On the way I forced us to do a drive by of a roadside attraction diner in the shape of a hot dog, and to swing through the town of Fairplay where the South Park show is loosely based. While we skipped the kind of cool looking old mining town replica exhibit. I of course required a photo op. Fun fact: I dressed up as Cartman for halloween in middle school with some friends. So little has changed. Sometime along the way we passed a bunch of high security prisons and I waved hi to El Chapo in there somewhere.
Further on we visited Royal Gorge bridge & park, where a bridge and gondola take you across the beautiful gorge (according to a sign there the difference between a gorge and a canyon is whether the top is significantly wider than the bottom) with the 50 state flags displayed along the length. It gave sweeping views despite the strong wind that day. When we arrived there was a thunderstorm blowing through the area a few miles away, so the gondola wasn’t running until we were about to leave. Good luck for us! It was rockier than usual but a lovely experience.
The next day on our way southwest we stopped by this rather odd but impressive site, Bishop Castle. Tucked away in the forest on a winding road in the middle of pretty much nowhere, a guy has been building this totally not to code castle of sorts. It’s pretty crazy. There are open doors to nowhere two stories up with just a chair blocking you from falling out, holes in the metal grate walkways, steep exterior stairs, even a dragon head looming out over the ever under construction affair. Signs at the entrance warn you enter at your own risk, which I understood as soon as I set foot in the place. I went up pretty high but didn’t dare walk over the bridges or up to the very top. What a project.
Next stop, the first of the state’s national parks we visited.