|By: Paul S. Cilwa||Viewed: 1/26/2021
|Topics/Keywords: #Places #65thBirthdayTrip #Colorado #GardenoftheGods||Page Views: 319|
|All about the third day of my 65th Birthday Trip.|
Today's drive was intended to be a true marathon, some 14 hours from Colorado to the mountains of Missouri. Alas, the spirits were willing but the flesh couldn't manage such a long drive and, in point of fact, we never even made it out of Colorado before we succumbed to weariness and spent yet another more-expensive-than-planned night at a motel, as the temperature was still in the thirties, making it too cold to camp.
|Starting Point||South Fork, Colorado|
|Point of Interest||Garden of the Gods, Colorado|
|Ending Point||Kit Carson, Colorado|
|Accommodations||Kit Carson Inn|
|Estimated Driving Time||5 hours 41 minutes|
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Morning dawned and it was very cold—close to freezing, and trying to sleep in a tent would have been extremely uncomfortable. It was, in fact, cold enough that there was still snow adorning the slopes.
Keith and I packed up pretty quickly, once we awoke, and soon left the low, snow-covered hills for high, giant, snow-covered peaks. We were driving through the part of Colorado that is home to over a dozen 15,000-foot (or higher) peaks.
We passed many farms spread across the meadows between the mountains. Some were quaint; some more modern, but all were quite picturesque.
And more mountains!
One can only imagine how crazy it was up here when these mountains were active volcanoes.
I have friends in Salida, Colorado; in stopping briefly for a visit we also got a look at a small Colorado town. You know, like South Park (which is a real place and, we were told, is in fact similar in appearance to the fabled animated town.
Then we were back on the road. More mountains, more snow, and an increasing cloud cover.
Finally, we began our descent into the foothills and Colorado Springs.
Colorado Springs is home to the Garden of the Gods.
The outstanding geologic features of the park are the ancient sedimentary beds of deep-red, pink and white sandstones, conglomerates and limestone that were deposited horizontally, but have now been tilted vertically and faulted into "fins" by the immense mountain building forces caused by the uplift of the Rocky Mountains and the Pikes Peak massif.
A White-throated Swift caught my attention. He was just hanging out on a fence rail, but I was very close to him and he didn't seem to care in the least.
The various fin tips were home to a number of larger birds.
The Garden of the Gods was beautiful but we'd spent too much time there; plus the weather in the mountains had slowed us down, so that we were very much behind schedule; all of which contributed to our having to stop for the night in Kit Carson, Colorado. And since we weren't camping, and there were no local grocery stores open we had to eat dinner at the nearby Trading Post Restaurant.
Chatting with our waitress, I learned she was from Phoenix and had moved to Kit Carson about a year before. "It was a mistake," she said. "The economy is so bad around here, motels have closed and restaurants can't do enough business to survive. This is pretty much the last one still open."
"But, I thought Colorado's economy was booming with the legal marijuana," I said.
"That's in the mountains," she replied. "We have no dispensary here; and the road that goes through Kit Carson is used only by people coming from or going to Kansas. And Kansas' economy has been totally tanked, thanks to that moron Sam Brownback they made governor."
"What did he do?" I asked neutrally.
"What do you think? Cut corporate taxes so there was no money left to keep the roads and bridges repaired. Workers fled the state for places they could find work, so their taxes didn't go to the state, either."