Tuesday, April 9, 2013


With leaving Trinidad Thursday afternoon we headed north to Pueblo. We wanted to dawdle a bit and puddle jump because - well - we have the time and it was nice and warm. No need to rush to the colder northern temperatures!

It was a short trip - just 87 miles (140 kms).

A view of the two Spanish Peaks west of Trinidad.

A nice easy ride up through Colorado.

Nothing really exciting for the day - we stopped at Walmart for groceries and then spent the rest of the afternoon and overnight at Home Depot.

Friday morning we headed out to our next destination - Manitou Springs - we were really looking forward to this. Initially we were going to the Garden of the Gods as suggested by our Austin friend Nancy - of Nancy and Brian. 

But once we started doing some research we realized that we just HAD to visit a place with so much to see and voted as one of 'America's Top 10 Coolest Small Towns'.

Pretty neat driving in. They say that parking is tough to find but we did pretty well on a side street - it probably helped that we were there fairly early. The only problem was that we only had three hours (which in the end was enough).

Once parked we started our walk.

Fun already!

One of the things we thought was the neatest about Manitou Springs were all the natural mineral springs around the downtown - the water is for drinking.

So - we decided to visit as many of them as we could. In the end we stopped at five of them and sampled the water - each was unique with it's own mineral content and very good.

The Cheyenne Springs.

The Stratton Spring.

After the Stratton Spring we took a side street back to the main street - it gave us a bit of an elevated view.

 Back down on the main strip.....

The Shoshone Spring.

 The Navajo Spring.

Stopping to eat our falafel and gyro sandwiches. What a treat to be eating Middle Eastern and Greek food! L.O.V.E

Eagle Eyes Cassia spotted all the rides - with a 25 cent price tag we let her choose a few.

It was a tough decision, there were so many.

The horse and wagon won out in the end.

Then to the arcade to watch Dad at pin ball as we explained to Cassia that this was the game we played when we were younger.

And dessert of course! Have you tried frozen custard? Nope neither have we! It was a sacrifice of course but we figured we should at least see what it was about.

A VERY difficult choice - vanilla, chocolate, nuts, fruit?

In the end we decided to share the vanilla with chocolate syrup, peanut butter and banana. 

Now HOW can that be bad - right?! Very good but very rich - good thing we were sharing.

An enclosed spring.

The Wheeler Spring. Since this one was closest to the van we filled up two of our one gallon containers to take with us.

The Nolan House.

Once our three hours were up for parking in Manitou Springs we had decided that we had seen what we wanted to and decided to head over to the Garden of the Gods close by. There is a Trading Post and Nature Center there but with all the crowds we decided to stick to the drive through the park.

It was very impressive right from the start but also VERY busy! 

Warning: Red rock photo addiction!

I spent a lot of time snapping photos as we drove through. We were having a really hard time finding a place to park - the lots were full as were many of the pull outs.

Just as we were coming up to the the top of this hill we spotted a space just as the other cars were pulling out.

So I got out and go a few pictures 'from not in the van'.

Looking towards Manitou Springs.

Back touring around we spotted a GREAT empty pullout right across from a trail head! Amazing!

We all piled out for a walk through the rocks.

Glad it's him not me!

 We've seen red rock before in Utah and such but these formations were unique.

Once back at the van we had a decision to make - try to stealth camp in Manitou Springs or Old Colorado City for a few nights or continue on. We took a good look at the map and decided to totally change our planned route and head west to take the back way into Denver. Our next planned destination was Idaho Springs.

This was starting to be a lonnnnnnggggg day!

We headed up highway 24 west towards Woodland Park. An interesting drive - steep at first and then flat - very flat.

During our planning session we had decided to stop at the Visitor Center just before Harstel to see if it was an option for overnight. This is the view from the Center which was closed but had a good sized parking lot and even better - no 'no overnight parking' signs.

Much cooler at this elevation then our day down in Manitou Springs!

And snow! Cassia was thrilled and challenged both of us to snowball fights.

Although it would have been fine to stay as it started to snow around 6:00 pm we decided it would probably be a bit warmer down in the valley, so we continued on.

And on .....

All the way to town of Fairplay. It was around 7:00 pm by this time and getting dark. We tried to find a place to park overnight but with such a small town we weren't sure if it would work. So, in the end we didn't stay there either. Too bad though since it has the South Park City Museum - a collection of 40 historic buildings brought in from the surrounding area.

The problem was that it was getting cold, getting dark and we had to climb high to get over the Hoosier Pass.

Thankfully we made it through just in time - with not a minute to spare we made the steep descent down into Breckenridge just as it started to snow. We didn't know our way around at all. Somehow we had managed to find the main street with all of it's stores and lights - it was an amazing sight. In the end we found the local grocery store and parked there.

It was 8:00 pm and we were all tired and cranky - it had been a long day. 

Our total route in one day from Pueblo to Breckenridge - we sure squeezed a lot into one day.

WoW! I'm exhausted now just writing about all that! It was quite the day and really shows how our plans and routes can change on a dime as we travel. We just never know what to expect.

Which is exactly what happened in Breckenridge - we had a GREAT unexpected time there and ended up staying for two nights. That - in the next post.


TODAY'S INTERESTING LINK: That was last week! Right now we are happy to be hunkered down in a hotel to ride out the blizzard that is on it's way! 


  1. Wow you sure had one busy day, nut looks like you really enjoyed it to.

    You deserve a two day rest.

  2. I thought you were trying to stay warm before you actually had to get into the snow!? One thing about Colorado, if you get too cold or warm just move around a bit to find relief, it's not like that in Texas, you must move around allot.

    1. I KNOW - right! Blame it on the driver this time who wanted a 'mountain' fix. Well he got it alright! Were adjusted now - and just think it was warmer today at home - our new home - then it was here.

  3. We LOVE Garden of the Gods, Manitou Springs, and Old Colorado City.

    We were there in July, so weather was perfect.

    You sure have been busy !!

    Excellent posts again !!

    Safe travels ... TnT

    1. Thanks TnT! Yep - neat place. We ended up missing Old Colorado City but something tells me we'll be heading this way again.


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