Road Trip | Dec 2021

We set out on a road trip December 1 to visit Colorado Springs, Trinidad, and Oklahoma. It took 2 weeks. They are marked as A, B, and C on this map. The Colorado visits were for sightseeing and hiking. The OK visit was to family. We were lucky to have very good weather the entire time.

A

Neither of us had been to Colorado Springs before. We understood it to be a beautiful place next to the Rockies and Pikes Peak. We arranged to stay at this Airbnb on the far west edge of the city. It was less than a mile to the next small town of Manitou Springs tucked into a narrow valley. The Garden of the Gods park was within walking distance. There was room for 2 and no more. We arrived late afternoon and were greeted by our host. She offered suggestions for where to get dinner.

Next morning, we went to Garden of the Gods park. The park offered many hiking trails that visited different geological features. We eventually visited 3 times including ones at sunset and at sunrise. Click images embiggen.

For one of our adventures we rode the cog-rail train from Manitou Springs to the top of Pikes Peak at 14,115 ft. It’s the most visited mountain in North America and reputedly second in the world only to Mount Fuji in Japan. The trip was about 9 miles and took an hour to go up. We had about an hour at the top to see the views and the visitor’s center. The ride down also took about an hour. The facility and the rail were recently upgraded and opened in 2021. Some people choose to drive to the top.


B

After 4 days in Colorado Springs, we drove 2 hours south to Trinidad near the New Mexico state border. It lies on the Santa Fe Trail. We had been through Trinidad before by Amtrak in 2020 on a trip to Santa Fe NM just before the COVID pandemic. It is an interesting town with some history worth exploring. Plus, it was on our way to Oklahoma to see our son and family. We stayed 3 nights at an Airbnb close to the center of town.

The area was visited by Spanish and Mexican traders. Coal was found in the nearby region in 1862. The town was incorporated in 1876 just before Colorado became a state. Miners came from many places to work the coal mines. The early 1900s saw disastrous events in Trinidad. Fire burned several downtown buildings. An intense rainstorm caused flooding and swept away the Santa Fe train station and all of the town’s bridges. An explosion in a coal mine killed 13. Coal worker union strikes led to conflict.

Today, Trinidad is experiencing a boom of sorts due to the legalization of marijuana in Colorado. In 2018, Weed Times called Trinidad “Weed Town, USA”, noting that its 23 licensed retail marijuana dispensaries serving less than 10,000 people amounts to one dispensary per 352 people. “In one downtown block alone along Commercial Street, there are eight dispensaries in a section of town some locals jokingly refer to as the Trinidad ‘weed mall’.” We can verify there are many stores from our walks around town.

Scenes from a hike near Lake Trinidad north of the city. It is a flood control and water supply project.


C

We drove to Oklahoma to visit our son. He is finishing an assignment there in the next few months and will move. Since he is in the military, we wish to respect his privacy and that of his family. So, no pictures or details will be shared. We had a great time.

We arrived home on Dec. 14. On Dec. 15, a powerful low pressure system roared across Colorado, Kansas, and Iowa. It brought winds up to 100 mph in Colorado Springs and Manitou Springs, dust storms and grass fires in Kansas, and several tornadoes in Iowa. Fortunately, no damage at our home.

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11 thoughts on “Road Trip | Dec 2021

    1. Jim R Post author

      It was a good one. We travel well together. We stay off the interstates a lot and take the more intimate roads. We find some very interesting things that way. Driving days are seldom more than 6 hrs. That leaves time to explore. Breakfast in this Route 66 Cafe was great. And we got to put a pin on their big map for our hometown. https://tinyurl.com/2p95nssk

      Reply
  1. jim fetig

    I was fortunate enough to be stationed at Fort Carson for nearly six years. Got married in the post chapel. A group of us ran to the summit of Pikes Peak each Sunday morning as soon as the snow cleared in training for the Pikes Peak Marathon which is in mid-August each year. Then Colorado Springs population was less than 200,000. Today it’s more than 600.000 – thoroughly Californicated unfortunately. We last visited three years ago thinking we might want to retire there. We hardly recognized the place. So sad. Glad you enjoyed your visit. The scenery is breathtaking,

    Reply
    1. Jim R Post author

      I noticed the signs as we drove by on I-25. I remembered Cheyenne Mountain as being a nerve center for several commands. One notable memory was from the movie Wargames (1983).
      I understand about the population growth. We drove in from the east seeing sprawl extending way out there. The closer we got to the city center the worse traffic was. I’m glad our Airbnb was on the west edge of the city in a quiet location.
      So, you ‘ran to the summit’ each Sunday morning. I was winded just walking around up there. Running would have made me pass out. 🙂 We flat-landers have trouble at altitudes like that.

      Reply
  2. BJ Good

    I enjoyed your narrative and pictures/video of this Colorado trip. Back in June 2000 I experienced Trinidad, Colorado Springs, the Pikes Peak cog railway, & Garden of the Gods. My daughter biked the Denver Post’s Ride the Rockies [RAGBRAI for higher elevation riders!] while I drove in the area & did sightseeing. Trinidad was the start – clearly it has changed a lot from the town we saw. I stayed in a historic B&B at the entrance to Cheyene Canon Park [lots of trails] & Colorado Springs was a lovely & smaller city then. My cog railway souvenir ticket indicates I paid $23.50 for my ride to experience Pikes Peak. You two got to ride the new train. I watched a CBS news piece about it earlier this year. Anyway-long response just to say THANKS for sharing.

    Reply
    1. Jim R Post author

      Thank you for your comments and memories of that area. We should get together again and compare notes in person. As to the ticket price…it is up to about $70 now. The bike ride in IA likely had some ‘high’ riders. But, not in elevation. 🙂

      Reply

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