Thursday, July 06, 2006

Incredible Colorado!

We visited Colorado with a couple of friends a few years back. We drove from Illinois to Colorado. We did not have a minivan then and went in a rental Ford Explorer. Although quite comfortable, it was a little crammed for space for six people, four adults and two kids. All the same, it was not bad at all.

The whole trip consisted of about nine days. We left our home in the afternoon of the first day and drove until Omaha, Nebraska, where we stopped for the night. We stayed at the Radisson, a pleasant hotel. The next morning we visited a temple at Omaha and after breakfast drove on. We reached Colorado Springs that night at about 10.00 pm, Mountain Time. As we drove into Colorado, we could see the majestic Rocky Mountains ahead of us. It was a magnificent sight. I’ll never forget that first glimpse of the Rocky mountains. Seems like whenever we travel there has to be a storm. This time was no exception. At one point it started to rain so heavily that we couldn’t see an inch in front of us. We just had to stop at the side of the road. There was so much hail and the noise was deafening. To top things off, we had a huge load of luggage tied to the top of the vehicle. Being a small vehicle, we couldn’t carry all the stuff we needed for 10 days in the car itself. So, we had the brilliant idea of loading it all on the top and tying it there securely. It worked well, although every few minutes, we would have to look up to make sure nothing came undone! Anyways, even with all the excitement, like I said we reached Colorado Springs in one piece, with all our luggage safe, if not a little soggy.

We went straight to bed and the next morning we decided to see the “Garden of the Gods.” This is a National Natural Landmark. It consists of about 1300 acres of red sandstone rock formations. One can drive through the park, take a horseback ride, or ride a bicycle. There are paved bike paths in the park. There is no fee to drive through the park. There is a visitor’s center that offers multi media shows focusing on the American Indian heritage and the geologic formations in the park.

We had a great time driving through the park and taking pictures. The next day we drove up Pikes Peak. At a height of more than 14,000 ft, this is a visible landmark for many miles to the east, far into the Great Plains of Colorado. The view from atop Pikes Peak is breath taking to say the least. It is at the summit of this mountain that Katherine Lee Bates was inspired to write “America the Beautiful” her most famous poem. The overwhelming beauty of the open skies, fields and the majestic Rocky Mountains inspired her to write that poem. The drive up was beautiful. We stopped from time to time to take some pictures, but I don’t think any picture can do justice to the natural grandeur of the mountain. The temperature was very hot at the foot of the mountain, but when we reached the summit, it was actually snowing!

Another mode of transport to the summit of Pikes Peak is the Cog Railway. The Manitou and Pikes Peak Railway is supposed to be the world’s highest cog railroad. This railway is said to be running for almost 114 years, taking passengers to the summit of Pikes Peak. We took the Cog railway the next day to get a first hand experience of this train. It was awesome. It took us up a steep incline all the way to the top. The kids had a great time looking out the window at the mountainside. At the summit we had some coffee and hot chocolate in the small restaurant. We looked at the vast stretches of land from the top once again and marveled at the wonders of nature.

That evening after dinner, we went to see the famous Seven Falls. To be frank, I was a little disappointed. It was a mere trickle. After having visited the Niagara Falls, all other water falls pale in comparison. But in all fairness, the lighting was very good. They had different colored lights dancing to the timeless tune of the waterfall.

The next day we visited the Royal Gorge. From there on we drove south to Durango where we camped for a couple of nights and visited The Mesa Verde National Park and went rafting in the Colorado river. But that’s going to be another post.


At 5:27 PM, Blogger Dusty said...

I am speechless - wow!

At 7:32 PM, Blogger travel plaza said...

Thanks Dusty.

At 5:40 AM, Blogger AJEYA RAO said...

Nice post...This post reminded me of many memories of my years stay in Colorado Springs. Wow! what a place to be in. I actually hiked up the Pikes Peak summit and loved that experience.

And our first long trip on our Buick was from Springs to Chicago...We dint stop over anywhere during the return journey. Drove continously for 16 hours. We were 3 of us. :-))

At 5:43 AM, Blogger Maverick said...

a few friends of mine went to colorado to do the river rafting and they r still raving mad abt it. colorado's looking beautiful frm ur eyes, no doubt its on my to-go places.

At 11:57 AM, Blogger travel plaza said...

Glad you liked the post. I'm sure it was a great experience hiking up Pikes Peak. It must have been awesome. We could not do much hiking as we were traveling with kids:) But all the same the whole Colorado experience was amazing. I'll never forget it:) And the funny thing is, on the way back from Colorado to Chicago, we drove non-stop too!

Thanks for your kind comment. Colorado is one of the most amazing places I've seen. I'm sure you will enjoy it and the rafting too:)It's awesome.

At 5:24 PM, Blogger Dav said...

I love a good road trip.

At 8:00 PM, Blogger travel plaza said...

Dav, I agree. Road trips are great!

At 2:52 AM, Blogger couch potato said...

Beautiful. Nice writing and even better pictures.
Glad you could post but this was a rush read. I'll try to read it more leisurely later.

At 10:58 AM, Blogger travel plaza said...

Couch Potato,
Glad you like the post.

At 11:26 AM, Blogger Kartik said...

Wonderful pictures...have you thought about posting them on flickr or some such online photo-sharing site ?..I just feel like the blogger just doesn't do justice to them. But once again, a great post !

At 2:14 PM, Blogger travel plaza said...

Thanks so much Kartik. I hadn't thought about Flickr till now. I think I'll try it.

At 12:19 AM, Blogger Gangadhar said...

Wow TP, wow..
A fantastic road trip..Great one indeed..
btw thanks for your wishes..

At 10:20 AM, Blogger travel plaza said...

Gangadhar, welcome back. Glad that you're feeling good now. Thanks for your kind comment.
Yeah, I love road trips too. I definitely find them more enjoyable than flights:)

At 10:22 PM, Blogger AJEYA RAO said...

Hey there,

Checking back again! Influenced by your post, I want to write a post soon on Colorado Springs as well. This may take a while, but thought of letting you know. :-))

At 12:13 AM, Blogger RK said...

Excellent write-up. Remembered a post that my niece had written on Colarado. But your post covered a lot more ground!
And thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a comment. Do visit again! Happy blogging!

At 10:47 AM, Blogger travel plaza said...

I look forward to your post on Colorado Springs:))

Glad you like the post on Colorado.
You have a great blog. I read all your recent posts. I'll definitely visit agian.
Thanks for dropping by my blog. Hope you'll visit again..

At 10:52 AM, Blogger travel plaza said...

Ajeya, Thanks for adding me to your blogroll:))Will add you to mine.

At 1:38 PM, Blogger Ravenbajan said...

Great pics! Those rocks almost look so perfect, they look fake. (Like the ones they create to look 'real' at amusement parks!) LOL

It's nice to see pics of places I've never seen.

(On a sidenote - I've linked to you on my blog... hope you don't mind!)

At 4:52 PM, Blogger travel plaza said...

Glad you like the post.
And thanks so much for the link on your blog:)I'm glad you like my blog.

At 6:43 AM, Blogger RK said...

TP: Read some of your older posts. Loads of info. Have blogrolled your site. Happy blogging and take care.

At 9:57 AM, Blogger travel plaza said...

RK, Thanks so much. I'm so glad you like my blog. Thanks for blogrolling me on your site. Have blogrolled your site too:))

At 5:25 AM, Blogger RK said...

Dear TP,
Just wanted to tell you that
my blog has shifted to: you there & take care.

At 5:30 AM, Blogger RK said...

You might have read that all blogspot blogs and other blogs have been banned/blocked in India as the govt. felt that the terrorists were using it.

read about it in my latest blog post:

that's the reason so many of us are shifting sites.

bye and keep blogging

At 9:20 AM, Blogger travel plaza said...

RK, Thanks so much for letting me know of the change in your blog address. Will certainly visit your new site. I have not been blogging for the past few days as I was away on vacation. Will catch up soon:)

At 7:29 PM, Blogger Britmum said...

I would love to visit Colorado again. I went as a child and thought it was beautiful then.

Thanks for sharing.

Take care

At 9:50 PM, Blogger travel plaza said...

Britmum, Welcome back. Hope you had a brilliant vacation:))
Colorado is indeed beautiful! I enjoyed that vacation very much.


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