Thursday, October 13, 2016

Cripple Creek, Victor and Canon City, Colorado

October 22 - October 25, 2016:

This is a continuation of the previous Colorado Springs Adventure blog just for confusion or simplification depending on your point of view ?

I start with a trip to Canon City for a ride on the Royal Gorge Route Railroad through the Royal Gorge.  I also spent much time exploring Canon City, which I have passed through several times, but never actually stopped at. Canon City has done a great job of saving their classic building architecture and has a large historical district.  Canon City was was established in 1858 during the Pike's Peak Gold Rush and intended to be commercial center for the upper Arkansas River area.  Not sure they were successful ?  The city is also known for having nine state and four federal prisons and a welcome sign that says "Corrections Capital of the World". 

So many very impressive buildings in Canon City

Great murals too !

I'd trust this bank with my savings

I was taking this photo when the bartender saw me and
called me inside to check out the interior mural

Elvis and Jim Morrison, a sobering thought

The St Cloud Hotel was originally moved
here brick by brick from another town.  It
is looking run down these days.

The Skyline Theater

The Central Block

F.L. Smith Building

The train ride was great and it’s an amazing route through such a deep narrow gorge.  It is a little scary as you ride into the deep part of the canyon with what appears to be about a thousand feet of vertical rock over the train. Rock that could come thundering down at any time.   Later in the day, I heard about the NJ Transit train crash in Hoboken, New Jersey, glad I didn’t know about it, would have made me nervous.

Royal Gorge Diesel at rest

Steam and Diesel together

Phantom Canyon Coach

Heading into the Gorge

Good day for riding the open car

Deep into the gorge

The Royal Gorge Bridge overhead

I next rode to Cripple Creek stopping several times, along with many others, to gawk at the fall foliage.  This year seems to be a very good foliage year.  Gold was discovered in Cripple Creek in 1890 and it soon became a boom town. By the 1970's Cripple Creek was almost a ghost town when in 1991 gambling was introduced and another economic boom period started  It was very successful in the early going, but to me it seems to be struggling these days.  Many places are closed, others looking like they might be struggling, the influx of Indian casinos must be hurting them.

A roadside detour along route to Cripple Creek

Another stop, there were many

Cripple Creek street view

Another view

One of my favorite murals

Palace Casino appears closed

Elks Club on an angle

I then drove from Cripple Creek to Victor, another beautiful drive.  Neighboring Victor which still has a vibrant mining operation is looking much better, I was impressed.  Gold was discovered in Victor in 1891 and it became the second largest gold mining district in the country.  I much prefer the real town feel of Victor over the mostly gambling character of Cripple Creek.

Do the cows enjoy the scenery too ?

A Victor street view

Victor City Hall

Classic fire truck

Exceptional store front

Classic old tow truck

Old Victor mining district

Precious advertising space

The curent Victor mining district

I then drove from Victor on the Phantom Canyon Road through Phantom Canyon.  This road follows the path of the narrow gauge Florence & Cripple Creek Railroad that transported ore from Cripple Creek and Victor.  The road has great views, is narrow with tight curves in places and goes through a couple of tunnels.  It’s a long haul, about 35 miles, rough inlaces and you probably only average about 20 MPH.

Gold Belt Tour route sign

Aspens were glowing along the Phantom Canyon Road

View In the distance

A wide smooth section of the road

A narrow tunnel ahead

Next stop is the Great Sand Dunes National Park,
Twinkles and Slick

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