On our drive out of Oklahoma I noticed a bird running swiftly across the front of our vehicle.  It was a Roadrunner-my 1st sighting!  Lucky thing I heard the "beep-beep" and slammed on the brakes or that thing would have been as flat as if it were struck by an ACME safe falling from the sky. Whew!
Capulin Volcano National Monument.
This beautiful volcano was a pleasant side trip on
our journey from Oklahoma to Colorado.
     We made it to Trinidad, Colorado and were able to find a nice campsite in a nearby state park. Since we were near civilization, we decided to sample the local cuisine to celebrate our 40th anniversary.  We went to Rino's Restaurant and what a treat.  After ordering our drinks and relaxing, we heard instrumental music start playing over the sound system and all of a sudden the wait staff broke out in song.  Not only does this place have great food, but they pride themselves on having singing waiters.  Over the course of our meal we were treated to several songs, including a duet dedicated to our anniversary.  What a fun surprise!

Rino's Restaurant in Trinidad.  The wait staff
is performing a duet for our 40th.
We discovered this on our stroll to Rino's.
     Colorado is spectacular with snow capped mountains shooting 14,000 feet tall and remote mountain valleys in the shadow of these giants.  We took the "Highway of Legends" scenic drive out of Trinidad over 2 mountain passes.  It was a fantastic drive which also featured the Town of Cuchara.  Cuchara is a tiny, unique town tucked under the San Isabel mountains.
RT 12-The Highway of Legends.
Cuchara, Colorado
Cuchara, Colorado
     For our next stop we ended up in the Royal Gorge area above Canon City.  Our campsite looked out over the Royal Gorge Bridge and into the Sangre de Cristo Mountain Range.  Our location was great for traveling to several outstanding places.
San Isabel Mountains in the Royal Gorge area.
Royal Gorge Bridge
Royal Gorge & the Arkansas River.
The gorge is approximately 1,000' deep and may
be as narrow as 25' in places.
Our campground prides itself on restoring classic RV's and renting
them to guests.  This is the identical model of the RV which was
Lucy & Desi's home in the "Long, Long Trailer" movie.
I understand that the actual RV used in the movie was cut into pieces in
order to shoot the movie.
     Our 1st outing in the Royal Gorge area, was a whitewater rafting trip down the Arkansas River. After getting over my initial snobbery that I could paddle this thing in my kayak, it turned out to be a blast.  The Arkansas was in flood so the river generated large waves and some fierce holes.  It was a fun, soaking wet adventure.
     We also took day trips to Salida, St. Elmo, and Cripple Creek.  Salida (sa-LYE-da) was gorgeous. It is a well preserved western town on the banks of the Arkansas River and located in a beautiful mountain valley.
Salida, Colorado.
This is a whitewater park on the Arkansas River with a
great restaurant deck overlooking the river.
     St. Elmo is a ghost town located deep in the wilds at the foot of MT Princeton (14,197').  A lot of the town was destroyed by fire, but the remaining buildings were very cool.
St. Elmo, Colorado
Nancy was fascinated by these twin outhouses and
insisted I photograph them.
St. Elmo, Colorado
A creek in flood on the road to St. Elmo.
     We had an interesting visit to Canon City, the home of 13 state and federal prisons!  Yikes-lock your doors at night!  They even have a prison museum.  The best part of Canon City was Skyline Drive.  Skyline Drive is a narrow, one lane road above Canon City which allows for spectacular 360 degree views.  However, there are long sections of the drive were the road is on a knife's edge with 600' drops off both sides.  So I'm gripping the wheel and focusing on the road while Nancy is pointing out all the views for me to look at.  "Sure Nan, I'll just glance over my shoulder for a few minutes and maybe turn the wheel while I floor the accelerator."  Fortunately, nobody was on the road so we were able to stop frequently.
Skyline Drive.
This is one of the knife edge stretches of road.
Dinosaur tracks on Skyline Drive.
This is a very unusual view of dinosaur tracks as the earth
actually eroded away under the tracks, leaving a view of the bottom of the tracks.
Also, the earth had thrusted up and sideways, so the tracks actually appear on a rock wall.
     Finally, we took a trip from Canon City to Cripple Creek on the "Shelf Road" and, wow, what an adventure!  The Shelf Road is a 20+mile, single lane, dirt, mountain road on the edge of a deep gorge. To travel this road almost requires a high clearance vehicle.  Our speed never exceeded 10 mph so the trip took hours.  It was no fun meeting an on-coming vehicle as we either had to back up or squeeze onto the edge of a steep drop off to the valley hundreds of feet below.  Since Nancy was on the gorge side, there were times when she had no room to get out to take a picture.
Shelf Road.
Shelf Road.
A close inspection will reveal the road running along the cliffs.
     Our destination town was Cripple Creek and we were lucky to arrive during their "Donkey Days" celebration.  Cripple Creek is a beautifully restored western town, but it seemed as if all the buildings housed casinos.  Since we are not gamblers, the town held no appeal for us.  However, the drive on Shelf Road made this day fantastic.
Cripple Creek.
Almost all those pretty, western buildings are casinos.
     It is now off to Colorado Springs for the 4th.