The only thing that can be said about last night is “Wow! What a Ride.” No, it’s not what you thinking; now get your mind out of the gutter. It was a wild ride in that around 10:00 last night the wind came up and up and up. The wind was around 40MPH with gusts of at least 60 MPH. Maybe camping on the side of a big mountain wasn’t such a good idea! It was blowing so hard we had to pull in the motorhome’s slides in hopes of keeping the slide toppers attached and to help to keep the motorhome from rocking so much. Every time we just started to nod off to sleep a gust would hit the side of the motorhome so hard we thought we would be sliding down the side of the mountain. Around 2:00 this morning the motor home stopped rocking enough for us to get a few hours of sleep. When we went to bed last night this campground was full. We slept in and when we woke up the park was almost empty! Guess we were one of the lucky ones that didn’t get blown off the mountain.
We talked with some fellow campers who were here during the high winds and 4 inch hail a few days ago. The hail dented the tops of many RVs, trucks and cars and destroyed the slide toppings that rolled out over the 4 slides on the RV parked behind us. Bits and pieces of the toppings were blown all over our area of the campground. If the campers had been able to see out across the valley they would have seen the tornado that touched down. So glad we missed all that excitement.
After a leisurely morning we piled into the truck and headed off to find America the Beautiful Park in Colorado Springs. The centerpiece of the park is a 24 ton 4 story tall sculptural fountain call Continuum. There was no water circulating through the sculpture today but many people were enjoying their Sunday afternoon playing in the water, flying kites and getting a tan. Interesting that there was not even a flag pole in America the Beautiful Park.
Next we traveled east through the prairie to the little town of Calhan. Just a little south of Calhan is Paint Mines Interpretive Park. This place is a well-kept secret. When you arrive at the parking area (there’s a big stone sign declaring the park’s entrance), you won’t see anything spectacular — just prairie in every direction. Pick a trail — doesn’t matter which one since they all intersect and take you to the same incredible expanse of natural clay sculpture. It is nothing short of spectacular — chasms, spires, overhangs, carved walls, the works. The colorful clays — layers of snowy white, golden yellow, rose pink and purplish mauve — are what give the park its name. Native Americans used the deposits for paints and pottery, and settlers later mined the clay to make bricks. This was a very interesting place. We hiked around for about 1 ½ hours there and wandering through all the trails in the midst of the valleys, hoodoos and narrow channels made us feel like mice in a maze.
We have now been on the road for 4 weeks. 3 weeks to go. Looking out of the motorhome to the east we can see all the pretty lights in the valley below. Looking up the side of Cheyenne Mountain to the west we can see a grouping of white lights that we are told is an entrance or exit to the interior of the mountain and its secret activities. Kind of spooky.
Tomorrow we plan to explore the Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument and the historic mining town of Cripple Creek. The town is now full of casinos – guess who can’t wait to get there 🙂