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Adventure Stories

8,926 Miles In Grandma’s Tire Tracks

“Journeying on, we went through the quaint little village of Pueblo and there we gained information on Royal Gorge, which would have been very disappointing to us had we missed seeing it…”.

Pueblo, Colorado is nowhere near the quaint little village it was in 1931 with over 110,000 people living in the now sprawling city.  As with most of our trip, we could see places where the old roads were as we ran parallel on new roads.  Going to Royal Gorge was no different.

Mountain View Campground Colorado

Above: Mountain View RV Park, Colorado

There we stayed at one of the nicest RV parks and probably the best one in our entire trip, Mountain View RV Park.  Great host, perfect views, and awesome amenities start the list.  The campsites have concrete pads and covered patios, and are spacious and close to the Gorge and other sites.

Royal Gorge Bridge Colorado

Royal Gorge had a very destructive fire in June of 2013 which pretty much destroyed everything standing in the park.  In 2015, the rebuild was finally complete with a totally new park and experience, including a zip-line across the gorge.

Royal Gorge in 1931 in Colorado

The picture above is Royal Gorge with my Grandmother by her “Coawboy”.  The second picture is the remains of the rock wall where the water tower once stood.

Royal Gorge was a really interesting place.  You can take either a train through the gorge, or walk across the bridge and look down into the gorge.  In 1931, there was an inclined tram that went to the bottom of the gorge right below the arch way there.  In the arch there was the window to purchase tickets for the tram.

“Still following the Santa Fe Trail, we traveled through dirty Mexican towns of low flat mud houses and over rough mountain roads…”.

While Marty and Vera traveled the back roads, we cruised down the interstate heading for the pass at Raton.  Along the way, we passed the remains of a small deserted railroad town.  Only the church bell tower and foundations remain.  When I see deserted homes and towns I always wondered how they began, lived, and died.  To me, it is a truly sad thing to see a town that’s died.

As we continued to travel south past Las Vegas, New Mexico, we got off Interstate 25 just southeast of Pecos and looked for what my grandmother described as a, “Spanish castle or fortress”.

Spanish Mission in 1913Spanish Mission in 2015

This is now called Highway 50 but, at one time, it was Route 66, the Mother Road.  The castle is actually the remains of a Spanish mission and is now part of the Pecos National Historic Park.  This park is not only the mission, but also the Indian village which shared the land.

The park department is in the process of rebuilding and shoring up all the old walls of the mission.  I had to sneak in to get the matching picture.  How amazing it was to travel to these places and have them still be around.

The second place she stopped was a tourist attraction, or trap as they were once known.  It is located west of Pecos, and was a well that’s touted to be over 400 years old.  We found the spot.  The rock well casing can still be seen, only there was a steel grate over the top.  This and one old building is all that is left of a long forgotten spot along both the Santa Fe Trail and old Route 66.

We spent the rest of the day and night in Santa Fe.  Rather than spend the night in Serenity, we decided to stay at the Hilton right down town so we could walk around drinking in the history, culture, and sites.  Needless to say, we did not enjoy the packing and unpacking.  We really love our truck camper and from this point on we decided we would not spend another night anywhere but our camper.

Leaving Santa Fe, we headed west to Grants, New Mexico.  Here we got off the interstate onto Highway 53.  When Grandma and Vera came through here it was nothing but a logging road; just a trail leading into the desert.  It was only used by loggers, miners, and the occasional sheepherder.  However, it led the two ladies to the Ice Cave, Bandera Volcano and El Morro (Inscription Rock).

“We drove 35 miles to see the ice caves asking an old sheepherder, who was the only one in existence for miles around, if we were on the right trail.  We saw inscription rock in which travelers inscribed upon it recording their passing by before the Pilgrims came, but this did not interest us as were too anxious to get out of the wilderness…”

While it did not interest them, it did us and we stopped at not only the ice caves and volcano, but also El Morro National Monument.

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