Well, we have now worked a week and a half at our new jobs at the Garden of the Gods Camping resort and are as happy as happy campers can be.

Our first day involved Mark being assigned to maintenance and Tracy working in the office checking in guests. It didn’t take but a day for our managers to figure out that we work better as a team and Tracy would be happier outside.

On the second day, they asked Tracy if she would like to work in maintenance most of the time and fill in at the office only when necessary. Of course Tracy’s answer was yes.

We have rebuilt fans in the laundry room as well as attic fans for the office and cleaned and tuned up “swamp coolers” (the west’s version of air conditioning) on the roof of the main building. We have also done some general landscaping, cleaned gutters and pressure washed and re-filled the two swimming pools and hot tub. Luckily, hard work has never bothered us and our employers are as happy with us as we are with them. But all work and no play makes for a dull blog entry, so, on our day off, we headed for the hills.

Colorado seems to have paved roads or dirt roads (your choice) leading to most of the places that interest us, so us being backwards people, 9 out of 10 times we choose the back roads. Almost due west lies the historic gambling town of Cripple Creek and just to the south of it is the gold mining town of Victor. Instead of taking highways, which would probably take a couple of hours, we took Gold Camp Road out of Colorado Springs until the pavement ended and proceeded on the dirt, through the tunnels, to Old Stage road which took most of the day, but what a day it was.

Over the mountains and through the woods to Bear Creek Canyon we go, passing Helen Hunt Falls and into Cheyenne Canyon bringing us into the Pike National Forest with beautiful views of San Luis Peak, Sugar Loaf Mountain, Devils slide, and Mount Big Chief. The road led us through an area called Clyde and Cathedral Park, that treated us to gorgeous valleys with running streams and finally the illusive big horned sheep. Of all of our travels, this was the scene that made us stop – pause – and just enjoy the moment. This is why we travel.

With some regret, we leave this majestic parcel of God’s creation and motor along untill the dirt inevitably leads to asphalt. Our disappointment in being back on the road lasted about a half a mile untill we bumped into the largest gold mine in North america. Surprisingly, the security guard told us to travel up another dirt road to the top of the mountain – 10,500 ft – so we could peer into “the pit”. Wow, cool. The backdrop of the Continental Divide didn’t disappoint us either.

Anyway, off to the old mining town of Victor and then to Cripple Creek. Luckily, we have no interest in gambling, but do know that one particular casino has the Mid-City Grill that offers two for one dinners – Thanks Jen.

Although we are not big on the slots and poker tables, we thoroughly enjoy the feeling of being in the Old West town and expect John Wayne to come sashaying out of a saloon saying “Howdy pilgrim”.

At this point, we have driven 2/3 of the way around Pikes Peak and know that our camp is on the other side, so we hit the asphalt and head for home. It’s still daylight, and we think the scenic trip is done, but that is the beauty of this state – the scenery changes with every turn of the road. Through Divide, Woodland Park, and Manitou Springs, and we are home.


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