Friday, July 15, 2016

Epic, 2 of ...

After we visited Mark the Airstream Guy, Halle and I decided to once again hammer down. We both wanted to get to Colorado as quick as possible. We figured if we drove a lot we might gain a day to have a little more time together in Colorado before we had to pick Beth up. I will just say that it was a very long drive where the landscape changed very little. It was completely worth the sacrifice.

About an hour before the sun dropped behind the mountains we pulled into the most courteous, courtesy parking ever. Another Airstream friend, Roger Moseley, not only allowed us to camp in his yard, he let us come two days early and stay for three nights total. As I was unhooking he said to me, "I hope this your worst campsite during your entire trip." 

You are kidding me, right? Look at that view!!! Full hook up to boot. I really regret I did not get a photo of myself with Roger. He is one outstanding man. He is brilliant beyond belief and just a super nice guy. He is also one of my heroes because he flew jets in Vietnam. 
Camping in Palmer Lake allowed Halle and I to have some tremendous day trips. 

One day we went to Florissant, where there is a National Park dedicated to the vast fossils beds found in the area. Right next door is a fossil quarry where rock hounds like me can split the mud stone for $10/hour. I highly recommend this. It is a lot of fun and you never know what you might find hidden between the layers. The fossils you are about to see are from 50- 30 million years old depending from where in the quarry the rock was taken. Most of what you see here is about 35 million years old. 

The girl running the place wanted to trade me this one for a much larger fern. Apparently this type of long extinct insect is fairly rare. It was the very first split I did. I did not trade.

The aquatic grass on the right is from around 45 million years ago.
As I said, I highly recommend this place. It is really cheap fun and every time you split the rock you might find a serious treasure. We hit it off with the young lady running things so much so that she handed me some rock from behind the rope to take home. I have yet to start splitting it apart. 

Last year while in Colorado, Halle and I did a mine tour in French Gulch just outside of Breckenridge. Halle really enjoyed putting on a rain slicker, hard hat, and being handed a flashlight. It was a wet, dark tour deep into the mountain. She has talked about it ever since. She kept asking if we could do it again. The Argo Tunnel and Mill seemed to be just the ticket.

The Argo was a venture that paid off very well for its investors. It also paid off for many mine operators since it allowed numerous mines to de-water their mines and transport their ore directly to the mill. It all came to an end when a miner hit a very large pocket of water trapped in the mountain. There was so much water released that it rendered the tunnel completely unsafe. 

As part of the tour you go into an abandoned mine tunnel . The Double Eagle was never connected to the Argo Tunnel.  It also never paid off its investors since the gold ore played out very quickly. Unfortunately Halle did not get the flash light and rain slicker on this tour. She did get to put on a hard hat.

The Argo has a lot of cool artifacts laying around to see.

Unfortunately, the owners of the mill are planning a major redevelopment project for this site. They are planning a 100 room hotel, a simulated mine tunnel and other theme park improvements. Maybe 7 dwarves carrying pick axes will draw in the people. 

Camping at Roger's was a real treat. It was very peaceful and way better than both of the KOAs we stayed at during the trip. I will be eternally grateful. I hope to pass through again in the near future. 

Beth managed a direct flight that arrived fairly early in the day. We left Palmer Lake early enough to avoid rush hour. Denver, like most cities, suffers from auto grid lock. We had an hour of 'just in case time' and used 40 minutes of it. To kill the 20 minutes while we waited, we parked near the end of the runway. TSA and Homeland Security kept driving by me very slowly, giving me the eye. I made sure they saw both Halle and myself waving and smiling at them.

Once we had Beth in the truck we headed West. For the night I booked a KOA in Silt Colorado. I am not a big commercial campground fan. We generally always stay in state parks. I was impressed with seeing the Colorado River right out my bathroom window. Halle was impressed with the pool.  Beth was impressed with being above 5000 feet. The Colorado River will be with us for many days. For a matter of fact, it was after crossing the Colorado in Arizona that we actually turned East. 

Perhaps the sun setting over Western Colorado is a good way to end this segment. Stay tuned...

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