Friday, January 11, 2013

Colorado, Pikes Peak - America The Beautiful


I leave my hotel on the outskirts of Denver just past 4am for a drive south towards Colorado Springs. My trusted GPS tells me it will take a little over two hours to reach my destination which should work out perfect. I am looking forward to catching a sunrise in the high country of Colorado.

It is an easy and fast drive along Interstate 25 southbound where I discover what initially seems for me an odd geological twist. As I am driving south my elevation is increasing. I have just left the “Mile High City” now I am at the “1.14299 Mile High City”, Colorado Springs.


DEN 050I arrive at the gateway to my destination about 6:30am and discover a little disappointment. The toll road to Pikes Peak does not open until 9am.

Unfortunately, the sun will long be risen by then. A trip to McDonald's and I enjoy the sunrise from a different perspective.





A few minutes before 9am and I am about four cars deep in line at the now open toll booth. A US$10 person entrance fee and I am on my way for a 19 mile drive to about 14,000 feet.



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The morning mountain air is crisp and clean. A nice compliment to the clear blue skies graced with high thin white whisper clouds. Contrasted with the bright greens of the mountainside landscape along with a few hill tops sprinkled with snow, the view is breathtaking.


DEN 053As I continue my climb I make a few stops a long the way to take in magnificent and awesome views as far as the eye can see.

My only limits are the cold and roaring winds that make my stops too brief.







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DEN 067Eventually, I make it to the summit of Pikes Peak, 14,110 above sea elevation.

From above the fruited plain I am taking in a view of the border of the state of New Mexico, one hundred and twenty miles away.

I imagine it was a day like this when Katherine Lee Bates got her inspiration to write “America The Beautiful”.




Although you can visit Pikes Peak on a one way Cog Train ( for about US$27 per person, I think coming here by car or even hiking is a much better way to do it. Driving or hiking will allow you to take in and appreciate even more the purple mountain majesties above the fruited plain.

Just one part of America that makes it beautiful from sea to shining sea.




Thursday, January 10, 2013

Colorado, Lariat Loop



DEN 021Leaving Golden, Colorado I exit on 19th street and then join Lookout Mountain Road which is a part of Lariat Loop. It is not long before I make a stop and I am looking down on the town I just left behind.








DEN 022Water Craves Canyon



With a little Mick Jagger and The Rolling Stones in the background, I get back in my car and continue my winding climb up Look Mountain Road to my next stop, a scenic viewpoint of Water Craves Canyon. Carved by glaciers many moons ago, once again the work of mother nature is awesome and captivating.

From the summit of Lookout Mountain if I knew what I was looking for I am sure I would agree with one famous American from “The Wild West'” who once shared the same view I am now fortunate to be taking in.


DEN 023William F. Cody once said that on a clear day you could see four states from here.

A few minutes of enjoying the view on a clear cool afternoon and I take a short walk across a parking lot.







DEN 024In some way I am going to pay my respect to “Buffalo Bill” born William F. Cody, an Indian Scout and Fighter, Colonel in The American Army who is buried here.








Monday, January 7, 2013

Colorado, Coors Brewery Tour



SAM_0410Less than an hour drive from Denver International Airport is the former capital of Colorado and the home of a “Rocky Mountain Legend”. I arrive in Golden, Colorado after a long time on a dusty trail with a thirst and one purpose.

Although Golden is known as the town where “The West Lives”, I am here for some of its “Pure Rocky Mountain Spring Water”.




Just a few blocks from the main street, I wait with others on a bus that will take us to the Coors Brewery. A short drive through town with some of its highlights pointed out, we arrive at the Coors Brewery Tour entrance. Here photos are taken and age verification is completed.



SAM_0409Coors Brewery Complex



A quick process where those over twenty one are given an identification bracelet along with an audio device that can be used for a self guided tour of the brewery.

The tour begins with exhibits of Coors history including its part of everyday American life and how it was distributed primarily in the West.

“You know truckin' Coors beer east of Texas is bootleggin”. “This here's Georgia, son”.

If the above quotes does not refresh your memory then remind me to slap your momma when I get home.


SAM_0394From the history of Coors it is onto how beer is made then a small sample of original Coors Banquet is offered.

It is interesting all the various beers that are made by Coors including one of my favorites Blue Moon. Here is the largest brewery in the world and the average beer takes about 55-60 days to go from here to your lips.




Fortunately, I don't have to wait 55 days as I am only steps away from a lounge area where I can get three full servings of the various Coors products. First its Batch 19, a prohibition era brew which I enjoy with a few others on the tour. Interestingly one member of our group is a musician from Nashville who gives us some cool insights into playing with some of Country and Western most popular entertainers.



SAM_0403Not in a rush to leave next its Colorado Native then my favorite Blue Moon. By far, this was the best brewery tour I have ever been on and definitely worth the drive if you have time to spare while visiting the Denver area.