That’s what I muttered to myself as I was traipsing through the barnacle-like ‘death beach’ of the Salton Sea. Tons of barnacles (and other indescribable things) that laid before waters edge to even hundreds of yards inland. This should have never happened…
We’ve encountered some pretty interesting people during our RV travels. They all share their stories of where they are from and their livelihoods. And then, we meet other nomads, like ourselves, who have their own stories but of their travels and cool things they’ve seen or done. But when we met a cool group of foreign motorcycle nomads on Urals with sidecars loaded to the gills with gear, we were eager to meet and learn about their own journey because it is like no other.
Being our visit in the San Antonio area was drawing to a close in 2016, we were jam-packing excursions that we we’ve seemed to either overlook or time simply caught up to us. One of our must-do places on our list while in the area was to go hike Enchanted Rock.
Back in 2016, while we were parked at the Air Force Academy, Dan was called out for a family emergency in Pennsylvania. Our campground neighbors made certain I didn’t have to be alone the whole time. It was then that I met another motorcycle riding couple, Vicki and Rex in the sight behind ours.
During a morning coffee conversation, Vicki asked if I knew of any good roads or day-rides (they had a trike). I had told them about a cool trip to Bishop Castle, a hand-built medieval castle in Wetmore, Colorado that our son took us to see years prior. I told her the route to get there was outstanding, especially riding motorcycles.
Austin heard me talking about it and googled it on his phone as I described it. We all then made plans to ride out the following day with Austin riding on the back of her trike as her navigator.
The next morning, we coffee-d up, ate breakfast and rode out. The ride out was gorgeous as was the day! Surprisingly, not much traffic for being a weekend. Getting there was simple.
We rode out the gate of the Air Force Academy south on I-25 to CO 115 to Florence, onto CO 67, turning right on Hwy 96 in Wetmore. We saw signs directing us to the castle; turning left onto CO 165. It was about a 90 minute ride out to Bishop Castle.
Once we got there, the site was a little busy but nothing to be worried about when it came to capturing some good photos.
Admission was free, although donations were greatly appreciated. There was also a gift shop that helped finance Mr. Bishop’s ongoing build. It’s open most of the time.
About Bishop Castle…
There is nothing architecturally ‘perfect’ about the castle. Its completely constructed by the hands of Mr. Bishop. I’m willing to bet there were no official blueprints. If you’re into the whole Harry Potter thing, this is the place for you! The stonework, iron work and blacksmithing was done all onsite; there is even a room where all of his tools and shop are on the ground level.
Every year since 1969, Bishop has single-handedly gathered and set over 1000 tons of rock to create this stone and iron fortress in the middle of nowhere. Bishop called it “a monument to hardworking people” and “America’s biggest, one-man, physical project. I always wanted a castle. Every man wants a castle,” Bishop said.
Other places we visited while in Colorado…
RV life just keeps us so so busy. Who would have known that what was supposed to be a ‘relaxing’ life turned into a whirlwind of to-do’s, places to go, people to see, etc. We are NOT complaining but geesh, there’s just only so many hours in a day, days in a week and weeks in a month…so on.
The cool thing about this lifestyle is we always make note of where we want to return. Colorado is one of our favorites. Such a diverse state, it just has so much cool and interesting things to see and do. So, here we are doing another blog entry for ‘Colorful Colorado’.
In 2015, we were parked in Colorado Springs at the Air Force Academy Peregrine Pines Campground. We split our time between Denver, the Springs and Pueblo.
After only a few days of anchoring down at Peregrine Pines, Captain Dan had to fly home to Pennsylvania to attend a funeral and take care of family matters. As much as I wanted to go, because of our lifestyle of unfamiliarities, I had to stay behind to take care of Liberty and our fuzzy crewmembers as well as help our son’s fiance get some much needed things done around their house before he came home from deployment. Taking a break and since the weather was beautiful, I took a couple much needed wind therapy day trips on my Harley.
One of the days, I mapped out a route up to Cripple Creek; a former mining and now casino town. We’d been there before and remembered what a beautiful ride it had been, so this was a no-brainer to ride up there again.
Starting at the USAF Academy, I rode I-25 South to Route 24 West through Manitou Springs, Cascade, Woodland Park to Divide. The ride was a bit unnerving on I-25 and entering onto Route 24 but once I got through Manitou Springs, traffic thinned out and my ride began to take me through the twists and turns through huge red rock formations. Once I got past Woodlawn Park, I took a left onto Route 67 to Divide; filled my gas tank and proceeded onto Route 61 to Cripple Creek. This part of the ride was most enjoyable because it was winding through the mountains past a couple old abandoned mines.
I stopped to stretch my legs at a pull-off to walk to this one however, it was closed to the public. I noticed there were quite a few cars stopped as well; from what I gathered, there was some excellent hiking up the mountain. Route 61 was a bit challenging. It had breathtaking views but don’t get to mesmerized or you’ll end up going off the mountain. Ack! No guard rails. Being a skilled rider, I just took my time; enjoying the scenery.
I stopped at this scenic overlook and learned a little about the Gold Belt Tour; a historic, narrow-gauge railroad bed, an old stage road, and county roads. Designated a BLM back country byway, the route itself is often breathtaking, as are the views of Pikes Peak and other mountain scenery. The byway retraces the historic travel routes connecting Cripple Creek and the Victor Mining District, site of the world’s largest Gold Rush. You have to be on your game riding this road because depending on season, there could be quite a bit of fallen small rock, sand and dirt washed down onto the roadway which cold make for a challenging ride; especially through the twisties with no guard rails. My only wish was that motorists in automobiles and pickup trucks would have stayed away from my tail. Everyone seemed to be in a hurry coming and going.
I didn’t really have anything planned to do or see. This one was just about the ride. However, I did take a little time to grab some lunch at one of the casinos and walk around. This time though, I was disappointed that I didn’t get to see the donkey’s in the streets; something Cripple Creek is noted for.
In one of the little shops, I picked up a little travel journal for RV Wanderlust friends…darn, I didn’t get a picture, but it was a small pocket notebook with the word ‘Wanderlust’ and a roadmap. Just couldn’t resist buying it for our RV friends.
It was a great day…beautiful 75 degrees up at Cripple Creek. Though I love riding with Captain Dan, sometimes a solo ‘knees to the breeze’ ride is just what a girl needs while her land yacht sailor is away.
So, if you’re into a cool ride through some beautiful scenery with a few twisties, wildlife spottings, a little history lesson or even to throw a few quarters in some slots, a trek up to Cripple Creek is just the ticket, no matter what you ride or drive.