Motorcycle Ride to Bishop Castle – Colorado

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.

Getting there…

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.

It hasn’t been easy for his masterpiece build. For most of those 40 years Bishop was engaged in a running battle with Washington bureaucrats over the rocks that he used, which came from the San Isabel National Forest that surrounds the castle property. Bishop felt that they were his for the taking, the government wanted to charge him per truckload.
Another bone of contention that stuck in Bishop’s craw belonged to the Colorado state Chamber of Commerce, which refused to list Bishop Castle as an attraction in its official tourism guides.”
These individual panes below were handcrafted as memorials and wedding memories for friends and family
This cool dragon’s head breathes fire from the fireplace; blowing smoke from his mouth outside.

 

This was looking up from the main entertainment room. The ceiling was glass with fancy scroll metal work.
Visitors could climb all the way to the top, winding through interior stone stairs and hand-forged iron and steel grid exterior walkways around the top.  I had climbed it before years prior, so I stayed below in the main room to wait for them and take photos. Vicki made it about a third of the way up however, came down after feeling a little uneasy about going all the way up. On the other hand, Austin was investigating every inch and climbing everything that could.
Austin, Vicki and I posing for a picture for a great memory of newfound friends!
After Austin climbed every inch of stone and metal, we had to get back back to the Academy as he had a curfew. As beautiful as our ride was getting there, it was even better coming home as we were able to ride with the beautiful Colorado sunset to our backs.
So, if you’re in the Colorado Springs or Pueblo, Colorado area, definitely put this on your list of places to visit in Colorado regardless of your ride…or drive!
To read about the story behind Bishop’s Castle, click on the link.

Other places we visited while in Colorado…

A Ride Up To Cripple Creek, Colorado

Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado

 

 

Scotts Bluff National Monument – Gering, Nebraska

AOL - Scotts Bluff National Monumentt

 

There’s a cool National Monument in western Nebraska that is rich in history of our country. We actually happened upon Scotts Bluff National Monument on one of our cross-country motorcycle trips pre-RV. But it wasn’t just the history that drew us to this strange bluff situated on the flatland valley along the Platte River. We decided to visit again but with purpose…

Chimney Rock National Historic Site – Bayard, Nebraska

AOL - Chimney Rock National Historic Site
Between 1840 and 1869, visions of wealth and opportunity lured over 500,000 pioneers west to fulfill their dreams and a nation’s destiny. These emigrants started their journeys in Kansas and Missouri, walking more than 2,200 miles for months in pursuit of a better life. Since there were no road signs back then, they used natural landmarks to point the way. Along the Oregon Trail, they named a few of those Chimney Rock, Courthouse and Jail Rocks. Today, you can visit Chimney Rock National Historic Site to learn about them.

Continue reading “Chimney Rock National Historic Site – Bayard, Nebraska”

CAMPGROUND REVIEW: Jefferson County Fairgrounds Campground – COLORADO

CAMPGROUND REVIEW

Campground/RV Park: Jefferson County Fairgrounds Campground (Golden)
Location: 15200 W 6th Ave. Frontage Road, Golden, CO  80401
                (303) 271-6600
Date(s) Stayed: 8/15/15 – 8/20/15
Length of Stay: 5 days
Site #: 1 (Back In)
Cost per night (with taxes): $40/day
Discount Used:  None
Connections: 50 amp Electric/Water and Dump Station
Stars:  2
Jefferson County Fairgrounds Campground managed by the Jefferson County Fairgrounds has 40 RV sites.  The Campground was easy to get to off of US-6.
Sites 1-18 are on pavement; first section are back ins (50amps) and second section are parallels (30amps); it was a weird configuration.  Sites 19-40 are gravel pull-throughs (not level).  Since we were in site #1, we can’t speak for reviewing or giving knowledge of the gravel sites.  The back-in sites back up to a small hill; most take their dogs back there to unwind and do their business (and not clean it up!).
Being a Toyhauler, we could not unload our toys from the back which was not an issue for us; we hadn’t planned on it anyways.  Picnic tables were present at each site in the back (we moved ours to our awning/door side because we were so long and we had more room).  The bath houses were very clean and had ‘codes’ so no one from outside the campground could use them.
There is a nice covered pavillion with lots of picnic tables with a children’s playground to the right after the entrance check-in building (which was directly across from the front of our rig).  There is a bit of highway noise but that wasn’t an issue for us as we were out playing tourist.
Reservations highly recommended (by us) with thorough explanation of your size and needs.  They assigned us in site #1 which was fine except if the parking spots directly in front of our rig were taken.  Spaces were TIGHT; literally, slides touching which made it difficult for privacy and walking around your rig.
While parked, we toured and visited Rocky Mountain National Park, Breckenridge, Frisco, and Golden.  Lots to see and do in this location.

In our experience and opinion, Jefferson County Fairgrounds Campground was overpriced for what it was.  This is not a long-term campground’/park; only good for a couple/few overnights.  This was the only place with vacancy for our 44′ big rig toyhauler 5th wheel.  Though accessibility to I-25/US-6 was great, no sewer connections (except for dump station which was not big rig friendly), layout of the park, spaces between sites, maneuverability, and no sewer earned only 2 stars.

Would we stay here again?  As a last resort.

 

 

The Mixing Bowl Cafe’ – Gering, Nebraska

AOL - The Mixing Bowl Cafe

Since beginning our RVing adventures, we’ve come to rely on Yelp, our favorite business-finder phone app. While we were in the Scott’s Bluff area running errands and picking up dry stores and perishables, we set out to find a good lunch café’ in Gering, Nebraska. We read that The Mixing Bowl Cafe not only had mostly 5 star ratings but their reviews were outstanding.

Our Big Fat Greek….Festival Experience!

The saying, ‘when in Rome, do as
Romans do’, but what do you do in a small Nebraska town who celebrates their
Greek Heritage?  Of course, do as Greeks
do!  CELEBRATE with a festival!!  


We heard fellow RV’ers chatting
about going one evening, so what’s a couple of spontaneous RV travelers to do when they’ve not
planned anything for dinner?
 GREEK
FOOD!!!
   When we were parked in Scotts Bluff for our ten-day stay, we checked out
the local to-do’s and noticed fliers for a Greek Festival in the town of
Bridgeport, Nebraska. 
 

We drove “Captain America” (our RAM Dually) this time; Route
92 and passed Chimney Rock and the Pony Express historic marker headed east to
Bridgeport, Nebraska (got some great photos of that for a later blog entry).  It was the Bayard Assumption Greek Orthodox Church fundraiser; sharing their religious heritage with food and entertainment held in their
local Prarie Winds  Community Center.  We walked in being
met with smiles, handshakes and welcomes as we were directed into the gymnasium
where the festival fundraiser was being held. 

There were numerous rows of banquet tables and ‘stations’ of where you
buy tickets and then turn in an allotted number of tickets to sample different
Greek Foods…and beer….GREEK beer, which we tried one each and they were pretty
good with a higher alcohol content (those Greeks do it right the first time,
don’t they?).  We first bought $20 worth
of tickets; tickets being in $1 stubs. 
Our beers cost us 4 tickets each, leaving us only 6 tickets each to buy
our food which really wasn’t enough to enjoy a little of everything Greek. 
   






We each bought nice sized Greek
salads, fried calamari, and this tomato-y pasta dish.  We later bought Baklava Sundaes to finish off
the evening.  They had scheduled for 7:00
pm an evening of Greek Heritage dance presentations however, sadly we couldn’t stick
around for it because my back was giving me issues.



Before we left however, I just ‘had
to’ go to the dessert table to use the rest of our tickets to get some desserts
to go.
  I got into a couple conversations
with a few of the locals; all were enthused and very interested in hearing our
story (they obviously knew we were ‘not from around there’).
  We gave them a few of our travel cards so they
can keep track of us on our Facebook page and blog.
    


This group of very friendly folks were excited to pose for a photo for our blog.  Though we were preparing to leave, we found ourselves leaving an hour later because we got so enthralled in yet, another conversation with more of the locals.  One couple, Dave and Karin, snagged us after overhearing our adventures as RV’ers and chatted with us.  We ‘clicked’ thus asking them over for dinner a couple days later at our RV site.  We are so glad we did.  We are now, hopefully, lifelong friends, even if its through our internet travels.

So our moral to this blog story
is our travels and adventures aren’t only for seeing and doing the ‘attractions’, it’s about
meeting the wonderful people from all over our great Country and hearing their
stories.  We are equally excited to learn
about them, their walks of life, hopes and dreams.  It is because of them that makes us remember them and want to return…and look forward to great folks in the next town. 

The Air Up There! Golden, Frisco and Breckenridge. Colorado

This past September, we had so much we wanted to do and see in Colorado.  Its one of our favorite states.  We stayed at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds Campground in Golden, Colorado.  Due to our size, finding a campground able to fit us was a bit of a challenge as well as time of year. Colorado is notorious for their campgrounds being unable to accomodate big rigs like ourselves.  Staying only five days, it was enough for us as a home base; we only were there to sleep and get some cuddle time with our fuzzy crewmembers.

 

 

While we were in Golden, we met up with another RV’ing couple, Brittany and Eric from RV Wanderlust.  We met at Woody’s Wood Fired Pizza in Golden where the pizza was good and the company was even better!  Short story, Eric and Brittany began their RV journey about nine months ahead of us.  We started following them on Facebook and through coincidence, found that Eric too, had served in the Coast Guard and Brittany is quite creative.  So, it seemed only natural that our friendship would flourish. We will eventually meet with them again further down the road (and we DID….keep reading!) in Pueblo…and in Texas this winter.

 

 

After an evening of great pizza and RV’er comraderie, the following morning, we took advantage of the beautiful weather taking a day trip to the cities of Frisco and Breckenridge.  In Frisco, we enjoyed walking through the small shops and the Frisco Historic Park and Museum.  We self-toured these neat little historic buildings that replicated life when Frisco was a mining town a century ago.  Each had artifacts dating back to that era.

 

 

 

We had amazing homemade sammiches and soup at the Butterhorn Bakery and Cafe’ before trekking off to Breckenridge.  It was hard not to spend a whole day there but we were pressed for time to move on to Breckenridge.

 

 

We plan to return to Frisco another time because we really enjoyed this cool, busy little city.  One thing to note, as you see, we were wearing long sleeves.  Though down in Golden it was nearing 85 degrees, up in Frisco and Breckenridge, it was in the cool 40’s and 50’s.  We’re not fans of the cold.

We were really looking forward to seeing Breckenridge.  Eric and Brittany from RV Wanderlust raved about it at dinner the night prior about these magnificent Colorado Alpine Slides going down the mountain at the ski resort.

We parked in the Gondola parking lot and road them up the mountain; about a 30 minute ride.  The views were awesome the further up we went; oftentimes seeing snow below us.  We also experienced a little altitude again.  We must have been 10,000 feet up.

 

The nice thing though was the ski gondola ride up and down the mountain was free.  We had our own gondola to ourselves so we goofed off inside until we got to the top.  Since Dan is not a fan of open-style ski lifts, the gondolas were just my ticket to mess with him.

 

 

Once we got up to the summit, we were issued our alpine racer sleds.  We raced each other down the 2500 foot mountain.  We don’t have photos of ‘us’ actually going down the alpine slides because we were having too much fun racing each other.  We did take these photos of others riding the alpine slide from our gondola.


But it was so worth it!  Psssssst!!  Lisa beat Dan down to the bottom! BIG TIME!!

For the rest of the afternoon, we walked part of the town until sunset when we headed back to the RV park in Golden.  What a great day of shopping, taking in the breathtaking (literal sense) views, lunch, racing and just being free!!