Sunday, October 8, 2017

2017 RV Adventures - Episode 3

Easily the high point of our 2017 RV adventures was our visit to Pikes Peak. We took the Cog Railway to the summit, which was a great way to go.

The trip begins at the station in Manitou Springs, Colorado. Manitou Springs, which is just outside Colorado Springs, is a small town nestled at the base of Pikes Pike, at an altitude of 6,412 feet. The trip to the summit is along 9 miles of track that ascends 7,703 feet. The train moves along at a leisurely pace, with a maximum speed of 9 mph. The scenic ride takes 1 hour and 20 minutes. We picked an ideal day to go – the weather at the summit was sunny, mild, and not windy, with great visibility.

View from the front car

Rocky Mountain High

Plenty of ammo for a snowball fight on May 31st.

I thought it would be really cold in the thin air at 14,115 feet. It felt as if the temperature was in the low 40s. Imagine my surprise when we found out it was actually 22°! The views from the summit were even more breathtaking than the high altitude. (Click on the following panoramic scenes to view them full screen.)

On a clear day, you really can see forever!

A few days later, we camped in Golden, Colorado (home of Coors beer). We ventured into Denver via a nearby quick, inexpensive light-rail line. There we took in a tour of the United States Mint.

Standing outside one of the few federal government
operations that actually makes cents!

The tour was quite interesting. Security was very tight, and taking photos inside was prohibited. Regarding the tour, I noted a couple of missed opportunities:
> They should have sold breath fresheners in the gift shop, called "Denver Mints".
> They should have offered Mint Juleps for the adults to drink after the tour.

My suggestion for the Mint's new motto: "Change endures" (I can see it now: The Mint's logo with the Latin inscription, "Mutatio Eduro".)

As it happens, the new Ozark Riverways quarters for Missouri were just released the day before our visit. The tour guide mentioned this fact, and said the best deal in the gift shop was in the change machine by the door. The machine was loaded with the fresh, newly-minted quarters, so one could buy four of those shiny babies, previously untouched by human hands, for $1. (How about that, you numismatists?)

After touring the Mint, we satisfied our penchant for quirky museums with a visit to the Denver Fire Department Museum. The museum is located in Denver's first fire station, which was built in 1909.

We found the museum's exhibits to be quite interesting and informative. We even got a bonus private tour by a retired Denver firefighter.

A beautifully-restored 1953 fire engine

One of the more alarming exhibits

After a fine day in Denver, we returned to our campground with fresh money in our pockets, and our burning curiosity extinguished.