Tuesday, 14 September 2010

On Any Given Sunday....

One of the really good things about travelling on your own is you can stop for pictures, eat, sleep, drink and stay in whatever hotel you like, when you like. The same applies to leaving for your days ride in the morning. When you are ready, you go.

On the morning of day 82, I decided to get up early and go see the Garden of the Gods before too many people went there. I had found out the evening before that the park opened at 5am, so the earlier the better! This was very near to the hotel I stayed at the previous evening, so I ate breakfast early, packed and headed out before most other guests in the hotel had opened their peepers. It was Sunday morning after all.

I rode up to the main gate and found the park..... closed! There was a charity walk to raise money for cancer research and the Garden of the Gods wouldn’t be open until ..... 11am. Groan.

The trouble with doing a tour like this, is once you leave a place, you are gone, probably never to return, so should I just leave and never see the Garden of the Gods, or should I stick around, waste a few hours and come back at 11am. I had already checked out of the hotel, so I couldn’t go back there.

Hmmmm. “The Garden of the Gods”. Such a powerful name. Surely it meant it was worth sticking around for. I decided to go find something to do until 11am and then come back. There must be a Harley dealer in Colorado Springs, so I could go get a back-rest for my bike! No such luck as I was told by a Police officer the local H-D dealer wasn’t open on a Sunday.....

I had a coffee.... went shopping.... rode around for a while......

When I went back to the G of G I was certainly pleased I had waited. It was excellent. I rode around for a while looking at what was there, which doesn’t take long as it isn’t very big, parked the bike and walked. This is what I saw....






































































These amazing rock structures are made of limestone and these were originally layered horizontally and built up over many millions of years. When the nearby Pikes Peak mountain was formed, this changed the geology in the local area and these horizontal layers were pushed up and turned through 90 degrees and now they stand vertically. Can you imagine the forces needed to cause this monumental shift in the earth’s surface?












































































Due to their steepness, the rocks are very popular with climbers and I spotted this one on a very steep part.....


























I went to the bottom of where he was climbing and talked to his buddy on the ground and of course, took a few pictures.... the rock goes almost straight up and I was getting tired just watching this!....






































Finally I walked around part of the road system to get some distant shots....
































































When taking these sorts of landscape shots, I try if possible to make sure there are no people in the pictures, as this often distracts from the overall scene.

As I rode out of the park, I saw “Balanced Rock" And there were so many people around I gave up waiting for nobody to be there. As it turns out, I think the woman being in the picture helps give an idea of the size of the rock....


























Marks out of ten for the Garden of the Gods = a heavenly 9. And thanks to its original owner who gave the land to the city of Colorado Springs in 1908, going to the park is free!

Soon after, I called in at Seven Falls, said to be the most beautiful canyon in Colorado. Don’t bother going. It isn’t and for the $9.75 fee you pay, it is somewhat disappointing as the ride takes all of about 30 seconds. Mark out of ten for Seven Falls = a lowly 3. I didn’t even take a photograph!

I decided to crack on and get some miles in. The route I had planned didn’t have many things to stop and look at along the way, that is until I found something I hadn’t heard about during my tour planning stage. Freemont County Airport. This is what I saw at the side of the road that tempted me to turn around and go back....




















I parked and took more pictures of the various aircraft on display....



















































































But, while it was the aircraft that attracted my attention initially, it was something much more powerful and moving that I will remember. I didn’t realise it at first, but the aircraft were there to support a memorial to the war dead, which was a simple wall commemorating those that had lived in Fremont County. It was made of simple bricks inscribed with the person’s name and where they died. There were conflicts going back to World War 2, Vietnam, Korea and the Bay of Pigs, but I was shocked by the number of more recently killed military personnel from Afghanistan, Iraq and the Persian Gulf.

It would not be right for me to comment on the rights or wrongs of these current conflicts, but I felt very sorry for those brave people that had given their lives for their country, and of course I felt for their families....




















I was pleased I saw the memorial. After a while I rode on and saw a building that looked just like an English church....


























This is Holy Cross Abbey and I liked it. Churches always look better if built from stone. I walked around the side....




















I wanted to go in to see the interior, but for some unknown reason, the Abbey was closed. On a Sunday! Maybe it was because the Abbey was a monastery, but I thought all places of worship were open on a Sunday. Obviously not!

So, on any given Sunday, you can see a Garden of the Gods, remember the war dead at a Wall, but not go inside this church. Life can take strange turns sometimes. No problem, but if the inside had been half as nice as the outside.....

Instead, I rode on and found something closer to the clouds – Skyline Drive. Yeeehah!!!

By the way, I am feeling much better today!!!

9 comments:

SonjaM said...

Good to hear that your road weariness seems to be cured. Your pics show the wait was well worth it. Nicely captured, as always.

bluekat said...

Another place I've never heard of. Awesome formations. I would probably be too impatient to wait around and would miss some great scenery. I have to say it looks well worth the wait. I'm glad you're feeling better! :)

Rosemary Crawford said...

The Garden of the Gods is spectacular. For me, the best spiritual experiences are always felt outside of a man-made structure. :)

Canajun said...

It's good to hear you're feeling better. It must have been the visit to the Garden of the Gods that did it. Amazing!

motoroz said...

You are so right about the Gardens of the gods. It is awesome. Since one of my 7 sisters lives in Colorado Springs I have been blessed to have visited the Garden several times. It is a quite a sight. Glad you are feeling better.

cpa3485 said...

Glad you are feeling better. I wondered if the trip would ever get to you, but you are a real studly type of guy, LOL
That plane is an F4 Phantom, and they used to be based here in Wichita.
I love the Garden of the Gods and I would have felt bad for you if you didn't get to see it. It is worth the delay.

Jimbo

Charlie6 said...

GOTG, one of my favorite places to ride. The rocks really look great in the golden hour after sunrise or before sunset....I really must visit them this winter when they're covered with snow....

Glad to hear your spirits are on the rise.....Skyline Drive should just about send them soaring!

dom


Redlegs's Rides

Eve said...

Glad you're feeling better Gary. I'm glad I live in a place with a lot of rock formations...there is just something about them that makes you respect the power of the planet we live on.
I love that rear shot of the jet! Nice composition!!
Thanks for all the scoop on traveling on a Sunday!!

Gary France said...

Sonja – Thanks! I thought of your bike when I took the pictures of the yelloe trees for my latest post!

bluekat – Patience is a virtue I don’t often have, so I was pleased I discovered some on that day!

Rosemary – I suppose you are right, but as I spent my career building man-made structures, it is difficult for me to admit that I agree with you!

Canajun – The G of the G would raise the spirits of just about anybody I think!

Oz – I smiled at your comment – I would ride to one of my relatives houses more often if the route took in the Garden of the Gods!

Jim – I agree. It was worth the wait. I thought the trip might et to me at some point, but I soon snapped out of it.... !

Redlegs / Charlie6 / Dom – You were right about Skyline Drive!

Eve – Thanks. I much prefer seeing rock formations, especially on mountains where you can see the magnificence above the tree line. I wondered about the shot of the plane, as I thought, how can I take a picture of this that looks different? I am pleased with the result.