Blogorado 2018, Day 4, and the foothills of the Rocky Mountains

Sunday saw our last breakfast with the tribe this year.  It was sad to have to say goodbye to everybody, but we’re already looking forward to doing it all again next year.  We really have become one big extended family over the years, and all of us enjoy our adopted brothers and sisters.

Miss D. and I headed for the Rocky Mountains after breakfast.  We’re in Cañon City, just outside the Royal Gorge, site of one of the most famous railway wars of the Old West.  We’ll take the train through the Gorge this morning, to get a visual feel for the area, because I’ll be writing about it in a few years, in what I plan to be the fifth novel in the Ames Archives series.  (One has to plan several books ahead, so that the volumes dovetail in time and space and follow a logical sequence.)  I’m told the ride is spectacular, so we’re looking forward to it.

After our morning excursion, we’re planning to drive through the Wet Mountain Valley, where Walt (in Volume 2 of the series, “Rocky Mountain Retribution”) acquired a horse ranch (which he’ll be expanding and stocking with brood mares in Volume 3 of the series, “Gold on the Hoof”, currently being written).  I want to see Westcliffe and (particularly) Silver Cliff, site of a very large silver mining operation in the early 1880’s, as I’m planning to have those operations have a major impact on Walt’s operations in the area.  It was a time of great financial skullduggery, with the ordinary miners and farmers of the area often treated as so much collateral damage as the money men sought to put one over on each other.  It makes most Wall Street operations today look positively civilized by comparison.

We’ll overnight in Cañon City for one more night, then head south for Cimarron, NM, one of the great boom towns of the 1870’s.  Notorious gunfighter Clay Allison was only one of the “big names” who held sway there.  Lucien Maxwell‘s original Maxwell House was there, and for a while it was quite the place.  I’d like to show Miss D. some of the history in the area, which almost defies belief, but really happened.  We’ll head homeward on Wednesday, having learned enough to keep me busy for months.  I’ll probably have to make one or two follow-up research trips to nail down specific details, but I’ve got enough to be going along with for now.

I’ll put up one or two more articles for timed release during today.  Normal blogging should resume on Thursday, the good Lord willin’ an’ the crick don’t rise.



  1. I used to own 35 acres just south of Canon City. Its a group of lots called Locke Mountain Ranch. Not quite high enough for tall trees, but lots of smaller pinon and scrub brush; and a few of super max. It was a coal mining area, with a few oil wells now. Just south of there is a fairly large underground coal fire (at least I believe it may still be burning). Great area, lots of great views with pikes peak to the north and the wet mountains to the west.

  2. Have fun! I visited that area on my second trip to Colorado, and I found the Royal Gorge amazing. It wasn't really a planned stop – it was just suddenly *there* along the route from Colorado Springs to the Black Canyon of the Gunnison, but I found it stunning and was glad I stopped. I'd been planning to do a similar trip with more time, to hit some of things I saw along the way but didn't have time for, but that plan hit a few snags, since a lot of things burned down in various fires, or went out of business and got carted away. Oh, well. At least the gorge, the bridge, and the old Rio Grande railroad route through there remain.

  3. Oh man! I'm in Canon City, but I can't get away from work.
    If you get a chance to visit the library, (it's an old Carnegie), I'd love to meet you.

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