This week we ride the rails in Colorado and take in the awe inspiring landscapes of the Colorado Rockies.
If you've read The Good Time Girls, you will know that Ruby Calhoun has an affinity for trains, and in particular, the calming effects of reading train timetables. So it isn't surprising that this road trip adventure explores four amazing railroad journeys that will make your jaw drop. One it will drop at the surrounding beauty. Two, it will drop when the looking down along some of the narrow gauges' steepest passes. Narrow gorges, spectacular aspen groves, rugged alpine crags - trust us, you will want to spend time on these rails.
We'll start with a dose of railroad history at the Colorado Railroad Museum. Explore a huge collection of historic locomotives, cabooses, and vintage railroad artifacts. There are model train sets with amazing landscapes and a Polar Express. Yes, that Polar Express. Check the online timetables to see when the historic narrow-gauge steam locomotive runs. It's a gentle way to experience the thrill of the rails.
This isn't a true railroad per se, but it will acclimate you to HEIGHTS, which you will need for the rest of these rides. This cogwheel train carries passengers to the summit of Pikes Peak, boasting unparalleled views of the Rocky Mountains and the vast Colorado plains. Prepare to be awestruck as you traverse steep slopes, dense forests, and alpine meadows on this unforgettable ascent.
This is not a rail ride at all. But it is a must see while you are in the area. The views are unparalleled, the hiking spectacular, the horseback riding superior (Pip agrees) and there's yoga (we don't understand that, but, if you wish to yoga-ize at the garden be our guest). You can balance that out with a hand of cards up in Cripple Creek, which we discussed last post.
In the last post, we visited the Royal Gorge Bridge. The railroad runs in the gorge below and it is a remarkable ride. This historic train ride offers panoramic views of the stunning Arkansas River, towering cliffs, and the world's highest suspension bridge. There's also good food aboard, so make sure to take a first class lunch or dinner train and immerse yourself in the rugged beauty of the Royal Gorge region.
Next stop, the Cumbres& Toltec Scenic Railroad! Although technically starting in Antonito,
Colorado, this extraordinary narrow-gauge railway traverses the border with New
Mexico. Embark on a historic steam-powered journey as you climb to over 10,000
feet, passing through breathtaking canyons, meadows, and tunnels. The route crosses the New Mexico and Colorado border eleven times, and can boast to be the longest and highest steam engine route in the United States. There's a rumor it's also the most dangerous, but you know rumors...It's a true Old West experience you won't want to miss.
Our journey ends with the iconic Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. This historic
steam-powered train takes you on a breathtaking 45-mile adventure through the
San Juan Mountains. Marvel at the rugged canyons, towering peaks, and cascading
waterfalls as you relish the charm of yesteryear. This is a MUST RIDE TRAIN. And Durango is a MUST VISIT TOWN. This is the train you may want to refrain from hanging out a window and looking down. Or maybe that's just the thrill you want.
Her award-winning historical suspense and young adult historical fiction, written under the pen name Kim Taylor Blakemore, has been awarded a Silver Falchion Award, Tucson Festival of Book Literary Award, and a WILLA Award for Best YA Fiction.
In addition to writing, she runs the Novelitics ranch, which provides developmental editing and workshops to novelists. She teaches editing and craft workshops to writing groups around the United States and Canada.
She has hung her hat in California, Colorado, and currently the Pacific Northwest. The rain does not deter her research whether it be train timetables from 1905 or the best way to catch a loose horse.
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