Thursday, August 31, 2017

Francisco Fort, La Veta, Colorado

Francisco Fort is located 16 miles from Walsenburg in the small art oriented community of La Veta.  La Veta sits at an elevation of 7,037' and has a population of approximately 800.  It has a downtown strip, a few blocks long, filled with galleries.
Amongst the galleries, but sitting back from the sidewalk along Main Street, is the entrance to Fort Francisco.  Fort Francisco isn't surrounded by expansive parade grounds, so it can be easy to miss.  The fort turned 150 years old this year!  From the log cabin office/gift shop you will enter directly into the barracks complex. 
These are the first two display rooms you'll see.  The exhibits throughout the fort are exceptional!
This is the inner plaza.  The huge Cottonwood tree that the men are admiring is said to have been planted in 1878 by Colonel Francisco.
Enjoy your tour!

This is a peek inside an original 1862 adobe wall of the fort.
You enter  the center of this enclosed porch from the plaza.
This area is set-up as living quarters, such as Colonel Francisco may have lived in.
Colonel Francisco's portrait is center.

This is the 1876 Ritter School.
This is the blacksmith shop.
This is an 1880 saloon.
We tried our hand at Faro, but couldn't quite figure out a strategy.
I'm always impressed with the ornate woodwork in bars of the 1800s. 
This is an example of a cabinet that might be found in a barbershop.
This is a display of 1905 medical supplies. 
This is a 1930's threshing machine.  We hope you enjoyed your tour! 

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Walsenburg, Colorado

Walsenburg sits at an elevation of 6,171' and is 48 miles south of Pueblo.  It is 36 miles north of its southern neighbor, Trinidad.  Walsenburg is surrounded by wide open green plains and mountain views.  It is the Huerfano (WAR fuh no) County seat and has a population of 3,068.
Although it is always hard to capture a community, these Internet pictures give a pretty good look around town.  This view is downtown looking north on Main Street.  You can see the tall courthouse on the left.
Here is a closer look at the courthouse.
Train tracks cross Main Street  next to the courthouse.  Here is one of the original stations.
This is looking south on Main Street through the downtown.  There are lots of wonderful antique shops!
The historic downtown has seen better economic times, but is on an upward swing and undergoing wonderful renovations.  The old Fox Theater will be a venue for the performing arts.
On Tenth Street in the vicinity of the Fox Theater is the community center and baseball fields.  Behind the ball fields is this beautiful swath of land.  It would make a beautiful dog park!  It is almost completely fenced in and would take very little to make the conversion.  It's my plan to approach the city council with the idea!
This is Sixth Street with the building on the right being on Main Street.  I love the idea of the upstairs apartment in the turquoise building!  
This is a continuation of Sixth Street.  The apricot building sits next to the turquoise building in the previous picture.  The La Plaza is a historic hotel.  It has a restaurant that we'll have to give a try sometime.
I love murals on buildings.  This is on the side of Star Drugstore, located on the corner of Seventh and Main Street.  Walsenburg has a wonderfully old fashioned community feel in that one's shopping is done through several local businesses.  There isn't a modern business strip with Walmart or other chain stores.  To access Walmart requires a drive to Pueblo or Trinidad!
This is the post office.  I'm not sure why I'm including it, other than it seems to be a polished and stately representation of the community.
Walsenburg is quite forward thinking for a quaint community!  They have a wonderful water park with a lazy river in it.  Walsenburg, along with Salida, are the first communities in Colorado to approve tiny homes set on foundations.  There is a tiny home suburb coming to town!
Four miles outside of town is Lathrop State Park.  It has a 9 hole golf course.....
campgrounds and two lakes.  One lake is a wakeless lake established for fishing and the other has a beach and is designated for water sports.  What more could anyone ask for!

Friday, August 18, 2017

Colorado Summer Tour

We had researched r.v. parks in Colorado ahead of our trip and knew prices would be high, but we didn't realize just how high they would really be!  Monthly rates, if you can find one, run $600-$1,200!  We were told that to get into a park on a monthly rate a person would need to make a reservation 6 months to a year in advance!  We also knew that many do not offer monthly rates during the prime tourist season of June, July and August, but only offer daily rates ranging around $45-$48.  Many parks were full during our June 28th-July 2nd run across the state!  We were told that the week or two surrounding the 4th of July is a prime tourist time.  Although we knew all these things ahead of our visit, I guess we wanted to believe that there would be a small Mom and Pop park along the way that would be accommodating!  There isn't!  Despite having a reliable Verizon Internet plan, we also found in Colorado that connecting with a tower was a real issue.
We arrived in Cortez on June 28th and booked in for the night.  It seemed like a nice little town, but on the fringes of the desert that we were so desperately wanting to get away from after living in Arizona for so long.  We were looking for the mountains and pine forests of Colorado.  As we traveled across Colorado, we encountered the obstacles of high prices, lack of openings and poor Internet no matter how many r.v. parks we checked!  Colorado was surprisingly diverse for elevations and terrain.  We didn't take pictures, as the panoramic views would have been impossible to do justice to with an ordinary camera!  We thought we had the terrain figured out in that at 5,000 feet in elevation there would be desert, at 6,000 feet there would be greener high desert or farming, and at 7,000 feet we would be in the mountains and pine woods.  We later found that this didn't hold true!
Just beyond Pagosa Springs we found a nice campground called Bruce Spruce Ranch with full amenities for $36 a night.  No Internet service, but we booked in for a couple nights mental rest.  We headed north to Salida and once again ran into high prices and lack of openings.  We ended up paying for a site that was $45 for only an electric hook-up.  The park owner graciously made a spot for us despite being full!  Yikes!  We could see the writing on the wall, as to our plans to go further north to the assumedly more expensive areas of Aspen, Vail and Estes Park!  With burning up the gas driving everyday, rather than our economical monthly stays in areas, and paying the high daily rates, we decided it was time for us to make our escape from Colorado!  Our plan was to go towards Pueblo and down to New Mexico where we had spent some enjoyable stays in Roswell.  We had expected the eastern side of Colorado to be back into desert and not of interest to us.  Wow!  Were we ever pleasantly surprised!
This is an Internet picture of Spanish Peaks country, south of Pueblo!  It is exactly what we had hoped for in Colorado.  There are high peaks, wide open plains, lakes and nearby pine forests!  Calling ahead to r.v. parks along the way, we ended up in the quaint community called Walsenburg.  We absolutely love it!
We feel so fortunate to be in Dakota R.V. Park on the edge of Walsenburg.  It is convenient to all the area has to offer.  The rates are reasonable for Colorado at $500 a month with electricity included!  Our Verizon Internet is coming in at 4G's allowing us to stream movies!!!  Ahhhhhh, we're finally home!