Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Hello from Evergreen, CO

Hello from Evergreen, CO

Wednesday  evening  January 23, 2013   (Third travelogue of this trip).

Wow, two posts in one day – that is a record.

Today we decided to drive home via Central City.  You will recall that my links to history of the area were based on Central City.  If you blink when you drive towards Central City (from Black Hawk) you will miss the sign that tells you that you have gone from one town to the next.  They are essentially the same town (don't tell that to the “natives” as they don't seem to get along all that well {grin}).

We took the back way and then drove around the town a bit.  I am glad that I did, since a great deal of the historical buildings are preserved/restored/converted to modern use.  Indeed, I could almost picture wandering through the town many years ago (before gambling).  I have to admit that I had the wrong impression of what gambling did to the two towns.

Our route from Evergreen to Black Hawk took us through Clear Creek canyon (US 6) to CO 119.  I have often talked about how dangerous that road is and advised Linda and Pat not to take that route.  However, I wanted to “revisit” the route we used to take when I was young.  I thought that driving at mid-day would allow us to avoid the drunks from the casinos and have a safe journey.  Well, I was very concerned as we drove the canyon.  There is a huge quarry at the junction of I 70 and US 6.  We must have passed 50 large gravel trucks on the narrow winding road – each doing the max. speed limit. This morning there was a major crash where an asphalt truck turned over and totaled three cars. 

I had already planned a different route home, but I would not have had a choice.  They closed US 6 for several hours.  Our route home was via the Central City Parkway ( ).  That is a privately funded 8.4 mile multi-lane highway between I 70 and Central City.  It is a very easy drive and has great views.  If you look at the link provided you will see that there is quite a bit of animosity between Central City and Black Hawk, including a suit and counter suit over routes into their towns.

As a side note, if you look at the pictures I posted this morning you will see that is was a gorgeous day for a walk.  The sky was a beautiful blue and the temperature was moderate.  Today was supposed to be warm and clear, but it was overcast and not all that warm.  Glad that I walked the day that I did.

Now for an update on the gambling debt – there is none {big wide grin}.  Pat hit a good jackpot today and came out a few dollars ahead for the trip after being down quite a bit.

That is all for this trip.  We have a few trips in the planning process, so either check in occasionally, or better yet, sign up for email delivery.

Hello again from Black Hawk

Hello again from Black Hawk

Wednesday Morning   January 23, 2013   (Second travelogue of this trip).

Yesterday, I took a fairly long walk into the more historic part of Black Hawk.  My first goal was to document the AMERISTAR casino and hotel:

As you can see from the photo, a large amount of rock removal was necessary to give a sufficient footprint for the huge building complex.  Many of the other new casinos had huge amounts of “mountain” blasted away to make building them possible.  There appears to be a very large amount stabilization done after the rock removal throughout the newer casino area.

As I wondered into the older part of town, I was pleasantly surprised that they have documented the towns history reasonable well.  There are several markers that have good detail and photos of some of the major events in the town's history.   There are many buildings from the 1860s-70s documented with metal plaques such as the one shown below:

The Jenkins McKay hardware store documented in the plaque is shown in the photo below:

Perhaps you can see in the photo that the building has been converted into a casino.  That is the case of many of the original buildings.  Many have new buildings built around the original building.  The new building has a similar style to the original building. 

The oldest building I found is the Rohling Inn:

This building was built in 1864 and served for many years as a dry goods store.  Note the newer building on the left with a somewhat old style theme.

The last building I am going to highlight is really two buildings:

The plaque for the two buildings simply lists their address:  141 Gregory.  The buildings were built in the 1870s.  You can see that the recently built building on the left was designed to have a similar exterior look.

I had mentioned that Pat was ahead of the game.  Well, that did not last long.  She will play again today before we leave.  Hopefully the machines will be kinder to her.

That is all for now.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Hello from Black Hawk, CO

Hello from Black Hawk, CO

Tuesday Morning   January 22, 2013   (First travelogue of this trip).

Black Hawk, CO??????  Yes, Pat and I are at the Ameristar Casino and Resort in Black Hawk (map).

As was the case last week, I (and this time, Pat) are/were close to home (less than 30 miles).  Pat and her cousin, Linda, come up here every so often to feed the slot machines.  Apparently AMERISTAR is reaching towards the bottom of the membership barrel and offering a free two night stay at their hotel.  Who can pass up that offer?

Pat and Linda have stayed up here at least once, using Linda's points.  She had told me many times how neat it was.  I had to drop the hint that I would like to be her roommate {grin}. 

I have long been frustrated at the huge amount of “damage” that the casinos did to this historic area of Colorado.  Gold was discovered in 1859 in a gulch between the towns of Black Hawk and Central City. and that created a “gold rush” to the area.  It became known as:  "The Richest Square Mile On Earth". Reasonably good documentation of the history of this area can be found here: and here:,_Colorado. 

I spent a lot of my younger years touring  and being immersed in the amazing history of the area.  As a kid, I would drag my folks all over the two towns looking at mechanical relics of the past (mecca for me).

For years I refused to come up here because of the loss of focus on what was a major part of Colorado history.  But after 20 plus years, I guess I had better get over it {sheepish smile}

This a fabulous casino/resort.  The room is the equivalent of  a 4 or 5 star hotel.  The casino is huge.  The architecture and interior of the building are very well done in what I would call early American.  The buffet is among the very best we have been in.  With her points, we were able to have dinner last night for less than $5. 

This morning, I used our Starbucks cards to get oatmeal and scones.  So far, a pretty inexpensive trip.

As I write this, Pat is up a bit less than $100 playing the “penny” slot machines.  Me, that is another story.  She still has a lot of playing to do and we will see how that all plays out at the end of our stay.

That is all for now.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Hello from Centennial, CO

Hello from Centennial, CO

Thursday Evening   January 17, 2013   (First travelogue of this trip).

Centennial, CO??????  More a bit later.

I had been meaning to finish up the travelogue for our last trip to Missouri and Iowa, but never could find the time.  Indeed, I had one person contact me and ask if I made it home OK.  The trip, a bit over 1900 miles, went very well.

Periodically, I update our bus statistics.  Since we made our maiden voyage in the bus in March of 2006 (to San Diego), we have traveled just a few miles shy of  70,000 miles.  We have spent 773 nights in the bus.  It has been a great vehicle for us. 

We were kind of sad when we shut the business down, because we knew that we would not be travelling as much in our “home away from home”.  It is looking like we might be making a few more trips in the bus this year.  We will have to see what falls into place.

Now, for this trip.  I am all of about 35 miles from home, but am staying at the Drury Inn (map).  I recently contacted a company that I did a lot of training for after I retired from Gates:  NTT.  From about 2000-2002 I taught a continuing education class titled:  Mechanical Drives.  It covered belts, chain, gears, bearings, and couplings.  It was a very active class in those days and I traveled all over the US (including 2 weeks in Alaska).   I always enjoyed teaching the classes (mostly to maintenance personnel).  Unfortunately their business dropped off pretty significantly and I was laid off.

As noted, a few weeks ago I contacted them to see if there was any opportunity.  The rest, as they say, is history.  I am now an “employee” (even had to take a drug test).  There is a fancy job tile, but it basically says that I am a part time trainer.  I have no idea how many sessions I will teach.  The Mechanical Drives is not taught all that often, but an off-shoot is a class on bearings, lubrication and shaft alignment.  That is the class I am auditing this week in preparation for teaching.  I will be auditing another class in Atlanta in a few weeks.

As I have said repeatedly, this blog is primarily a travelogue.  Since I traveled a few miles and am staying in a hotel, I guess it qualifies.

That is all for now.