Sunday, August 18, 2019

Lake Pueblo State Park and Reservoir

Wow, today was a scorcher, even by our Florida/South Texas standards!  Pretty sure we hovered around 100 degrees, most of the day, even though we started at a cool 71 at 7 a.m.  Too hot for strolling around the Riverwalk, the campground pool water is too cool (it's a whopping 70 or so!) and most museums are open few or no hours on Sunday.  Soooo, off to the Lake Pueblo State Park reservoir we go!  Turns out, Colorado is offering veterans and their guests free entry to all State Parks every day for the month of August.  Whoohoo, score!  On our way to the Visitors' Center to purchase our pass, we rode by the dam.

There are two (!) marinas, right in the park.  They have seasonal AND year-round slips for rent, along with all the other usual and customary services and facilities.  Looked like most slips here were occupied too!

My back is still pretty messed up, so we can't go horseback riding, boating or tubing right now, nor can we hike too awfully far.  Besides, we had the pup with us, and while she has her booties, it's pretty warm for her to be out there with her fur coat and all.  We ended up riding around the loop in the cool comfort of our car, following the park roads. 

There are several camping areas, and each one has its own registration checkpoint.  

There's a fish hatchery too, but only one pond had water, and it didn't appear to be very deep.  There were no fish in there, either, that we could see.  Most of the ponds looked like this.  Empty and furrowed, like they'd been plowed.  ???  The actual building was closed, so we couldn't learn about the processes, but it looked like maybe they've shut down production for the season? 

The lake was formed by damming up the Arkansas River, but they do allow a bit of water to keep flowing from the bottom of the dam.

There were probably a couple hundred people out on the water, but it was so vast, everybody had plenty of space to do whatever they wanted.

We stopped in one site (there are about 500 sites, all told!!) and got out to check out the water.  Most sites had lovely views of the lake; this one had a cool cedar tree as well.

And a couple of cairns, as well.  And quite a bit of trash, but we picked it all up and carried it out in a Publix bag.  Why is that even significant?  'Cuz if you've been following our journey for any time at all, you know it's been 4 months since we've had the pleasure of shopping at Publix.  No telling what else is in the back of that car!  Or how LONG it's been there!  Maybe we should take a day and clean it out.  I guess we could wash the outside, while we're at it.  And if we had time, maybe we should give the dog a bath too.  Or not.  That's a lotta work!

Eventually, we'd seen pretty much everything there was to see, and gone everywhere there was that we could go.  On the way home, we stopped at a roadside tent (no, not a stand, a little tent!) and picked up these beauties!  Two of 'em are already gone....just sayin.  Six bucks for these, 2 ears of yummy corn (also already gone) and a lovely homegrown tomato for our BLT's tomorrow.  I debated getting MORE peaches, but I knew if I did, I'd just have to turn them into cobbler, and who needs all those calories?  So I refrained, and no cobbler for us.

Then, to top it all off, on the way home, what did I spy with my very own little eye???  Well, not this beauty, he's not my picture, he comes courtesy of The Denver Post.   But, YES, we saw TWO ANTELOPES!  What's the plural of antelope, anyway??  Yep, two of 'em!!  I'm pretty sure we had spied one on the day we arrived, but Driver was driving and didn't see it, and I wasn't sure if it was a deer or an antelope, so I just called it a critter out in the field and didn't make a big fuss over it.  These two, I squealed like a stuck pig.  😃😃

Tomorrow, we both have phone calls to make.  Dick has to find a dentist (he popped a crown off with vigorous flossing), and I have to call a rheumatologist in Phoenix and Newmar (to see what to do about our cracked floor).  After that, who knows where the wind will blow us; being Monday, most museums and attractions are closed.  The hot springs will have to wait till they reopen on Wednesday.  We still haven't decided if we will go au natural or not...what do YOU think we should do?

Till next time!

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Two Museums in One Day, Pueblo CO

Well!  Today we were going to visit the Desert Reef hot springs.  Key words there, GOING TO...
Morning dawned and it was a bit chilly.  OK, it was 75 degrees, and for US, that's a bit chilly.  The hot springs soak would probably feel really good, right?  I'm so sure it would feel good, I was also sure it would feel good to a half million other people, too.  Plus, I'd read that they totally clean out the pools on Mondays, so, by Saturday, the pools are probably a bit funky, right?  Why not wait, I wondered...So, Plan C (because going this morning was already Plan B) goes into effect, and we decide we'll go on Tuesday, when the pools will be nice and clean and we won't have dinner plans at the campground at 5 pm.  That leaves us all morning and early afternoon to go somewhere and see something new.  Well, Dave Seay, this day was one you would have enjoyed thoroughly.  

You see, Pueblo, CO, was the site of a hastily constructed Army Air base.  This was war time, and in just 91 days, 3,000 workers had constructed barracks, runways and hangars to facilitate a heavy bomber training base.  That couldn't happen in today's world, for sure!  In 1945, at the end of the war, the base was decommissioned and turned over to the city of Pueblo.  The museum was created by then-City Manager, Fred Weisbrod, and things literally took off.  No pun intended, heehee.  Hence, the creation of the Pueblo Weisbrod Aircraft Museum.


This is a B-24 Fuel Tank Inboard Wing.  It's one of 9 wing tanks. I'm assuming for gasoline.

This is a 1948 Rolls Royce that belongs to one of the museum benefactors.  It has blackout covers over the headlights.  Why was it here?  Well, because it's free storage for the owner.  Actually, that's the way it is with a LOT of the planes in the hangars.  They BELONG to the government, but they are on loan to the museum, indefinitely, in some cases.  The museum has to pay to partially dismantle the planes, and pay for special transports, and cranes to put them back together, and permits for travel, but, then they get to put them on display and share their stories.  Meanwhile, the government doesn't have to pay for their storage.

Here is just part of one wing of Peachy, one of the B-52 bombers that helped end the war.

Take it away, Dave, you know a whole lot more about these things than I do!

These tires are even bigger than the ones on our coach! I cannot imagine how much they cost!

Inside the bomb bay.

The B-52 had a crew of 10; this is the Rear Gunner's designated spot in the tail of the plain, behind bullet proof glass.

The pilot's sister was nicknamed Peachy, and she really did have a leather outfit, very similar to the one shown on the nose art.  It, too, was encased and displayed, along with a picture of her and her brother.  She wasn't as loose-looking as is portrayed in the art.

Outside were more planes and vehicles for moving planes around.

Check out the camo job on this one.  Look up, and it looks like more sky.  Look down on it from above and it looks like the ground.  Just like a bird.

Not as comfy as my king-size pillow top mattress, that's for sure.

This is all the space a navigator got - it's about twice what I have, but then I think, he had to have all kinds of charts and maps.  I use my computer (sometimes), a 7 inch GPS and my smartphone.  

There are a lot of switches and dials to keep track of.  Thankfully, we don't have as many to get us down the road safely.

These are ejection seats.  In order to activate them, the pilot would pull up on the yellow part of the armrest.  I believe that would detonate dynamite stored underneath the seats.

I believe this chooper is a Huey.  I can still clearly remember the deep rumble and whomp-whomp-whomp of my childhood neighbor, Mr. Morris, each time he came home from flying a mission in one of these.  He'd always circle our homes, low and slow, bringing us all out into the street.  Once he'd spot his wife, he'd waggle the bird, then fly off back to base, and we'd know he was safe.  

It was still early afternoon, and dinner wasn't till 5, and I still had a little bit of walking left in me by this time, so we figured we'd take in Rosemount, a Victorian mansion built in just two years, between 1891 and 1893, by and for one of the most prominent and wealthiest citizens of early Pueblo, and his wife, John and Margaret Thatcher.  This first photo is simply a private home across the street from Rosemount that has since been repurposed as an attorney's office.

This was our first glimpse of the mansion itself.  

You'll notice, I have provided no photos of the inside.  Not my choice, dear friends, not my choice.  Photos and videos are strictly prohibited, and I can't even find any from the Internet that I can share with you.  Suffice it to say, the interior of this 37-room, 24,000 square foot mansion is absolutely magnificent.  There have only ever been 4 people living in the home; Mr & Mrs Thatcher, and two of their 4 children.  One was already out of the home when they moved in, one died as a toddler, and the other two, brother and sister, retained possession of it after their parents' death and lived in it until they died.  At that time, it was passed along to the nieces and nephews of the elder couple, and it was they who gave it to the city.  As a result, almost all the appointments and furnishings are original to the family and fully intact.  Let me just quote you from the brochure:

"Lured by the adventure and opportunity of the West, John Thatcher moved from Pennsylvania to Colorado where he met and married Margaret Henry.  He became a successful merchant and banker, with interests in mining, cattle ranching and agriculture.  His considerable fortune enabled him to build Rosemount at a time when many structures in the still pioneer town were adobe and many streets yet unpaved.  Designed by noted Victorian Architect Henry Hudson Holly of New York City, the mansion was constructed, appointed and furnished at a cost of approximately $100,000, an enormous sum in those days.  The home is built of a pink granite stone called rhyolite that was quarried near Castle Rock, CO, about 75 miles away.  The exterior architectural style is a combination of Richardsonian Romanesque-revival and Queen Anne.  Nearly the furnishings, wall and window treatments, decorative arts and painting on view are original to the home.  Rosemount features beautiful oak, cherry, mahogany and maple woodwork.  (side note:  they aren't joking, it's stunning and immensely detailed and intricate, no CnC machines used here!) ......  Marble, silverplate, English tile and fine woodcarving accent ten fireplaces in the home.  Many ceilings are elaborately hand painted.  In the large oak-paneled dining room up to 18 persons could be served at the main table."

We've been to Biltmore, in Asheville, NC, but this mansion, while it may be quite a bit smaller, was even more beautiful, at least in this writer's eyes.

This is the carriage house, out back of the mansion.  It is outfitted to be a cafe, but it is no longer open to the public except for rentals and scheduled events.  

Anyone care to ID the flower?  They are similar to peonies, but not, and don't have the fragrance of peonies.  They're similar to wild roses, but no thorns, and leaves are totally different, and the flowers are much larger.  ???  They were growing as hedges, about as tall as us.

This was "simply" just another private home in the historic district.  I think it would be amazing if the Women's Club could put together a historic homes tour, maybe in the Spring, or at Christmas time.  I would surely pay to see these homes in all their glory!  Now, that's not to say that they don't.  BUT.  I don't see any mention of such on any Events Calendar that we've it seems unlikely that there is such a thing.  But there should be!  Ha, at least in this writer's opinion.  Which counts for...let's see....Absolutely Nothing.  

So, in one minute, it's Sunday.  Not sure what's gonna happen Sunday, or where we'll go, or what we'll see.  What I do know is that it will be hot here, so we may try to find us a water feature of some sort.  The campground does have a sparkling clean pool...if we would only stay home long enough to use it!  Till next time!