Monday, August 13, 2007

Slide show from this weekend's field trip through south-central Colorado

I have good reason for not posting in several days. Friday night, we went bowling with Elliot and a crowd of other kids from Design Associates. Afterwards, we went grocery shopping for our lovely weekend camping trip. Despite my proclivity for the verbose, I'll stick mostly to pictures.

First, we headed down to west of Pueblo to visit Bishop's Castle. Jim Bishop, an ironworker and all-around interesting fellow, has been single-handedly building this castle for 37 years. He literally has had no help building it. He relies on donations or finding building materials to put it together. And damn if it's not spectacular.

A sign at the edge of his property states that, upon setting foot on the site, you absolve him of any liability. In return, you can climb all over this building, going through the upper and lower chambers, around and around the thin steel walkways around the exterior, and even up into the super-high spires and bell towers. Guy and I design hospitals, which require extra reinforcing so that they'll stay standing if there's an earthquake or major windstorm. We realized that we take that stability for granted when we edged around the structure, freaking out a little as we felt the thin steel mesh decking over the rebar give slightly wherever we stepped. Still, the structure held well over hundreds and hundreds of pounds of people walking over them.

Above, spiral steel stair in middle floor. Just below, the dragon head which will blow smoke once a fireplace below it is completed. Below that photo, the two lower towers, taken from the highest tower (probably about 100' in the air). Neither Guy nor I are particularly afraid of heights, but we nearly wet our pants up in that tower. From there, we drove into a small town to get some sweatshirts (despite living here for over seven years, we still managed to leave home without a warm jacket. As we drove along, we encountered an in-the-process-of-being-restored turn of the century estate...

...past a field of buffalo, including this one who didn't feel like flashing us even a smile... a scary 4WD trail over the Sangre de Cristo Mountains into the back side of the Great Sand Dunes National Park, which is a small range of sand dunes up against the Sangre de Cristos, just in time to see a deer taking a dump... our campsite overlooking the dunes. We had a stunning view from a hill to the dunes, the mountains, and the plains below them all.
The next morning, after sleeping in the back of our SUV and dodging heat-seeking chipmunks (long story), Guy made us a lovely breakfast.

We drove home over another scary 4WD trail and even got home in time to feed Maddy and Hazel. Maddy's labwork was all clear from last week, so it looks like she'll be taking kitty Advil for the rest of her limpy-arthritis-left-paw days. I also have to sprinkle Cosequin on her food to help supplement the 0.1 mL squirts of medicine she gets three times a week.

So, you can see that I had a lovely peaceful weekend. Sad to say as we got closer to Denver on Sunday, I got crankier. Guy settled me down and complimented me on my vegetarian enchiladas, so you know he was trying hard to get me in a decent mood. Reason #864 why I love him.


ms. kitty said...

Wow, Pixie, what a great weekend trip to take! I love the Sand Dunes and the whole San Luis valley. Glad you have had a good time away. And the kitties are no doubt glad to have you back, even with the meds.

Tom Harper said...

Interesting photos and travelogue.

Who Hijacked Our Country

Miss Kitty said...

The deer taking a dump is the best shot of all. I'm going to steal it & put it on all failing papers in my classes.

BaxtersMum said...

i think you're trying to get me to move to colorado.

very nice.