Adventure · Uncategorized

THERE’S GOLD ‘N DEM DER HILLS

It all started with Bob Womack, panning in the mountain creeks 18 miles (as the crow flies) west of Colorado Springs. In 1890, he hit pay dirt and the race for gold was on. In no time, the unnamed cattle field of fifteen was a town of 50,000 people.
It was not known as Cripple Creek in the beginning. It was just a cattle camp for the Welty family who had moved up from Colorado Springs because it was getting to populated due to General William Palmer and his railroad. One day while building a shack over the spring that fed the creek, a rifle accidentally discharged, scaring a calf. The critter wanting out of there right now, tried to jump the creek but banged up his leg real bad doing it. Papa Welty said, “well boys, this is some sort of cripple creek” and a town name was born.
Soon the railroads came and the town was filled with a variety of people. Men in city clothes might be mine owners, brokers or politicians. Mule skinner, miners, gamblers in fancy shoes and others rubbed shoulders on busy Bennett Avenue. Ladies in Paris gowns might be of the “Upper Tens” (the rich folk) or the “sporting women”. They lived on Myers Avenue, 433 yards of dance halls, parlor houses and pawnshops.
Womack’s mine, the El Paso Lode and the Independence mine, owned by Winfield Scott Stratton yielded millions of dollars. Stratton sold his holdings for more than ten million and went on to buy massive amounts of land in the Colorado Springs area, much of which carries his name. Womack sold his mine as well but died broke. His name lives on in present day. Cripple Creek which for years was a Summer tourist destination. In 1994, the State legislature allowed low stakes gambling to be legal and the small shops that catered to tourist needs and wants became large houses of “try your luck at the one armed bandits and card tables”. Now everything is electronic. You do not need to pull the handle anymore. Just put your money in the slot and hit the button. Bob Womack’s Casino is there along with the Midnight Rose, the Brass Ass (which used to be a store selling brass articles), Bronco Billy’s, the Double Eagle and many more.
Oh yes, they still dig for gold but not like 100 years ago. At today’s price per ounce, more than eleven billion dollars came out of the Colorado Rocky Mountains around Cripple Creek during the mining period.

Adventure · Travel · Uncategorized

PIKE SUMMITS HIS NAMESAKE PEAK FOR 2006 BICENTENNIAL

Colorado Springs: After 200 years of trying Zebulon Montgomery Pike has finally succeeded in climbing Pikes Peak, with a little help from his friends at Adventures Out West. Pike took part in this year’s bicentennial celebration by taking a Jeep Tour up the once un-scalable mountain. Pike commented on how professional his cowboy driver was, and is quoted as saying “This view is amazing, could their be another like it?” to which the unnamed cowboy said “Yep, you should see it from one of our hot-air balloons.” Well Pike still being the adventurer agreed that he would have to try flying now that he conquered Pikes Peak.
The morning of Pike’s flight he was understandably nervous considering that he had never flown in anything before. The pilot and crew eased Pike’s fears with their humor and knowledge of the balloon system and the weather. The last time he was upon these plains he was lost and hungry on a yearlong expedition of the west. Once airborne Pike marveled at the views of his “little” mountain and was moved to tears by a dream now realized, and that dream was to see the top of Pikes Peak. Now he had not only stood on the top, but he could also now see the top from his bird’s eye view from the basket. Although Pike was fascinated by the views of the peak he also could not help but marvel in the scenery and wildlife that was directly below him.
When asked if he had a good time on his trip Pike responded “This trip to Colorado Springs in my opinion is every bit as memorable as my first trip 200 years ago, but this trip has been made special by the pilot, crew, and tour drivers of Adventures Out West!”

Adventure · Uncategorized

The Conquest of the Skies

Journal de Paris, 22 November 1783

Official report drawn up at the Chateau de la Muette after the experiment with the aerostatic machine of M. Montgolfier.

On this day, 21 November 1783, at the Chateau de la Muette, an experiment with the aerostatic machine of M. Montgolfier was carried out.

The sky was, in several places, obscured by cloud, in others clear, a north-westerly wind prevailed.

At eight minutes past noon, a mortar was fired – a signal to begin the filling of the machine, within eight minutes, despite the wind, it was filled out evenly and ready to take off, with the Marquis D’ Arlandes and M. Pilatre de Rozier on the observation deck.

Their first intention was to send the machine into the air, but to restrain it at the same time with ropes in order to test it, study the precise weights it was capable of carrying and ensure that everything was as it should be for the important experiment that was about to be carried out.

But the wind caught the machine which, far from rising vertically, drifted in the direction of one of the pathways of the garden, and the ropes which were holding it down, working too violently, caused several rents to appear – one more than six feet in length. When the machine had been brought back to the platform it was repaired in less than two hours.

It left, refilled at six minutes to two, carrying the same gentlemen as before. It was seen to rise in a most majestic fashion and when it reached about 250 feet above the ground, the intrepid travelers, taking off their hats, bowed to the spectators. At that moment one experienced a feeling of fear mingled with admiration.

Soon the aerial navigators were lost from view, but the machine, floating on the horizon and displaying a most beautiful shape, climbed to at least 3,000 feet at which height it was still visible; it crossed the Seine below the gate of la Conference and, passing between the Military Academy and the Hotel des Invalides, it was borne to a position where it could be seen by all Paris.

When the travellers were satisfied with this experiment, not wishing to make a longer journey, they agreed to descend; but realizing that the wind was bearing them down upon the houses of the Rue de Seve, in the Faubourg Saint-Germain, they retained their calm and, increasing the production of gas, rose once more and continued on their way through the sky until they had passed over the outskirts of Paris.

They made a gentle descent into a field beyond the new boulevard, opposite the Croulebarbe mill, without suffering the slightest discomfort, with two-thirds of their supplies still intact; so they could, if they had wanted to, have journeyed three times as far. Their voyage had taken them 20 to 25 minutes over a distance of 4 – 5000 fathoms.

The machine measured 70 feet in height and 46 in diameter; its volume was 60,000 cubic feet and on this occasion it carried between 1,600 and 1,700 lbs in weight.

Written at the Chateau de la Muette at five o’ clock in the afternoon. Signed, the Duke of Polignac, the Duke of Guines, the Comte de Polastron, the Comte de Vaudreil, d Hunaud, Benjamin Franklin, Faujas da Saunt – Fond, Delisle and Lercy from the Academie des Sciences. AOW-043 LR

Adventure · Driver Stories · Travel · Uncategorized

The Last Stretch of Gold Camp Road Isn’t Boring

Coming north along Lower Gold Camp Road from Helen Hunt Falls, there are lots of thrilling vistas to see. Eventually, however, you get back to paved road and then cross over Bear Creek Road at the northern end of High Drive. From there it’s only a short way over to 26th Street. The views may not be so great along this brief segment of Gold Camp, but the geology – if you’re into that sort of thing – is fascinating.

First, just a few yards past Bear Creek, is the overflow parking lot for Seven Bridges hiking trail. Here, nuggets of Pikes Peak granite are piled up just across the road. Given its pink microcline feldspar, its large crystals, and its various mineral inclusions, this rock is unique to the region – and therefore, because you can also get it so cheaply, it would make the perfect souvenir of your visit for yourself or a relative.

Next, just past the trail head for Seven Bridges, you’ll see a ravine on the left where, if you look carefully, you can see that rocks of granite mingle with rocks of sandstone. At this point you’re passing over the tail end of the Ute Pass Fault, one of the major factors in our local terrain. This dramatic change in geology becomes apparent a few yards farther on, where you pass through an impressive hogback of Dakota Sandstone from the Late Cretaceous, so within a hundred yards you’ve jumped from 1.1 billion-year-old granite to 100 million-year-old sandstone.

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Finally, almost to 26th street, at Pullout # 1 of Lower Gold Camp you can see an impressive wall of sand and limestone a few feet to the west. If the light is right (best in the morning), you can see the ripples of an ancient seafloor at the southern edge of this wall, plus another small patch of ripples about ten feet to the north. This is the beginning of the Western Interior Waterway which covered the area in the Late Cretaceous. It was the shallow ocean of this period that created those ripples in the sand. Near the ripples are also raised tracks that look like those made by sea-worms. A few more feet to the north of the ripples you can see (but only if you get out and walk up close to the wall) the embedded fossil of an ammonite. It’s pretty much worn away now, but you can still make out the spiraling chambers of the shell, which are like those of its modern relative, the nautilus. Finally, to the right of the ammonite fossil are layers of whiter limestone which were deposited here during times of deeper water at the end of the dinosaur age.

-Whipper

Adventure · Driver Stories

Driver Bio- Dusty Lane

The drivers of AOW are quite the characters, the tour business is set up in a way that attracts people who are wanderers, explorers, story tellers and lovers of history. Each member of AOW has their own unique story to tell- and it’s sure to keep you spell-bound!

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One of these characters is Billy Joe, whom we affectionately call Dusty. If you’re looking for a genuine western fellow he’s about as western as a sunset. He reigns from Arizona and California, and has worked for AOW for about 20 years – since jeep tours first began.

Billy isn’t satisfied with just being a jeep guide, he’s an actor as well. You can see Billy in movies such as Tombstone and Billy the Kid, and his most recent film called The Greatest Story Ever Told. If you get lucky you might even spot him in a Capitol One commercial!

Dusty has a Harley named King David, and enjoys taking rides through the Rockies on his breaks from entertaining.

Dusty is a man of God whose always got a story and a bible verse up his sleeve.