Dodge City, KS to Colorado Springs, CO including Garden of the Gods and Old Colorado City
Most of this journey was along US 50/US 400 and very easy driving and full of fascinating little towns that, in most cases, appear melancholy, long past their prime, sad remnants of their former lives. It does make you think as you drive through them. We started off getting out of Dodge City. Some of the major towns you go through are Garden City, Lakin, Syracuse and Coolidge.
The rolling hills of Kansas along this stretch of US 50 make for fine driving and the speed limit is 70. There are ample places to pass if you like or if you encounter a combine. There is a plant that makes windmills so we often had oversized loads hauling the cylindrical bases of these huge windmills. It took us a while to figure out what they were and didn’t figure it out until we passed the actual factory or place where all the parts are sitting.
Then at the Colorado Border there is a rest area followed by Holly, Granada, and then the state welcome center at Lamar. The rest of the way to the I-25 you’ll pass Hasty, Las Animas, La Junta, Swink, Rocky Ford and some others. A really cool junk yard is outside of Lamar. This was really one of the most remarkable things along this journey as it included some very old cars and fairly well preserved.
Lamar was a fairly large town that was home to the welcome center. There’s plenty of material in there and the staff and volunteers couldn’t be more helpful. There’s an old steam locomotive outside too. We walked around the town but it is one that mostly has been left to time. The theatre looks as though it might have been restored quite some time ago, or at least kept up. Most of the shops had false fronts like artwork or an exhibit of some type. There was a donut shop that was actually open. The town has all the bones of what could be a fantastic place.
After Lamar and the other mostly sad towns, we then picked up the interstate and headed north to Colorado Springs after a quick drive around Pueblo. We wanted to find a campground and bunk in for a couple nights. The trip took a bit longer than we thought it would. We couldn’t get into the Garden of the Gods Campground as they were full.
Odd for a Sunday night but there was some type of Pikes Peak run going on so we ended up going down to Fountain Creek R.V. Park. It certainly isn’t as nice but it is close to the town and Garden of the Gods and was available. This park isn’t for some people but we enjoyed being here. If you don’t like older campers and people who live in them stay away. However, we found it perfectly fine and convenient.
Old Colorado City and the Garden of the Gods
We stayed at the Fountain Creek RV Park which is within close proximity to the Garden of the Gods, the town of Old Colorado City and a Safeway supermarket. There is no pool and there are older RV’s here that people live in. If this bothers you don’t stay here. We found the location great and the campground fine despite it being an older park with units quite close together.
We took our bikes up to the Garden of the Gods – uphill all the way but manageable given that we don’t have racing bikes but the most basic of bikes for getting around. We made it but had no intention of biking around the park having hauled up 31st Street to the park entrance and welcome center.
We went into the welcome center and signed up for a trolley tour. It lasts 45 minutes and you can sit the whole way. A trolley tour of the Garden of the Gods is definitely something to consider. It is only $17 and well worth it. If you have a car, you can do the drive yourself. On the trolley you don’t get off and get a chance to climb anything but we were fine with that. The scenery is gorgeous and there’s a photo opp around every turn. Don’t miss the Trading Post – the trolley doesn’t stop there – would be nice if it did.
As this was our first real stop in Colorado and at this altitude we did feel the effects of the altitude. Lots of water, hard candy, no overdoing it the first day. We biked the second day and were okay. The town of Old Colorado City is quite pleasant and filled with upper middle class shops that are all locally owned. Some are predictable and others quite a pleasant surprise. It is well worth a stroll up and down both sides of Colorado Blvd. and exploring the area. We stopped at the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, a Colorado chain, and had ice cream and bought some chocolate. There are also some souvenir stores too as this area draws tourists and rightfully so.
We ended up having dinner at The Mason Jar because a Thai place was closed that we saw earlier. Turned out that this was a great thing because we each had the meatloaf special and it was phenomenal as was the mashed potatoes and green beans. This is good food that is really excellent if that makes any sense.
Our next stop on the journey will be Fort Collins. I don’t think we will make any stops in between – its just Denver that is in between though we might get off the interstate north of Denver. We don’t plan these trips with much advance. We’ve always found a place to stay and things to do and a road sometimes less traveled and absolutely fascinating.