Driving Across Colorado

On June 7th my sister and I drove across Colorado with the goal of visiting Dinosaur National Monument the next day.   We started our morning in Canyon City and visited the Royal Gorge first thing in the morning and then proceeded to drive across Colorado on our epic road trip 2017.  Eventually I'll post road trips from 2014-16!   

Arkansas River in Colorado -1

I stopped to take a few shots of the Arkansas River which was flowing into the Royal Gorge.   We were traveling from the Royal Gorge to Salida on the first leg of our journey to Grand Junction.  

Driving Across Colorado -1

We were heading towards Monarch Pass...

Monarch Pass -1

Snow covered mountains; I think so!

Monarch Pass -1-2

Driving across the country in our tiny car... 

Monarch Pass -1-3

So we continued...  

Colorado Landscape -1

This is the area between Gunnison and Montrose, we didn't go through Montrose though, we continued north to Hotchkiss.   This is Curecanti National Recreation Area which is AMAZING.  

Colorado Landscape -1-3

This area is the Dillon Pinnacles.  

Colorado Landscape -1-2

Just beautiful.   

Black Canyon of the Gunnison -1

So I believe this is part of The Black Canyon of the Gunnison, but it is also Curecanti National Recreation Area. 

Black Canyon of the Gunnison -1-2

Incredibly beautiful, I had to stop multiple times to take photos!

Black Canyon of the Gunnison -1-3

I believe I've been so far behind with posting images I didn't know where to start.  Maybe I can begin to work on this blog again.   

Black Canyon of the Gunnison -1-5

I really want to go back ! 

Pioneer Point Curecanti National Recreation Area Colorado -1

But we continued on... 

Monarch Pass -1-4

The scenic route was worth the time! 

Black Canyon of the Gunnison -1-4


The Royal Gorge

Add this to a list of "Things I do not like."  Suspension bridges, that move and shake and you can look through the boards and see a thousand feet down.  This bridge would be on my big "nope" list.   Nope, not going back and I did it once, no need to walk across it again.  Also, how do I begin to catch up on this blog with a move out of state and over two years worth of travel barely touched.  I guess I will begin with whatever I feel like posting.  This bridge spans the Arkansas River which I find fascinating for a few reasons; one being Spiro is near it.  

Royal Gorge Bridge- Colorado -1

What is a gorge?  Why is this one "royal," you might ask.  I do not know why it is the Royal Gorge, but I will soon, because I'm going to search for this information on google.

Royal Gorge Bridge- Colorado -1-2
  A Gorge is a narrow valley between hills or mountains, typically with steep rocky walls and a stream running through it.

Royal Gorge Bridge- Colorado -1-3

We visited the Gorge on June 7th at the beginning of our annual road trip.   

Royal Gorge Bridge- Colorado -1-4

I did walk across this.  

Royal Gorge Bridge- Colorado -1-5

This great American river, which traverses Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma and Arkansas.  You can see more posts about it here:

Royal Gorge Bridge- Colorado -1-6

If you want an extreme view of the Royal Gorge bridge, you can see it from above.   

Royal Gorge Bridge- Colorado -1-8

Or from below, since you can take the train through the gorge.   

Royal Gorge Bridge- Colorado -1-9

I didn't take a lot of photographs here. I was pretty much ready to be off of the bridge.   I'll drive over mountain passes any day (and I did).  But I'm not a huge fan of bridges like this. 

Royal Gorge Bridge- Colorado -1-11

It is definitely a sight to see. 

Royal Gorge Bridge- Colorado -1-12

Here is the link for the official information...  Royal Gorge  don't worry - click on a link it takes you to a new window!   



Dinosaur Ridge Colorado

And I will return to Colorado with some photos from Dinosaur Ridge, where you can look at ancient footprints that were once part of the ancient oceans and a visit to the Jurassic period and an introduction to the Morrison Formation named after Morrison,Colorado. 

Ready to Go_ Expedition Oklahoma by Joy Franklin -5211
Here I have my Colorado map, my camera bag and my phone ready to head out on that Thursday morning after the Sting concert at Red Rocks Ampitheater in Morrison. We stayed at a La Quinta in Lakewood, which was a pretty nice hotel.  

Dinosaur Ridge Colorado _ Expedition Oklahoma by Joy Franklin -5215
Kids were out playing around the dinosaur statues outside of the center and gift shop. 

Dinosaur Ridge Colorado_ Expedition Oklahoma by Joy Franklin -5220
The road is closed, you have to hike around or take the tourbus.  Dinosaur ridge is just that, you are looking at the remnants of an ancient sea bed which is now the side of a mountain.  

Dinosaur Ridge Colorado_ Expedition Oklahoma by Joy Franklin -5219
They gave us a little history of the settlement of the ridge and I believe they mentioned the Cheyenne people, but I cannot remember the story now. 

Fossilized Wave Patterns at Dinosaur Ridge by Joy Franklin-5221
Here are ripple marks that the waves left behind a millions of years ago in the sand and it was preserved in the sandstone.   What an amazing world this is.  

Fossilized Wave Patterns at Dinosaur Ridge by Joy Franklin-5222
I can't grasp how people can carefully push aside in their minds evolution or deny it altogether. I once worked with a woman whose spouse believed that dinosaurs were a big conspiracy theory. Blows my mind.   

Fossilized Wave Patterns at Dinosaur Ridge by Joy Franklin-5223
The ripple marks in the rocks are neat what a different world this was when they were formed. 

Tour Bus at Dinosaur Ridge by Joy Franklin-5289
Here is our great tour bus.  Actually we had the super cool dino-tour bus.   

 Dinosaur Ridge Colorado  by Joy Franklin-5311
Listening to the tour guide.  

 Dinosaur prints at Dinosaur Ridge by Joy Franklin-5317
Dinosaur tracks!  

My hand in the Dinosaur print at Dinosaur Ridge by Joy Franklin-5314
To give you an idea that's my hand in the dinosaur print. 

 Dinosaur Ridge Colorado  by Joy Franklin-5227
This is the view facing the interstate that leads into Denver. 

 Dinosaur Ridge Colorado  by Joy Franklin-5252
The view of Morrison and Red Rocks!

 Dinosaur Ridge Colorado  by Joy Franklin-5266
We learned how to find a dinosaur bone in the rocks.   Now, I want to do this. I want to learn how to look for bones and fossils.   

 Dinosaur Ridge Colorado  by Joy Franklin-5269
Here is a dinosaur bone for you.  

 Dinosaur Ridge Colorado  by Joy Franklin-5295
A dinosaur footprint..  this was a large creature who made this indentation! 

 Dinosaur Ridge Colorado  by Joy Franklin-5324


Georgetown Colorado

So, if you follow the Guanella pass from Grant you will end up in George Town Colorado.  

We didn't enter Georgetown from the interstate, we came up Guanella Pass from Grant.  

Georgetown Colorado-5712
If you'd like more information about Georgetown click here. 

Georgetown Colorado- Guanella Pass Summit Overlook-5670
At the Summit it was snowing on us and I was ready to get down the mountain to Georgetown, I was lightheaded and could barely carry on a conversation and my chest felt weird, I decided I didn't like the altitude.  

Georgetown Colorado -5672
A powerline shot, which I normally don't do, but it was unavoidable. 

Georgetown Colorado -5675
Didn't see any bighorn sheep, but we did see a sign for them.  I was ready to get off the  mountain so I have few shots on the way down. 

Georgetown Colorado -5677
I loved the views of Georgetown.  

Georgetown Colorado -5682
I had enough of the rockies fairly quickly and was ready to get back to the wide open spaces. 

Georgetown Colorado -5686
There are so many more tourist things that I've found to do in Colorado after my trip.  But, I am not going to be a winter tourist.  Maybe next summer! 

Georgetown Colorado -5692
Finally we made it to town...

Georgetown Colorado -5697
This town is beautiful, with it's quaint victorian houses. When I become wealthy I'm buying a house in this town.   

Georgetown Colorado -5706
We didnt' spend much time in town.  Stopped for fuel and at Subway for sandwiches..where I saw this...For whatever reasons my  email didn't download right on my phone. I had an email that has upset me greatly and I'm very grateful I didn't receive it when I was in Colorado.  It seems like my life is this line in a song "It's a big enough umbrella, but it's always me that ends up getting wet.  

Driving Dog in Georgetown Colorado-5715
It's a chapter in my life I want closed the last two years, yet I can't seem to do that yet.  So I feel very frustrated.  Let me get through 2013 now.  It's a setback of a 1/2 a year if I cannot resolve the situation.  I have learned lessons from graduate school that I didn't expect, to trust my instincts about people and classes-  I ignored them.  To speak out and complain.  I also need to do a better job standing up for myself.  That begins now.   But, for tonight, I'm going to sleep.  Goodnight world.  

Guanella Pass Part 2

Yes, I am editing a lot of photos today (while I work on laundry, dishes and all the other boring stuff you do when you are at home).  I've worked my way through some Kansas images today and now I'm looking through these mountain images again. 

Guanella Pass-5432
My 12  year old and I are watching a show on Netflix called "I Shouldn't Be Alive," about people who have survived in extreme situations.  Which of course makes me think about driving up isolated mountain roads.  

Aspens on a Mountain Road-5429
The aspens were pretty here as we got further up the mountain they weren't even budded out yet. 


Guanella Pass mountain stream-5440
The mountain streams which were stunning. 

IMG_0243 (1)
I'm not really sure what I was shooting here, probably a tree.  Not the stream, but this is what my sister does while I'm taking photographs with her iPad camera (which takes nice photos).  So here you go...  me doing what I like to do.  

Writing Their Love Down in Nature-5495
I was shooting a tree, these shots all fit the right angle. 

Guanella Pass mountain view-5462
Every curve we passed it just seemed to get more beautiful.  

Guanella Pass mountain stream -5479
Yet with every curve you could see the rugged power of nature. 

Colorado Rockies -5522
I kept driving.  I wasn't used to the altitude, what didn't seem to bother my sister. I was out of breath with any physical exertion, yet we kept driving up the mountain. 

Guanella Pass in between Georgetown and Grant Colorado-5528
It was intimidating to keep driving up higher and higher, yet I knew that the road was only 24 miles and I'd been by the town that we ended up at on the other side before.  

Guanella Pass in between Georgetown and Grant Colorado-5529
I can't imagine traveling in this country a hundred years ago. 

Snow capped peaks-5556
I appreciate Cyndy and her suggestion for this trip. You can follow her on twitter: @arkydiva 

Snow in June-5574
Snow in June and it was the first time I was ever snowed on in June. 

Guanella Pass mountain and lake-5603
By the time we were this high up I was out of breath enough that I was ready to get back to the mile high city. 

Sting at Red Rocks

Don't think me unkind, words are hard to find...

  I've always wanted to see a show at Red Rocks since I have watched some events that were filmed there and played on the music channels.   Words can't really describe the experience.  I finally had the chance to see Sting in concert at Red Rocks last Wednesday on his Back to Bass Summer 2013 tour.  Yes, I've been to a Sting concert quite a few times now - 9 to be exact.   

Morrison Colorado Red Rocks-5139
Wednesday was exhausting and stressful.  Going to a concert in a city you've never been to at a totally new venue and needing to book a hotel for the night pretty much had me stressed out by the time we found the place.  We actually got lost in Denver after visiting the Natural History Museum and found our way to Red Rocks, left Red Rocks and booked a hotel, took a nap and returned early before the gates opened.  

There will be cell phone pictures in this post since places such as concert venues discriminate against those of us who use good photography equipment.  Yes, I said discriminate.  Because having a detachable lens means you might actually take good photos of an event while attending it and cause mass destruction to the corporate empire that feeds off of celebrities and talent.   

This is the first venue where  I can honestly say it doesn't matter where you sit.  I spent far more time watching the view than I did worrying about seeing Sting up on stage.  It helps that I've been to many of his concerts.  But looking out over Denver on a cold June night was pretty incredible. 

Photo (1)
The Hounds of Winter was my favorite song to hear performed at this show.  

Photo (2)
Of course you all know which song this is right?  Right?  Roxanne of course. Never as good as it was since The Police tour of 2007 and 2008!  How can that be six years ago! June 26, 2007 in Dallas Texas was an amazing show!  November 2007 in San Antonio, May 21st 2008 in Dallas... Yeah I remember them all!  

Photo (3)
You really should go to this venue, even if your sense of direction gets horribly messed up and your navigator is less than talented at navigating and your phone maps suck and you are depending on a paper map and the directions of McDonalds employees to help you find your hotel after the show ends. 

Sting Live at Red Rocks in Morrison Colorado-5125
I parked on the side of a MOUNTAIN!  All of the Sting shows I've been to have been memorable and great times with my older sister.   I really loved his Symphonicities tour in 2010, it was a wonderful day waking up to photograph the sunrise in Galveston and then going to the Natural History museum and finally heading to see Sting at the Woodlands in Houston.   The tour with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra was the best concert I've ever attended. The music was perfect, incredible. I wish he would do it again. 

Red Rocks-5167
The view was amazing.   I remember the first time I ever went to Houston was in 2004 for the Sting's Sacred Love tour.  I was teaching school in Kansas at the time and I left on a Friday afternoon and returned to work on a Monday.  It was 1000 miles one way and quite a weekend.   

Parked on a Mountain-5208
Parking uphill on a mountain wasn't really what I anticipated.  

Hiking Red Rocks Morrison Colorado-5195
This is another one of my favorite Sting songs, The End of the Game.  Last June we went to see Sting two nights in a row at the Winstar World Casino in Thackerville Oklahoma.   Yakoke, Chickasaws, Yakoke.  

Red Rocks Trading Post-5130
Another one of my favorites that he performed at Red Rocks.  

Why do I still take car shots----5099
WHY DO I STILL TAKE SHOTS FROM MY CAR LIKE THIS??? I still do it.  I rarely edit anything I shoot like this. Yet.. here they are.   

Red Rocks from Dinosaur Ridge-5278
Here is the view of Red Rocks from Dinosaur Ridge (also a neat place).   And I will close with one of the best songs in the history of music.  Message in a Bottle

Breathtaking Photography along the Guanella Pass

At 14,000 feet altitude in the Colorado Rockies the Guanella Pass is truly breathtaking.  Both literally and figureatively. A friend suggested this amazing drive to me yesterday morning so I could avoid the main traffic of the highways, it also allowed some backroads sight seeing which was just what I wanted to do. 

Georgetown 24 Miles-5388
If you enter the road from Grant on highway 285 the first portion of your journey is an isolated gravel road.  Which after being in Denver was wonderful.  We intended to drive through the mountains and then head home yesterday afternoon, which we did. I am home now and exhausted.   

Georgetown 24 Miles-5426
This post will have more than one part, but I'm overwhelmed with the amount of photography I did this week.  Kansas, Colorado, and Oklahoma, I have plenty of shots to filter through and I will put a few up now.  

Aspen Trees-5430
It's actually more difficult to do photography in a place such as this.  Everything is beautiful and the scale is immense so it is hard to take a photograph that shows it's grandeur.  I can't possibly do it justice.   I can't show you what it feels like to be in these mountains.  You can't smell the mountain air or feel the immensity.  


Colorado Rockies-5500
This is just beautiful. I really don't have a lot of words to describe this experience.  Plus a 16 hour drive yesterday and this morning from Colorado to NW Kansas to Oklahoma has left me exhausted. 

Joy in the Mountains-5506
My Sister took my photo.  I had her take one from my "good side" along with the others I won't edit.  

Pass between Grant and George Town Colorado-5567
We continued to climb, higher and higher into the mountains to reach the pass.  I continued to be more and more breathless as we neared the top of the peaks.  I didn't realize it was nearly 14,000 feet at the summit. I was already short of breath while in Denver.  

Guanella Pass-5516
And we continued to climb up the pass.  By the time we got to the top I was ready to get down and breathe.   No hiking for me. 

Arapaho National Forest Colorado-5669
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas. It actually began to snow on us while we were at the top. 

Guanella Pass-5616
Snow covered mountains in June.  

Guanella Pass-5653
Climb the mountains and get their good tidings.  Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees.  The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.  ~John Muir

Beautiful Colorado-5666
The poetry of the earth is never dead.  ~John Keats

Beautiful Colorado-5494
The human spirit needs places where nature has not been rearranged by the hand of man.  ~Author Unknown
Beautiful Colorado-5551
We spend our lives avoiding nature and trying to be one with it.  There is nothing that man can make to compete with the beauty of the outdoors.   


Good Morning from Denver

From the prairies to peaks I'm wishing you good morning from Denver this morning as I sit in my hotel waiting on my traveling companion to rest up from last night's amazing Sting concert at Red Rocks (which I will post more later).   So, right now I'm just going to post random images from my trip.  I will share them again later, but it has been a very busy and long trip.  I believe we're nearing 1400 miles since last Saturday.  

Wrath of the Peacock-4587
A peacock expressing himself in the Sunset Zoo in Manhattan, Kansas on Tuesday morning. 

Velma Storm part 2-4164
Golden glow on a field  in north central Kansas on Highway 24. 

Kansas Sunset-4182
A sunset along Highway 24 in north central Kansas last Saturday.  

Yucca plant near Buffalo Oklahoma-4039
A yucca plant outside of Buffalo Oklahoma last Saturday 

Sting Live at Red Rocks in Morrison Colorado-5125
Last night I went to see Sting in Denver at the Red Rocks ampitheater and it was the most amazing venue that I've ever been to. 

Denver Natural History museum-4978
Dinosaur bones in the Denver Natural History museum. 

Denver Skyline-5090
The Denver skyline right before I got lost.  I really do not like driving in Denver. I thought it would be easy at first, and then I got lost.  Driving in a new city to find things downtown is stressful. I can't wait to get out to the mountains today and get out of this city! 

The Beautiful Cemetery in Riley county Kansas-4893
I stopped at this beautiful, immaculate cemetery in Riley County Kansas. It had real flowers planted at every grave.  A beautiful resting place for the people who were loved and buried here.  

Morrison Colorado Red Rocks-5139
The beautiful red rocks of Morrison, Colorado.

Tuttle Creek Dam Overlook in  Manhattan Kansas -4533
Overlooking Tuttle Creek Dam in Manhattan Kansas.  


I will share more later but today the travel and photography continues.   



Wild West

Wild West  eastern Colorado
A few photos from my trip home.  These were shot in Eastern Colorado on a hot August day.  They just feel "wild west" on an isolated road east of Trinidad Colorado.  

Long Road Home
So, in honor of these "western" photos, it calls for one of my favorite country songs (which I was listening to on that long drive home).  

Fence Post in Colorado



Anthropologists and Archaeologists filter through inches of dirt, clay and sand to find the little pieces of the past to create pictures of the ancient world.  Why?  Perhaps to prove just how much like us people were thousands of years ago.   These broken vessels lying on the ground at Goodman Point, Colorado.   We call our trash litter, their trash is federally protected (I repeat- don't touch).