The Anniversary Surprise

Something that you probably don’t know about us is that we love trains. Oh, we don’t build model trains or things like that (tho G did once have a Christmas train that went around an entire room; that was before we met). We love riding on them, and just the whole “ambience” of trains. Some of my favorite parts of traveling in the UK have been riding on the trains. Other people get blase about it, but I just think it’s so cool. I love trains so much, I once even lived on one, but that is another post.

Also, about 25 miles west of us is this place. Just west of Canon City, CO, is the highest suspension bridge in the world. And through the gorge over 1,000 feet below, runs not only the Arkansas River but also a train. This train, to be exact. We have talked and talked about wanting to go on this train and just never did.

So, a couple of weeks before our anniversary, when it looked like her surgery was NOT going to be that week, I made us reservations for a midday ride on the Royal Gorge Railroad. The train has several different rides–dinner train, wine train, etc., but I just went for midday because the leaves are turning now in the mountains and I wanted us to be able to see everything, and I decided I wanted to pack a picnic surprise lunch, which we also love to do–just grab a rotisserie chicken and some cheese and crackers, and head off on the back roads. If I could pull it off, it would be the best of both worlds. I was able to get us seats in the “Vista Dome” car, which sits up higher, and has a glassed in top. I wanted a good view. I didn’t think it would be too crowed on a Monday (it’s nice having Mondays off!), and I was right. We had about half the car to ourselves.

I told everyone I knew that Monday, October 6 was BOOKED, and crossed it off on the calendar so no one would mistakenly double-book anything else. On Saturday night, when G was craving ice cream, I went for it and then bought the stuff for our picnic, which I stashed in our 2nd fridge out in the garage (which came with the house). Oh, yes, I can be sneaky when I need to be!

Needless to say, the surprise came off great, except that on Monday morning, she TOTALLY threw me when she woke up and asked, “Are we taking a train ride in the Gorge today?” Now, I had said NOTHING about what we were doing, just that the day was set aside. I said no and tried to look innocent. Later, she told me she had a dream that morning that she had taken a ride on the train, and was just getting off the train when she woke up. Do you hear Twilight Zone music? I swear, sometimes I do think we are telepathic with each other!

Anyway, what follows are lot of pics and fewer words. The ride was great, the weather was perfect, and it was just a fabulous way to celebrate our anniversary and do something that we both love. Enjoy!!

This is our car. Note the flat car just to the right–you’re able to go out and stand on that car during the ride if you like.

Looking west–the direction we would be going.

Think she’s happy?

In the “Vista Dome”.

A curvy ride!

This shows how close the train is to the water–and sometimes it’s even closer than that!

An old lookout shack or some other kind of outbuilding…

The bridge overhead…

And the water and rocks below…

The corridor leading out towards the flat car–and past the bar!!

If you look closely at the bottom of this picture, you’ll see the remnants of an old wooden pipeline–this pipe was a gravity-based water flow system that carried water for public use into Canon City up until 1973!! I love the colors of the rocks here.

This is called “the hanging bridge” and was built in Teddy Roosevelt’s time. So called because it “hangs” off those girders anchored into the rock wall on either side of the river. The Gorge is at its narrowest point there–only 30-40 feet across.

Looking straight UP from our window!

Where the rafters go in..

One more view of the bridge on the way back.

This HUGE cottonwood tree is right outside the depot. You can check the size by the man standing to the far right. Amazing!

And finally, looking east as the Arkansas River flows towards Pueblo. The mountain in the center (I think) is the back of Pike’s Peak, but maybe other Colorado readers will correct me. In any event, it was the perfect view to end a perfect ride on a perfect day!

Thanks for coming with us…

GG

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