As we drove east from Gunnison Saturday morning, I saw that we were so close to home that it wouldn't make sense to plan to camp out another night. But we still had a shot at one more day's worth of adventure -- the Royal Gorge in Canon City!

On the way there, we saw this great sign on the side of a little store. Mike took the pic -- that is me recklessly standing in front of the engine.

I had to take this one, because back when I was a kid, lots of the mom and pop neighborhood grocery stores had this Rainbo Bread screen door. It's been painted silver, so all you can see of the loaf of bread on the bottom is the outline.

Before going up the road to the actual Royal Gorge park, we stopped off at a kitschy tourist-y place called Buckskin Joe's. Just for fun, we bought tickets to ride the little mini train, which takes you out to an observation platform which the ticket seller earnestly informs you is only 3/4 of a mile from the Royal Gorge bridge!

I puzzled about this sign for a long time. Are there really tourists coming out here from such far off and strange lands that they can't recognize an ANT HILL unless they label it?

Okay, there's the 3/4 of a mile away bridge, as advertised. You sure aren't going to be able to walk to it in a hurry, but you can SEE it pretty well. That's the aerial tramway car below. It doesn't hang from the suspension bridge itself, it only looks that way in this shot.

We did get a pleasant surprise from the Buckskin Joe's platform, a chance to see the Royal Gorge train heading back to Canon City. Mike had his first cab ride in that with Big Mike, who was the owner at the time, and so it felt a little like meeting old friends in an out of the way spot!

Once you pay to get in at the Royal Gorge, the various rides are free. They have a very nice vintage restored carousel. I thought the cat with the fish in its mouth was great!

So did Mike.

The goat was pretty cool too.

And also the zebra.

After the merry-go-round, we headed to the bridge. This pic shows some of the details of the construction.

They fly flags from all the states across the bridge's span.

Mike was a little nervous when he was actually out on the deck of the bridge, but I thought he was very brave to go at all!

There's Point Alta Vista, that 3/4 of a mile away viewing platform we were just on. I'm still not walking over there.

Here's a better shot of the aerial tram. I realized later I probably could have ridden on that for free as well. Oh, well, next time.

This is a shot of the Arkansas River from up on the bridge.

Next page is the other half of my Royal Gorge pictures, showing the Incline Railway up close and personal!

Page 7

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Pictures copyright Susan Crites 2006