We had a surprisingly good night’s sleep last night. We didn’t have to endure the wind, trucks with their engines running half the night, freight trains carrying yet more cheap Chinese consumer goods, or the noise from nearby interstate highways. I must write to Wal-Mart and suggest they build more supermarkets up in the mountains.
The morning was a little cool but running the generator for half an hour or so to power the heating system made everything right again. I even had a nice hot shower, it’s not every day you get to do that in a car park.
We were away in good time and were soon at the top of Lookout Mountain (GPS: N39.733372 W105.239378). We took several photographs of the view from the top before making our way to Buffalo Bill’s grave www.buffalobill.org . It was a quiet, pleasant spot and because we were so early had it all to ourselves.
William 'Buffalo Bill' Cody died of kidney failure whilst in Denver visiting his sister. Whilst on his deathbed he expressed his wish to be buried on Lookout Mountain, overlooking the plains, the exact spot being chosen later by his sister. ‘Wild Bill' died on January 10th 1917 but because the ground on Lookout Mountain was frozen solid due to the winter weather, his grave could not be dug and so he wasn’t buried until 3rd June.
Afterwards we visited the museum on site. It wasn’t very big but was well laid out and very interesting. It seems one reason William Cody was so successful as a buffalo hunter was because he trained his horses to ride down the side of individual buffalos within a stampeding herd enabling him to shoot them with his rifle at point blank range.
William Cody was considered to be something of a logistics expert, using adapted wagons to move his 'Wild West Show' around on the railways. There was a book in the museum which listed the locations he took his Wild West Show to during his European tour. Among the many UK locations were Ely on September 15th 1903 and Cambridge on June 24th 1904. He didn’t visit Wisbech which demonstrates the man had integrity.
I was keen to crack on after our visit as I wanted to start moving south again. I was getting really hacked off with the crosswinds, and more dangerously, the gusts, which we had endured since joining I25 many miles ago. We eventually cleared the Denver area and made good progress on a less than ideal road surface.
We had planned to visit Colorado Springs on the way down, but we agreed we weren’t fussed about doing the Pikes Peak Cog Railway, we only popped in to one of their local Wal-Marts for some shopping.
Just before turning off the interstate to do so, we passed the USAF Academy at the base of Cheyenne Mountain. Part of this complex, or next to it, was the North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD) I think it's called. It was, and perhaps still is, the Command Centre for launching those lovely Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles (ICBM’s) mounted in underground concrete silos around the country. NORAD is buried deep inside Cheyenne Mountain and is nuclear bomb proof; even the floors are sprung to avoid damage to the computer functions etc in the event of a direct hit. This operation is so sophisticated it even tracks the progress of Santa Claus on Christmas Eve, publishing his progress on its website.
‘She’ in the Satnav successfully delivered us to one of the 5 local Wal-Mart stores for our shopping. On leaving the vehicle The Chef slipped on the doormat and came a cropper falling from the RV’s top step and landing in the car park. Luckily she didn’t hurt herself apart from a bit of bruising but was very lucky not to have done so. People just don’t realise how dangerous being a tourist can be!
We pushed on south finally settling for a Rest Area just off the I25 at Trinidad just inside the Colorado state line.
Tonight we will be living dangerously, as the Rest Area we are staying at bans overnight parking - and we’re defying them. We’ve also got chilli beans and rice for dinner tonight, having bought such food at the start of our trip as standby meals. So if somebody knocks on the door to move us on, I’ll just explain that I had chilli beans for dinner and I can’t move on, I’m sure they’ll understand.
LOCATION TONIGHT: Rest Area El Moro, off I25 near Trinidad, Colorado (GPS: N37.226566 W104.494454).