Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee

2016 Worldcon Road Trip Day 9: Royal Gorge Railroad

Today we did drive about 100 miles (from Pueblo to Cañon City and back), but we began and ended the day at the same hotel (the Holiday Inn Express Pueblo), as we went up to ride the Royal Gorge Railroad, an excursion through the spectacular Royal Gorge of the Arkansas River.

Canon City Depot

We got to Canñon City with perfect timing, as the morning train was just arriving. We had lots of time to park, get our tickets, and have a look around before boarding for the 12:30 departure.

Royal Gorge Dome Car

This was the view forward from our dining dome car seats. We ordered bison burgers, which were excellent, served with house-made kettle-cooked chips, and settled in for the run up the canyon.

RoyalGorge (20)

At Parkdale on the upper end of the canyon, the train reverses direction. We left our dome seats for the open observation car, where we spent much of the rest of the trip.

Royal Gorge Railroad

The stunning views are best appreciated from the open-air car.

Hanging Bridge

One of the key points of the run is the Hanging Bridge, where the railroad runs over a bridge that hangs from this A-frame structure suspended over the river. This was required because the canyon is too narrow for a right-of-way.

Royal Gorge Suspension Bridge

Soaring high overhead is the Royal Gorge Suspension Bridge, the world's highest such bridge.

Royal Gorge

The only way to see this scenery is by train or by river raft.

RoyalGorge (02)

All too soon, we were back at Canñon City, where this retired F7 locomotive (originally used to power the train) sits on display.

The photos I've included here are only a small sample of the photos Lisa and I took today. And they are only a pale reflection of the real thing. If I lived closer to here, I think I might spring for the $199 annual pass, which gives unlimited travel (meals not included) in dome class or lower for the season, just to enjoy the view more often.

Lisa slept most of the way back to Pueblo, and when we got back to the hotel, both of us fell into bed: me for a short nap, and Lisa for a longer sleep. We stayed in the rest of the day and tried to recuperate from travel and conventioneering.

As bad luck would have it, this was the first Holiday Inn Express on the entire trip that was unable to give us the room upgrade we wanted, because they were full up. That's a shame, given that we were here for two days, but at least they were able to provide us with a mini-fridge. (This property, unlike most HIXs, doesn't provide them standard in all rooms.) Nevertheless, we're happy for the break.

We have decided to scrap the trip to Ely and return via US-50 (despite having driven a significant portion of US-50 during our return since we left Kansas City). We simply can't afford the time. I booked us a hotel in Wendover and canceled our reservation at the Hotel Nevada, which will have to wait for another trip sometime.

Tomorrow we have to be up extra early so we can get up to the Pike's Peak Railway.
Tags: colorado, royal gorge, trains

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