Tuesday, June 21, 2011

My Favorite Places, The Final Chapter/Shelf Road

Strong Storms could rain out games for the second night in a row....after getting dumped on for several hours yesterday, the rains ended and the skies cleared long enough to get Mom's and Anissa's lawn mowed....however my game at Crestview and even Sam's on the artificial turf at Celina were canceled.  Tonight I am scheduled for St. Henry while Sam is once again in Celina...but those are "iffy" with some strong or sever storms moving in from the west this afternoon.

The Final Chapter(for now) of my favorite places____

I have told this story on this blog before, but cannot leave it off my list of Favorite Places...

Shelf Road, Colorado....


The above link is Shelf Road in Colorado...it runs from Canon City north to Cripple Creek.  The first time I laid eyes on it was in the summer of 1980, it hard seems 30+ years ago, but time flies as we all know when we reach middle age.

It all began when...

My buddy Rick Pearson, of our mushroom hunting fame, and we being best man in each others weddings, mine in 1976 and his in 1981...we were next door neighbors at Ohio University's College Inn for a while in Athens, Ohio.   We met while working together at Marsh Supermarket in Celina during my Senior, and his Junior year at Celina High School.  After our military years, where we were both Military Police, him a MP in the Army, and me as a SP in the Air Force, we both returned home to Celina...for awhile.

In the late Summer of 1980 I had decided to leave my job as radio news director at KGNO Radio in Dodge City, Kansas...Patricia and Anissa had flown to Wisconsin to stay with her parents for a few weeks, while I was in charge of getting the belongings and vehicles back to Ohio, where I would take over as Program Director at WCSM Radio in my home town.  I U-Hauled the household stuff back to Celina, towing the trailer behind our AMC Hornet vehicle...my Jeep Cherokee was in the garage, and was left back in Dodge until I could return to pick it up.  In late July,  I asked Rick if he wanted to make a road trip.  We would drive my brother Mike's pick up to Dodge, get the repaired Jeep and return.  We could also make a side "road trip" to Colorado, just for the fact we had the time....

We stocked our cooler, and headed west, arriving in Dodge City the next afternoon...the Jeep was a couple of days from being ready, so we headed west towards the Colorado Rocky Mountains.  We arrived in Canon City in late afternoon...talked to some locals about something a couple of 30 year old guys could do for adventure in the surrounding mountains.  One gas station attendant told us about a road they call "Red Horse" or Shelf Road.  Seems the road was a short cut to Cripple Creek, the old abandoned mining town of western lore(no longer abandon, it these days, is a yuppie/skiing area complete with million dollar condos)....so with the afternoon sun starting to set, off we went in the Ford 150 in search of adventure...what we found was "Shelf Road"....{if you have not watched the above video, do it now}...which was more adventure than we bargained for.

At times it seemed we were just inches from dropping off the side, and in truth we were, we met one other vehicle on the way, and we backed up, to let them pass, mainly because we were closer to the drive over/pull over spot.  Finally arriving in Cripple Creek, we stopped at a local watering hole and had a few beers, telling the local bartender about our "adventure".  He looked at us and says.."You guys were handed a line, few people, even locals drive that damn road without a four wheel drive"  Well we were glad we did...after having a couple more, we headed back part way up Shelf Road, and stayed the night, camping in the back of the truck on the banks of the famous Cripple Creek.

In the morning, we took a dip in the cold, cold, waters of Cripple Creek...just to say we did.  We also explored a mine shaft, and eventually panned for gold, Rick being the Geology Major at Ohio U, knows what it looks like, and we did find some dust...all-in-all, the Shelf Road Adventure was something that will stick in my mind, as long as I have one.  But it was a short visit, then it was back to Dodge City.  A day later, cooler's stocked with Coors, soda pop, and ice, we headed back east towards Celina, and the daily humdrum of our regular lives. 

The Reds lost the opener of their Inter-league match up with the Yankees last night, 5-3, and their home standing slump continues....lucky for Cincinnati, both Milwaukee and St. Louis aren't playing much better...game #2 of three tonight at GABP...

back later>>>>

Photos-A couple of looks at Shelf Road..., the map from Canon City to Cripple Creek, and don't forget to watch the youtube video...this and several others are available at that site.

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