Colorado Springs, Colorado – Railway tunnel, God’s garden, and gambling den

The 56 km long Phantom Canyon Road connects Victor, few miles south of Cripple Creek, and Canon City. The gravel road is a washboard and partially really narrow, but who has the opportunity should allow oneself to drive it. The maximum vehicle size is 25 feet length and 13 US t weight. The road leads down from 3000 m elevation to 1600 m into the prairie. It follows the route of the former ore railway line through the canyon of the Phantom Creek. Sometimes rock faces rise up at both sides of the road; then again the slope drops off steeply to the brook deep down. The hairpin bends require a lot of turning at the steering wheel, but it is fun to drive through the old railway tunnels. The climate gets milder the lower the elevation is, vegetation changes, and trees get greener, less fall-like. Prickly pears, yuccas and willows create a peculiar mixture. Close to Canon City we reach paved highway.

We take a loop to Colorado Springs to see Garden of the Gods. There are pretty red sandstone formations, and the former owner of this place left it to the public to have access free of charge. There are imaginative names like Sleeping Giant or Kissing Camels, a rock looking like two dromedaries, touching their lips. In the evening, we are back close to today’s starting point, in Guffey. The oddity of this village is that it has 26 inhabitants, a library, and two saloons. We are invited to Joyce and Dave who own a weekend house in this corner. We have accidentally met them in a parking lot in Rocky Mountain National Park.

At dinner in Cripple Creek, to finish the loop completely, we learn a lot about casinos. At the bar we get to know that we have the right to get a free drink every half hour, whatever it is: beer, wine, long drink, or shooter, as long as we gamble. We eagerly nod, take the beer, and go to the in-house restaurant. It is not really meant that way, but nobody really takes care about that. Now the coupons are used that Joyce and Dave got from an acquainted multi-gambler. For a certain amount of gambled money one receives food vouchers. Per coupon one can order a meal for maximum 10 $. The food is inexpensive and not bad. Then the lesson continues: If one registers in the casino, one gets a client’s card with which one can gamble for about a quarter of an hour at the slot machines. Here they really seem to do everything to make people addicted to gambling.

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