Back in 1939, my mother took a train to Colorado to stay at Stead's Ranch in Moraine Park.
Here is what she wrote about her journey...
It was 6:30 P.M. Sunday, July 9th, the time for departure on the Burlington Zephyr. Janet and Trebing took me to the train to see that I actually did get started, since I had not, up to that time, felt as though I was really going to Colorado at last. I started on the trip like a typical vacationer-a ticket to Colorado Springs in my hand; two magazines and a book under my arm; that empty feeling in my stomach; a mixed look of wonder, amazement, and fright in my eyes; and a ribbon on my hat.
The train finally pulled out and I settled back in Seat No. 39 to await two weeks of whatever might be in store for me. My seatmate was a very attractive, young, married girl from Chicago who was on her way to visit the folks back in Denver. Naturally, I was all questions. Except for intervals of an hour or so at a time every so often when the very interesting doctor in the seat behind me chose to relate his life history, the life history of his patients, and his various opinions on how to make over the world to his partner, I slept the entire night. I had breakfast in the dinette (economy meals) with a girl who was also seeing the mountains for the first time. We patiently waited from daylight on for our first glimpse of the much talked of mountains. Throughout our watch, a woman, who was returning home to Grand Junction after a tour of the East, told us many interesting things about her Colorado home. This fruit growers wife reminded me so much of Aunt Jenny Boucher.
At last the eagerly awaited mountains were in view; but the haziness that Monday morning caused our first impression to be a little disappointing. I wasn't really impressed by them until we were on our way from Denver to Estes Park.
An hour--8:30 to 9:30--was spent in Denver between the train and the bus, during which time I became acquainted with Adele Bishop, of Chicago. She was taking the circle tour through the park, so we had a chance to enjoy each others company on the bus to Estes. The bus was completely filled, and the trip through Big Thompson Canyon was breath-taking. This route took us up through the plains on the East side of the mountains and presented a beautiful first view of the lengthy range. We went through Loveland, but the highway did not run near the Zion Lutheran Church, so I didn't even get to see where Philip is preaching. From Loveland, the road cut directly west through the mountains along the Big Thompson River.
We arrived at Estes Park at 12:30 noon. It is a small village, consisting of a main street lined with souvenir shops, restaurants, amusement spots, and stables. Mr. Lewis, the owner of Stead's Ranch, came in to pick me up. The Ranch is 4.5 miles southwest of the village in Moraine Park.
STEAD RANCH and HOTEL
The buildings are all clustered together on one side of quite a large valley which is entirely surrounded by mountains. The Twin Sisters peaks loom high in the sky to the Southeast; the majestic Longs Peak, the pride of that section of the country, challenges you from the South; Flat-Top, Hallett's Peak, Deer Mountain, Eagle Cliff, and numerous other smaller formations form the rest of the horizon. What I'm trying to bring out is that the location is a perfect one in which to awaken every morning and retire every night.
The Ranch, itself, was very much as I had expected it to be; however, it's not an operating ranch, but merely a guest ranch on which everything is conducted for the enjoyment and comfort of the dudes. First, I was introduced to John Rankin, the manager, who later turned out to be quite the "nuts."
JOHN RANKIN and PAT
Then they seated me at a table and filled me with the most delicious food (I've been starving since their wonderful food spoiled me). Win, the dining room hostess, was very charming - in fact, after being there for a while, her charm at times got to be too charming. The waitresses were all college girls.
After filling my stomach, John (yes, it was John now) took me up to the cabins - just to show me around. The accommodations were far from limited as the season was still young; but feeling a wee bit reckless, I chose Room 13 in the building named Columbine. This building was a V-shaped structure with 13 rooms, my room being closest to the faucet and bath house. The other buildings varied in size, shape, and accommodations. By this time I was rather tired and decided to get a little shut-eye before venturing out any further. I awakened with a start at 4:30 and got into my overalls, ready for the next move. The next move wasn't a horse as I though it might be, as the fever was spreading among the horses in the vicinity and this necessitated the vaccination of the entire stable. This vaccination affected the horses for at least three days after injection so that none of them were being ridden until the following day.
Since my introductions to the horses had to be postponed, introductions to some of the other guests was substituted. Ellen, from Glencoe, was my first acquaintance. She told me a lot about the place and the people and introduced me to a number of others - Mrs. Lewis; Elsie and Lilian, sisters from Lake Forest; Dick Schwartz, Chicago; and which others I don't remember. Through conversations, I gathered that it wasn't the place for a person without a sense of humor. I could see that the tales being told were quite far fetched. But now I had the lay of the land, and it seemed to lay in the direction of a good time.
At dinner that night I was seated with Bertha Zimmer, a very friendly and jolly school teacher from South Bend, Indiana, and Tim and Ann, brother and sister from Logan Square, Chicago. Their being from the old neighborhood put us off on the right start. The dinner proved to be all Helen, our waitress, had lead me to believe at lunch. Lamb chops, asparagus, potatoes, crispy combination salad, hot rolls, olives (ripe and green), fresh raspberry sundae with ice cream that was made from cream. Mint julep was the first course. The dinners throughout my stay were all one as good as the other—chicken, turkey, steak, breaded pork, mountain trout, whatever it was it was tasty and individual. Everything was well flavored and buttered when buttered.
As proved to be the custom, everyone gathered on the front porch, which was level with the highway and blended in with the highway. Here the day's trips were discussed and plans for the next day's activities made.
Bertha, Ann, and Tim invited me to go along to the movies and lecture on Longs Peak which was held at the Outdoor Amphitheater about a mile up the road. These lectures on a variety of subjects are held every night by the rangers for the amusement of the tourists. The subject of Longs Peak proved to be most interesting and of value later on, as this peak is the most important and most discussed spot in that vicinity. After the lecture there was community singing.
Then we walked home under the stars that can almost be picked out of the sky they are so close. But without the moon it certainly is dark. The fireplace in the lobby was very inviting after the walk in the brisk air, so we parked there for a short time and then retired. The evenings are always cool enough to make a coat very welcomed and the nights perfect for sleeping.
Bright and early at 5:00 A.M. I was wide awake. Never fear, I didn't get up at that early hour; I just lay there drinking in the clear, fresh air and gazing out the door at the scenery.
ELLIS the handy man
At 6:45 Ellis brought my hot water and calls, "Here's your water, Patty." So, up I hops and was down to breakfast by 7:00. The first thing I enter the door, John greets me and pops at me, What happened to you last night? I looked all over for you 'cause I was going to take you down to the Little Store and buy you a beer and introduce you to the natives." And, of course, he handed a little blaaaaaa and told me to hang around that night -until he got through. Then I ate breakfast - bacon and eggs.
First thing after breakfast, my feet automatically carried me to the corral, where I got acquainted with Lynn, the foreman, who turned out to be "Lyman, the Liar." But, alas, the horses were not being ridden until the evening for the Steak Fry, but I was the first one on the list of reservations. After thoroughly inspecting those quarters - Labor Inn, the blacksmith shop; the Bridle Suite; the milking chamber; the Rats Nest, Seldom Inn, Never Inn, Always Inn, these being the cowhands' headquarters; and the saddle room - I wandered back to the hotel. Everyone seemed to be walking or hiking someplace or other; but since it was very hot, making it a perfectly lazy day, I spent the biggest part of that day just sitting peacefully gazing. It was so heavenly
to know that I had two whole weeks in which to do just as I pleased. Throughout the day I heard more tall tales and all about the jokes that had been played on the Dead End Kids over in Hayden.
About that time Jack Gillan and John decided to put a red light on the porch of the cottage in which the two girls were, so as to have one last laugh on them, before they left the next morning.
AUNT JANE and LUCIA
Lucia, the little 11 year old girl from Elm Street, Chicago, turned out to be the girl with the plaid Scotch cap who was on the Zephyr. She is the most unusual child, having the appearance and intelligence of a girl fully 15 years old. It seems the management was not so keen on her coming because she made such a pest of herself the previous year. She can ask more questions in one minute than the average person would think of in a day. Aunt Jane seems to think her behavior is just all right -not saying what everyone else thought.
Before we knew it, it was time to get into the boots and start our ride to the Fry. About twelve made up the party, which left at 5:30. I was given Red to ride. He is a beautiful red horse with one white spot on his forehead. There was no lack of conversation with Lucia along. Elsie, Lilian, Jack, and Ed White were among those on the trip. Tommy was our guide--and is he cute with his half-shy smile.
TOMMY the cowboy
The trail we took lead up the side of the mountain on the northwest of the valley, down again, and around here and there through the woods. We had to ford quite a deep stream at one point. Tommy somehow lost his balance, or something, while trying to urge his horse into the water and brought up a boot load of sand. We thought sure he had some fish for dinner in it, but no luck. Red was proving to be a very nice horse. Although I was taking it easy on my first ride, we did go into a couple swell canters. Tommy was trying to tell me how to ride western style - sitting the saddle to all gaits - but the more I relaxed like he told me to do, the harder I bounced. Blaming it on the fact that my stirrups were too short, I gave up sitting to the trot and posted like a regular DUDE.
We reached the scene of the Steaks at about 7:45, just as it was getting dark. The rest of the vacationers had walked up the hill to the Fry, and everything was all set to dive in when we got there. Oh, we took the long way to get there - going 10 miles to get about a block from the ranch. The horses were taken back to the corral by the "horse tenders."
The steaks were fried on a large stove and flopped on your bun as you came along with your plate load of potato salad, potato chips, olives, and buns. Some of the waitresses were up there and served the drinks and dessert. We were all seated around a huge bonfire which was built on an enormous rock on the side hill. The setting was perfect, and the food delicious. Angel food cake, cookies, and watermelon constituted the dessert. After all were filled and contented, one of the guests, who directs a chorus of some kind back home in Indiana, led the singing around the campfire. Then John told some of his tales and last, but not least, Don, the singing cowboy, played his guitar and sang some of his favorite western tunes. Another day was drawing to an end, and everyone stumbling down the hill toward home while Don remained at the campfire singing is a picture which will always remain very clear in my mind.
DON the singing cowboy (on left)
LYMAN the liar (on right)
But the fun was not at an end yet that day, for, as the gang passed Hayden, the red light was there to greet them. Everyone just howled. The poor Dead End Kids were now Gutter Snipes. After quiet was again restored, some headed for the Little Store, others hiked off to bed immediately, and a few of us remained around the fireplace in the lobby. All this fresh air, however, soon got me, and I snuck off to bed too before very long, for I was booked for the half-day trip the next day and needed some sound sleep to carry me through.
Again I was awake at sun-up, but fully rested and with no ill effects of the two-hour ride. Feeling chipper, I trips down to breakfast only to be scowled at by John, who made a few remarks about people who ditched their dates. Since he is one of these people who kids around in a very serious manner, I just kidded back, never thinking that he had meant it. One never knows when he is serious and when otherwise; but I guess that is what has made him so interesting and the "Ladies' Man."
But there were more important things ahead, for the horses were awaiting their riders. 8:30 is the time for departure on all trips. I again had Red, and off we went to the mountains. Lucia had by this time become my shadow. The kids, at least, took to me! She and I did have a lot of fun together. Guess I must have acted her age, or younger, because she would not believe me when I told her how OLD I actually am. Or maybe she was so smart, generally, that she knew enough to be tactful.
The party consisted of six and Tommy - Ruth Schwartz, a girl from Denver, and an elderly woman and man. We took some of the same trail as the night before and then went on up to an Inn on the Trail Ridge Road. We had a nice ride with some very nice canters. By this time, I was thoroughly in love with Red.
PAT the cactus kid on RED
He does anything you want him to do almost before you know you want him to do it - mental telepathy. He wasn't a slow horse, and yet he wasn't a frisky or sensitive horse - just swell. He was just the type of horse necessary for enjoying the ride and at the same time enjoying the scenery without having to worry about landing on your fanny or head any minute. We reined in at the corral at 12:00 noon, and dirt and all went to lunch.
In the morning Lucia had been pestering me to go swimming with her at the village pool, so after lunch, when I found that Muriel and her Aunt were taking Win in and someone would be coming in for her later, giving us a ride both ways, I decided to go. You have to go when the goings good if you don't have a car of your own. The Dark Horse Pool was very nice, but it doesn't compare with swimming in a lake. The lakes at that high altitude - 8,000 ft. - are all much too cold for swimming. Lucia and I got along swell that afternoon, and she was entirely different than in a crowd, where she wants to be the center of attraction. And let me tell you, she says just exactly what she thinks. But she had me on a spot. Evidently, she had tried to find out and the explanation given to her didn't quite satisfy her, so she thought she would try me and see if she could find out why everyone laughed when they saw the red light in the cottage the night before. Was I embarrassed! Here we were, sitting in the bus station within hearing of the men in there and out she comes with that. How I answered her, or got out of answering her, I don't know now, but the point was dropped. We rode back to the ranch in the back of the pick-up truck, as Ellis did not know when he left there that he would have more than one passenger.
Nothing exciting happened that night. We monkeyed around the hotel, wrote cards, and later walked down to the Little Store for cokes. No beer yet. Pretty good, me thought. Lyman had been up to organize his all-day pony bounce and I just couldn't resist the trip to Odessa Lake. With another full day ahead, I hiked off to bed early for the third night.
The ride to Fern Falls, Fern Lake, and Odessa Lake was very beautiful. The trail was very narrow and in spots went along ledges which dropped straight down quite a distance. The horses could only walk on practically the whole trip after starting on the up-climb. We went from an elevation of 8,000 ft. to 10,000 ft., climbing 1,000 ft. in the course of a mile in one location. The trail led through the woods the entire distance, obstructing the view of the surrounding country. The most exciting thing was the snow up at Odessa. I didn't think that snow could possibly thrill me like this did here in the hot sun in midsummer. There was very little left, in fact, the least that there has been for a good many years. We made stops at the Falls, the Fern Lake Lodge, and lunched at Odessa. On the return trip we stopped at the Falls and at Forest Inn. About an hour and a half was spent up at Odessa. We had a lot of fun that day teasing Lucia. Elsie, Lilian, Janet, Lucia, Bob, Jack, another younger boy, Tommy, and I, all young folks, possibly I was the oldest, attempted the full day. The down walk was a bit hard on the anatomy, nevertheless, it was such a relief to be able to trot and canter on the home stretch that we just let them out and had a ride like I had never had before. Hi 0 Silver - here we come! Bob had quite a time trying to keep up with his horse on his second horseback ride. Some people are brave undertaking a long trip like that with as little experience as that.
Bertha, Tim, and Ann had all left for home up to this time, and I was left alone at the table, so Win moved me down to the end of the dining room with some "very nice young girls" said she. There were two pairs of them, one was the Janet who was on the Odessa trip, and what pains in the neck. I thought perhaps it was me and my timidness, but when Hilda joined our table on Sunday and was of the same opinion, I gave up and ignored them, too. Win was up to some of her tricks every now and then when some guests with senses of humor presented the opportunity. Her favorite was the rubber donut blown up and thrust under the men as they seated themselves at the table. What a noise! She was continually making up stories about the guests as they arrived; such as, the middle aged couple at the table next to ours, who were suppose to be on their honeymoon this year. The baby prevented their taking the honeymoon last year. The place was just one laugh after another.
The evening again was very quiet. The day had taken about all of my energy, and I sure didn't go far to look for something exciting to do. Did go down to the Little Store for the before-retiring coke with two girls from Burlington, Iowa. There was quite a gang down there. Announcement had gone around that the nickelodeon had been completely re-supplied with the latest records - Beer Barrel Polka, Sunrise Serenade, Sly Old Gentleman from Featherbed Lane, Heaven Can Wait - and all were down to hear the change. The crowd did not include many young fellows for the girls our age. There were a number of families with young folks of college age and a lot of young couples, but only one eligible male--ED WHITE, with the liquid blue eyes and uninterested look. But let me tell you, was he interested; Yes, in the young, very young sweet things. He and John were the two who were always hatching up things.
There was someone who wasn't quite so frisky on that Friday morning. Oh, my poor back and waist line. That jogging along yesterday sure got results. Lyman tried to get me on the half-day trip, guaranteeing that it would fix me up like new; but I had my own ideas. I took a nap in the morning and sat around resting. John and I had a nice chat, and I finally promised to wait for him that night and break down and have a beer - and tell him some of our Chicago stories.
Lucia and I went out for an hour's ride in the afternoon. They gave me Queenie, but I sure didn't like her after Red. The field across to the Museum was such a nice chance to really canter, but do you think she would go. She'd loop a couple times and then trot, bouncing me like a rubber ball. She got a little nervous too and shied going over a soft ditch. After that she just wouldn't cross anything that resembled that ditch.
At last John’s work was slowing up enough to permit him to take an hour to show his movies in the big parlor after dinner. Several of the reels were taken during the fall and winter months when the elk just flock around the buildings and the "schnook" winds about carry away the cabins, even when they are weighed down with huge boulders piled on the porches. Other reels were taken on Cowboy Day and on the day the Pony Express carried the mail. John tried his best to be very informative throughout the pictures; but before he got any where near the point of his story, everyone would just sit there and laugh and booo, until he finally gave up and wouldn't say a word. Lucia’s interest in somebody by the name of Art got everyone to piping up with: "Where's Art?”, "Is that Art?", "On, there's Art!" The confusion and laughing was terrific.
The crowd then congregated in the lobby around the fireplace - chewing the fat, playing Chinese Checkers and cards, and laughing. Gradually they all dispersed, and I waited. I thought sure John would never get through with his evening duties; but finally we got down to the Little Store. There were very few down there. Ed White joined us; and then Roger, one of the fellows who run the place sat down with us. John and Ed had me going around in circles with their fooling around. The crazy goons. We danced quite a bit, until Roger and Doc decided they wanted to go to bed. Then we insulted Ed until he finally went home. The rangers had also left. So there was nothing left to do but go home to bed.
A half day trip to Deer Mountain was scheduled for Saturday morning. This ride took us up to an elevation of 10,000 ft. again; however, this height on the very top of Deer Mountain did not bring us into snow. This mountain stands all by itself and is not basically a part of a series of mountains. From its summit could be seen the entire surrounding valleys - Estes Park Village, Horseshoe Park, Moraine Park. We sat up there for a half hour or so and then headed back for home.
Saturday afternoon was spend in general monkeying around. Hilda Marxen came in and was seated alongside of me at the table. She seemed to be a lot of fun, and we clicked right off the bat. She is considerably older, but not like some of those other schoolmarms that travel. No, she isn't a school teacher. Just another business woman from Chicago. We diddled around after dinner and ended up down at the Little Store. John had also wanted to have a beer with her, so when he came down he joined us. Now I had competition, and Ed White wouldn't help me out in the least after the response he had received the night before. Most everybody was down there that night. Jack Gillan had immediately attached himself to the little gal from Louisiana. But I did all right in my campaign and had John for my escort home. Dear old John.
I slept until 8:00 o'clock Sunday morning. Had intended to get up for sunrise service down at the corral, but it seems that no-one turned up for Lyman's sermon. And here he had even put on his Sunday shoes to conduct the services. Hilda and I got ambitious in the afternoon and dragged our feet in the direction of Eagle Cliff, fully intending to climb to the top. Well, we did get about one-fourth to one-half of the way up and took some pictures.
HILDA MARXEN at Eagle cliff
When it comes to climbing, I'm a pansy. Anyway, it would never do to work off the two lbs. I had gained. On the way back we stopped and took some pictures of Roger, Doc, and Chuck.
DOC, CHUCK and ROGER
The Injuns came during the evening to entertain the dudes. Little Mocking Bird put on a few of the native dances and sang some of their sacred songs. The other Injun gave a lengthy talk of great interest and food for thought. This was the first time the dance hall had been opened since I was there; but there wasn't any dancing after the performance. Shucks! John had another of his tricks up his sleeve. We thought there was something funny going on when he insisted on getting a chair for this little brunette and sitting her right in the front row. All of a sudden, during the Sweetheart dance, in which the Indian fellows swoop their
choice up in a blanket, Little Mocking Bird throws his blanket over this girl and picks her up and dances around with her in his arms. It was so unexpected that everyone just gasped. The girl took it like a good sport tho'.
Aunt Jane told me that she was going to Grand Lake Monday morning with a couple from the ranch and that she would rope me in. That drive is most beautiful in those parts. Well, I sat around the hotel most of the morning, and then didn't get to go. This couple decided to go someplace else. The rest of the morning I spent down at the corral watching Lyman and Ed White testing and examining four new horses that they were buying. In the afternoon I went out for an hour's ride. Charles, one of the young boys, was also going out alone, so we joined forces and went up over the hill. I was wondering how Red would react without the usual group, but he was very good and I enjoyed the ride very much.
Hilda introduced me to Raymond and Mildred Singleman and Billy Schneider, all from Chicago. The five of us went down to the Little Store and drank beer. The slot machines were very popular that night. Of course, I had to donate a few nickels to the good cause, too. Since Mildred and Billy didn't drink beer, Hilda promised them a shot of Scotch before they retired. We ended up in Hilda's room with the Scotch. The rest paid homage to the liquor, but the beer I had drank earlier was sufficient for me. It's a wonder the rest of the occupants of that cottage didn't come banging on the door. We did make an awful lot of noise, but I guess Ed White and the others were out on a Beaver Watch. After the stories they told about John and the women who had left with broken hearts, I decided I wouldn't fall in love with him.
About 9:00 o'clock Tuesday morning, Mr. and Mrs. Singleman (Ray and Millie) and four of us girls started off with our lunch for an all-day trip up into the Bear Lake district, about nine miles from the ranch. We drove to the Bear Lake Lodge in Singleman's car and from there, they and I took horses and the other three hiked up. The trip took two hours - the most thrilling ride, as far as height is concerned, that I had as yet undertaken. The points of interest along the trail included Nymph Lake with its covering of yellow water lilies, Dream Lake, and Lake Hyaiyaha. These lakes are all nestled in between the various high peaks.
MILDRED and RAYMOND at Lake Hyaiyaha
Between Dream and Hyaiyaha Lakes, the trail lead along the side of a mountain, which I declare was a thousand miles up from nowhere - and we were still climbing. Ray and I got the jim-jams and only dared take a peak out at the distant horizon - miles and miles below. It was more comforting to look at the side of the mountain on our right. Adding to the discomfort was the horses desire for green stuff to eat. The trail was only about five feet wide, and the darn horse insisted upon turning crosswise on the trail and eating either up the mountain side or down over the lower edge. I get jittery thinking about it. And I didn't dare kick the plug too much for fear he would get peeved and dump me off - so there I was with my horse eating grass.
The view of Long's Peak from this location was enough to make me stand gazing with my mouth open. I could just imagine what a thrill Jack and the two girls had when they climbed to the top last week. All the guests at the ranch were a little jittery all that day, particularly when the ranch did not get a mirror flash back from them at noon. It takes about nine hours to go up and back from Long's Peak Inn. They go part of the way by horse and climb on foot from Boulder Field, which I believe is about four miles from the summit. But four miles up, around, and over rocks is a bit more than my ambition would permit. One of the paths goes up sheer-up -and-down rock by means of cables for distances of about 200 ft. at a time. The kids made the top, signed the register, and were thrilled to pieces. We had heard of some awful tragic climbs at the lecture, but the kids had beautiful weather and all went well.
We had a very interesting day and got back to the ranch about 4:30, in time to get dressed for dinner. I was fully aware by this time that I would have to be pulling stakes in a day or so, but I just hated to bring myself to deciding when. My original plans were to stay only until Monday morning, and here it was two days later. Information given me about Colorado Springs rather dampened my desire to spend three days there, so I lingered on at Steads.
Muriel and I were feeling a bit restless that night, but couldn't think of a thing to do to appease our mood. We finally ended up down at the Little Store. She is from Elgin and some relative of Lewis'. Muriel had been out there for several weeks already and was missing her Saturday night dances very much. Rather than get in there and find we couldn't dance together, we tried it out on the road in the dark. Couldn't you die? But we made a fair go of it, so ventured inside and flung it a while. John came down, but my being with one of the family, so to speak, prevented any developments.
Wednesday - my last day at the ranch and my last ride in the mountains. The trip was to Sheep Lake and a half day. All riders were grown folks and fair riders, so we had the fastest trip ever. We went up to the Inn on the Trail Ridge Road and even on past that about two miles or so. And what I mean, we cut a fast clip. A lot of the trail was flat open country where you didn't have to stick to single file. The lake, itself, was merely a grassy puddle in the center of a flat plain in Horseshoe Valley. On the return trip Mollita fell off her horse, but she wasn't hurt a bit. That made her a full fledged rider. I am not as yet a good rider because I haven't taken my first fall. The trip was a perfect one with which to end my ten-day stay at Steads.
The afternoon was spent in general monkeying around, taking pictures, and thinking about "how I disliked leaving the next morning." Chuck (Donald Duck) promised I could cry on his shoulder if the mood persisted in the evening. After dinner, as was often the case, we gathered around the piano listening to Ed White play. He certainly can rattle the keys and pick any tune up after hearing it hummed of whistled. He really is quite a guy, for he can ride a horse even better than he can play the piano. For a city slicker, he's quite a dude - but that's what comes of spending a month every year for the past eight years at the Stead Ranch.
Since it was my last night and I hadn't as yet been in to see the night life of the Village, I joined three of the girls on a night clubbing expedition. John took us in in the station wagon and promised to wait up until two o'clock for us to call for a ride back. While we were still sober, we made the rounds of all the souvenir shops on Main Street. All I bought was a little white horse carved out of bone. The pictures I had taken and the impressions stored away would be more than enough to remind me of that vacation.
Our first stop was the Chez Jay Cocktail Lounge - the nicest in town. The atmosphere there was one of refinement and class, but what we wanted was to see the cowboys and a more western atmosphere. John had told us to be sure and take in the Dark Horse Inn, so that's where we headed next, and we certainly got more than our fill of atmosphere. The stools and booths were all made into black horses; and if there was one person in the place, there were 101. The bar is next to the dance hall on an avenue of amusements - "hit the black baby and get a cigar," etc. I wanted to go into the dance hall in the worst way, but these girls were a little too old and above that sort of thing. I could have had a circus there if I had been with the right crowd - Hilda or Muriel, for instance. Hilda had more than her share of the sun that day and was home in bed.
At about 11:30 we had seen about all there seemed to be to see, so we headed for the bus station and a phone. John came for us, and in a few minutes we were back home. The rest went to bed, but I stopped in the hotel to cry on Chuck's shoulder - he's the night clerk and always on duty. John was also in monkeying around.
I was up bright and early the next morning, for all my packing was yet to be done before the nine o'clock bus. I took some last minute pictures and said my goodbyes - also the unimportant matter of paying my bill.
While waiting for Ellis to get ready, I was standing; talking to some of the folks and all of a sudden I was swooped off my feet. Who should it be but John to carry me to the car. Now, it isn't everyone who would rate and every place that would give such service. I felt like a ninny, but who didn't sometime or other around there.
Again I was on my way to new places, sights, and people. The trip to Denver was made by way of the South St. Vraine route. The entire drive was through the mountains, taking us by the Chalet, Baldpate Inn with the seven keys hanging in front, and Long's Peak Inn. We were very close to Long's Peak and had an entirely different view of it. Boulder was a very picturesque town. We arrived in Denver at 12:30 noon, and my train for Colorado Springs did not leave until 3:00. I was a terrible looking specimen, with my nose peeling for the third time, my arms all scaly, and my hair as fuzzy and dirty as it could possibly be, so I inquired for a beauty shop and had my hair done. Just barely made my train and slept all the way down - about two hours. "It must have been the altitude," that's what everyone blamed everything for.
I registered at the Y.W.C.A. and had the same room that Mrs. Bishop had checked out of only an hour or so before. I then got cleaned up and took a nap. Feeling a bit more peppy, but still clown in the mouth and lonesome, I went out to eat. The food just wouldn't go down though because of that lump down there, and I gave up and left most of it. Took a walk around the main section of town and then went “home” to bed. Home was where I hung my hat.
The alarm clock awakened me at 1:30 A.M. and the cockroaches scampered around to greet me. Ughhhhhh…
The limousine was to come for me around 2:00 for the sunrise trip up Pikes' Peak. Two passengers, fellows from Norway, had already been picked up, so I was plunked in the back seat between the two. Gee, I sure thought I was getting a break, but anticipation is always greater than realization. These two had been touring the U.S. for a month or so, and were spending a couple more months in our good country. They should have been very interesting - and could have been, but they chose to sleep all the way up. Of course, there wasn't much to see in the pitch dark; but still, there were possibilities for a lot of fun. Four older women and a young fellow made up the rest of the load.
It took about two hours of winding and climbing before we reached the top. There are quite a few cars that make the trip at that time, and looking back down you can see the lights of other cars on the road, outlining almost the entire general route. It was still quite dark at the summit, and I was very glad I had the sheepskin coat to keep out the wind. There are two buildings on the Peak, both restaurants and observation towers. There is no vegetation of any kind up there; the entire summit is rock. The elevation is 14,110 ft. It gradually got lighter and the sky in the East was a gorgeous red just before the sun peeped up. The entire horizon, however, was very hazy, making it impossible to get much of a view of the surrounding country. By the time we were about half way down, the sun was then bright enough and the sky clear enough to see some beautiful scenery. We stopped to see the Bottomless Pit - anything but a pit, as I know them - and several other points of interest. There was snow in spots up above the timber line. At one location you can look down miles below and see the winding road for a great many miles - like a white ribbon laying carelessly on a green lawn. That was the outstanding scene of all.
On returning to Colorado Springs, the driver took me over to the office to see if any trips had been arranged which I would be able to take and still get back in time to catch my train. All the trips were about four hour trips, so I was out of luck in seeing anything else down there. Therefore, I went back to the Y and climbed into bed and covered up my head. Got up about up 9:30, bathed, dressed, packed up my cases again, and checked out. The train was an hour and a half late, which annoyed me no end. If I had know that, I could have taken a trip. While at the depot, I made the acquaintance of a girl who was also taking the Zephyr to Chicago and going on to Winston-Salem, N.C.
While in Denver for an hour, Gladys and I ate hamburgers and rambled around. The Zephyr left at 4:00 P.M., but we were seated in different cars and I was so sleepy that I didn't get to see her again until we arrived in Chicago. Yes, here I was back in the old city again with my memories.
The entire vacation was a wonderful and amusing experience - something to talk about until next year and to tell my great grandchildren.