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Royal Gorge, Canon City, Colorado

When we were planning our Colorado trip, one attraction we were particularly attracted to was the Royal Gorge in CaƱon City. There seemed to be a lot to see and do at the Royal Gorge Bridge & Park. We were travelling with my 'bestie' and her family and it seemed like a great place to go to if you had some 'company.'

We wanted to see the gorge, the suspension bridge over it (it used to be the world's highest suspension bridge for several years), the aerial tram, the railway 'along' the gorge and the incline railway here at the Royal Gorge Park.

Now the biggest attraction here is the Royal Gorge itself, for me, at least. This gorge owes its being to the Arkansas River that trickled down from that part of the Rocky Mountains in central Colorado and decided to flow through this rocky surface. Today, millions of years later, this gorge is one to have a look into. It’s over a 1000 ft deep, said the person who manned the aerial tramway that took us to the other side of the gorge. What sets this canyon apart from its cousins in the United states is that it is not as wide as them. The Royal gorge is just about 40-50 metres wide and perhaps that is why it looks as precarious as it does. You should see this picture I took from a little gap in between two planks of one of the highest suspension bridges in the world!

Royal Gorge Bridge - one of the highest suspension bridges

Now if you have no acrophobia, this is something to do on this really 'high' suspension bridge--peep down.
The sight down below -- a pic from one of those gaps between the planks on the bridge.
You see the Arkansas river and the railway tracks that run along the river. 

One of the first few things we did as we got to the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park was to take a ride in its famous Incline Railway. The cars of this railway are placed like steps and they go up and down an inclined path travelling at a 45 degree angle. As we waited to go on the trip to the bottom of the gorge, we happened to be the first in the line and so we had the privilege of getting into the first car at the bottom. And this gave us the best possible (the scariest. if you have a fear of heights) view of the trip down this steep track. In a little over 5 minutes we were at the lower end of the tracks where were got to get down and look up at the majesty of the Royal Gorge. While we were down there, we also got to see the Arkansas River up close.

We also saw the tracks that took the train along the canyon bed. Since it was a weekday and not exactly holiday season yet, the train was not in operation. That was pretty unfortunate but we were not really upset because California Zephyr did take us through some massive Canyons and we also got to drive through some of these rocky structures when we drove down from Denver to Aspen.

Incline Railway, Royal Gorge, CO
Royal Gorge's 'Inclined Railway'

Incline Railway, Royal Gorge, CO
Downward Bound!

The view from the Incline Railway, Royal Gorge, CO
All the way to the bottom of Royal Gorge.
The view from the first car of the Inclined Railway

After the ascent back up on the winch, we had a quick lunch and got into the aerial tramway that took us over the gorge. They call it one of the longest single span aerial trams. From this tram we could see the full depth of the gorge and the striking suspension bridge that connected the two sides of the canyon. From the quick chat I had with the gentleman who took us across, I learnt that the gorge was over a 1000 ft deep and over 2000 ft wide at the top, and that the cable car took 4 minutes to get to the opposite side of the gorge.

Aerial tram, Royal Gorge, CO
The tram is said to be 1178 ft above the Arkansas River.
And it runs a good 2200 ft to get to the other side of the canyon.

He also told us that he could take us back to where we came from or we could chose to walk over the bridge. We chose the latter option which was the 1270 ft long and 18 ft wide suspension bridge. On our way to the bridge we walked through a Wapiti Park which was made of enclosures that housed bisons and elks. We also had a quick look inside a Mountain Man camp.

The walk on the bridge was a great experience.  There was more time -- compared to the crossing on the cable car -- to take in the surroundings and have a nice long look into the deep ravine. I’d also like to remind you about that peep through the planks of the bridge and the amazing view of the gorge down below and the Arkansas River that flowed through. Wait there’s one more thing you should experience while walking on this bridge -- try to stay on it till a vehicle drives by. We stood by as an SUV came that way and wasn't it exciting to feel one plank go down after the other as it passed by!

Royal Gorge Bridge, CO

If you are visiting in the peak season -- you could take the train along the gorge, try zip lining across the bridge, even feel the adrenalin rush as a catapult throws you in the air -- just above this deep gorge.
There will also be men in costumes in the Mountain Man camp to give you a history lesson or two about the ancient men who once lived in these areas and took refuge among these rocky structures when the strong winds blew past. By the way if you are there when the winds are doing what they do best, the tramway services might be suspended.

Royal Gorge history
A little Royal Gorge history

Tipsy from the TRIP, is on Indiblogger
Thank you for the votes, Indibloggers.

Linking to--

Mural from Berkeley, CA

This week I take you a little north of Oakland to the university town of Berkeley. After a walk through 'Telegraph Avenue' the year before last, I chanced upon these murals.

Mural 1 -- Mural design by Osha Neumann, painted with O'Brien Thiele
Janet Kranzberg, Daniel Galvez and many others
Painted in 1976
Restored and enlarged in 1999
The mural on this wall was painted the year of the Bicentennial of the American Revolution to commemorate a more recent revolutionary period. It depicts the social and political movements that defined Berkeley in the Sixties beginning in 1964 with the Free Speech Movement and concluding five years later with the struggle accompanying the creation of People’s Park on the eastern portion of this block.
- See more at: http://berkeleyplaques.org/plaque/telegraph-avenue/#sthash.sMSjZMBj.dpuf

Mural 2

(This is not the best shot of this piece of the mural. If you'd like to see a better picture of it, click HERE)

Mural from Berkeley, CA

Stockton Waterfront

One day we when we were totally at loose ends, we decided to pay Stockton a visit. We'd never been to Stockton, CA; only heard of it.

Stockton is the headquarters of San Joaquin County, which is one of the 58 counties of California. This city that is built on the Stockton River, seems to have grown to become what it is today because of the network of waterways around it.  Stockton also proudly wears the badge of the largest inland Seaport on US's West Coast.

When we got to Stockton, we drove around its streets for a while and found that it had some really handsome looking buildings. We then headed to Stockton Marina and Joan Darrah Promenade, which is one of the biggest attractions in the city. Any why shouldn't it be; just look  at these pictures from a stroll at the waterfront:

Stockton Waterfront

Stockton Waterfront

Stockton Marina
Stockton Marina

Stockton Arena
Stockton Arena Waterfront Stadium

Stockton Waterfront

University Plaza Waterfront Hotel, Stockton Waterfront
University Plaza Waterfront Hotel

Weber Point Events Center

Stockton Waterfront
Stockton Waterfront, a panorama.

Thank you for the votes, Indibloggers.

Linking to --

Oaksterdam Mural, from Oakland, CA
The Oaksterdam Mural,
Oakland, California.
Last week, I showed you some murals I found in San Francisco. This week, we go across the bay to Oakland, California.

This is a drive by shot of a big bright mural from Oakland, from a few years ago. I see Oakland's signature street sign -- green with an oak on it. I see Fox Theater. I see 'bart' and Lake Merit maybe and some other symbols of the city.
It was only later that I saw there was a 'university' below the 'Oaksterdam.' So I looked it up and learned that Oaksterdam University is a Cannabis university - the first of it's kind in the US. Now I'm sure you'll want to know more about it, if you don't know about it already. So here is the Wikipedia page for "Oaksterdam University."

I also learned that this mural was painted over soon after the university moved out of this building. And that means this mural is no more.

Linking to 

Monday Mural

If you like street art, you may also like:

Pier 39 is a touristy and full-of-life area in San Francisco, California. This is a great place to go for an evening stroll, buy San Francisco-souvenirs and chocolates, go window shopping, eat some shrimp, Fish n' Chips or Clam Chowder and watch the seals or the boats come in after a long day of sailing in the San Francisco Bay.

Pier 39 also gives you views of the Golden Gate Bridge, the Bay Bridge and Alcatraz. So late in the evening you see the bridges' lights and even the beacon from Alcatraz's lighthouse. (I wish had decent pictures of them to show you. )

The Sunday before last, I spent an evening at this pier and left there only when the crowds began thinning. Here are some pictures from Pier 39 'after all the lights came on':

Outside the Bubba Gump on Pier 39
 Linking to OurWorld

Street art: Murals from San Francisco

Tipsy from the TRIP is going to be linking to the meme Monday Mural from this week onwards. To  start with, here are a few pieces of art from San Francisco's walls.

Street art: Murals from San Francisco
Artist: Bill Weber
Street art: Murals from San Francisco
I looked up some info on murals in SF and learnt that the artist behind this mural is
Zio Ziegler.
Street art: Murals from San Francisco

PS. I do not know whose work of art, some of these are. If you know, do let me know.
Thank you for stopping by. :)

Linking to 
Jack o Lantern

Carved Pumpkin
For a couple of years now, I've been carving pumpkins for Halloween, just for the fun of it; for the art that it is. So for this week's Catching Light, 'that' is what I have -- pictures of some carved and lit pumpkin lanterns.

I just learnt that it was the Irish immigrants who brought the tradition of carving pumpkins to the US. Back home, they are said to have carved out lanterns from turnips and gourds. But when they saw the size of pumpkins grown on American soil, they began carving out those lamps to honour the dead or lamps-to-keep-spirits-at-bay with these large orange squashes.

Jack o Lantern
 This is a Jack O' lantern from Fall2013
Jack o Lantern
And here's this year's carved pumpkin. This time around, my 6-year old lent me a hand.
Carved Pumpkin
This time around, I went a little further and tried some more carving
and now I have a little ghost guarding my front door.

Linking to the meme -- 
The previous post on this blog has pictures from a 'happening' Pumpkin Patch in North California. See Dell Osso Farms HERE.


Pumpkins, Dell'Osso Farms, Lathrope

In these parts, October means 'Fall colour,' Pumpkin patches and Halloween. And pumpkin patches mean 'many, many pumpkins,' corn mazes and hayrides. That was why I insisted on not picking up pumpkins-for-carving when we went Halloween costume-shopping in Walmart a few weeks back.

For a couple of years now, we've been carving pumpkins and having fun doing it. If you haven't tried doing it, maybe you should. It is not as difficult as it looks. And then, there's the satisfaction you get from looking at the jack-o-lantern(s) you created.

Ok, coming back to the Pumpkin patches, it is a place you might want to check out if you find yourself in the United States in the month of October. If you have you kids you must take them there. Just seeing the bright colour of pumpkins is such a happy sight. I'm sure they'd like go pick up some pumpkins and try carving them. Just look up farms that grow pumpkins and are open to the public. Chances are that these patches come with some fun activities for kids and sometimes even adults.

And if you find yourself in Northern California, there's this place I would recommend -- Dell'Osso (Family) Farm in Lathrop. Lathrop is some 70 miles east of San Francisco. This year, 'this' is where we went to get our pumpkins. This farm turns into a full-fledged 'patch' with not just the pumpkins and hayrides but has a long list of attractions, activities and even stalls selling food that it made me feel like I was at a county fair.

Dell'Osso Farm is where you can --

Fall Fair, North Cal
get on a speedway, 

Fall festivities in Dell osso, Lathrop

Fall festivities at Dell Osso
or paint pumpkins,

Fall festivities in Dell osso, Lathrop
or climb a tire pyramid,

Fall festivities at Dell Osso, Lathrop
or get your hands dirty doing gem-mining with a bag of soil,

Play Cinderalla, Pumpkin carriage
or pose inside a pumpkin carriage,

Fall festivities at Dell Osso, Lathrop
or walk on aerial ropes

Fall festivities at Dell Osso, Lathrop
or shoot pumpkins like you would, canon balls,

Fall festivities at Dell Osso, Lathrop
or take a joyride in a toy train,

Dell Osso Farm, Lathrop
or halloween - souvenir shop, 

Dell Osso Farm, Lathrop

Pumpkins stocked up, Lathrop
or just pick pumpkins for carving.
But that is not all that this farm has spread out for this harvest season; there's a corn maize, zip line, petting zoo, haunted castle and a few rides to name a few things on the list.

Would you like to see my carved pumpkins? Click HERE

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