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Showing posts with label Canon City. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Canon City. Show all posts

Friday, March 23, 2018

Florence,Colorado: We Don't Love Our Dinosaurs Extra Crispy In Colorado

We don't love our dinosaurs extra crispy in Colorado. (Twilight Zone music plays.) Or do we?

I'm the type that loves to find the fun and humor in most anything, as long as no one got hurt. And since no one got hurt--except the unfortunate T-Rex at the Royal Gorge Dinosaur Experience outside of Canon City--we get to find the good in a dinosaur going out in a blaze of glory.

For those who haven't heard, there was an apparent electrical malfunction at the dino attraction and bye bye Dino.

                                                 It's NOT Special Effects--It's Real

You can read all about at: Roaring fire takes down Royal Gorge Dinosaur's T-Rex: via @CCDR_news

My first thought was: Flipping Flintstones! I haven't been to the Dinosaur Experience yet--and my luck is that the T-Rex would implode a few weeks before I got out there.

In case you think I am a whiner, I am generally not. But I've had a few experiences that just when I get ready or finally see a tourist attraction--something goes wrong. The most notable was when I FINALLY got to Paris, of course I wanted to see the Eiffel Tower. I did. But I wanted to go inside the Eiffel Tower. Oh, heck no. The Eiffel Tower was closed. I had no idea they closed the Eiffel Tower. But I guess they knew I was coming.

I guess the T-Rex outside of Canon City knew I was planning on a trip and decided to go to dino heaven instead.

But, the Dinosaur Experience is not closed--and I understand from local news reports that a new T-Rex will be installed before the summer rush. Whew! I'll carry a portable fire extinguisher just in case.

I also understand that pictures and videos of this flaming dino have went viral--across the nation and the world.

Who knew that a flaming dino would accidentally get Fremont County bazillions of dollars of free publicity worldwide. And yes, this county is pretty cool. And also pretty hot when dinos catch fire.

But all the attractions are open for business, so I'll see you there. Yes, you'll be able to recognize me by my fire extinguisher with the dino stickers on it.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Florence, Colorado: #IFoundYouInFlorenceColorado Artisian Marsha Bell of Canon City

Who did I find in Florence, the antiques capital of Colorado, this time? Florence has a campaign, #FindItInFlorence, designed to showcase all the things one can find in Florence. On this blog, I also highlight who I  find in Florence and what they are doing with the things they find in Florence. I think you'll agree, many people who come to Florence have interesting dreams, goals, hobbies and memories they seek to celebrate with objects found in Florence.

                                                         Marsha Bell Of Canon City

This time I found Marsha Bell of Canon City in Florence. She's holding a miniature cowboy hat and a pair of cowboy boots.

Of course, we couldn't resist asking her what she planned on doing with her purchase.

Marsha said she's been fascinated with miniatures since childhood. But this Canon City artisan isn't just content with arranging and collecting miniatures in an ordinary fashion.

"I arrange antique miniatures in unique antique containers," she said.

She uses antique radios, televisions, refrigerators and other vintage items as the showcase or framework for works of art.

                                                         Photo courtesy of Marsha Bell

Marsha gave a vintage TV (pictured above) new life by creating a magical scene of a North Pole bakery.

"I purchase many of the items I use, in Florence," Marsha said.

Also a registered nurse at St. Thomas More Hospital in Canon City, and an instructor at CNA classes in Florence, Marsha estimates she puts at least 50 plus hours into each creation.

Her nostalgic vignettes aren't for sale, but Marsha has been entering her work at the Pueblo State Fair for about five years. She's won several Best Of Show ribbons and earned three first place ribbons.

                                                        Photo courtesy of Marsha Bell

The scene of a Victorian Christmas, framed by part of an antique icebox, won Marsha a Best of Show award at the fair.

Marsha is inspired by a variety of themes for her art work, but primarily concentrates on Christmas scenes. "This all started from a memory of me as a child looking down a banister at Christmas..."she recalled.

The magical memories of her childhood Christmases are celebrated and honored every time she goes on a search for new miniatures and antique backdrops.

I'm just glad, even though Marsha doesn't sell her work, that she chooses to share her love of good memories, antiques and miniatures with everyone by displaying at the fair, and readily sharing her story with us in Florence.

What is Marsha's newest project that she was in Florence hunting for miniatures last week?

She'll be working on a barn scene (complete with that cute hat and cowboy boots) set in an antique school desk.

I'm hoping when the antique school desk is completed we'll get a picture to share on the blog. We always love seeing all the fascinating things fascinating people do with the treasures they find in Florence!

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Fremont County, Colorado: Helping Children Under Stress

I found this gem while perusing the classifieds in the Canon City Shopper. It's a great way to comfort children in stressful situations.

And it's something most anyone can do, even those on a budget.

Police, sheriff, fire and ambulance services in Fremont County carry a supply of stuffed animals to give to children during calls. And stuffed animals are also given to children at Christmas.

One can donate either new stuffed animals or ones in good used condition at the Burger King in Canon City or at the Seventh Day Adventist Church. Or pickup arrangements may be made by calling either 269-1697 or 671-2902.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Change At The Canon City Queen Anne: High Teas and High Fun

As a total fan of anything British, Victorian and cultured experiences in dining--of course I was a fan of the Canon City Queen Anne.

For those who don't know, the Queen Anne is one of Canon City's many architectural jewels and a wonderful place to enjoy a high tea, a luncheon or dinner in a Victorian atmosphere. Many an anniversary, birthday, girls day out or special occasion has been enjoyed at the mansion.

I recently enjoyed my anniversary dinner there (my first time at the Queen Anne) and just a few weeks ago enjoyed a Christmas Tea there with co-workers from a Florence antiques mall.

So, it was with sadness I read an email today from the proprietors of The Queen Anne, that things will be changing.

Change is often good, so we wish Al and Linda Ballard, the owners, the best as they embark on new adventures.

Linda will eventually be turning in her apron to tap into her interior designs training and skills to assist seniors. And Al will be planning bus tours to fun locations, also for seniors.

But not to fear. Even though there is a new chapter in the lives of The Queen Anne proprietors, the reservations-only Queen Anne teas and lunches and dinners and cooking and baking classes will go on through Dec. 23, 2017. Phew!

So there is plenty of time to enjoy a special Valentine's tea. An anniversary. A birthday. Just a fun experience for no other reason that one deserves it!

More information on the new chapter in the lives of the Queen Anne folks is available at:

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The CellHouse In Canon City, Colorado: Fun Shopping Experience Bar None

When I close my eyes and imagine a fun shopping experience, I imagine a shop where I can buy a motorcycle, a cutting board, some office furniture and perhaps pick up a bit of salmon or goat cheese for my next soiree, all at one store.

Actually I've never imagined that. But now that is possible to buy all those things in one place at The CellHouse in Canon City, Colorado.

This unique shop, located at 602 Main St. offers a huge selection of prisoner-produced items in conjunction with the Colorado Correctional Industries.

And the shop also has many items that are not produced by inmates, such as surplus office furniture at low prices.

So far, on my one visit to this semi-new business I purchased a big jar of honey and will probably return for more.

It's worth a visit to The CellHouse just to see the quality and diversity of the inmates' work.

More information on this fascinating business can be found at:

Sunday, March 27, 2016

If You Like Florence & Canon City: WATCH THIS

If you like Florence (the antiques capital of Colorado) and Canon City, then you might want to watch this:

The moving postcard is exactly what it sounds like--and is edited by Luci Westphal, a German New Yorker currently exploring Colorado and the Wild West.

                                        Picture From Luci Westphal's website of Canon City

The moving postcards show Fremont County in a beautiful light. Hats off to Luci for visiting the "Wild West" and producing this visual treat.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Fremont County's Newest Treasure: ELEVATED Magazine

You are going to love this. I often talk about all the treasures in Fremont County, on this blog--and the newest treasure I stumbled upon is a delightful treat. Elevated Magazine just released its third issue (Dec. 2015 + Jan. 2016) and it is beautiful. And free!

You can find this stunning magazine, celebrating local merchants and artisans in the Royal Gorge region, at many locations in Canon City.

Look for this photo on the front cover.

                                                 Photo by Dawn Lincoln Photography

I found my copy of Elevated Magazine today at The Iron Gate Antique Mall in Florence. And I couldn't be more delighted. There is top-drawer photography, stories, ads and information celebrating what is special about this region.

I've seen magazines similar to this in Aspen, Vail and other areas across the country--but I've got to say that Elevated Magazine is so cool, enticing and well-done and I've not seen a better magazine of this type anywhere.

I'm predicting Elevated Magazine will be a huge hit not only with tourists, visitors and locals--but it will grow into all areas of Fremont County.

More information about Fremont County's newest treasure is at: or at its Facebook page:

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

We Found YOU In Florence: Patty & Fred Adkison & Blake Hansen

Will we find YOU in Florence, the antiques capital of Colorado? That's part of a new (an hopefully fun) feature on this blog. It's simple. There is so much to find in Florence, but we want to find YOU in Florence and see what YOU found in Florence. Congratulations to Patty and Fred Adkison of Canon City, Colorado. They were the first people we found in Florence and they were happy to share their Florence find with us. Even if we don't find you first, feel free to send us a selfie or picture of you and your Florence find. Simply include your name and where you are from, the item and what you plan to do with it. Try and get a Florence landmark or background in the picture, so we know you found it in Florence. And feel free to tell us how much you paid for it (if you want) and what store you purchased it from.

It was a family outing last weekend, when Patty and Fred Adkison, of Canon City, took their grandson, Blake Hansen, on an antiques junket to nearby Florence.

I have it on good authority that there was a little ice cream and a few hugs for Blake as he enjoyed the day with his grandparents, who happened to find exactly what they were looking for in Florence, the antiques capital of Colorado.

The Adkisons were visiting South Dakota and spotted many antique bed frames that some one had turned into outdoor benches. They snapped a lot of pictures. "We even brought a bed home from South Dakota," Patty said.

Of course, the Adkisons, knew the antiques capital of Colorado was just a few miles from their home and they thought they would see what they could find in Florence.

The Adkisons found one bed frame with rails (for $75) that Blake was eager to turn into a bench. According to Fred, bed rails aren't necessary in making the benches, though. Some angle iron works just fine.

Then they discovered a second bed frame in The Iron Gate Antique Mall (109 W. Main St.) pictured above. No bed rails--but the price was just $60. We loved both of the bed frames they purchased, but were particularly taken with this one due to the Art Deco style and well-preserved paint rendering of urns and flowers. Look above Blake's head, and you can spot some of the details.

The Adkisons promised to send a photo or two of the completed benches. We look forward to that. And if they do--of course, we'll put it on this blog, so you too can get inspired, not only by the great antiques in Florence, but by the creative energy people like the Adkisons are inspired by.

If we find YOU in Florence, and snap a picture of two of you and your finds (with your permission) you'll receive a little, bright green card with this blog address, so you can find the blog with your picture and story. And remember--if we don't find YOU first--feel free to contact us at this blog and we'll consider putting your picture and brief story online. There is no charge on either end for this. This is all free and just for fun!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Rocky Mountain Sigh: Museum Of Colorado Prisons In Canon City

It's time for another Rocky Mountain Sigh: A fun day trip in Colorful Colorado to the Museum of Colorado Prisons. I took company to this museum and have been another time. It's truly one of the best museum experiences anywhere. OK, the Natural Museum of History in NYC and Louvre in Paris were pretty good too. It's one of the best museum experiences in Colorado.

And someone at the museum has a sense of humor!

This is a reenactment of what a vintage prison cell for women looked like. Notice the brand of toothpaste that supermodel prisoner is holding. AIM! As in: Ready, aim, fire that gun in the commission of a crime?

Most of the displays are in the actual 32 cells. This exhibit reenacts the typical prison guard of yesteryear. My goodness, I thought I was at a maritime museum. This dude looks like a salty old sea captain with a twinkle in his eye. He probably just saw the babes with the AIM toothpaste. Why, it even looks like he has a harpoon in the background to keep them whales, or prisoners in check.

Wait, these are the visiting rules at prisons? These are the visiting rules at MY house. I don't allow anyone to sit between my legs. My only question is what exactly constitutes excessive hugging or kissing?

Armed with the naked fury of fact! Wait, that's how I write! But I wasn't around in the 1940s when the movie CANON CITY was made to chronicle the sensational 1947 prison break from the Colorado Territorial Prison. According to the museum brochure and MP3 audio tour, 12 crazed cons overpowered guards to make their way up the Arkansas River. A major blizzard thwarted their efforts.

OKAY, I lied. The Museum of Colorado Prisons is almost as good as the Louvre, where the real Mona Lisa is displayed. It's pretty hard to impress me. The REAL Mona Lisa painting is very small. You don't have to travel all the way to France to see Mona--the Museum of Colorado Prisons has this one, painted by a former inmate. For centuries, art historians and the commoner have speculated on what that sly grin on Mona's face was expressing. I think I finally figured it out. She spotted that hottie in the cell with the AIM toothpaste and got a slight giggle out of the ONLY truly appropriate brand of toothpaste for hardened criminals.

If you are a regular blog reader at True Story Club, you know we like to poke a little fun at ill-conceived handicrafts. But I can't bring myself to make fun of this cute little owl some prisoner made out of yarn.

Actually the Museum of Colorado Prisons has a wonderful gift shop with very reasonably priced items. Some of the items are made by current prisoners. One of the best buys there are handcuff earrings for just $5.

The museum is located at 201 North First Street in Canon City, right next to the Colorado Territorial Prison. The museum at one time was the original Women's Correctional Facility.

The museum is open May 15 to Sept. 30 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. From Oct. 1 to May 14, it's open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays only. The phone number is: 719-269-3015.

The website is:

Admission for adults is just $7 and there are reduced rates for seniors, children, active military and corrections employees. It's one of the best museum bargains--and one of the most interesting looks into Colorado history ever.

And if something from another plane is your cup of tea, you can call the museum, which is available for paranormal investigations for a fee. Hmm, I just might do that. I know the chick with the tube of AIM toothpaste is still haunting me.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Rocky Mountain Sigh: Death-Defying Trip To Canon City's Skyline Drive Part 2

We were all enjoying the dinosaur trackway at Canon City's Skyline Drive. I decided that nearly getting thrown over the side of the cliff and nearly getting blown over in a porta-pottie was not going to rain on my parade--or anyone else's parade.

Crack! A bolt of lightening shreeks. OK, I lied. I'm afraid of four things: Clown collectibles, heights, porta-potties and lightening. I have reason to be afraid of lightening. A lightening fireball blew through our window swamp cooler once and nearly got me. And the lightening also blew a chunk out of the road in front of our house before totally frying our SUV. But that's another story. And honestly folks, Colorado is wonderful. Even for chickens like me.

Granny was also afraid of lightening. My husband and teenager, not so much. I start jogging towards the car. Slowly. Teenager is not afraid and is ambling. Granny is scared, but still had her sprained ankle wrapped from a previous incident (not in Colorado) and is also ambling, but with a look of fear on her face.

Crack! This time the lightening appears to be hitting just feet in front of us, right in the road.

"We've got to get the the car," Granny gasped.

I cheerfully reply," I just saw something on the local news, where even one's car is not totally safe in a lightening storm." I then proceed to tell her our SUV was fried in front of our home, thankfully without us in it--but if we would have been--adios!

I certainly know how to show company a good time.

Crack! Another close strike. This time I grab my husband's arm and slightly run towards the car.

I yell over my shoulder to the company," That's what John Denver meant when he sung, Rocky Mountain High! 'I've seen it rain fire in the sky.'"

Granny, her face as pale as a Colorado ice field replied," Oh my God! I've heard that song a million times and I never made the connection. That's what it means!"

Of course, she'd never been stuck in a lightening storm on a thin road, trying to dodge cars as we raced to our car.

I linked my husband's arm again and sang to him off-key," Rocky Mountain Die!!! First I nearly get knocked over the side, then blown away in a porta-pottie and now I am dodging lightening strikes. Rocky Mountain Die!!! I've seen it raining fire in the sky! You sure know how to show a girl a good time!"

He was snickering so lavishly that he barely could make it to the car. Company didn't hear my rendition of Rocky Mountain High.

OK, we know I'm a sissy pants. But what do other people (besides company) who were split down the middle (thankfully NOT by lightening) think about Skyline Drive?

I took a two-second trip over to TripAdvisor. Now poo, poo that a bazillion people thought Skyline Drive was the best thing since sliced bread. Of course, I'm going to hone in on the most hilarious review of Skyline Drive, which goes something like this:

"Be very afraid! One false move on this nightmare of a road and you will tumble to your death. Once you commit, there's no turning around. THERE IS NO ROOM TO TURN AROUND! The ground drops off hundreds of feet just inches from your vehicle on both sides Thirty seconds after starting up the ridge, I knew I had made a terrible mistake. 

I'm not kidding about this. I'm a 54 year man, I have a pilot's license, and I've jumped out of an airplane - but driving Skyline Drive was the most terrifying experience of my life! My hands were shaking on the steering wheel and I could feel my heart pounding. I started talking to myself, "Don't look down,don't look down". I was convinced I was going to lose control of my vehicle. I had to will myself to keep going. Thank God there was no one behind me.

I don't know how many deaths there have been on this road, but to me, taking your family on this road is utter lunacy. I'm Libertarian by nature, but I would ban children from vehicles on Skyline Drive."

Oh my goodness! I'm not a 54-year-old man, but I am a sissy at times. I used to jump horses and go up in two-seater planes. But Skyline Drive kicked my butt. And I, too, am a Libertarian by nature!

For those who aren't familiar with Libertarians (Ron Paul is one) it basically is someone who thinks people have the right to be as stupid as they want, as long as they aren't endangering others.

Yeah, Skyline Drive even kicks hearty Libertarian butts!

Seriously, I do recommend Skyline Drive for a fun and free way to scare the hell out of yourself and company. The views are spectacular. Just make sure there is no lightening predicted. Make sure you are wearing an adult diaper or empty your bladder before you go, so you can avoid swaying porta-potties. And make sure other passengers in your car all open the doors when no one is standing by the edge.

As if all that wasn't exciting enough. I discovered--after I did the Rocky Mountain Sigh and defied death on Skyline Drive--that there is wonderful self-guided tour brochure on Skyline Drive. I have the brochure and it is great with directions, history and pictures. The Self-Guided Heritage tours were developed by the Fremont County Heritage Commission and the Fremont County Tourism Council. The brochures are free and can be found at museums and Chambers of Commerce in Fremont County. If you can't find the brochure in person, it's easy to go to and download it for free.

Well, hats off to the Fremont County Heritage Commission for excellent brochures. I'll be referring to others of their informative brochures in future blog posts when I share yet another Rocky Mountain Sigh day trip in Colorado.

WTF! Yes, if I can survive Skyline Drive, you can too!

Rocky Mountain Sigh: Death-Defying Trip To Canon City's Skyline Drive - PART 1

In addition to mocking clown collectibles, collecting unusual true stories--I like to shine a spotlight on all the fun things to do in Colorado.

Colorful Colorado is one of the prettiest and most interesting states in the Union. I've been to 43 states and all of them are great--but Colorado, in my opinion towers above the rest.

I love cheap and fun day trips in Colorado. After moving to Colorado over 20 years ago, we've rarely taken a vacation outside of the state, because it would take a lifetime to drink in all the beauty of this state.

Today's fun trip is: Skyline Drive, just west of Canon City on Highway 50.

My history with Skyline Drive is angst-filled. I ain't afraid of much in this life except clown collectibles and heights. Several years ago, company came from California and my husband decided Skyline Drive was a must-do.

My husband has a maniacal streak. He once commented that he'd love to take his mother on Skyline Drive, since she's really afraid of heights. Really afraid--not just semi-hysterical as I am. Fortunately or unfortunately she hasn't visited us in Colorado yet.

A friend about our age was delighted with the idea of going up a one-way road with NO guard rails and sheer drops on either side. I was literally hyperventilating. My husband's solution was to immediately take a second trip up Skyline to get me over my fear. It worked a little--since I am a reasonable person when my hands aren't wrapped around someone's neck and shock therapy can be a good thing.

That was about six years ago. Well, a few days ago--another crop of company arrived. Of course, my husband thought Skyline Drive was a good thing to show them. One of our company was a teenaged-girl who had never been to Colorado. The other was her grandmother, who has been to Colorado.

The teenager was gun-ho. Granny was not. She cleared her throat, "I'm a bit afraid of heights also."

That didn't stop my husband.

I decided to pull up my big-girl panties for the sake of company and my sanity. I took deep breaths and am doing fairly well and almost enjoying the spectacular scenery while chanting under my breath that guard rails are a good thing.

Granny is horrified.

We stopped at the big pull-out at the top of the ridge. There is about two feet space from the car and a sheer drop. But we all decided to park so we could walk back to the dinosaur trackway.

The dinosaur trackway boasts layers that tell an interesting story of geology and history with the tracks made by 30-foot long Ankylosuars. There are also burrows and other traces of ancient clams, worms and shrimp. Yum! Too bad there's not a Red Lobster in Fremont County.

I opened my door and the teenager, sitting in the back seat with her ear pods and/or smart phone in hand, didn't see me and opened her door at full swing. She smacked me so hard in the hip and rump that I nearly toppled over the side of the sheer drop.

Of course, she was apologetic. So apologetic for so many hours, that I told her that I KNOW she didn't do it on purpose and that it's stuff like that, that memories are made of. I mean, if one went on a trip and didn't have a near-disaster or two--one would not remember it on one's deathbed, would one?

I didn't tell the teenager that she whacked me so hard that my butt and hip were throbbing for hours.

I was trying not to wet my big-girl panties as I ran across the drive to the lone porta-pottie. OK, I lied. I have three fears--clown collectibles, heights and OUTHOUSES or porta-potties. I'd rather bust my bladder that use a porta-pottie. But I had no choice.

So I limped into the porta-pottie and did my business swaying above the seat. Well, at that exact moment a huge wind gust came up and rocked the pottie so much that I almost fell over.

I nearly escaped getting tossed over the side by a big whack in the arse, and now to be blown away in a stinky porta-pottie? I lept out of the pottie and joined the others at the dinosaur trackway.

Two scary experiences. Well, three--if you include the scariness of a tiny road and sheer drops.

Surely there would not be yet another scary experience on Skyline Drive, would there?

Yes, if I can survive Skyline Drive, you can too!