By mid-October, things were really starting to cool down. We had driven through some of the highest peaks of Colorado so now it was time to start the long swing down and back around to Vegas.
We made a bee-line for Denver, where Jez and I explored the Museum of Nature and Science for the afternoon. We saw a fabulous IMAX documentary on the Rocky Mountain Express, simultaneously in awe of the feats of engineering and planning our next holiday around this train! When the museum closed we walked back into downtown Denver and wandered along the main shopping mall. The restaurants and bars were overflowing with people, while the trees in the mall had fairy lights draped around their branches. It was a cold Saturday night but there was warmth and merriment in the atmosphere!
We continued through to Colorado Springs where we took the Cog Railway to the top of Pikes Peak. The Cog Railway has been running since 1890 and scales the enormous incline to the summit of Pikes Peak at 14,115 feet (4303 metres)! Even though the view at the top was wonderful, it took about 90 minutes to get there. The round trip took about four hours in total, including a stop for a few greasy donuts at the top. Manitou Springs, where you get on the Railway, was a beautiful town with loads of shops and places to eat. We also found what must have been one of the oldest Coca Cola vending machines in the world. Crazy times!
After Colorado Springs we drove quite a distance to Santa Fe, New Mexico. It was a very quirky and unique city with Spanish architecture and a lively art scene. We spent a morning walking down Canyon Road, an entire road of art galleries and cafes, marveling at the enormous sculptures and equally enormous price tags. I enjoyed the city and loved how friendly and welcoming everyone was. On a side note, we ate very well in Santa Fe, with incredible Mexican food in abundance!
Since we were in the vicinity, we took a detour through the city of Albuquerque. We are huge fans of the TV series Breaking Bad, which was filmed in Albuquerque, so we swung past Walter White’s house to take a few photos. The couple who own the house must be very patient – while we were there three other cars pulled up to take photos as well!
We made a brief visit to the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History which held some interesting information about nuclear power, weaponry and the impact of nuclear warfare. It also had a small collection of planes including a B-52.
We had a busy day in Albuquerque and a long drive ahead of us but our spirits were buoyed by the end of the US government shutdown. We knew exactly where we were heading next – the Grand Canyon.