my POETRY | ANNI'S BOOK CRITIQUES | my ART | my BIRD photography | MLB | NFL | hurricanes



Got a good reason For taking the easy way out


CYBER-CRUISE
All Day Side Trip
Wild Wild West Excursion



<><><>

FROM OCEAN LINER TO LAX [LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA]

TO>

DENVER INTERNATIONAL [DENVER, COLORADO]
ABOARD

HOOTIN' ANNI'S CHARTERED 747

TO

DURANGO, COLORADO

<><><>





<><><>



If you click on this, it enlarges and you can copy and paste--you'll see on top that it says "souvenir ticket"...for your scrapbook!

Each one should have their tickets that Hootin' Anni has for all the cyber cruisers! She's at the 1st car behind the coal car--get one from her, and board the train to yesteryear!

* *NOTE: IF YOU DON'T WANT TO READ THIS ALL---MAKE SURE YOU SCROLL TO THE BOTTOM OF THE ENTRY. THIS IS A MUST!! IN ORDER TO RETURN TO THE CRUISE SHIP.

Tho it's a bit chilly this time of year, for those who wish to be a bit adventurous, there are open gondolas! For ones who are photography fanatics, these cars are wondrous for capturing an excellent view of the Las Animas River below in the canyon as we head toward Silverton, Colorado --The silver capital of the old west. In the past, this beautiful pristine area was renowned for train robbing and hideouts of infamous outlaws of the West.

But, for those who desire a warmer trip, the enclosed cars are a might more comfortable. Whichever you choose, just sit back and enjoy the trip. There is snow to be seen in spots. Normally this route is closed if the snowpack is heavy, but being near April, the spring flowers are opening and the engineer has put on the snowplow/cowcatcher to shove any snowfall or falling drifts that may be on the tracks. He's assured us it's all clear today!!!

Take under advisement for ALL passengers...this is a train that is powered by coal, just like the golden days of the infamous Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid train robberies! And the soot will find your belly button if you don't tuck you loose garments into your waistband!! I speak from experience. The first time I traveled the tracks, when I got back that evening and showered, my navel was caked with coal dust!!

As you board, the first passenger car at the front by the door, there are free pamphlets being handed out so each one can get a bit of history of the trip of which you're about to partake.




Once everyone is ready, and the steam is built up for the long haul [soon you'll be going nearly straight up, once we get out of Durango a bit] --we'll begin our journey!

* * *
*Train Whistles* *The Steam Engine kicks into gear, and the iron wheels begin to spin up ahead.* *Soon, the chug, chug, chugging is felt and heard as the train pulls away from the Durango Station.*

*Hootin' Anni's voice is heard from the train's intercom system*

"Welcome Aboard Cyber Cruisers! I hope your flight from Los Angeles' ship's port and LAX was comfortable. For those of you that had the window seats, did you enjoy the view while flying over the Grand Canyon in Arizona and then as we began to drop down over the Great Rocky Mountains ---the picturesque snow cap mountains of Colorado?"

"The trip aboard the Narrow Gauge Durango-Silverton Train will be a few hours. We'll be climbing higher, into the San Juan Mountains chain. About two-thirds of the way you'll see some of the beautiful jagged peaks. Tall and very majestic. As we get higher and higher you'll no doubt find snow! The narrow-gauge tracks will follow the Las Animas River that begins in the San Juans and becomes part of the Colorado River System --that eventually flows into the Grand Canyon in Arizona and out to the Gulf of Mexico."

"The river has cut many deep crags and crevices into the canyon we are about to enter. At times, you'll be able to see the river flow, other times, the 'canyon' is so deep the river seems to disappear; only to reappear the further up we go. I hope it's not ALL frozen over ---as you'll notice in some spots, the river is a bright turquoise blue instead of the deep greens you oftentimes see. The turquoise if from the silver in the ground. The compounds of the minerals make the water a beautiful Caribbean sea-blue."

"As we climb even higher, you'll feel the pull of the engine, and know the hills are becoming much more steep. There are many curves, twists and turns in the canyon as the tracks follow the river. Sometimes the narrowness of the canyon wall, and the river below will seem like we're gonna fall off!! For those of you that are a bit squeamish, look the other way---towards the canyon's wall!!!"

"Sit back, enjoy the trip. I'll butt in once in a while to point out some pertinent facts or the history. There are no restrooms, no dining cars. We'll all have plenty of time to dine when we reach our destination!-----

Once we reach the summit, and before we begin to drop down into Silverton, there will be a stop at a water tank, to replenish the water since climbing takes it's toll on the use of the steam to provide power."

"Colorado by average, is the highest state in the United States. It has the highest mountain range, the Colorado Rockies, with more mountain peaks reaching above 10,000 feet ABOVE sea level. Several here in the close proximity are well above 14,000 feet in elevation. What native Coloradoans call the "fourteeners".

*The train slowly begins to pick up speed as it carries us further north from Durango's valley and grasslands. Ever so slightly getting higher in elevation*



*About 20 minutes into the excursion, we get a real close-up glimpse of the river we're to follow.*

"Cruisers? May I have your attention?"

"This river, off to the east --to our right as we go up the canyon for now --we will cross it plenty of times and the ones on the left side of the cars will have it on THEIR side also --the river is named the Las Animas River. The Spanish named it "Rio de las Animas Perdidas" --The River of Lost Souls". And of course, typical of the Americans, we soon shortened it the Las Animas. It begins at "Animas Fork", a ghost town high within the mountain range, and flows south past a couple of other ghost towns, Eureka and Howardsville. Plenty of trout thrive here in the river. If you're a fisherman --should I say fisher PERSON? --The sport of fishing here is great year 'round if they have a mild winter."

*Hootin' Anni can hear the chatter of the cyber cruisers --she thinks they're impressed with the vivid, contrasting landscapes of the high country.*

*And the engine chugs on--------*

"Ya know? ---The northeastern United States is famous for the Autumn coloration of it's foilage, and people from miles around, no doubt other countries even, travel to see the deep crimsons and golden yellows of the maple trees when they turn color. Well, believe it or not, the fall 'change of life' for the plants and trees here in this canyon are spectacular too!! Coloradoans just keep it more of a secret than the New Englanders do."

"But to be a bit more honest, the change of season doesn't last long!! If lucky, the golden leaves of the Aspen Trees and the reds of Oaks only last a couple of weekends! From the first cold night it's like they turn color overnight, and quickly disappear for the winter's hibernation."

The Colorado San Juan's Autumn........



"The area you're about to embark upon is highly mineralized. Again, the hills were mined of it's silver and gold at one time or another in the past. With the economy as it is now, mining has become an 'extinct' vocation to the residents of this area. Most depend now on their income from tourism. Perhaps a small few still prospect mines and claims."

"Speaking of extinction, this area is many -a- volcanoes, now no longer active. The San Juan Mountains and the valleys are called "San Juan Volcanic Field" ---A crater, some 35 miles in diameter called La Garita Calera is part of this field....meaning "crater" in so many terms. Spanish for cauldron. The area, once active with numerous eruptions 25-40 million years ago, now remains dormant; sleeping . According to history and science, one of North America's largest, if not THE largest eruptions occurred in this spot right here you're in!"





*As we stop for a refill of water to allow us to coast downhill from the summit, into Silverton, we begin to see some of the abandoned mines of centuries past-----*

<>*<>*<>
ARRIVING IN SILVERTON, COLORADO
ESTABLISHED: 1874
approximate population 500 --and not so many year-'round residents
<>*<>*<>



I just wanted you to know, that there are MANY restaurants here in the town. All owners have been forewarned we were to be here on the early train. So, we will be served quickly and efficiently!! And they are opened especially for us visitors --most are only open seasonally. ALL WILL HAVE BREAKFAST BEING SERVED ALSO FOR THOSE WHO WISH.

I'll give you a list of local restaurants that serve the luncheon meals...

THE PICKLE BARREL
*an historic merchantile store* circa 1880
[partial MENU HERE]

BURGERS & SANDWICHES
(All burgers and sandwiches come with potato chips.)
STEAK & CHEESE SUB $9.95
Prime rib topped with mozzarella cheese, grilled peppers and onions, and oil served on our homemade hoagie roll.

PORTOBELLO MUSHROOM MELT $8.95
A grilled Portobello mushroom with sautéed onions and peppers and Swiss cheese on a Kaiser roll.

KOBE BURGER $10.95
A half-pound of 100% Kobe ground beef grilled and served with lettuce, tomato, onion, and pickle.

AU POIVRE BURGER $8.95
A third pound burger grilled and topped with bacon, blue cheese and cracked pepper.

REUBEN $7.50
Corned beef piled high and topped with sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, and Thousand Island dressing.


BUILD YOUR OWN
(Served with choice of chips or Cole slaw.)

MESQUITE CHICKEN SANDWICH $7.50
A five-ounce chicken breast grilled and served with lettuce, tomato, onion, and pickle.

BURGER $6.50
A third pound burger grilled and served with lettuce, tomato, onion, and pickle.
VEGGIE BURGER $7.50

NATALIA'S 1912
*Silverton's Oldest Bordello - Now converted*

ROCKY MOUNTAIN FUNNEL CAKES

TRAIL'S END PUBLIC HOUSE


<>*<>*<>

Many, many specialty shops for souvenirs, T-shirts and such!
Have fun, stay warm, and enjoy.
BE BACK HERE BY 1:00 PM

-- -- -- --

*Hootin' Anni on intercom*
Okay cruisers--as we disembark the train, and can now stretch our legs and fix our hair, etc., you will have three hours before we make our return trip to Durango, going back. It's 10:00 AM Mountain Daylight Time now, so arrive here by no later than 1:00 PM...the train leaves Silverton for Durango shortly thereafter....Don't miss your only way back to our chartered bus and return trip to LAX to once again board our cruise ship by midnight Pacific Time.

--------

*Hootin' Anni aboard the return narrow guage*
"Welcome aboard once again. This will be our last time in the train....Please, be fair, and make sure you have your same seat while we go down -- so the others can have the views of the canyon. It won't take as long to return to Durango as we're going DOWN hill all the way. There'll be no stopping for water, again, for the simple reason, we're going down instead of up as we did getting here. Once we return to the town limits, our charted bus will be waiting. Board quickly, without delay. We need to return so we can get back to Los Angeles and board our cruise ship."

"Hope you enjoyed your special "Wild Wild West Tour"!!

"I'll see you once again, on the bus, back to Denver."

* * *
!!!EXTRA!!!
* * *

<><><>
Nearly back to Durango, the engineer stops the train, dead on it's tracks awakening several of our cruise members!!! As Anni hangs her head out the window, she looks ahead at the engine. The steam is released in a loud whistle, and the iron wheels stop in a dead silence. Up ahead, it's Ol' BUTCH HIMSELF!!!


This is not a re-enactment.

At an empty gondola in the rear of the train, where the safe is stored, the car explodes!!!



I hear part of the gang gigglin' as they spit out their tobacco and ask Butch if he used enough dynamite.

The safe is broken, the Durango-Silverton is once again robbed!! The men board the cars with canvas bags and threaten harm if we're not cooperative and hand over our valuables!!!

**IN ORDER TO RETURN TO DURANGO IN TIME TO CONTINUE BACK TO LOS ANGELES, WE MUST RELENQUISH OUR MONEY/VALUABLES. NOW, IN ORDER FOR YOU TO BE ALLOWED TO CONTINUE --YOU MUST LIST A VALUABLE IN THE COMMENT SECTION OF THIS TOUR!!! ---Then, you'll be allowed to continue excursion.**

CONSIDER YOURSELF ROBBED BY THE INFAMOUS BUTCH CASSIDY & THE HOLE IN THE WALL GANG!!---well, at least in the fantasies!! NOW---THAT'S SOMETHING TO WRITE HOME ABOUT!!!!


Filming locations IN AND AROUND DURANGO COLORADO & SILVERTON TRAIN:
BUTCH CASSIDY & SUNDANCE KID
starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford (1969)


[slideshow below]



13 comments :

  1. OH, my god!!!!!!!

    *whistles like a steam train*

    I'll DREAM about all this all night long!!!

    As the captain that have steered the ship ALL the way here, I must have some rest in my cabin before going out in this port!

    There will be a lot to explore I can tell and I wanna be alert when I do, so i'll have:

    Sweet dreams.....

    *fluffly dream clouds*

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hmm...they robbed me of something but I can't remember what.....

    Now, where did that ToDo List go???

    :-)


    I think that next cruise I actually will make up a scrapbook of the cyberadventures that I have at the different ports. :-)

    I was very impressed by your tour. Thank you.

    I hope the tour company takes better precautions against robbery next time...I think the robbers stole my ToDo List. Back to the ship I go. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  3. OH, this cruise is absolutely fantastic, this was probably the only thing missing!

    I LOVE this old western... and steam train is just steaming hot! My brother in law had died if he went on this trip - from excitement since he is a big steam train fan.

    I'll order that AU POIVRE BURGER thanks! I'm starving!

    *drooling heavily now*

    And it's not over Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid I'm drooling, I swear ;-)

    They stole my Mr Lifecruisers keys to my medevial chastity belt AND my chastity belt! I wonder what they'll use that for....

    OH, look at that scenery.....

    *speachless*

    *fainting*

    ReplyDelete
  4. TO BUTTERFLY: Oh, I'd be soooooooo happy to turn over my "ToDo" List!! Believe me. I'd make sure I got on my knees and thanked them personally for robbing me of my list!!! hehehehe

    ReplyDelete
  5. TO CAPT. LIFECRUISER!---Hmmmm, the chastity belt huh? Maybe they're going to blackmail Mr. L with this ---or you. Ransom the belt-key for mucho denaro!!! hehehehehe

    ReplyDelete
  6. I'll be back later Anni to read this whole post. Right now I'm late for work and I have an engagement tonight so it probably won't be until tomorrow! See you then!

    ReplyDelete
  7. WOW - thanks so much for this fantastic ride! You did a perfect job on this tour!

    I´ve had a delicious Mesquite Chicken Sandwich for lunch... and I bought a new pair of fantastic Cyber Heels when I went shopping for Dessert. I´ve spent all my Cyber Money on those heels.

    Cyber Heels and Mesquite Chicken Sandwich... my valuables. The (*erm* very handsome) guys stole my new Cyber Heels, the Manolo Blahnik´s Heels I was wearing today and my Sandwich leftovers!

    I will never forget their lucky facial expression when they slipped into my heels and escaped balancing the sandwich on their noses... so I don´t mind I have to return bare-footed (Wearing their worn-out stinky cowboy-boots? Me? No way!!!) , bankrupt and hungry. *LOL*

    WOOOOO, Anni!!! Thanks for the great fun (and the keepsake for my cyber-cruise-collection!)

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hello!
    What an adventure!
    but the best was with the gang!An old fantasm! as the Bluest Butterfly they robbed me of something but me I can remenber what...Now I will take a relax time on the ship...

    ReplyDelete
  9. Oh, darn. Schhhh... don't say it so loud that Mr L hears that, then he'll have nightmares again and I can't have that. He's not only talking in his sleep - he kicks too!

    Thanks a lot for a wonderful day with the gang!

    Sweet dreams :-)

    *giggles*

    ReplyDelete
  10. If I was sitting in a gondola I wouldn't feel like I was on a train ... so even though I have all 3 cameras with me, I'm sitting IN the train!

    How close are we to Pike's Peak? Is there gonna be an Oxygen Bar at the top? I had a HARD TIME when I went to Pike's Peak! Course... that was about 70 pounds ago...

    Oooooo! LOOK at that beautiful river!!! WOW!

    Ahhhhh a little mining town... how cute... ooooh... volcanoes? Yea... you know what they say about sleeping volcanoes! Can we chug along a little faster, huh?

    Oh GOOD! Food! I'm starved! Oh yea... the Pickle Barrel sounds just about right! (NO! You're not getting me in that bordello! I know you... you won't behave in there! Heck... you won't behave in the Pickle Barrel either!) I'm havin' the Portabello Mushroom Melt! Mmmmm Mmmm! I'm sure it's FAR from low-fat -- but what the heck! It's VACATION!

    Ahhhhhhhhhh.... full belly... chuggin' train... nap time.... zzzzz....

    Wha? WHAT???? Aw for cryin' out loud! Leave it to Anni to get us on the ONE train that's gonna get ROBBED! See? I knew she couldn't behave! VALUABLES? WHAT valuables? I don't TRAVEL with valuables gentlemen! My watch? Pft! Sure... take it! *snickers* ... $18.97 at Walmart! Well... it's a gOOd thing they don't know about these concert tickets in my purse!

    Can we get back to the SHIP now? Sheeeeesh! I got a diary entry to write!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Ackk! They stole me lucky charms!!

    Whatever am I goin' to do without them? I sure hope there's a pot of gold at the end of this train run!

    If not, I've enjoyed the tour! Who needs gold anyways?

    Friendships and fun are golden to me.

    Now don't get all hysterical. Here's a tissue.

    BTW, I had fun at the bordello. Ooops! Maybe that's TMI!

    Great train run Anni!

    ~Toodles~
    ICL xo

    ReplyDelete
  12. What a lovely, readable, enjoyable, educational and wonderful stay Annie! Sorry I'm a day late, but went to Sweden yesterday for an Easter vacation!
    This is what I associate with the wild west and my favorite moves when I was young was westerns.
    Wishing you a lovely weekend and still an enjoyable Cyber Cruise:-)

    ReplyDelete
  13. Ah yeah, you got my attention every words and pictures. Breathtaking. What a cruise. And you as a guide: World class. I mean it.

    And you have done a tremdous effort in working out this "day" on the cruise. Thanks so much.

    hugs from Oslo;))

    ps. It took me a while to find the browser that let me commentate. IE is unuseless. Use Firefox.

    ReplyDelete

.