Sunday, July 17, 2011


A second bout of bronchitis has had me neglecting my tour guide duties this past week, but I think I am finally, sufficiently, on the mend...
Over the past few years I have been fortunate to have forged a couple of very dear Internet friendships (I know, GASP!...and no, not Internet dating).  I started out selling on eBay and was asked to join a, now defunct, selling group called TLOFA (The Ladies of Folk Art).  One of the other sellers and I formed a computer friendship, due to the CO link, that blossomed from emails to phone calls; to birthdays and holidays; and through a serious illness her little one went through two years ago.  There was an ease in the friendship, right from the start, that usually takes years and hard work to achieve and keep.  Joleen drove to Denver last year, when I went home for vacation, and we met up for the first time, face to face...I was right.  It was the easiest friendship I had ever fallen we were old childhood friends.  She will be hard pressed to get rid of me from here on out.

When she found out I was coming out again this summer, not only did she let me know she would make the trek in from the eastern CO plains of Sterling, but another TLOFA friend said there was nothing we could do to stop her and her sister from driving in from Missouri to join us, and boy were we glad they did!  I think we both felt we had that kind of instant connection with Chris and Angie, again...and now we are four.  To quote a recent movie, "Wait a second, could it be? And now I know for sure, I just added two more guys gals to my wolf pack!"

This is what happens when you get your hair cut two days before leaving on a trip, and tell your hairdresser, "I trust you completely".  Being "hair challenged", and meeting up with three friends with fabulous hair and cuts - priceless!  Standing in front of the icy cold Clear Creek on the way to Black Hawk, CO, left to right:  Joleen Locke; Angie Kempker; Chris Schenewerk; me
Our morning meetup including getting Angie and Chris checked out of a questionable choice of motels the night before, and a two hour trip through the Brass Armadillo antique mall, where treasures were found by all...Angie was a little "put out" with the fact that Chris had schmoozed her way across Missouri and Kansas, garnering "free stuff from little old men at antique stores", as she went.  I did have to laugh at lunch, when I asked the sisters why exactly Missouri license plates sport the phrase "The Show-Me State" (I lived in MO for 3-1/2 yrs.)?  Without hesitation, I was met with a resounding chorus of "Because, we'll SHOW you our boobies!"  I don't think that was how Chris was getting her free stuff, and can say for certain that she got nothing for free while Joleen and I were with her.
My folks offered up too good of a deal to turn down at the beautiful new Ameristar casino, getting us two nights in the little mining town of Black Hawk, about 45 minutes west of Denver.  CO legalized gambling in the old mining towns a few years back, and this little town has witnessed a rebirth, of sorts.  The Central City/Black Hawk National Historic District is an historic mining settlement founded in 1859 during the Pike's Peak Gold Rush - Central City came to be known as the "Richest Square Mile on Earth." 
On May 6, 1859, during the Pike's Peak Gold Rush, John H. Gregory found a gold-bearing vein (the Gregory Lode) in Gregory Gulch between Black Hawk and Central City (these two towns are separated by mere city blocks!). By 1860 as many as 10,000 prospectors had flocked to the town, but most soon left, many returning back east.  The 1900 census showed 3,114 people - those figures are probably somewhere between 200-500 now.
The old buildings have been refurbished, and stand alongside the new casinos - gold mine tailings are plentiful still, on the hillsides surrounding town.  We thought we had found Easy Street, for sure, when we walked into a tiny bar, with swinging saloon doors, that had dollar bills, seemingly, floating on the ceiling?!  The casino houses Colorado's oldest bar, The Gold Coin.  The bartenders are evidently skilled at adding a tack to a dollar bill and tossing it, along with a quarter, to the high ceiling – the quarter comes back down, to be returned to the visitor, and the bill stays on the ceiling.
Our adventures in town continued later that evening, with a midnight trip through one of the local "haunts"...stay tuned - there WILL be orbs!


The Primitive Bucket said...

Okay now I'm ready to go back!!! We had such a great time and I'm sure there will be more great times for all four of us in the future!! And your hair looked fine!!! Thanks for the great time and memories that make me smile!!! Hope you get feeling better too!!
Love you sis!!!

Jackie said...

Dang, you have such fun amazing trips! Hey did you find a red bakelite bracelet? I know you were going to search for one! Oh and how did they like the clutches you made??

Colleen said...

Your blogs are just so over-whelming but am so glad that you had a wonderful time!

Ahl Cooped Up said...

It looks like you girls had a fabulous time! I knew you would, not matter what you did. I'm enjoying seeing all the pictures.
Get better soon.