Outside Magazine just declared Colorado Springs the number one best city in the country. (As they maturely state, “It’s simply a pretty awesome place to live.”) Passing through Colorado Springs we only saw the Scenic Office Parks of I-15 as we drove around in vain looking for an Airstream dealership that moved months ago but never updated their website.
We agree that the best thing about Eastern Colorado is the tiny town of Trinidad at the base of the Sangre de Cristos. “Oh, I know Trinidad well,” said Ralph’s mother when we later told her we found it to be the cutest place we visited (this should tell you something about our route). “It’s where your father made me promise to never let him ever buy another Ford.” Can’t wait to learn the background on that quote.
Not sure why we liked Trinidad so much. It has little mansions, friendly townspeople, tasty commercial architecture from 1900, sweet historical society ladies and even an old fort, for Ralph. I think the word for it in Spanish is “hamable”: just nice and agreeable. Tweet me for the two dirty secrets about Trinidad I learned from a colleague whose brother-in-law lived there (perhaps for one of the two reasons, he didn’t elaborate).
Southern Colorado boasts a history of violence and valor surrounding the coal mining industry. In 1914, after complicated and building tensions, striking miners were forced from their camp homes and relocated to a makeshift tent city where they were eventually fired upon by militiamen. Tents were burned and women and children perished, trapped in the fire. The grim affair shocked the nation—and coal industry management—prompting overdue improvements in worker conditions and labor relations. On the site of the “Ludlow Massacre” now stands a quiet memorial where a remembrance ceremony is held each June. In Trinidad you’ll find another life-size monument, this one in bronze, built to recognize the contribution of coal miners everywhere.
Colorado is lousy with beautiful state parks, and the scenic, well-tended Carpios Ridge Campground at Trinidad Lake was a great place to spend the night. By the time you get there they’ll have a fancy new camper services building with bathrooms, laundry and showers (everything is now under construction). You can even bake something in their traditional horno; the ranger will supply recipes and utensils.