Just as Dinosaur Ridge was mere minutes from the Red Rocks Amphitheatre, so was our next stop ten minutes or so from Dinosaur Ridge, down the slope of Alameda Parkway, across the interstate, and up the forested residential side of Lookout Mountain. We were elated to suffer no ill effects from the changing altitudes this time. The real estate on the way was curiously maintained, as most of the home along Lookout Mountain appeared well-to-do, as if the local upper-class had all sought refuge together in case of another worldwide flood. At the very least, I imagine their homeowners’ association prides itself on strict upkeep.
Past the mountainside suburbs and one abandoned restaurant was our next stop, the Buffalo Bill Memorial, final resting place of Old West legend William F. Cody himself. I’m not sure why visitors feel compelled to throw pennies at him. Perhaps famous people’s graves are like wishing wells if you toss them just right. Perhaps they’re meant as tributes to Charon. Perhaps they’re a down payment from those who think Buffalo Bill’s ghost is a detective who helps the helpless and gives hope to the hopeless…for a price. Perhaps they’ve somehow mistaken his grave for Benjamin Franklin’s. The world may never know.
A closeup of the back of his tombstone. The cast-iron fence notwithstanding, Cody is still much more approachable than other famous gravesites we’ve visited in past vacations. As such things go, Cody is fairly accessible, especially if you’re tall enough to see over the bars.
To one side of his tombstone is a marker commemorating his status as a Master Mason. Considering how many fictional works I’ve run across that depict the Masons as a sinister club bent on world domination, I feel as though I should be shouting, “DUN-DUN-DUUUUUN!” and making wild allegations. I’d be more suspicious if this marker didn’t exist, and a Masonic brother had tossed one simple Masonic ring in with all those pennies. Instead of sticking out like an electronic billboard, it would be a subtle touch for those who observed closely enough, for those intuitive enough to detect that The Conspiracy Was Here.
If you ignored the attraction and turned your head east, your view of glorious Colorado extended a fair distance if you overlooked all those pesky man-made towers protruding from the Bob Ross scenery.
After several minutes of hanging out here, along with a much-needed but middling cafe lunch, we decided to move on. We had the option to visit the Buffalo Bill museum as well, to learn more about the man, the myth, and the legend in an ostensibly dignified setting befitting a well-known personality…but we were too intimidated by his colorful cape.
We descended the northeast side Lookout Mountain, I think. Our descriptive Internet directions were accurate, but the series of loops and hairpin curves occasionally bewildered my sense of compass directions. Though the rains had receded for a time, the overcast remnants obscured the sun. Also, I forgot we had a dashboard compass.
This, then, is the view of the Rockies from what I strongly believe is the northeast side of Lookout Mountain, stitched together and uploaded as a single, clickable megaphoto.
This, if I’m not mistaken is how Denver looks from the same vantage point. Notice the two roads there? That’s actually one downhill hairpin curve. Several of those were connected in a row, requiring me to weave back and forth like a frantic sine wave. This was not my wife’s idea of a fun drive. Knowing how adventurous I can be behind the wheel at times, she kept her eyes locked shut through much of the descent, presumably so she would never have to know if I skirted any of the curves on just two wheels.
To my wife’s eternal gratitude, we reached bottom without incident. From there, Day Three would continue onward and northward toward another section of the Rockies with fewer precarious death-race tracks and no capes.
To be continued!
[Link enclosed here to handy checklist for previous and future chapters, and for our complete road trip history to date. Thanks for reading!]