Adventurers in the Rockies
Strasburg, Limon, Kit Carson, Lamar,
La Junta, Delhi and Pueblo
July 10, 2016
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We spent last night in our
cabin next to the Bison herd here in southern Wyoming. Both
Chris and I put Terry Bison Ranch on our list of places to
revisit again, once or twice for sure. This morning we were
headed south on I-25 to Colorado. In Colorado we went east on
Rt. 52 going through the village of Hudson.
After stopping in
Hudson, we continued east on Rt 52 to Rt 79 then south to Rt 36
and then on to Strasburg. Near Strasburg on Aug 15, 1870,
the Kansas Pacific Railroad completed laying tracks that formed
part of a continuous chain of railways connecting the Atlantic
and Pacific coast. A sign and obelisk mark the site of the rail
Comanche Crossing Museum
portrays the history of the Strasburg area. Exhibits include a
doctor's office, cobbler's shop, two relocated school buildings,
a railroad station, caboose, antique vehicles and Native
Bay Window in caboose.
From the museum we drove a short distance to this rail yard.
I-70 in background.
Great Western Sugar Company 0-4-0T 6.
Pacific Fruit Express NW -2 1048.
After Strasburg we went south on I-70 to our next stop in Limon.
Union Pacific 8505 West on old Kansas Pacific mainline east of
Byers. From here we went east to Limon where we gassed up before
we headed to the railroad museum there.
Limon was named after
railroad crew boss John Limon. The town is rich in railroad
history; the Union Pacific Railroad and Kyle Railroad in
Phillipsburg, Kan., still use the rail yards. Near downtown is
the historic Smoky Hill Trail, established in the mid-1800s by
gold prospectors seeking a quick route to the Rockies.
Limon Heritage museum is
housed in the restored Union Pacific and Rock Island depot, and
an exhibit building featuring a two-room prairie house, a
mercantile store, geology displays, a radar weather station,
plows, wagons and an 11-foot-high bronze sculpture, "Prairie
Odyssey." Five rail cars, including a restored dining car and
caboose, contain permanent and changing exhibits about area
Leaving Limon, we were heading southeast on my favorite childhood
friend, US 40.
In 15 minutes on US 40 Chris and I were at our next stop, Hugo.
From the Roundhouse we drove a couple blocks to the restored Union
Pacific Passenger Depot.
Continuing southeast on US 40 for about 45 minutes we arrived at
the next stop in Kit Carson, CO
Leaving Kit Carson and US 40 we joined US 287 going south to
Lamar, about one hour away.
Lamar Colorado founded in 1886, a town along the Santa Fe Trail
founded in true Wild West form. Using the dark of the night, Mr
Blackwell's train station on his property was "stolen" and moved
three miles west. Not only did the town of Lamar prosper with the
depot and train stop, but also became the county seat.
"The West was won not by tracks alone, but sometimes by slight
of hand and a little larceny."
Ava Betz, local historian.
Original 1883 water tower behind tender.
Santa Fe "Prairie Engine" 1819 2-6-2 built 1906 standard
Santa Fe 1907 Train Depot.
Wind turbine blade.
25 miles south of Lamar on US 287 is a wind farm.
Camp Amache - World War II Japanese Relocation Camp - is located
17 miles east of Lamar on US 50.
After leaving the depot we
found a big box store to shop for supplies. Finished shopping we
were cruising through town and spotted a car wash. This one just
blew our mind, a great experience. We had been talking about
getting the car washed. So we paid with credit card and drove
inside and parked. No employees just this machine that just ran
around the car with water and soap that then rinsed and blew us
dry while we just sat and watched the 3D show and we drove out
with a clean car, on the outside at least.
Styling, we drove out of town on another
friend, US 50. Traveling west into the setting sun it was near
3:30pm when we arrived at our next stop.
In taking the name of the
river that flows into the nearby Arkansas River, town
founders thought it expedient to shorten the name, since the
original title of the Purgantorie River was Rio de las
Animas Perdidas en Purgatorio (River of Souls Lost in
Santa Fe Station.
Las Animas flourishes as trading center for the stock ranches and
irrigated farms of the surrounding high plains and as a
destination for vacationers at John Martin Reservoir State Park.
Tracks of Southwest Chief on left.
Bent County Courthouse adjacent train station.
BNSF 5762 East with DPUs on the rear end at MP 546.
La Junta - This was once la
junta - the junction- where the main and southern routes
of the old Santa Fe Trail divided. Bent's Fort, a major trading
post, was just to the east. In 1875, with the arrival of the
Santa Fe Railroad, La junta (HUN-ta) became a major hub on the
route, and the hoot of the locomotive replaced the rumble of
wagon wheels. La Junta also is a major cattle and produce
shipping center for the lower Arkansas Valley.
La Junta is still a junction, but the term
now refers to the numerous state and federal highways that
converge in the town. One of these, US 50, is part of the scenic
and historic Santa Fe Trail route that continues on as US 350
heading southwest out of La Junta.
Caboose in La Junta.
While in Lamar, it was very
warm but as we continued west the temperature continued to rise.
At Las Animas it was near 103 degrees but here in La Junta it
had soared to 107 degrees. Chris and I saw a Burger King
restaurant and raced to the air conditioning inside. While
sitting in the cool inside, I enjoyed my strawberry malt while
Chris had a cold chocolate malt.
La Junta Amtrak Station.
After our cool refreshing
stop, we continued west out of town on US 50 for our next stop.
Located on US 50 and Barnes Ave in La Junta.
1024 2-6-2 1901 standard gauge.
We spotted this little number near by the 1024.
Leaving US 50 we join US 350 heading southwest following the Santa
Fe Trail to Delhi.
One of few wig wags left on the Southwest Chief route.
After leaving the burg of Delhi, we returned to US 350 heading
northeast back toward La Junta.
US 350 parallel to Southwest Chief tracks and Santa Fe Trail.
At the junction of US 350 and Rt. 71 we went north on Rt 71 to
Rocky Ford Santa Fe Station.
Leaving Rocky Ford we rejoined US 50 and headed west a few miles
to our next stop.
Santa Fe station.
It was with great pleasure that I saw a fellow Robin on the
After leaving Manzanola it was about five miles to our next stop
on US 50.
Fowler Santa Fe Station.
Leaving Fowler we continued west on US 50 to Boone for a photo
Boone Santa Fe Station.
From Boone we stayed on US 50 westbound for Pueblo and our stop
for the night.
Wild fires west of Pueblo made for a dark, smokey sky.
View as we approach the town of Pueblo, CO.
Once we arrived in Pueblo, we found the Ramada Inn, our stop for
Thanks for reading.
Text and Photos by Author
The author retains all
rights. No reproductions are allowed without the
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