Our second scenic drive took us along Highway 12, The Highway of Legends. Again we drove south on I25 and took exit 14. It was the wrong exit, we should probably have taken 13B, but no matter, we found Highway 12.
From what we’d read in the Colorado guide, we expected it to be much more remote, but there were little towns and villages all the way along.
We stopped for a while at a pretty overlook unfortunately I’ve forgotten the name of the lake. Yes, I know, if I kept the blog more up-to-date…
As we drove up Cuchara Pass, at 9,995 ft this is the highest point on the road.
We could’ve taken this road back to the interstate, but neither of us fancied 35 miles of dirt road to get there.
As we drove down the other side of the pass, we had some lovely autumn views and colours.
La Veta, the end of the drive, was co-founded by frontier trader John Francisco in 1862, and is just as you would expect an old western town to be.
The Denver & Rio Grande railroad laid tracks here in 1876 and kept on heading west over 9,300ft La Veta Pass, making it the highest rail crossing at the time. Although the train still stops, for about 1½ hours, I think we were told, you can no longer buy a ticket and board the train; in fact the ticket office is the town hall.
We had hoped to visit the Francisco Fort Museum, but it had closed for the season.
This is the Doris Bristol Tracey Memorial.
Doris Tracey, from La Veta, was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal for her service in the Women Air Service Pilots (WASP) during World War II. WASP’s flew test flights, ferried planes and flew target aircraft while servicemen trained with live ammunition. These brave women freed up men to fly combat missions and paved the way for modern day female combat pilots. The Congressional Gold Medal is the highest civilian medal bestowed by Congress.
After a look around the town and enjoying coffee and a cookie, we always manage to find a coffee shop; and a stop at the supermarket in Walsenburg we headed back to Colorado City.
Have fun, we are!