Tag Archives: Colorado


IMG_1890One of the highlights of my recent cross-country road trip was Estes Park, gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park. And how could it not be a highlight? Here is scenery that both inspires and excites in a corner of Colorado once called the ‘Switzerland of America.’ One of several wide valleys at around 8,000 feet, which include North Park, Middle Park, South Park, and Winter Park, FullSizeRender-18Estes Park itself was renowned for its beauty. Continue reading


IMG_0423The judges have decided—the votes are in! Having traveled more than 8,000 miles and scoured the country for the very best, here are the 2015 DOWNING ROADTRIP AWARDS…in order of encounter. Continue reading


View from our room at Estes Park

View from our room at Estes Park

Leaving the relative prosperity of Phillipsburg, KS, we headed down the highway wrapped in the ribbon of green and blue surrounding us. The expectation that the breadbasket of America would be rolling green pastures dotted with well-maintained farmhouses soon dissipated into alarm at the poverty we saw. While the farms seemed to be productive for the most part, the astounding number of dilapidated homes, falling down barns and silos, and other signs of abandonment, were only pointers to the towns we went through: closed and boarded shops, gas stations long ago deserted, empty streets. At times, driving through Nebraska, we wondered if we were truly in America. This was not the United States I was led to believe I live in.

Further despair was triggered when we passed a feed lot. Due to my love of anything western, and the cowboy way of life, if I eat beef it has to be grass fed. Having seen and smelled the feed lots, there is now no way I’d eat beef without the label of ‘grass-fed.’ The Yuma feed lot, in particular, which lasts for about two and a half miles, had us gasping for air and on the point of regurgitation. I cannot get across how thoroughly disgusted we felt.

IMG_0385This led to elation as we crossed into Colorado. In no time, The Rockies were in sight and I write to you now from Estes Park. There’s a feeling almost as if we’ve come home at last.IMG_0382


Gunslingers, Poets and Millionaires: 1880s Leadville

This month I have a guest on my blog, Ann Parker, award-winning author
of the Silver Rush historical mysteries.  The fourth book in the series, Mercury’s Rise, has just been published by Poisoned Pen Press.

A few months ago Ann and I sat down to lunch in NYC where she held me spellbound with tales of the Great and Good–or the Not So Good–who passed through Leadville, Colorado, center of America’s silver mining industry back in the 1800s.  I’m sure you’ll be equally fascinated with what she has to say. Continue reading