Tuesday, May 24, 2016

High plains area offers alluring towns


A family-friendly event (Photo: Westcliffe website)
There are places that we have passed through and later wondered why we didn’t spend more time there.

With our family, we don’t spend a lot of time anywhere when we’ve been on the road a long time and our van is headed home.

Even so, there are times when we think back to what could have been.

And Westcliffe, CO is one of those places that I think of now and then and go to a website or two concerning the town.

It was eight years ago, on a 30-day road trip, that we encountered the high plains western town.

We had headed east from San Francisco (after being on the road for three weeks) and was planning on making it home in seven days.

And that’s why the county seat of Custer County received short shrift with us. We had turned south off US 50 at Cotapati onto Highway 1A. And then the road connected with Colorado 69.

It was sometime in mid afternoon when we headed south on 69, not knowing what was ahead.

But approaching Westcliffe, it looked like an amiable town. We got off the main highway and drove through their business district, even though  being a small town,  seemed rather busy, especially at one of the local eating spots.

We took a look, drove on by, hit a few of the town’s roads and then it was back onto the main highway. But the town has an appealing allure.

It was getting late and we needed to cover more mileage. We were headed home, and at the time, that allure wasn’t enough.

In the 2010 census, the town had a population  of 568, and increase of only 151 in 10 years on only 1.2 square miles at an elevation of 7867 feet. The town’s website indicates there are now 587 residents.

The town sits east of the Sangre De Christos mountains.

Somehow, I wondered how life would be there.

I live in what could be considered a small town with a population hovering around the 18,000 mark. We are in a metropolitan area of more than 100,000 people.

This week’s temperature here will be lows in the 70s and highs in the 80s.

In Westcliffe, the lows will be in the low 40s and high 30s with highs in the 50s and 60s.

Quite a difference. Our lows in the winter may get down to the high 20s for a day or so and then warm back up. The highs in the summer hits the 90s a lot and sometimes 100.

In the high plains, the summer July temps last year look to be like ours with some days hitting the 90s and lows in the 60s.

But the big difference is the humidity. On the Mississippi Coast it’s usually around 90 percent, but in the high country it’s more like 50 percent.

We always think about other places and moving there. But that’s too involved. It just good to know that, if we desire, we can experience a lot of different places through travel, and then return to the comfort of “home.”

Next post: May 31, 2016











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