Monday, August 15, 2016

Medical Sabbatical in Colorado Springs

If we stay 3 weeks in one location it feels like we are putting down roots.  We are about to start a 6 month stay in Colorado Springs.

George has been having shoulder pain for a couple of years.  We mentioned the pain  to his doctor during his physical 2 years ago.  The doctor told us it was bursitis and he is just going to have to deal with the pain.  I’m not a doctor, but I never thought it was bursitis.  Bursitis generally comes on slowly.  George can remember exactly when the pain started.  One day he had no pain, the next day—pain! 

Finally, after dealing with the pain for 2 years, we made an appointment with a different doctor.  We were referred to Dr. Ky Kobayashi an orthopedic doctor in Colorado Springs. He had done an elbow surgery on our granddaughter, Amber.  After an MRI, it was easy to see he had a complete Rotator Cuff tear and also a torn Bicep tendon.  (Surprise… NOT bursitis!)

Medicare would have allowed him to get the surgery anywhere in the country.  But, the physical therapy needs to be in our state of residence.  We moved forward to schedule the surgery and start his PT.

Generally we stay in Monument when we are in Colorado.  The campground in Monument is on the top of the Palmer Divide—so the weather can be extremely cold.  We are planning to move the RV to Colorado Springs.  We went to every campground and RV/Mobile Home Park in the area.  Some of them were just plain scary.  We wanted to be in a neighborhood that feels safe.  We wanted a place that is clean and sites are decent size for all of our vehicles.  We were finally able to get into Holiday Village Community the 1st week of September. 

Since George had already had his surgery, he was not able to move the 5th wheel.  He could not open or close the 5thwheel hitch.  He also is not able to drive until he is out of his sling.  Our son-in-law, Paul, volunteered to pull our rig from Monument to Colorado Springs.  He did a fabulous job.  We have never had anyone else drive our truck and our home—so I was nervous.  Paul did a great job!

Since we will be here through the winter months, we had to make some additions to handle the colder weather.  Because of George’s limited mobility, we needed help with our winter prep.  Our grandson, Christian, came over to put shrink wrap plastic on all of the windows.  This is a nice option to help keep out the cooler weather.  The only down side is the windows cannot be opened with the plastic on them.  But it is easy to see out the windows, so I do not mind not opening them for this season.

A major concern with cold weather is having pipes or tanks freeze.  Our grandson, Justin, and our daughter, Catrina; came over to help us but Styrofoam insulation skirting around the bottom of the 5thwheel.  It has made all of the difference.  It has gotten down below 30 degrees, and it has stayed toasty in our RV home.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Our Trip to Bishop Castle—Part 2

We had heard for years Bishop Castle is a “must see” in Colorado.  It is unique and quirky, due in majority to the odd and quirky builder, Jim Bishop. He painstakingly placed and mortared every stone into place. 
A 15 year old Jim Bishop bought the 2 ½ acre plot of land for $450 in 1969.  He purchased the land with the intention of building a small cottage.  What started as a cottage ended up turning into a one man’s obsession to build a castle.  I wondered if he builds, and continues to expand, his castle because of the objections of the government—not in spite of them.
This tourist attraction might be considered a family destination. I would recommend parents of young children be very cautious when bringing your family.  

There is a long narrow stair case that can be used to enter the castle--some went in this way.  I did not!

There are several narrow, dark stairways.  There are areas of limited or no safety railings.  There are pieces of the structure  with holes for little feet to slip right through.

This "cage" sits high atop a tower.  Getting to it took more nerve than I could build up in a month.  Made me think of the ball of death that motorcycles use in dare devil shows.  😬

One of the steeples is roughly 160 feet, which is about the size of a 16 story building!   A local zoning official told Bishop he could not build any higher than 25 stories—which only makes him want to go higher.

There is welding and iron work throughout. The metal work adds special details to the castle.  I liked the details, however, there were multiple places welds were broken.  There were also boards that have large holes.  Just before the wedding I saw a woman fall ankle deep through a hole, her shoe landing in the floor below. 

A large piece of railing along the catwalk had completely broken off, but luckily  there were a couple of ropes to warn us—so I did not going careening over the edge.  Ok, I feel a little unsettled--but luckily there is a rope and yellow caution tape to save me. 
George is not comfortable with heights, he was more than a little nervous here.  The fact that the entire structure was built outside of any building codes, did not make him more comfortable.  His nervousness only increased as he saw holes in the structure and missing or broken safety and support elements. 
Bishop uses no blueprints, he has no written plans and he has no interest is building anything to government building code.  The rocks that Bishop uses to build his castle are taken primarily from ditches and National Forest property. 

Bishop has single handedly built his castle.  He has used make-shift pulleys to lift rocks up to create the foundation, walls and stairs.  

He is a skilled Iron worker and does all the welding and metal work throughout the property.  

There is a large "ballroom" that special events (weddings, etc) are held.  It has stained glass on one in and clear panes of glass on the other with french doors.

The castle is a combination of high flying  buttresses, a great hall and several extremely narrow spiral staircases. There are high steeples and steel bridges between the different castle structures.  

There is a giant dragon’s head that spews fire, although it this didn’t while we were there.

There are hand painted signs throughout the property.  The signs detail Bishop’s strong anti-government views.   He seems to be against anything with real or perceived authority.  Many of his tirades are targeted at the IRS, politicians and political parties, the United Nations and even law enforcement.

Here are a few hints to make your visit great:

  • Know what you are getting into
  • If you see Jim Bishop, be prepared.  Cover your ears and get out your camera.
  • Wear comfortable, sturdy shoes (there is a short hill to climb up to the castle and there are a lot of steep, uneven stairs)
  • Steps, bridges and catwalks are made with sheets of steel grating.  Where they have broken, he has simply laid another sheet on top.
  • If there has been rain, it will be very muddy.
  • If there has not been rain, it will be dirty and dusty
  • The castle was built with no permits and no building code approvals—so it can be dangerous (there are warning signs posted)
  • Bishop does not care if the castle property is safe.  So visit at your own risk.  
  • Hold tight to your kids hands.
  • I recommend googling Bishop Castle to see a little of it before you visit.  
  • The YouTube videos are a hoot to watch.
Bishop Castle is an unforgettable experience.  We like Unique sights across America and Bishop Castle definitely fits that bill.
**Without hesitation I would recommend putting Bishop Castle on your Colorado sight-
seeing list.

Directions to Bishops Castle:

The easiest way to get to Bishop Castle is from I-25. Take exit #74 at Colorado City and head towards the mountains. (right off the exit ramp from the north and left off the exit ramp from the south) This puts you on Colorado state highway 165 and its 24 miles without a turn to the Castle. You will see signs for the castle as you come upon it, and there's usually many cars out front.
The Scenic Route, from Colorado Springs, is to take Hwy. 115 south to Florence, turn left at the first traffic light onto Hwy. 67, turn right onto Hwy 96 in Wetmore and at the next junction you will see signs for Bishop Castle. Turn left there onto Hwy. 165 and it is 12 miles.


Monday, August 8, 2016

You want Unique and Quirky, Bishop Castle is The Place to Go—Part I

We had the great pleasure to attend our grandson’s wedding in August.  Justin and his new bride, Shannon had their wedding at Bishop Castle near Rye, Colorado.

They had the wedding in the Great Hall.  It was a perfect setting for them, they were able to get married in a castle—like a prince and princess.  There was a giant wall of windows at the front of the room.  As the kids were saying their “I do” the sun glistened through the window pane, as if to be a kiss from God.  The beauty of the mountains is all around this castle. 

What makes Bishop Castle fun and quirky is what makes it a perfect place for Justin and Shannon to start their lives together.  It is rough and it is a work in progress; and it is large and a little dangerous.  I am sure that speaks to Justin’s heart.  And what woman does not want to marry her prince in a castle???
The front of the Great Hall is a wall of clear windows.  The back of the room is a collection stained glass windows.

The wedding was lovely.  Because George and I are still so crazy in love, we love to be part of celebrating new, young love.  The joy in their eyes brings a smile to our face… we have a secret for them… “their happy journey together is just beginning”.
Although they were able to reserve the Great Hall, the castle property does not close during any private events.  It felt like we had hundreds of new friends helping us celebrate the wedding.  We could hear people outside the room enjoying their day.  The laughing and peeking visitors just added to the special feeling of this place.  Several times I heard mothers’ shouting warnings to their children that were bravely going places they should not.

Jim Bishop is a man with a true purpose—which is something to be admired.  He is a man on mission.  He will not let anything or anyone stop him from “his God-given” right to build whatever he chooses on his land.

Bishop Castle is an impressive structure. It is even more impressive to know that ONE man built it.  His strong fiery personality motivates him to continue.  The roughness of the castle makes it is a better replica of a medieval castle than if it were a clean pristine building.
Proceeds from the gift shop and the donation box supply are the primary sources of funding for the continued construction and maintenance of the castle and the property. 

I would warn any potential visitors that Jim Bishop is still building and is very active at the castle.  He is a man with strong opinions; and he expresses them loudly and often with many expletives.  If you want to protect the ears of your children—or yourself, steer clear if Jim is having a tirade.  Before visiting the castle I watched several You Tube videos of his offensive rants about the government, attorneys, taxes and different races.

Bishop had a Dream and he stuck to that Dream.  There is a lesson we can all gain from Bishops hard work… develop your Dream and stick to that dream. 

There are so many things to share about Bishop Castle, I wrote “Part 2” of our Bishop Castle experience.  Part 2 has some hints to make your visit more enjoyable.

A Few Family pictures
Our beautiful granddaughter, Amber.  

 Evidence George does own a tie.  😍😍😍😍😍😍😍
Our wonderful Son-in-Law, Paul and our so, sweet daughter, Catrina.

Paul, Catrina, Christian, Justin and Amber 

Our precious little grandson, Trenton.

Christian, Amber and Trenton.  Such a beautiful family.

We didn't have a picture with Christian and Amber and both kids.  Here is the sweet little Analiese enjoying the party.


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