Saturday, November 6, 2010

Bishop's Castle and Other Things

Today's blog post is going to be lengthy as there are so many different subjects that I wish to touch upon.  They are not all necessarily linked together so it will be a bit of a non sequitur post.

First off - the big adventure that Zack and I got up to today was going to Bishop's Castle outside of Wetmore, Colorado.  Bishop's Castle is this labor of love that one man has undertaken since 1969.  In the middle of nowhere, Jim Bishop has worked to build a creation of his imagination and purpose.  Jim is a tab bit eccentric as you can't visit the castle without hearing about his political views and his views are definitely outside of the mainstream.

Though I was awake and 4:00AM I held off trying to get Zack out of bed until his normal weekday wake up time of 6:15AM.  Unfortunately, this morning he won't have anything to do with getting up that early.  Given it was the weekend, I decided to be nice and let him sleep until 7:40AM.  With a little bit of effort, I finally got him up and dispatched to the shower.  With his late rising time we didn't get on the road until it was 8:45AM.  We grabbed a drive through breakfast from McDonald's and headed south on I-25.

We had 2 different routes that we could have taken.  The first route was through Pueblo and then to the west on Colorado Highway 96 to Wetmore and then to the southeast on Highway 165 until we reached Bishop's Castle midway between Wetmore and Rye.  The second less scenic route was to head further south on I-25 until we reached Colorado, City and then take Highway 165 to the northwest to Bishop's Castle.  I decided to go through Wetmore and make a loop of the I-25 to Highway 96 to Highway 165 back to I-25.  In the end run this was definitely the right choice as the drive was very scenic and gave us an extensive overview of the beauty of the Wet Mountains.  (The Wet Mountains are one of the ranges that make up the Rockies.  They run north to south due west of Pueblo.)

I did have a little bit of difficult finding the castle and so I did the smart thing - I stopped and asked for directions as a small general store outside of Wetmore.  The man behind the counter was very helpful and we were on our way to the castle in no time.

You can tell when you have arrived at the castle as there is no parking lot and there are cars parked up and down both sides of the road for quite a distance.  Once you walk onto to the castle's grounds you immediately see the eccentric nature of Jim Bishop as you must past numerous signs declaring Jim to be a true follower of the constitution and instructing members of the government to declare themselves to him.

Getting past the signs and Jim's eccentric nature, you quickly come to realize the talent and vision that Jim has.  He has constructed the entire castle without one written plan.  He has laid every stone and piece of steel himself.  It is truly a remarkable creation.

Jim's rules say that as long as it doesn't have a lock on it you can explore it.  Practically every inch of the castle is available to you.  However there are many dangerous places where there are large falls and shaky railings - so you really do explore at your own risk.

Zack was intimidated by some of the high places of the castle and refused to climb up to them.  Given the nature of the castle and its environment, I did not force him to go any where he did not want to go.  On one of the very highest parapets I had several moments of sweaty palms as I realized there was no hand rail and with the height, the weight of my body and the wind, the steel structure of the parapet was sway a good 4 - 8 inches side to side.

Regardless of any of this the visit to the castle was really neat.  I am still marveling at the fact that this one man has built all this.  There is a small gift shop on site and while Zack and I were looking over the items for sale I was talking to the sales woman (I think it was Jim's wife).  And though it seemed she really understood the eccentricity of Jim, she had a very good point to make.  Her point was simple - look at what the dedication of one person's life to one task can create.  If you can dedicate yourself to one thing you can accomplish wonders.  After viewing Jim's work I totally agree.

Here are some of the pictures I took on our trip.

After visiting the castle we continued to the southeast on Highway 165 and eventually came to I-25 at Colorado City.  We stopped there and grabbed some lunch at a place called Max’s.  It was a local joint that served some pretty good food.

We ended up getting home around 4:00PM at which point I immediately got to work on tasks around the house.  I was out running and errand around 5:15PM when my phone rang.  It was Celinde asking if we wanted to go out to dinner with her, Tim and Cole.  I agreed and then called Nancy and tried to cajole her into coming with us.  She won’t have anything to do with going out.  So it was only Zack and me going out to dinner with Tim, Celinde and Cole.  We went to the Elephant Bar - a restaurant on Arapahoe Road.

After dinner Tim, Celinde and Cole stopped by to say hello to Nancy.  They didn’t stay too long as they are still recovering from being tired from their vacation at fall break.  At that point I got Zack to bed and started to write my blog for the day.

I after having written all that I have already written an uploading all the pictures I am starting to feel very tired so I am not going to write all that I thought I was going to write.  But I did want to make two other points.

First, in looking back on last evening and going to the happy hour in downtown.  I realized that this “single lifestyle” is just not for me.  As I thought back on last night I realized through it was fun in some ways it was really hollow and shallow.  I can’t stand doing this.  I am not condemning anybody or making any value statements - I am just saying that is not the lifestyle for me - happy hours and the such.  It just doesn’t work for me.  I would rather be here alone with Zack working on something than force myself out to meet people I would I don’t necessarily know.  I realize I could be missing out on the opportunity to make friends but I just can’t do it. 

With this viewpoint comes the message for the sales woman in the castle gift shop today.  If you have one task and put your efforts to it, you can pretty much accomplish anything.  That is a message I am taking to heart tonight.  My sole goal right now is to win back Shelly.  If put all my effort into it, I can make a good attempt at accomplishing it.  Unlike Jim building his castle however, I may never succeed because Shelly is a person who has a strong will and determination all of her own.  But if I put my best effort into it, I will at least know I have done everything I can do win her back and then I can have no regrets.  But…  I am hoping I can succeed.

My last thought for the night is just how tired I am.  Though I am taking sleeping pills prescribed by my doctor I just cannot sleep for more than 3 or 4 hours per night.  I can tell how tired I am beginning to get as I am experiencing this out of body feeling more and more.  It is like my mind is starting to separate from my body.  It doesn’t feel good but right now I don’t know how to correct the situation.  It is the torment of my mind that keeps me from sleeping the night through.

And with that I will bid good day!  I hope everyone is having a good weekend.

Thanks and peace to all! ~J.


1 comment:

Mjs said...

Pretty awesome place and great pictures, Jerry...