Well over 10 years ago, I was invited by a rail vehicle manufacturer to an industry event that they were holding to promote one of their vehicles. It was held at the TTCI test facility outside Pueblo in Colorado. Pueblo also has an aviation museum so it was inconceivable that I would go all that way and not check it out while I was there.
Most of the exhibits are outside in some pretty harsh sun so they are rather sun-bleached. There is an interesting mix of old types on display while a few are indoors and look in better condition. Helicopters and vintage fighters are always going to be good for me so hopefully there is something in here you like.
Before the days of the big hotel chains, towns and cities used to have local hotels. These were in the heart of the city and dealt with travelers passing through or staying for a while. The level of comfort was a function of what you were able to pay but the nicer ones were pretty grand looking structures. If a city has enough traffic, places like this can still survive. They often go way upmarket to justify choosing somewhere different. Otherwise, they have tended to wither away. The buildings can live on though. The Vail Hotel in Pueblo now appears to have been converted for other uses. Some things seem to suggest it is still a hotel but I wasn’t able to verify this. Whatever the use now, a cool looking place has survived. So many of its like have been demolished over the years so it is nice to see that it is still being taken care of.
When I arrived in Pueblo Colorado, the sun was shining and it was pretty warm. After our second day of testing, the weather had turned a bit and, as we headed back to the town, there was some storm activity over the Front Range. The road you drive out on is a federal facility so stopping to take pictures is not the best plan. However, once we got back to the more populated area, I did pull over and take a few shots. That night, there were some serious storms around us. I saw a few over the mountains as we drove but nothing too dramatic.
A recent work trip involved some testing of a locomotive. The test track in use is just outside Pueblo Colorado. The testing program involves a ton of different tests, many of which are pretty boring to watch if you are not involved. We did get to do some high speed runs while I was there though. The locomotive is designed for 125mph so it has to be tested to 130mph. We got to blast around the track for a while. Wildlife would scatter as we approached – usually. The loco is a modern design so at this speed, things were really quite uneventful. The ride was smooth. The noise was pretty quiet and would have been better if we didn’t have instrumentation cables out of the windows breaking the normal seal. Soon you will be seeing these locos in service in a number of states across the US.
For cities that are looking at redeveloping their downtown, it seems that a Riverwalk is a popular approach. Pueblo is one of the places that has gone with this approach. I checked it out when getting dinner one evening. There was a brewpub along the river and, after some food and beer, I took a walk along the river. This was an old path of the river but it has obviously been tweaked a bit. There do seem to be some businesses springing up along the river and there were certainly plenty of people out despite the heat and humidity. A lot of them were obviously hunting Pokemon. I wonder whether this will be the center of more development next time I go back.
Just south of Denver International is Buckley AFB. I don’t know much about the base other than it has a resident F-16 unit that a friend of mine has shot a lot in the past. It also appears to have a helicopter unit that I think he has also worked with before. Anyway, we seemed to do a tour of the base while setting up for the approach to DIA so I got a good look at the base. These images are a quick selection of how it looks.
I had some shots on a previous post of Denver International Airport. I was back there again after that visit and we flew an approach that brought us past the airport before circling back in to land. I got some shots of the field as we came by. They give some idea of the size of the airport as well as its ability to expand in the future. The layout of the runways also shows up well. This is an example of what you get if you design an airport from scratch rather than expand one you already have with development encroaching upon it.
Unlike living in Chicago where you had a strong chance of getting a direct flight to most places, I often find myself changing planes in other cities these days. Sometimes the layover is a quick one and others I have a bit of time to stretch my legs and get something to eat. I recently went through Denver en route to my destination. The terminal that Southwest use at Denver has an interesting center section. A shuttle system takes people between terminals below the ground. It comes in to the heart of the building in an open section that you can look in to from the main terminal level. It appears to be designed to look like an ancient ruin that has been unearthed.
Hanging above it is a Learjet which obviously gets a passing look from me. I was more interested this time in the “ruins”. A panorama seemed like the best option so I took the shots to stitch together later. As it happened, the return leg came back through DIA although this time it was late in the day. I did get some shots of the main terminal building as we taxied out for departure. It certainly is a striking structure.