High Plains Drifters

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buffetbuster
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/07/22 14:41:22 (permalink)
scovig-
I like the way you think!
 
MiamiDon-
If you are referring to the last sausage photo, it is an optical illusion.  That is part of the sausage itself, not covered in onions.  Here is another view:

post edited by buffetbuster - 2011/07/22 14:46:53
MiamiDon
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/07/22 14:59:32 (permalink)
Ha!  I see it now.  I guess that's a slice of onion or something making it look like an edge.
buffetbuster
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/07/23 08:11:37 (permalink)
Saturday June 18, 2011 cont.
 
Just north of Colorado Springs is the United States Air Force Academy.  With the Rocky Mountains as a backdrop, this is one of the prettier campuses we have visited.  The first stop though, was the university bookstore, where I bought so much merchandise, Johnny would have to take some of it home in his much larger suitcase.  By the time we got done shopping and watching a movie on what life for the students was like, it had started to rain rather heavily.  As much as I wanted to walk around, it jusn't wasn't practical.  I did get one picture of the campus from an overlook nearby. 

My favorite building is the unusual triangle shaped chapel, which you can see in the photo.
 
Our lunch in Colorado Springs was at a Roadfood reviewed hamburger joint called Conway's Red Top

Strangely enough, we both ate here just eight years earlier, but neither one of us remembered much about it.  This is a small local chain, with three locations within the city.  Located in a small strip, we missed it the first time we drove by, but Johnny deftly handled the illegal u-turn so well, it would have made ChiTownDiner proud!  Even though there is a red spinning top on the sign,

it is still small and not easily spotted.  The house motto, "One's a Meal", clues you in to the size of the burgers.  I was expecting it to be an order at the counter type of fast food place, but it is all waitress service.  Other than that, the interior was nondescript.

 
The front of the menu again shows the spinning red top

and tells the history of the place, which has been in the same family since 1961, although the restaurants themselves are older.  For appetizers, we both focused in on the soups page of the menu,

with Johnny ordering the chili. 

Despite having plenty of meat and beans, he was not too happy with it and said it reminded him more of a hot dog chili that really didn't work very well on its own.  My beef stew

was a little more successful, though I was surprised it had a distinct sweet flavor.  We also split an order of frings,

which is half onion rings and half fries.  Both of these were quite good, with the crunchy crusted rings being the standouts.  I really do wish more restaurants would offer this fries/onion rings combo, for us people who can never make up their mind which one they like better.
 
The best reason to come to Conway's is for the huge burgers.  These really are monsters, at about 6 inches wide.  Luckily, they also offer half burgers on the menu, too.  Still full from that second dog at Biker Jim's, Johnny went for half of a burger called Mike's Mushroom Top. 

This is a cheeseburger topped with bacon and mushroom and what's not too like about that?  It is obvious they use quality meat here, because the burgers are delicious.  His favorite part was that they really load you up on the bacon,

which so few burger joints do.  Since I didn't eat as much at the previous meal, I was hungry enough to order a whole one and I chose the Giant Hickory Burger. 

There is hickory flavoring and onions right in the patty and it comes topped with lettuce, tomato and a hickory bbq sauce.  Outstanding!  And as big as these burgers are, the patties themselves aren't very thick at all.  I had no problem eating the whole thing.
 
To drink, Johnny settled for a soda, but I got the cherry milkshake. 

Oddly, it wasn't mixed particularly well, as half of it was white and half of it red.  But once I stirred it a bit, it was all red.  The shake was so thick, forget the straw and eat it with a spoon!
 
Conway's Red Top
1520 S. Nevada Avenue
Colorado Springs, CO
719-633-2444
 
Even though we rode the Pike's Peak Cog Railway back in 2003, we were very interested in taking it to the top of the mountain again.  Unfortunately, the schedule didn't work out with the timing of our dinner reservations, so we had to pass.  Plan B was another tourist destination about an hour away, so we got on Rte. 116 and headed south.
 
More to come..... 
post edited by buffetbuster - 2011/12/29 14:51:28
mamaduck43
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/07/23 10:20:57 (permalink)
Got a bit homesick, looking at the RedTop....  Hard to believe that it has been 2+ years now that I left the Springs....  That was one of my favorite stops...   And you passed within 2 blocks from my old apartment....  Sigh....
I am really enjoying this trip report - - lots of familiar places and stops on the agenda and a fantastic collection of photos and food memories....  Keep 'em coming.....
 
Just a slight correction - - I do believe that you would be traveling south on Rte. 115..... 
Greymo
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/07/23 10:30:47 (permalink)
My grandchildren were sorry that it rained so hard when you were at Air Force Academy.  They loved it there and took way too many pictures!
JRPfeff
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/07/23 14:34:01 (permalink)
I think EPIC is the one-word description for this roadtrip. 
Buffetbuster - I've lost count on how many stops you made. Is this one of your usual 9-day Spring trips with Cousin Johnny?
mar52
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/07/23 15:10:08 (permalink)
I just love your trip reports.  Gives me something to dream about!
mr chips
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/07/23 15:15:56 (permalink)
A great report, BB. Your restaurant and tourist stops have been fascinating, the photos superb.
           My timing seems to  be off but i would like to comment on M and D's restaurant in Denver. I ate there in 1997 and had superb food. I remember talking to the owner and telling him i did  not like catfish. He told me:
" That's because you ain't tasted mine," and he offered to refund my money if i didn't like it. I loved it and it remains a fond roadfood memory.
    Curiously there was a lot of outrage at the city then for labeling the neighborhood unsafe. i visited a wonderful museum  called  the Museum of the Black Cowboy which was at the end of the light  rail line and had not received a designation by the city as part of museum tours which the museum director was sure had something to do with its location in an African-American neighborhood. And the museum really was quite good and i ate at M and D's afterwards.
post edited by mr chips - 2012/02/25 20:41:54
mr chips
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/07/23 15:18:42 (permalink)
When I took my trip to Colorado(pre roadfood.com)I stopped at Conway's. The burger was excellent but i really remember most the Navy bean soup which was quite tasty.
Nancypalooza
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/07/24 18:49:22 (permalink)
I also had Conway's pre-RF.com and have very fond memories of the burger, as well as of the Air Force Academy campus--very pretty out there.
ChiTownDiner
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/07/24 20:36:02 (permalink)
I do not condone the execution of u-turns...they can be hazardous to your digestive system.
buffetbuster
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/07/25 09:10:06 (permalink)
mamaduck43-
Thanks for the kind words!  And for the correction on what road we were on.  That's what I get for looking at the map without my glasses on!
 
JRPfeff-
Every year, Johnny and I take a week long trip together.  We have been doing this for well over a decade and I sincerely hope this is something we continure to do for the rest of our lives.  We try to pick destinations with the maximum amount of scenery and food.  Okay, it's more about the food!
 
ChiTownDiner-
Just another example of what a bad influence you are!
 
mr chips-
Glad to see another M & D Cafe fan on here.  And Johnny and I talked it over while we were at Conway's, that if we had it to do over again, we would have ordered the green chili and the navy bean soup.  How can you not like a place that gives you so many options?
 
mar52-
I've been busy all weekend, so I am still trying to catch up with your trip report.  But, it looks like you quite an adventure yourself!  I am looking forward to reading more.
 
Greymo-
If we hadn't been there before, we would have braved the rain and explored the US Air Force campus.  I was really hoping to get some shots, which would have been a fine addition to this trip report.
JRPfeff
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/07/25 09:42:52 (permalink)
BB - I've been watching the first season of Justified. SPOILER ALERT - In the final episode, Cousin Johnny is gut shot with a shotgun. Hopefully this is not a bad omen.
Williamsburger
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/07/27 12:37:21 (permalink)
RE: Buckhorn
"every square inch covered with an animal head."
in 2007 (?) Terry and I were there 2 weeks before Christmas and they were all wearing Santa hats.
Cathy
 
buffetbuster
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/07/27 12:49:15 (permalink)
Williamsburger-
Well, that would make the place look more festive and a little less creepy.
Williamsburger
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/07/27 14:22:27 (permalink)
buffetbuster

Williamsburger-
Well, that would make the place look more festive and a little less creepy.

Actually, it makes it *more* creepy. But still festive!
;)
C.
big666dog
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/08/24 21:33:14 (permalink)
We've done the west, coast, the South West, the South East, this year we're doing the Mississippi from New orleans to CHicago, , and your trip is probably next for us - some of it anyway. Like to start in Santa Fe, and head North through Utah into Montana, Yellowstone etc.
cecif
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/11/30 06:55:54 (permalink)
buffetbuster
I gotta tell ya, I HATE eating outside.

Who knew?!?! I am now feeling VERY privileged indeed!
Louis
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/11/30 10:50:49 (permalink)
I'm thinking of going to Colorado Springs next year.  So thanks for the preview of Conway's Red Top.
buffetbuster
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/11/30 23:56:55 (permalink)
Oh crap, I was thinking this trip report was finished.  Just a couple of stops missing.  I will do that when I get back from my current trip.
buffetbuster
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/12/28 17:11:35 (permalink)
Saturday June 18, 2011 cont.
 
Needing something to kill time before our dinner reservations at 8:00PM, we looked through the GPS and found that Royal Gorge was just a little more than an hour away.  A friend brought me a refrigerator magnet from Royal Gorge at least a decade ago and I knew very little about the place. It was time to go check it out. 
 
We were thinking that it would just be a very high gorge, but this place is a full blown tourist trap.  Still, how could you not like a place where you get to see almost 1,000 feet straight down.  Here are some shots of the gorge.

 


 
We decided to take the aerial tramway

across and then walk across the bridge coming back.  Some of the above photos were taken in the tramway and it really did offer some breathtaking views.  Once on the other side, Johnny and I seperated.  He wanted to check out the different animals, including elks

that they had,  while I wanted to see the skycoaster.  Most of you have probably seen these before, but watching people get slingshotted out over the canyon

was fun to watch.  They had a viewing platform to the side, where I plopped myself down.  Eventually, an attractive blonde woman, around my age joined me there, so she could get the best view of her three kids taking the ride.  There was a ten year old and eight year old twins. 

How she stayed so calm watching this, I will never know. 
 
I do have a fear of heights, but can never predict when and where it will bother me.  Being in the aerial tramway didn't bother me in the least, but walking across the bridge freaked me out.  I just walked right down the center of it, looking straight ahead!  I did pause at one point to take a photo of where Ken Fuller

once rappeled over the side of the bridge.  All together, we spent maybe an hour and a half at Royal Gorge.
 
On the drive back to Colorado Springs, two things caught our attention.  One was the world's largest rocking chair. 

If it wasn't for the serious fence between it and the highway, I would have tried to climb into it for a photo.  Just a short distance further up the highway, we spotted a restaurant that mentioned pie right in the sign out front. 

Johnny deftly handled the U-Turn and we parked.  Unfortunately, they were closed due to a private party booking the place for the night.  I did ask if they would sell me a slice of pie to go, but it wasn't meant to be.  Anyone ever eat at Goose Berry Patch Restaurant in Penrose?
 
Even though we were considerably early, we went straight to our dinner destination, Juniper Valley Ranch, to see if they could seat us early.
 
More to come.....

post edited by buffetbuster - 2011/12/28 17:13:02
ChiTownDiner
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/12/29 08:59:52 (permalink)
Another U-turn...be careful my friend!
buffetbuster
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/12/29 14:50:08 (permalink)
Saturday June 18, 2011 cont.
 
We were thinking that our reservations at Juniper Valley Ranch were for 8:00PM.  When we arrived at 7:15PM, I asked if they could seat us early and they told us no problem.  Later that night when we got back to our hotel room, I was looking through papers and discovered that our reservations were actually for 7:00PM and instead of being way early, we were actually late.  And the restaurant never told us. 
 
Juniper Valley Ranch


is a hard to find restaurant a good distance south of Colorado Springs.  Reservations are essential, in that it is a popular place.  The building itself is an adobe home, with several small dining rooms,



all as equally dark.  We were seated at a table in the back, right next to the kitchen.
 
They have a small fix price menu here, served family style.  To start off, you get your choice of either consomme

or cherry cider. 

Johnny went with the consomme, that had a slight curry flavor, while I got the cider, that tasted strong of cherry and was surprisingly cold.
 
By this time, some of the dishes that we would be sharing started to roll out of the kitchen.  The finely chopped cole slaw

was a little bit sweet and a little bit tart.  The okra casserole

was a big hit with both of us and contained rice, celery, okra, green beans and tomatoes.  And the significant amount of black pepper in it also provided some heat.  The waitress told us that as the night went on, the okra casserole would get hotter, due to the black pepper settling in.  Note the big chip out of the bowl, which we saw repeatedly over the course of the meal.
 
The biscuits

were hot and small, as eight of them came to a pan.  They easily seperated when you pulled them apart and were delicious when covered with the homemade extra cinnamony apple butter.  Next up was the mashed potatoes.  Only, I didn't recognize it.  After we had received all the rest of the food, I asked the waitress when we were going to get the mashed potatoes and both her and Johnny pointed at what I thought was plain ol' rice.  I swear, I have never seen mashed potatoes

like this before.  Well, at least there isn't any lumps in it.  And as we stirred, it became more like typical mashed potatoes.  The gravy

was very thick, creamy and slightly peppery.  Because of my reaction, the owner, who visited our table frequently, brought the ricer out of the kitchen for us to see. 

That looks like a well used tool!
 
For your entree, you get two choices, ham or fried chicken.  In the interest of trying everything, I got the ham, Johnny ordered chicken and then we shared.  The ham

was thick cut, lean and very good.  The skillet fried chicken,

which came as two thighs, a wing and a leg, was even better.  It had a thin, brittle coating and was tender and juicy on the inside.
 
Dessert time!  You get to choice one each between peppermint ice cream, butterscotch sundae and brownie pudding.  Unable, or more likely, unwilling, to make that choice, we paid extra and got one of each. 

The brownie pudding had a deep, rich chocolate flavor, with small bits of walnuts.  The butterscotch topping on the sundae was homemade and on the thin side.  My favorite was the peppermint ice cream, which made me feel like I was in Indiana.
 
The check arrives on a plate with some mints. 

Before we left, the waitress grabbed my camera and took a photo of us. 

With the really good food and interesting atmosphere, both Johnny and I considered this our favorite meal of the trip.
 
Juniper Valley Ranch
South Highway 115
Colorado Springs, CO
719-576-0741
 
From here, we drove straight back to the hotel in Denver for the night.
 
More to come.....
post edited by buffetbuster - 2011/12/29 14:59:09
leethebard
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/12/29 15:46:10 (permalink)
enjoyed viewing your rtip emensely!!
BuddyRoadhouse
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/12/29 19:31:09 (permalink)
Cliff,
Your riced mashed potato experience reminded me of a Thanksgiving potluck dinner a few years ago where I used that same tool and had a similar reaction from the crowd.
 
I chose the ricer for two reasons:
1. I wanted a particularly lump free mashed potato.
and
2. Knowing that the mashed potatoes would need to be reheated once I arrived at our host's home, I thought the ricing would create more browning and a nice crust on the top of the casserole.
 
What ended up happening was that the family stayed away from the dish altogether.  Everyone saw the pile of white with bits of brown crustiness and thought it actually was rice.  Once I enlightened them, there was a little more activity in the mashed potatoes, but not what I usually get with that crowd pleasing item.
 
I have never riced my potatoes again without whipping them up before serving.
 
Thanks for your usual fine report.  Happy New Year to you, Mariton, and Cousin Johnny!
 
Buddy
post edited by BuddyRoadhouse - 2011/12/29 19:32:16
JRPfeff
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/12/30 00:19:59 (permalink)
Mixing threads ... when I showed Pie Diva the riced potatoes, she concluded that Bluphies used riced potatoes in making their ho-made tater tots.  She believes they took riced mashed potatoes, formed them into spheres, and tossed them into the deep fryer.  Very light texture inside, very crispy outside.
ChiTownDiner
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/12/30 11:28:16 (permalink)
Cliff -
Of all your posts through the ages, Juniper Valley Ranch may be my favorite! 
Can we fly in direct?
CTD
 
 
buffetbuster
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/12/30 13:19:26 (permalink)
Buddy-
Thanks for the story.  Glad to know that I'm not the only one ignorant on riced mashed potatoes.  And a big Happy New Year to you and the rest of the Roadhouse family!
 
JRPfeff-
Can't say I am a fan of tater tots, but those sound really good!
 
Cliff-
Really?  I am surprised, but very flattered.  Thanks so much.  And there is no doubt, that you would love Juniper Valley Ranch.
buffetbuster
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/12/30 14:24:10 (permalink)
Sunday June 19, 2011
 
Last day of the trip and for breakfast, we headed to Duffyroll Cafe

This place has the feel of a coffee bar, with a very impressive bakery selection. 

But are best known for their famous cinnamon rolls. 

Here

are the flavors available on the day we stopped in.
 
After all the eating we had already done on this trip, neither one of us was really in the mood to pig out.  So, we just decided to pick two cinnamon rolls each, since they weren't that big.  Certainly, nothing like the bohemoths we dealt with earlier in the trip.
 
Clockwise from the top left,

we have English Toffee, Original, Pecanilla Crunch and Zesty Orange.  In the Roadfood review, Bruce Bilmes comments that they are very croissant-like and that is a good description.  They are flaky and thankfully, not overly sweet.  Of the four, the I preferred the original,

while Johnny liked the English Toffee

best.  With the Pecanilla Crunch

having nuts, I stayed away from it.  The zesty orange

only had a subtle hint of orange to it.
 
Duffyroll Cafe
1290 South Pearl Street Street
Denver, CO
303-753-9177

From there, it was off to the airport and home.  Grand total of miles driven during the trip: 2,638!
 
Both Johnny and I agreed that the three best meals on the vacation were some combination of Biker Jim's, M & D Cafe and Juniper Valley Ranch.
 
Thanks for reading!
post edited by buffetbuster - 2011/12/30 14:25:38
mr chips
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2012/02/25 20:46:26 (permalink)
As always, a pleasure to read of your adventures.
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