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Sunday, April 7, 2019

SERENDIPITY ??? #history #roadtrip

Post by Doris McCraw
writing as Angela Raines

Outside Fort Vasquez
By now, most everyone knows how much I love researching and writing about history. I even include events from the time period I write about in my fiction whenever possible. So where does serendipity fit in?

I was originally scheduled to present Helen (Hunt) Jackson in Fort Collins, CO on March 15, 2019. For those who may have missed it, we were the center of the 'bomb cyclone' blizzard of March 13, 2019. Due to weather we rescheduled that event to March 29, 2019. Of course, being Colorado we had snow that day, at least in the northern part of the state where I was heading. I made the trip before any snow fell, did the program and went back to the hotel room. ( I wasn't driving back that night.)

Instead of heading back down on Interstate 25, I took a side trip and returned on US 85 east of the Interstate on March 30, 2019.  Now here's where serendipity fits in. (Serendipity- the occurrence and development of events by chance in a beneficial way.)

Area just to the right of the white painted area was where
the kitchen in the original fort was located
On the way home, I stop by Fort Vasquez, now a visitor center, museum. The current building was partially reconstructed in the 1930s by the WPA. Article 1 here. I'd been there before, and had wanted to return but had been unable to. On the visit this time, there was a new museum curator who loved his job. Needless to say, we spent a good hour just talking about the new exhibit he was preparing for the public. (Yes, I was the first non-staff to see it. It isn't even finished.) I learned even more about the site of this first fur trading fort to be built in the area in 1835, three years after the beginning of the building of Bent's fort. It amazed me that trade goods came from all over the world, including the Far East. I wonder what life would be like back then? The people who traveled to these unknown areas had to have strong reasons. Their lives are the stuff of legends.

Tower at reconstructed Fort Lupton
Once I left the Platteville area, where one of the early women doctors was supposed to have had a practice, I headed south. Cruising along, I looked to the right and saw that the reconstruction of Fort Lupton had been finished. I pulled in and started taking photos of the outside. When I pulled around back, there were people there, although it was not open to the public. A lovely lady invited me inside and I was able to take inside photos. Turns out they were preparing for a private event, and the lady who invited me in was one of those who was instrumental in getting the fort rebuilt.

Interior - Fort Lupton
Fort Lupton, built in 1836, was about seven miles south of Fort Vasquez. (There were four trading posts withing fifteen miles of each other in this area.) For more history on Fort Lupton Brief History

Now I don't know about you, but these kinds of trips just make my day.

And just in case you wonder, I also write fiction. I enjoyed telling the story in "Angel of Salvation Valley" a story with a few ' hidden? ' supernatural elements.

Purchase here on Amazon
Here's an excerpt:

 "What do you say, Carson?" Luke asked with a smile.
Andrew 'Drew' Carson stared at the man. Here was the break he had been praying for, or would have, if he were the praying kind. He looked at the stone walls around him, inhaled the musty smell of decay. Not just the decay smell of the buildings, but the decay of a soul, of hopes and dreams. Three long years he had dreamed of leaving this prison. But the cost, it seemed high and Luke was too smooth.
"Why the hesitation? You want out of here don't you?"
"Of course," Drew answered, cautious of the well–dressed man opposite him. The differences between the two were striking. Drew knew he smelled of old sweat and dirt. Luke was polished, smelling of bay rum and another scent Drew couldn't quite place, but recognized from somewhere.

"Then what is the hold up, if you will pardon the term?" The question came with a slight smile, a quick wink.

Doris Gardner-McCraw -
Author, Speaker, Historian-specializing in
Colorado and Women's History
Angela Raines - author: Where Love & History Meet
For a list of Angela Raines Books: Here 
Angela Raines FaceBook: Click Here


  1. Serendipity indeed! It amazes me too that people always traveled more than we think they did. At least, a few did. How fascinating they must have been to people who never went anywhere.

    1. I agree. The trade system in the 1800s boggles the mind. The beads they traded were usually from Europe and quite beautiful.

      To be a 'fly on the wall' during those days. Doris

  2. Serendipity is one of my favorite words because I love what the universe throws at you sometimes. How wonderful that you got to get such special treatment at your stops. I enjoyed your images and the excerpt.

    1. Thank you Patti, I agree. If you're open and heed those hunches, you can end up pretty lucky.

      I love it when someone is passionate about what they do and enjoy sharing. I'm a happy and willing listener. Thank goodness I have a fairly decent memory. (Smile)

      I also enjoy taking photos, in case you hadn't noticed. LOL Doris

  3. Yes, Doris, I can see how the events fell into place and led you to a new and exciting place to visit from history. One of the things I like best about these museums made from actual historic sites like the Alamo in San Antonio, is the old energy that seems to live there. When I get quiet in those places it's like I can absorb the energy of those who used to be there and imagine what it must have been like to have been there during those historic events.
    I liked the part in your excerpt in which you described the place and the souls there as "the musty smell of decay." It's a great description.
    I enjoyed your post and wish you all the best.

    1. Sarah, I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who does that when visiting places. Fort Union made a huge impact on me when I was there a couple of years ago.

      Thank you for the kind words about my writing. It helps me to keep going. Doris

  4. Doris,

    How fun! Sometimes the best plans are the 'non plans' and the adventures that fall into place.

    1. So true, Kaye, so true. I love taking off and just visiting somewhere I've not been for sometime, or just somewhere new. It's all a great adventure. Doris

  5. Wow! What a lucky and beautiful day. Great photos.

    1. Thank you Keena. I really felt blessed to hit the right place at the right time.

      Also, thanks for your kind words about the photos. I do enjoy taking them. Doris