DRIVING DIRECTIONS TO GET TO FLICKENNEL
It's really not all that difficult to find us, if you are observant. We're out in the sticks, but the roads are generally in pretty good shape most of the time - we'll always let you know if they aren't! Don't try to find us in bad weather, in the dark, or with electronic devices that rely on cellular-type signals - they don't work up here! And don't trust MapQuest, Googlemaps, or Apple Maps for iPhones - they get people lost! When you call about buying a puppy, you'll also be given driving directions to find us, including some landmarks to look for. We heartily suggest that you PRINT THIS PAGE for "back-up"! There are a few different ways to find us, so here they are, complete with color-coding and boxes so you don't mix the directions. We also suggest that if you need fuel, food or a potty-stop, do it in whichever town you come through - there isn't anything between there and here except a lot of trees! If you need to use an ATM to get cash, there are some in Canon City, Florence and Westcliffe. We don't have an ATM, and we don't take checks or credit cards!
We do not provide public restroom facilities. Our bathroom is also our whelping room, where the pregnant females have their puppies, and it is too easy for visitors coming from other places to introduce disease organisms such as parvovirus on their shoes or clothing, causing the death of the unvaccinated pups and possibly their mothers. It is also very upsetting to the mothers to have strangers trooping in with their pups, and we don't want anyone bitten by an over-protective mama. We have built a puppy-visitation and viewing area in the ground-floor kennel, and all visitors will be ushered into that area ONLY. We ask that you stop in Canon City, Florence or Westcliffe to use public facilities there - the health and safety of both you and our dogs is our primary concern.
You will be on dirt road from now on. Proceed nearly 10 miles on CR 271, until you come to the big black Flick mailbox with a dachshund on top, at #9801, and turn left; the driveway is about 4/10 of a mile long and leads up to a big sky-blue 3-story house shaped like a barn. If the red gate is chained shut, halfway up the drive, it's because the horses are loose - please shut it behind you so they don't get out on the main road.
The big white 'polar bear' dogs love to check out visitors and are usually friendly and gentle - but they are our very capable protection from bears and such. They only eat MEAN people and disobedient children who run around and scream a lot ... (Not really, but they do deserve respect and a kind pat on the head if they come up to you!) They are also part of the reason we ask that you don't bring other pets along. Please keep close tabs on the kids, too - as in PLEASE maintain adult supervision of them and don't allow them to run around unaccompanied. Animals (and children) can behave unpredictably and suddenly.
Landmark #3 - The big rust-red Bear Basin Ranch truck and sign to watch for. It's on the north side of Hwy. 96, between the 12 and 11-mile markers. DON'T MISS IT WHILE GAZING AT THE MOUNTAINS!!! You may have cellular signal from the CR 271 turn-off, but that's about the ONLY spot unless you have a super-good phone - don't rely on it! Print these directions, bring them and USE them! You WILL get lost without them!
METHOD #3: Down Oak Creek Grade from Westcliffe
Now, if you're NOT coming from the north or east, but up from points south, such as New Mexico, it's a lot shorter to come up Highway 69 from Walsenburg to Westcliffe, from the well-marked turn-off of I-25 on the northern outskirts of Walsenburg, instead of up I-25 to Pueblo and up Highway 96. (If you're coming from the San Luis Valley - it's faster to go north to Salida and come down Highway 50 - I'll give the rest of YOUR directions in a moment). When you get to Westcliffe from the south, you'll come to a stop at Main Street, which is also Hwy. 96. Turn right onto 96 and go approximately 1 mile, past NEARLY all the businesses and houses. Watch on the left for what looks like the last house at the edge of town (it is!), and take the road JUST BEFORE it, which will be CR 255 or Oak Creek Grade. (If you pass the "Thanks for visiting historic Silver Cliff" sign and the old mining stuff on your left, you've gone too far.)
METHOD #1: Up Oak Creek Grade
This is the 17-mile "short-cut" from Canon City, as you come from northern Pueblo, Colorado Springs, Denver and other points north and east. (Coming up Hwy. 96 from Wetmore is a bitfarther, 31 miles, and we know you want to save on gas.) We're located just about half-way between Canon City and Westcliffe, on a winding, unpaved mountain road with some pretty spectacular views and terrain all the way up. Please notice the steep precipices on the downhill side - and note the fact that the only stretch of guardrail on the whole route is to prevent you from taking an old side-road, NOT to prevent you from falling off the mountain! Take it easy, be careful, and you'll enjoy a beautiful, thrilling drive.
You'll most likely be coming into Canon City from the east or west on Highway 50, also known as Royal Gorge Boulevard. Proceed through town until you get to the traffic light at 9th Street and turn left onto SOUTH 9th St. if you are headed west from Pueblo or Colo. Spgs., heading past the Loaf N Jug store (a convenient gas/ATM/potty place!) and Majestic Lube, toward the railroad tracks. Continue across the tracks, over the river, and up the long hill. At the top, there is a round-about or traffic circle - go into it and immediately turn right onto Elm Ave., then continue on Elm to the next intersection, which is County Road 143 or Oak Creek Grade - both names are on it. The Starpoint Life Skills Center (pictured above) is on the corner, and you want to turn left there, onto 143. CHECK YOUR MILEAGE HERE - you're going about 15 miles on this road. Go past the houses, the golf course and Cotter Uranium Mill. You will have paved road for a couple of miles, then it turns to hard-packed gravel. You'll be on fairly level terrain for a few minutes, then it suddenly turns and goes UP!
Continue up the mountain - please be careful on the turns - this is NOT a road on which to go fast!!! Admire the scenery for those 15 miles, (most of which is a national forest) and when you come to a fork in the road, bear left - CR 143 goes that way, toward Wetmore, NOT right toward Westcliffe. If you miss the turn and pass the Oak Creek Grade General Store and the fire substation, you can still hit CR 66 and turn left. (Just watch for that big brown wall on the left, and turn there.) Fremont CR 143 BECOMES Custer CR 271 at the county line, which is at the end of CR 66 (the three roads form the sides of a triangle). The roads intersect at the top of a little blind hill, and 271 winds down and around a left curve, across a cattle-guard, then to the right. Once you pass that intersection, ours is the third mailbox you'll come to. Just watch for the dachshund on top, decorated with bird poop. (The birds have turned it into a black dapple dachshund!)
ALWAYS CALL FIRST AND MAKE AN APPOINTMENT BEFORE DRIVING UP HERE! It would be the pits to come all this way to see puppies, just to find we've gone to town for something and aren't here. We're 17 miles from the NEAREST town, over winding gravel mountain roads, so out of courtesy, we appreciate if visitors make appointments first - and KEEP them, or call and let us know they aren't coming. Afternoons are far better than mornings for us, because of all the kennel chores that MUST be done first thing in the morning, so visiting hours are ONLY from 2:00 to 4:00. Our number is 719-783-2955 - please call us to make sure that we're going to be here, and that we know you're planning to come! DO NOT BRING OTHER DOGS, EXCEPT WITH PERMISSION FROM JANET!! EVEN THEN, FOR SAFETY, THEY MUST BE KEPT LEASHED!!
Honk your horn when you park below the house so we know you've arrived! With all the little motion detectors on the place, we usually know when someone approaches - but not always - they bark at everything! Come to the ground-floor "Kennel Entrance" door, and knock loudly if we don't meet you at the door. PLEASE DO NOT ENTER THE GROUND-FLOOR DOOR WITHOUT KNOCKING AND GETTING ONE OF US TO LET YOU IN!!! We have a bright, shiny brass door-knocker we'd love for you to use, too!
Landmark #2 - COOL mailbox, huh?! (Barney made it!) Sometimes, it seems as though we have snow almost year-round, but we usually have NICE summers, a lot cooler than 'down below' where y'all live! Some winters we don't have this much snow, others we have more.... Hey, it's Colorado - we don't make the rules!
Landmark #4 - Here's the intersection of eastbound Hwy 96 and the Oak Creek Grade, turning off to the left at that light-pole, before the house.
The Oak Creek Grade Road is paved for about the first three miles, then it's dirt all the way to Canon City. Again, watch your mile-markers, and when you get to the 13-mile marker, there will be a big brown wall on your right that looks like stone (it's really concrete). Immediately past that wall, there will be a CR 66 that takes off to the right - turn onto it!
Go about a mile to the end of CR 66, till it intersects another road, CR 271, and turn right. Go about 1/2 mile, or to the third mailbox on your right, the one with the dachshund on top, and you'll be at our driveway.
Method #4: Down Highway 50 to Cotopaxi, then to Westcliffe
This is the way in from Salida and points north and west, including the San Luis Valley... Take Highway 50 east, down through the Bighorn Sheep Canyon along the Arkansas River. It's pretty along the water, with the rushing river and the majestic rocks of the canyon walls - bring your camera and binoculars - you might see some bighorn sheep!
Proceed down the river about 23 miles until you get to the tiny hamlet of Cotopaxi and the Cotopaxi Store. There's a winding little paved road on the right between the Store and a real estate office - it's County Road 1A, and it will take you about 7 miles to the stop-sign at Highway 69. Turn right on 69 and go south until you come to a stop-sign at Main Street in Westcliffe. Turn left and go about 1.25 miles to the Oak Creek Grade turn-off, then follow the directions given above.
That's how to find us, and really, it's not as difficult as it seems, if you just follow these directions. If you think you're lost, please don't turn around and go all the way back to town - you're probably right over the hill from us! Stop, knock on someone's door or flag down a passerby and ASK where CR 271 is! It's also best to print out and bring these directions with you - we've known more than one party to get lost following MapQuest's directions or their vehicle's GPS! iPhones, iPads, tablets, etc. also don't work well in mountains, if at all. Even UPS and FedEx drivers get lost all the time up here, following their GPS.
Bring your camera - it's very picturesque up here, and you never know when you might get to see a deer, bighorn sheep, pronghorn, elk, bear, bobcat, cougar, rattlesnake, wild turkey, hawk or eagle, or just our wonderfully scenic mountains - and lots of colorful dachshunds! It's well worth the drive from wherever you are, and we sincerely hope to meet you and be able to send a puppy or two home with you.
Landmark #1 - Starpoint Life Skills Center, at the bottom of Oak Creek Grade, where you will be leaving Canon City.
Method #2: Hardscrabble Canyon, Highway 96
If you're coming from Colorado Springs or anywhere around or north of there, you may also take State Highway 115 from Colorado Springs through Penrose to Florence. Proceed into Florence until you come to a traffic light and a Carl's Jr. restaurant on your left.
At the traffic light, turn left onto State Highway 67 and proceed 11 miles to Wetmore, where 67 ends. Turn right onto State Highway 96 and head toward the mountains. If you want to use your cell-phone, you'd better pull off the road and do it from Wetmore, because once you pass the NOW CLOSED & FOR SALE little Wetmore convenience store about 2 miles out of town, you will NOT have any reception in Hardscrabble Canyon!
If you're coming from Pueblo and/or points north, east or south from there, I-25 intersects Hwy. 96, which cuts straight through Pueblo as Fourth Street, flies across the Arkansas River and about a half-mile up a gradual hill, after which the street bears to the right and becomes Thatcher Blvd., which resumes being just Hwy. 96 at the edge of town. It's 25 miles or so from Pueblo to Wetmore on 96... watch for views of the Pueblo Reservoir on the right, and pronghorn antelope everywhere! (I hope you bring your camera!)
As you come up Hwy. 96 from Wetmore, watch the little green & white mile-markers on the side of the road: you'll be seeing the 26-mile marker near the west edge of Wetmore, and the numbers will decrease as you go up the mountain. About halfway between the 13 and the 12-mile markers, you will come over the top of the hill and proceed down into a large open meadow with a glorious view of the distant Sangre de Cristo Mountains. After you pass the 12-mile, but just before you get to the 11-mile marker, watch on the right for the big red truck with the sign on it for Bear Basin Ranch - you will turn to the right onto CR 271, immediately after passing the truck. If you get sidetracked by the amazing and breath-taking view of the mountains and forget to turn onto CR 271, you will wind up in Westcliffe - in which case, you can follow Method #3 below!
There's more, but our pups are 'hum-dingers' and worth it!!!
The Sangre de Cristo Mountains and the historic Beckwith Ranch, along Hwy. 69, just north of Westcliffe.
Depending on the weather when you're coming, click the link(s) to check online with the Custer County Sheriff's Office for approximate road conditions in Custer County (where we are), or the COTrip website for statewide conditions. CALL US FIRST, ANYWAY! Our conditions here may be very different from their reports!
Before leaving home, use Google Maps on your computer to LOCATE us by following these directions from where you are, to where we are. Zoom in so you can see road names - it's fun to 'see' the country! Your web-connection won't work up here! PRINT THESE DIRECTIONS - PLEASE!!!