Cripple Creek: With tumbleweeds at 2, 4, and 6pm.

If you spend any time researching places to visit in Colorado, odds are, you’ll read about Cripple Creek, the once-bustling mining town that’s now overrun by the wild donkey descendents of the pack animals prospectors set loose when their gold prospects dried up. A town ruled by despotic donkeys who can be bribed with treats and will pose for photo ops? I’m in! The day was cold but clear, and both Jason and I were excited to check out history as well as the donkey despots. There’s a turn-off that overlooks the town, so the first order of business was to take photos there. The second order of business was to creep slowly through the town, looking for roaming donkeys. We looked, and looked, and looked…nothing. Things we did see: casino, casino, police officer giving a speeding ticket, casino, casino, casino, casino…no donkeys. A little disappointed, we parked in a lot near the museum, figuring we’d check it out and get the scoop on which casino the donkeys like to visit.

CLOSED. At the information center, we found out that the nearby Mollie Kathleen Gold Mine tour was also closed. The famous wild west brothel? Closed. “But we have lots of casinos!” the employee pointed out helpfully. And what of the donkeys? “Penned up for the winter.” NOT SO WILD, I GUESS. Cripple Creek? More like Crapple Creek. No donkeys. No mine tour. No museum. Just casino after casino. They may as well advertise “Come to Cripple Creek, spend your day losing money in a depressing hovel, and make sure to get a souvenir speeding ticket before you leave!” as we saw someone else being pulled over as we left. I can’t imagine why anyone would want to burn rubber to get the hell away from this place.

Look at those photo ops, just behind a fence, taunting me.

Look! A donkey! Just like on the brochure! They never said the donkeys were alive.

This is the face of disappointment. Congratulations, Cripple Creek, you made Jason sad. Are you proud?