Run, Jared, Run!!

And that’s exactly what I’ve been doing here in the SW. Of course, roasting isn’t always a bad thing. There’s always roast pork, roasted coffee beans and of course, roasted peppers. And who doesn’t like roasted peppers? HOT, HOT, HOT peppers!

What a magnificent area of the country — high desserts, snow-capped mountain ranges overlooking small ranch towns, and castles tucked away in national forests. Wait. What? Castles? Correctomundo. Driving through the San Isabel National Forest, I came across the one-man wonder known as Bishop’s Castle.  

Jim Bishop has been putting together his masterpiece, brick by brick, with his two hands only, for over thirty years now. And he’s had to fight tooth and nail with government officials to continue to do so. What makes this place so special, aside from the fact that it’s been built, and remains under construction by one individual, is the fact that Jim has continued to do this for so long. The place is one of the coolest, most magical castles I’ve seen, complete with a grand hall, a towering, steel dragon’s head that attacks your vision as you walk up the driveway, and a steel orb, up 120 feet, that you can climb in to get a spectacular panorama of the surrounding area.


So what’s the motivation behind this medieval masterpiece? When I asked why he decided to build a castle in the middle of the Colorado forest, he quickly shot me a  “Because I can.” He then launched himself into the government, organized religion and anything else that seemed to chap his hide. Jim Bishop will never, ever be accused of not being a passionate man.

I felt a sense of wildness in this guy at first and had to gently, carefully walk away from him, choosing to explore the castle rather than stand and listen to his strong, strong opinions. But after climbing around this byproduct of his passion, I found myself back down along the base of the castle with Jim discussing hot topics like government, religion and other taboo issues for the dinner table.

He’s got bigger and bolder plans for his masterpiece, including a full moat and reflective glass plates on the orb that will “reflect into space and contact aliens”. I say go for it. Live long, Mr. Bishop, and prosper…

The road sure does lead to unseen and strange experiences. I feel lucky to have run into Jim Bishop and his project, gathering up new perspectives on what freedom really is and why we should use it (or not). As you climb towards the top of the castle, some of the openings in the tower walls are unchained and a serious hazard should you step too far. I’m assuming he’s hoping people will treat these spaces responsibly and not venture into areas they ought not to. Ironically, in doing just that, he’s created a towering example of just how precarious are freedom really is.

With good cheer and wide open roads,



~ by Jared on October 1, 2009.

2 Responses to “Roasting…”

  1. What an amazing looking place. Perhaps somethng like this among the vineyards of Oregon?

  2. Ummm- no. But I believe there is a spaceship landing pad in McMinnville….

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