September 13, 2017

Denver, Colorado

by Steve W

We left South Dakota and headed for Denver, the "mile high " city, a title bestowed long before marijuana was legalized in Colorado. As we were staying for seven days, we checked into a one bedroom apartment through Airbnb. We find it very convenient to be able to spread out a bit and do some cooking rather than having to go out to eat all the time. Better for our budget and waistlines (usually).

The first full day we spent catching up on some personal things, like laundry and car maintenance. We tried to go to the Denver Botanic Gardens, but it started raining, so we went to Trader Joe's instead. Colorado is one of the states where alcohol usually cannot be sold in grocery stores, so we had to walk over to the liquor annex to get some wine.

We did go to the gardens the next day. Although it was very hot, the gardens were beautiful and we saw a few of the residents.

"What's up, duck?"
Concerts are held on the lawn throughout the summer, and we just missed Stephen Stills and Judy Collins, with Herbie Hancock and Bela Fleck coming up. Even if we wanted to go, most of the concerts were sold out. To escape the heat, we went to the Museum of Nature and Science, where we saw some of the residents there as well.

The city may soon be under attack!

Brings new meaning to "feed the kitty".
One of the exhibits showed the size of the paws of a grizzly bear, which dwarfed Rosemary's hand.

You don't have to outrun the bear, only outrun the person next to you.
The third day, we walked to breakfast at a local restaurant called Sassafras, serving Southern style food. We try to eat at local restaurants when we can, not only to try different cuisines, but also to support the local economy. Rosemary had the breakfast porridge and I had the Cajun Benedict, with crab and shrimp. Yummy!

After breakfast, we went downtown to the area surrounding the Capitol. We went into the Capitol building but could not get up into the dome without joining a formal tour. But the building is very impressive looking and, like many of the historical buildings we have seen in the US and Europe, is under renovation.

We walked around the Civic Center and saw some of the other government buildings, as well as a park that is in the middle of these buildings. In the park are two sculptures that were commissioned to celebrate part of Colorado's history of Native Americans, and the cowboys and armies that came later.

Just another reminder of what the US government has done to the Native Americans. I recall from our trip to the Southwest some years ago that whenever we would see some godforsaken piece of land that was apparently barren of all life, the next thing we would see was a sign saying, "Entering XYZ Indian Reservation".

We walked the 16th Street Mall, a pedestrian-only zone with stores and restaurants.

The next day, I was able to squeeze in lunch at Sassafras with a couple of friends and fellow music industry professors, Stan Soocher and Benom Plumb, from the University of Colorado at Aurora. Although I'm retired, I try to still keep up with industry events and it was nice to discuss them with other professionals. Rosemary and I then went for a long walk around Sloan's Lake Park, a beautiful spot just a few miles from downtown.

On our last full day in Denver, we drove up to Lookout Mountain and hiked around the nature center. Later, we drive up to the top to see the grave site of William F. Cody, better known as Buffalo Bill.

There is a museum there, which I expected to be cheesy, but it was well curated and had a lot of his actual memorabilia, saved by someone who had traveled with the Buffalo Bill Wild West Show. The show featured hundreds of horses, cowboys and Native Americans including, at one point, Siting Bull, chief of the Hunkpapa Lakota Sioux tribe who ordered the attack on Custer at Little Big Horn. It was Sitting Bull who described how the Native Americans, even though they killed him, honored Custer after the battle.

We drove down the Lariat Trail, so named because of the many twists and turns, to the town of Golden, best known as the home of Coors beer. Golden's main street is a couple of blocks long and they take pride in their counter-culture history.

We enjoyed Denver and look forward to going back some day to dig deeper into the city and surrounding areas. Next: on to Nebraska.

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