Friday, August 1, 2008

Mile High City

Ned and Joe are a Mile High in the Mile High City

Thursday morning we left Rocky Mountain National Park and headed for Denver. Before planning this trip I wasn't very aware of the park. I am glad that we had the chance to visit. It is a beautiful park and I hope that someday we will visit again for there are a lot more lakes to see and mountains to climb.

We were excited to go to Denver. Mary's Aunt Norma lives in Denver and she was kind to offer us a place to stay. I hadn't seen Norma in over 12 years and the boys had never met her. We were also going to meet up with my friend Sarah who had moved to Denver a few months ago.

As we left the park we drove through Estes Park and then Boulder where we stopped for breakfast. We also went to downtown Boulder to visit Into the Wind a kite store where I occasionally order kites. It was neat to see all of the kites in person and I ended up buying a couple. Afterwards we walked a little up the Pearl Street pedestrian mall looking at the shops.

Leaving Boulder we were soon in Golden, CO. As we drove through town I noticed a Coors Brewery Tour shuttle and out of curiosity I followed it. Coors offers free tours of the brewery so we joined one. We learned all sorts of things about how Coors , the largest brewer in the US, brews it beer and at the end we got to sample the wares. Well I did, the boys were not allowed to have any alcohol and I only had one glass.

After leaving Golden it was not long before we were at Aunt Norma's. It was wonderful to see her. We spent the afternoon catching up on how everyone was doing. After dinner I scrubbed the boys clean.

One of Adolph Coors' Original Brew Kettles Outside the Brewery Entrance

Ned and Joe Listen to the Brewery Tour

Joe Learns About Copper Mash Tuns

Today we toured Denver. We picked up Sarah and went to the Tattered Cover Book Store at their location in the old Lowenstein Theater on Colfax Street. The theater was completely refurbished. What was formerly a sunken stage now holds theater books and where box seats were there are now reading tables overlooking the main floor. The downstairs houses a great children's collection. I was happy to see walls lined with the photos of the authors who have done signings at the store.

After a quick lunch at a Greek diner we drove through Denver's City Park and then through LoDo and up to the capitol building. We had reservations for a Capitol Dome Tour but we were a bit early so we stopped into the Denver Library's Central Branch. Designed by Michael Graves it is a great place to explore. The Western History Collection on the fifth floor is especially impressive. The center of the room is an old windmill.

When it was time for our tour we walked up the street to the capitol. Colorado's capitol building was designed with the our nation's capitol in mind. A round brass cap embedded in the west entrance stairway reads, "Elevation: 5280 feet, One Mile High, 5-12-69." At 272 feet high the golden dome is plated with real 24 karat gold to commemorate Colorado's Gold Rush days. There are 99 steps to the dome observation level and the view from the dome looks out over Denver. There is also a museum with the history of the capitol. We looked in at the senate and house chambers. The first floor rotunda murals provide an artistic representation of the story of Colorado's water use with eight murals painted by Alan True and a poem written Thomas Hornsby Ferril, "the great poet of the West."

Afterward we stopped at the Wynkoop Brewery Denver's first brew pub for a drink. The boys played a game of pool and then joined another family in a game of shuffle board. Then we took Sarah home and met her partner Todd and his parents. For dinner Norma made a great pizza. Tomorrow we are heading north into Wyoming.

Thatcher Memorial Fountain in Denver's City Park

Denver Central Library's Western History Collection

"The Yearling" by Donald Lipski Outside the Library

Colorado's State Capitol Building

The Brass Mile High Marker

Sarah, Joe, and Ned Look Over Denver from the Dome

Looking Up at the Dome from the Rotunda

Here shall the melting Snows renew the Oxen/here Firewood is and here shall men build Cities

Rocky Mountain National Park, CO to Lakewood, CO, 83 miles 3 hrs 1 min

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