While we were there…

Posted: May 30, 2015 in Travel

Ahhh, Denver.

It’s been a great trip. Sure, there’s been weather and uneven temperatures, and even ice on the roads, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I’ve seen some places and things that I never would’ve thought to see, and got to visit with some very good friends.

Did I mention I didn’t even have to go to work?

I told you about our fun times in getting here. Sunday was a little better. As Supportive Partner Woman (Lover of malts and hops!) was tuck conventioning, I headed first to the Wings Over the Rockies Air Museum. Housing a small, but diverse collection military and civilian aircraft (most notably, one of one four B-1A bomber prototypes ever built), the Wings Museum is located on the grounds of the former Lowry Air Force Base. Also among their collection is a 3/4-scale Incom T-65 straighter, best known as the X-Wing from the Star Wars movies. This unit was left on loan by Lucasfilm and funds were made available to keep it maintained and on exhibit in the hangar.

1/2 Growler of Oatmeal Milk Stout from Finkel & Garf

1/2 Growler of Oatmeal Milk Stout from Finkel & Garf

After an enjoyable visit, I got on the road for Boulder, to visit a certain craft brewery with a unique name. Finkel & Garf Craft Beer is a small taproom/microbrew located on the outskirts of Boulder. The weather again featured hail, which did not make things much fun, but there was a few seconds where I actually saw mountains. I should note that while Denver is called the Mile High City, it’s not really in the mountains. It’s east of what is known as the Front Range, and could be considered to be part of the Great Plains. That’s beside the point, though.

If you get to Boulder, stop by and sample some of Finkel & Garf’s brews. They have an oatmeal milk stout that is so smooth, it’s hard to believe. I managed to score a 1/2 growler for SPW (Did I mention she was conventioning?) and took in the taproom. Not much on the menu, basically packaged snacks from all over the country, but the have building blocks and toys at every table, not to mention Nok Hockey, table shuffleboard, and other games to play while you’re quaffing your brew.

I should also mention that I made a brief provisioning stop at a local supermarket. One big change I noticed was that there wasn’t a snack aisle like we have in Pennsylvania. There was nowhere near the myriad of chips, pretzels, etc. that you can find in any market at home. Your choices are basically Frito-Lay or Frito-Lay.

I noticed on my way back to Denver a place called Smashburger. I had heard of it, but had never tried, so when SPW was done with her meetings, we hopped back in the car and headed for noms. Now, we are used to Fuddruckers and Five Guys, but this was a pretty tasty burger. Also ordered smash fries, which were coated in olive oil and rosemary. They wound up tasting a lot like the popcorn at Troegs. Made us feel like we were home. I would highly recommend. Not necessarily the best nutrition out there, but it was yummy.

Looking toward the Batter's Eye from behind home plate at Coors Field

Looking toward the Batter’s Eye from behind home plate at Coors Field

Monday started with me heading back to Coors Field for a stadium tour. I got there a little early (and if you’re in the area, street parking is free on Sundays and holidays), got myself checked in and wandered around taking pictures. The tour started pretty promptly and our tour guides, Chuck and Jack, had a wealth of knowledge about the stadium that made it worth my while.

Probably the highlight was being on the warning track. Chuck specifically told us to stay off the field itself, but to stand behind the plate and look at the massive stadium really puts things in perspective. To know that there are 50,000 people with their eyes on you must be a great weight to carry, or you have an amazing amount of focus.

They actually HAVE these things

They actually HAVE these things

After the stadium tour, I intended on going to the zoo. Apparently, most of Denver had the same idea. I bailed and drove around for awhile. I came upon the Greatest Mall Ever. It had a Lego Store, an Apple Store, a Chick-fil-A, and a Tesla store. Plus, it wasn’t in Pennsylvania. It was like retail nirvana.

The real highlight of the trip was Tuesday. Supportive Partner Woman was done conventioning and we were able to see some sights together. We are lucky in that we had some awesome tour guides. Our dear friends Bryan and Melanie saw to our tour guide needs.

Garden of the Gods

Garden of the Gods

Our original plan was to take the cog railway to the summit of Pike’s Peak. There was about 10 feet of snow up there, so we opted for a drive through tour of the Garden of the Gods, which is amazing, and followed that up with a visit to the United States Air Force Academy.

United States Air Force Academy Cadet Chapel

United States Air Force Academy Cadet Chapel

It’s graduation week, so there will be a performance by the Thunderbirds aerial demonstration team. We were fortunate enough to get to see a practice session from the Academy grounds. We also got to visit the Cadet Chapel, which is a stunning building. Sadly, only the Protestant non-denominational chapel was open. We were unable to see the Catholic or Jewish chapel.

After leaving the Academy, we got to see real, live buffalo and went to the Buffalo Bill grave and museum. It sits on top of a mountain overlooking Golden, Colorado, home of the Colorado School of Mines and the Coors Brewery. You also look at North and South Table Mesa (Table Table?). It’s actually pretty awesome to see, especially coming from the east, where our idea of a tall mountain is 3,000 feet. Today’s trivia fact? The highest point in Pennsylvania is lower than the lowest point in Colorado.

So this brings me to today. I’m killing time in the Detroit Airport, which is actually nicer than Philadelphia. I have to tighten up the post and add the art, but suffice it to say it’s been a great trip. I honestly wasn’t ready to leave. I’m usually happy to go home, but this is one of the rare places where I felt perfectly at home. I looked at SPW and said, “I could live here.”

Who knows what will happen in the future, but Colorado is a great state with some friendly people and a rich heritage of quality beer (Coors being the exception).

I hear myself humming John Denver.  Is this a bad sign?

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