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Thursday, November 3, 2011

Talk About Perfect Timing!

So Mark whisked me away to Denver last weekend to just hang out.  It was a blast!  Last Wednesday, though, Denver got a foot of snow.  And today, they got more.  But over the weekend, much of the snow had melted and the temps were about 60 or 65 degrees, clear blue skies, and absolutely gorgeous!

We got into Denver about 7:00 p.m., and then Mark drove us around in what was the first of many circles before landing us at the hotel we would be staying at.  [ducking and running...]  We had dinner at the steakhouse right next to the hotel (Lone Star) and it was awesome!  We walked back over to the hotel, watched some t.v. and crashed pretty early.  Woke up at the crack of dawn on Saturday, and off we went!  We were having breakfast by about 6:30 a.m. or so ... maybe 7:00 or something.  A very cool thing happened.

We were driving up one of the main road in that part of town, and we passed ... a diner!  I said to Mark, "Hey check it out ... a diner.  You usually only see those in Jersey."  So he said, "Wanna go?"  And, with that, he turned around and we went to Davies Chuck Wagon Diner.

Ok, so that's awesome.  We get in there, and are looking over the menus (I'm now going blind and need glasses for everything...) and Mark points out the "history" part of the menu to me.  Here's what it says:
Diners:  For Decent Food At Modest Prices

Besides aging into a classic Colfax store, The Chuck Wagon Diner may well be one of the West's few representatives on an American tradition.

In 1957, this fully equipped diner was bought from a New Jersey manufacturer.  The diner, weighing 46 tons, was shipped to Colorado by rail and placed on its present basement foundation.  Because of its great weight, it may be as far west as you will find a diner.

These prefabricated diners, having evolved from the horse-drawn trolley cars, turned restaurants, are indigenous to the northeastern states.  In 1950, there were an estimated 6,000 of these diners in existence.  Now there are only about half that number and "shrinking at a clip."

In 1997, the National Historic Society inducted Davies' Chuck Wagon Diner into the National Historical Registry.

We, here at the Chuck Wagon Diner, greatly appreciate your business.  We will strive to make your experience with us a pleasurable one -- one that you'll want to return to.
And return we did ... Sunday morning.  

This, to me, was a kick in the pants!  I was so wishing my brother was alive at the very moment I read this.  My brother and I were supposed to meet in Denver (him flying in from Jersey and me from Idaho) at the end of September to go watch the Rockies play.  We could have ended up at the Davies' Diner ... and how ironic that would have been!  He would have loved seeing this!

Anyway, I ended up buying t-shirts and getting some post cards and such.  Mark said I was grinning from ear to ear. 

From there, we headed to Golden.  What a cute town!


I loved this sculpture.  The detail was incredible!

Stupid thing ... I didn't take any photos of the Coors brewery!  Duh!  And, because Mark has a very large storage space in his head for useless information, he told me about the history of Coors and the can.  I've cheated, and took it from Wiki, but here's the info, which I found quite interesting:

"In 1959, Coors became the first American brewer to use an all-aluminum two-piece beverage can. Coors currently operates the largest aluminum can producing plant, known as the Rocky Mountain Metal Container (RMMC), in the world in Golden, Colorado. RMMC is a joint venture between Ball Metal and Coors, having been founded in 2003."

From there, we headed up Lookout Mountain to the grave site of Buffalo Bill.   On the way up, we encountered the first of many deer, who could absolutely care less that we pulled up right next to them.

It was still very early in the morning, the air was crisp, and it was not as clear out as it would turn out to be later in the day.  But here are some photos of the grave site, all the same.

On our way over to Red Rocks, we came up on this "preserve" of some sort.  I loved the iron work on this railing.

And these lamps.

On our way back down the hill, we saw this house off in the distance.

Made me think of ... 

I would have loved to have gotten a tour of that house.

Then on to Red Rocks.  I have wanted to see this place since I was real young, and my sister used to bring back the photos from the Dead shows she used to go to here.  It's as amazing as I always imagined.

Yes, those are actually people running up and down those stairs.  Now remember ... this is at an elevation of 6200 feet.  Just thinking about walking on a flat surface got me winded.

We headed down to the gift shop ... very cool.

They had all of the bands who have performed there listed right on the walls.  It was fun looking at that.

And other cool stuff on the walls.  Jill, this one's for you.

And now ... it's only like 10:30 in the morning!  We have the whole day ahead of us!  And off we go!

At my sister's suggestion, we headed to the little town of Morrison.  What a cute town!

These people were standing on a corner ... looks like they were waiting for some friends to park so they could all head to some sort of costume party, and they were kind enough to let me photograph them.  This photo looks like it's against a fake background.  Fall bokeh.  I love it.  

From there, we headed west, through Idledale and Kittredge and into a town called Evergreen.  It was all so picturesque!  This was another little town with cool little shops everywhere.  

I loved all of the water running through the towns.  And the bridges.  Can ya tell?  We found a cool place to have some lunch and then headed back to Denver.  Did some shopping, and then we were coming through Littleton, a town Mark lived in for a while.  He asked me if I wanted to see Columbine High.  Why not?  So after driving around in a few circles (yup ... more circles), we found it. 

I was very happy to see the kids trick or treating here, as it was a sign of healing.

One thing I noticed in Denver are these really cool bridges.  If you notice, there's no center pillar, so instead, they do that arc thing with the supports.  These bridges look really cool with a sunset behind them, and they themselves are silhouetted.

We got back to the west part of town, and Mark drove us through some residential areas he was familiar with (and conveniently around in more circles!), and much to my delight, the neighborhood was just covered in deer!

Who has a photo of a deer with Halloween decorations behind its head????

That night, Mark took me to Casa Bonita.  What a fun place!  Sitting there having dinner, while a mariachi band plays, short pirate-type skits and cliff diving right there in the restaurant!  Lots of activities for the kids, and great food!  Again, Mark and I went back to the hotel just stuffed.

Sunday morning, we got up and went and had breakfast back at the diner.  Again, it was yummy!

We took off and headed up through Boulder and into Estes Park.  A cool bridge on the way.

See the big white building with the red roof?

That's the Stanley Hotel.  It's where The Shining was filmed, and also parts of Dumb & Dumber.

An amazing place!  

From there, we headed up to the Rocky Mountain National Park.  On the way, we see this awesome creature ... who could care less about us.

More about this later.

Some of the roads were closed in the mountains, so we drove on the ones we could.  The views were spectacular, and try as I might, there is no way for me to capture in a photo the way it makes you feel when you're out there.  "Majestic" is putting it lightly.

What you don't see in these photos is that ... the higher we went ... the harder the wind whipped!  In the photo below, you can see where the wind is blowing the "snow" off the mountain.  At this point, that was almost more like ice and felt like rocks hitting your face.

Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous!  We headed back down the mountain.  Right around the area that we saw the bull elk in on the way up, we see this.  The longer you look, the more elk you see.

So we drop back down into Estes Park and shopped around a bit.  It was here that I found my kokopelli earrings, finally!  In talking to the woman at the counter, she tells us what a nuisance the elk are when they come into town, and by golly, they were in town the day before and just walking around, getting in the way of traffic, etc.  Apparently, the Denver area has its fair share of tree-huggers, so hunting is a bit ... um ... scarce as opposed to other parts of the country.  Anyway, as we were walking around, sure enough, elk poop ... trails of it.  You could see where they came in and where they left.  Too funny.  She told us that occasionally there are also moose that walk through town.  Now that I'd like to see!

Mark took a different route back down to Denver, heading for the airport.   What a gorgeous drive!

Everyone who knows me knows I love Japanese food.  This was kinda funny.

And here's something I found rather ironic.

On Dog Chow?  Ha!

Mark, thank you thank you thank you for another awesome trip!  



  1. Awesome trip indeed! Thanks for sharing. You take wonderful photos. Colorado really is breathtakingly beautiful.

  2. Jodi, I don't know how I missed this post!!! Absolutely love the pictures. So glad to see mountains, snow and magpies!!! By the way, can I copy the pics of the magpies? Love them!! Mark is an awesome "tour guide"!! Glad you had a great time.