Friday, April 11, 2014

04_06_2014 Banjo Billy's Denver History Tour; lunch at the Brown Palace

On this day, we went to the park and ride to catch a bus to Denver.  While waiting, the sun was shining and it was snowing on us.  The day was far cooler than the forecast. We were bummed we didn't get the hot and sunny day we were supposed to.
We got downtown and headed to the Denver Convention Center. Many folks recognize the big blue bear that peaks into the convention center.
The name of this piece of art is "I see what you mean" since this phrase it uttered a lot at pretty much every conference.
Finally, around the corner came our ride: Banjo Billys.  It's as ridiculous and fun in Denver as it is in Boulder!
Inside the bus, dad chooses an easy chair to ride in.
As we leave, we pass a first piece of art. If you've been to Denver, you may have noticed that there is a lot of art around. This is because (hoping I remember these details correctly) the City of Denver requires that 10% of the budget of every development go to art work.  This photo is just one of many.
This fountain features a statue of Kit Carson on top. It is called the Pioneer Monument and it commemorates (wait for it...) early pioneers!  It cost $75k when it was created in 1911.
This is the County and City Building. It took forever to build because the architect in charge changed numerous times to the chagrin of the builder. The builder was so fed up at the end that he ensured the Eagle atop the building was posed in a pooping position!
This poor photo is of the State Capitol of Colorado.  The new gold leaf overlay was just recently unveiled. Much of the rotunda is still wrapped in scaffolding. Inside is supposed to be quite beautiful and contain all the Colorado Rose Onyx from Beulah Colorado.  It is believed that it used the entire supply of this Onyx that exists.  I need to get inside and go on a tour.
A Denver History tour would be incomplete without discussing the Brown Palace. This toure did not disappoint.  The Brown Palace is a spectacular hotel in downtown.  It is where I took mom, Hannah and Zoe for tea last year. It's simply beautiful and we learned that it has a well that goes more than 740' below ground to provide water to hotel inhabitants. Pretty cool.
Across the street from the Brown Palace is what is now known as the Navarre.  It currently houses amazing art. Years ago, it was a high-end brothel serving the guests at the Brown Palace. To allow discrete entrance and exit, it had a tunnel built beneath the road to the Brown Palace.
The Satire is a famous lounge where superstars like Bob Dylan got their start. Pretty cool signage.
And the Denver Botanic Gardens - this is a beautiful place I need to get to again. 
The history of Cheesman Park was perhaps the most interesting on the trip. This was (is?) a cemetery holding thousands of bodies. Because trees are not normal in this area, bodies were not buried in coffins. Rather, they were buried in shrouds.  At some point, the city wanted to convert the area to a park so the bodies needed to be relocated. Some were. Most weren't. And the bodies are not buried deeply. Some say the entire area is haunted as a result.
I forgot the name of this school. It has had a large number of students who went on to be famous. One person is Tim Allen of Tool Time.
This is the Grant-Humphreys House. There was  a mysterious death in this home. And it's located near Cheesman Park. Many have reported ghosts here. 
The Governors mansion. I've been to several fun events here for work.
This is the Molly Brown home. She lived here prior to her trip on the Titanic.
More art outside the Denver Art Museum (another place I need to go).  The Denver Art Museum has not angle that is 90 degrees. Crazy looking building.
A bit more art at the Museum.
Nearing the end of our tour, we passed the Denver Mint. This is just a couple of blocks from my office. I need to get here for a tour as well.
After the tour, we headed to the Brown Palace for lunch.
We both had a most unusual and delicious tuna sandwich.  It was excellent and filling. 
Then, en route back to the bus, we walked down Larimer Square. This is a gorgeous block. Happy I work one block away and get to enjoy it every time I'm in Denver.
And finally, we headed into the Tattered Cover. Can't believe after all these years, I'd not been there. It's a very cool new & used book store. I'll have to get back there and spent more time in the future.

We then went home. The next morning, dad packed and headed home. The trip home was uneventful.  Hoping he had a good time!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

04_05_2014 Dad's Visit Continues - Coors Beer Tour; Lookout Mtn; Buffalo Bill's Grave/Museum

Today we headed to Golden Colorado. First stop was the Coors Beer Tour. It's my first time to do this though I'd seen the factory 100 times passing through.

We parked the car and took the shuttle bus to the facility.
Walking in, we were met by an old and no longer used brewing thing. Pot. Kettle. I don't know. It was big and it was under a big Coors can.
The tour is set up so the walker can hit a number on a remote sort of thing and listen to the electronic tour guide. The beginning people said we could take one for the group so we only had one. That was a mistake since they work like phones, not like information conveyed via speaker. So if you go, get one for each participant.

There were some grains used in beer making at one of first tour stops. I discovered that hops are stinky.

On the tour, moving to the big brass brewing things.

Lots of things on this tour. 
See, told you there were lots of big brass brewing things.
LOTS of them!
A display of Coors products
And some devices used through the years to brew beer.
During the tour, we came to the Fresh Beer Room. In this room, one can taste Coors that is 3-5 days old. 
Dad enjoying the fresh Coors.   (I am not a beer drinker)
One of the conveyer belts. It was hard to see the entire process. Below to the left we could see cans coming in mass then slowly ending up single file. They something happened to them. The came around to the machine on the right that was cutting the cardboard cases and stuffing them with cans of beer. Then the closed cases went out to some magical place. I am guessing a truck.

This was oddly mesmerizing.
A few stops later and we were in the Lounge. Here those 21+ can taste three beers. Three big glasses of beer! It was now clearer the demographics of the others on the tours. They charged through the tour to get to this stop. Then guzzled.

Dad enjoyed some Red Killian beer.

I am still surprised at how much beer they give away for free here.
Upon exiting we stopped at a memorial for those in the military. Dad's in front of the Navy side of the memorial.
We then headed to 19th Street and headed west. Our second destination of the day was the top of Lookout Mountain.  This is the home of Buffalo Bill's grave and a museum dedicated to his life.

A bonus is that this road - the Lariat Trail - is a terrific bike ride. I've not done it yet. Many others were on the road heading to the top. Looks like great fun.
As the road goes higher and higher, the views got better and better. 
We got to the top and entered the museum.  Here dad is with a cut-out of Buffalo Bill
Some info about BB
Lots of stuff in the museum - clothes, saddles, paintings, Indian stuff, buffalo heads, etc.

This is a painting of Sitting Bull and his head dress. Seems Buffalo Bill was a great friend of the Indians (for real) when he wasn't scalping some. :/

We walked outside (and skipped the gift shop) to see the graves of Buffalo Bill and his wife.  BB is beneath the white quartz rocks on the left, his wife on the right. It certainly is a beautiful location.
An added bonus was watching the parapenters launching from the mountain. There were many.
We then went into Golden and ate at Grappas.  It offered some really delicious Mediterranean food. Yum.

Then we headed down to Clear Creek to see the trout sculpture.

Here dad is engaged in a trout rodeo.
I was next - yeehaw!
The trouts were also nice at warm from the sunshine.
Why trout you ask? Here is the plaque describing why trout.
And the a photo of the full sculpture. I really like this display.

Tomorrow we head into Denver for some fun things...hang tight for that fun!