Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Things To Do In Denver...

The most recent out of town jaunt for BowlingWidow and myself took place a few weeks ago as we had a wedding to attend in Cheyenne, Wyoming.  Cheyenne is just 90 minutes or so north of Denver, so we figured, why not extend this trip a little bit and hang out in Denver and environs for a couple of days?  After all, it had been nearly 30 years since our first and only visit to that city.

Some of the Denver Skyline
I had forgotten that the “majesty” of the Rocky Mountains from the Denver city vantage point actually pales in comparison to what we have in the Pacific Northwest in the Olympic Mountains or Mount Rainier.  You are, after all, already a mile high and gazing up only another three-quarters of a mile.

Our first stop after picking up our car at the airport was to head into town for an early dinner at a dive restaurant we read about called Sams #3.  We know it’s a dive because it was featured on Food NetworkDiners, Drive Ins and Dives”.  I indulged in one of my favorite dishes, a chile relleno Mexican plate while my wife had the relatively healthier Greek salad.   And a local beer of course.

One of the Best Dive Restaurants We've Been to:  Sam's #3
Speaking of that, here’s a word about Colorado beers.  There are a lot of them.  A really large number of small breweries.  But they seem to have yet to discover the use of hops and malt, and tend to shy away from bold flavors.  Maybe drinkers are slow to give up their Coors Light habit?  I don’t know the answer to that, but clearly Seattle, Portland and San Diego have nothing to worry about when it comes to wearing the craft brew crown.

Best Tap House in Denver:  Mostly Beer from Other States
Copper Kettle's Mexican Chocolate Stout:  Spicy and Interesting for Denver Beer
Speaking of Coors, one night we went to a Colorado Rockies baseball game at Coors Field.  We met Mike (the groom to be on Saturday) and some of his friends.  These guys are serious baseball geeks and keep score on every play without fail.  Bachelor party?  Yes, this WAS the bachelor party as far as he was concerned.  The stadium reminded me a lot of our Safeco Field in Seattle.  I should actually say the reverse is true since it was built before Safeco.  I like the fact that in both stadiums you can see what’s happening on the field from anywhere on the first level concourse.

Mike and BowlingJoe Hanging Out at Coors Field
But the real beauty of the Denver area is clearly not in Denver.  As a city, it has no real identity and the traffic sucks.  It’s worse than Seattle’s.  And Seattle’s is painfully bad.  The beauty is clearly in the mountains.  We took a couple of nice drives and did some walking around at places like Red Rocks (complete with superhuman athletes exercising at altitude by running up and down the amphitheater stairs!) and Echo Lake, at 10,500 feet and on the way to Mount Evans which boasts the highest paved road in North America.  We also took a day trip to college town of Boulder.  Nice place with a vibrant downtown area.  I can see why Mork and Mindy chose to live there.

The Lovely Red Rocks Amphitheater
Leaves Starting to Change in The Rockies
Echo Lake:  10,500 Feet Above Sea Level
The Small Town of Idaho Springs
Finally, we did decide to stay an extra day so that we could watch the Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks play the Broncos in Seattle from a Denver sports bar.  Yes, I did wear my game jersey in enemy territory as Seattle chalked up an overtime victory.  But judging from the number of different teams represented in the establishment, we really could have been anywhere in the country.

An All-Star Team of Fans at a Denver Sports Bar

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Brushes With "C" List Greatness

I've met people whose passion it is to get their pictures taken with the famous.  They garner photos of themselves with musicians, actors, politicians or whoever has been in the news cycle for longer than 20 minutes.

While I've never been inclined to pursue that particular hobby, there have been a few occasions when I've found myself able to have some photos taken with "C" list greatness.

My earliest one is from 1973.  During a family trip to Southern California we went to an LA Dodger game.  It happened to be Camera Day on the field so before the game my little brother (left) and I got our pictures taken with such players as C-lister Dan Driessen of the Cincinnati Reds.  All Stars Pete Rose and Johnny Bench wanted nothing to do with crowd mingling on that day.