Pat's work offered to pay us good mileage to drive to Denver, pick up a trailer, and bring it back. We jumped at the chance for a paid mini-vaca. We left on a Friday after work and drive to Grand Junction for the night. We arrived pretty late and went straight to bed.
Saturday morning we needed to hit the road, but since we needed to eat breakfast anyway we decided to find a cafe in old downtown Grand Junction because we had heard it was very cute.
We found our way down there and the first thing you notice is that there are dozen of large sculptures up and down the street. This guy was my favorite:
We found a cute bakery/cafe to eat at and just ordered some pastries so it was quick. They had an outdoor seating area so we headed out to enjoy the beautiful morning weather. We probably wasted too much time eating because it was so nice, but we did still need to get to Denver so we packed up and hit the road again.
The drive was beautiful. I'm sure I have been on that road before, but I must not remember most of it because it felt new. I could spend a lot of time playing in those mountains I think. As we drove through Vail there was a bike ride/race going on. We saw hundreds of bikers all headed up to Vail Pass. It takes quite a while to get there while driving, and it is very steep. I can only imagine how hard it would be to bike - crazy people.
We finally got into Denver, and since our hotel was on the way into town we stopped there first. We walked in and the place was pretty dumpy looking. The pool was right next to the reception desk and made the whole area smell like chlorine. We went up to our room and it smelled like cigarette smoke. Bleh! We went downstairs and cancelled our stay. I jumped online on my phone and made reservations at a different hotel that ended up being closer to downtown and was almost brand new.
By this point, we had to get downtown quick because we had signed up for a walking tour of downtown Denver. It ended up being our favorite part of the whole trip. Our guide was a really nice old history professor for one of the local colleges. We ended up walking several miles, and it took about four hours, but we did have several breaks to sit down and eat in some air conditioning. (Two appetizer stops were included in the tour.) We learned about how Denver was founded, what happened to the major people in Denver's history, and heard plenty of ghost stories. Here are some places we saw:
The Cruise Room inside The Oxford Hotel
After our tour we decided to stay in the area since we had already paid for parking. We walked the 16th street mall, which was great for people-watching.
After that it was getting kinda late and our feet were pretty sore so we headed to the new hotel. After getting settled in Pat started to not feel very well. We hadn't really had dinner because our appetizers were quite filling, and he decided that some real food would be good. We headed back out into the great unknown to try and find some food. By this time it was late enough that a lot of places were closed. The only really open looking places we saw were Hooter's and Shotgun Willie's (a strip club). Thank goodness we finally found an Applebee's,even though it's not usually our favorite, and got some food. It had been another long day, so we headed back to go to bed.
We were tired enough that we slept in too late the next day and missed our chance to go do anything Sunday morning. We did go to Crepes n Crepes for an awesome breakfast though. That afternoon we had tickets to a matinee showing of Beauty and the Beast at Denver's Center for Performing Arts. This was just at a small theater in the round, not one of their giant theaters, but it was the only show going on while we were in town.
We got to the theater and were waiting for the doors to open. We were slightly amazed at all the people with handicaps that we saw: several people in wheelchairs, two with seeing eye dogs, several more with canes, etc. We wondered if it might be a special showing where they got a discount or something. After we got into our seats I started reading through the program. It turned out that the acting troupe putting on the show, Phamaly, was comprised wholly of disabled actors. To be honest, at this point I was a little upset. I mean, I paid $39 a ticket and nowhere up to this point was there any mention of disabled actors. But I had already paid the money, so we stayed for the show. It turned out pretty good. Much better than I was expecting, really. All the leads did a fantastic job. There were a few supporting characters whose singing wasn't quite up to par, but it worked well overall. Not quite worth my $39 per ticket, but you live and you learn I guess.
After the show, since again, we had already paid for parking, we headed back to 16th street to find us some dinner. We ate at Red Rock Brewery and had some really great food. Our waiter ever brought me a free mini glass of beer, which I drank. Pat was so proud because beer is REALLY not my thing.
After dinner we decided we should go pick up the trailer that we had come out for. It was about 20 minutes north of town. When we got there we discovered that we didn't have the right size of ball for our hitch. Pat had a small leak to clean up inside the trailer, so while he worked on that I set out to find a ball. Being late on a Sunday pretty much everything nearby was closed. Using my phone I found a Super Walmart just across the highway and headed that direction. The streets were so confusing that I ended up turning around 3 or 4 times on my way there. Then when I was finally close, I still had to hunt for the store, which was clear at the back of a large shopping complex. I have never seen such a well-hidden Walmart in my life. I got there, got the ball (which was the last one in the store), and headed back to Pat. We got everything hitched up and went back to the hotel for our last night.
We were really having a great time and didn't want to leave, so we decided to do one last thing before we got on the road. We headed over to the zoo. It was SO much better than Hogle. Everything seemed much nicer and more open. Plus we got to feed some Lorikeets. They come in so many pretty colors! And neither of us got pooped on, thank goodness.
After the zoo, we picked the trailer up from the hotel and got on the road. It was a long boring ride home through Wyoming. We ended up getting back at about midnight.
My favorite part of the trip besides the tour was the food. We ate so much good food, and the weather was so nice that we ate most of it outside. It made me want to actually finish our backyard and put in a patio. Eating outside just feels better for some reason.
As much fun as we had, everything we didn't get to do makes me want to go back. Red Rocks Amphitheater, a show at a big theater at the Performing Arts Center, the Art Museum, Science & History Museum, Aquarium, and a tour of the brewery are all on our list of things to do. Luckily it is close enough to be doable one day.