A few weeks back, I managed to escape my domestic lifestyle of Super Dad. As you might recall, I’ve banked up about a month worth’s of vacation from being a responsible person. Over the years, my wife has done a lot of “Girl’s Weekend/Ditch the Family Weekends” with her various friends while I’ve stayed home with the kids. On contrast, my trips away from her usually involve some kind of Boy Scout outing (like summer camp or a weekend camping trip in the Pacific Northwest rain). Neither one are relaxing vacations. I would say they are like supervising prison highway cleanup crews on a long 4th of July weekend: Your buddies are out having fun and you have to watch a bunch of inmates.
So every once in a while, I get a Guy’s Trip to refresh and use up that “banked” time. Don’t get too excited; this happens about once every seven years. (It is quite rare and you should probably note this in your worthless event calendar). This time, I invited myself to Colorado on my friend’s business trip (so my lodging was free). Luckily, I stayed with my friend (who unluckily was there for business). While he and his fellow co-workers were stuck in “important” meetings and site visits (they look at buildings and the security of the buildings), I was visiting the tourist sites around Denver, Colorado Springs, and Boulder. Don’t worry; I thanked him by charging a lot of nice meals to his room, a bathrobe for his wife (she probably needed a nice gift from him anyway), and a few drinks for the 23 new friends I made at the hotel bar. All legitimate business expenses if you ask me.
This was my first trip to the Denver area and mid-July was a great time to visit. Nice, comfortable weather (shorts and t-shirt time)…sunshine and clear blue skies in the morning, turning to thundershowers in the late afternoon and evening.
Day 1: Explored Denver downtown along the Commons Park, 16th Street Mall (basically an outdoor mall with a bunch of chain stores…gee, I could have just stayed home and not seen this crap), the Federal U. S. Mint/U.S. Reserve building (oh, another place where the building is a full of more money I’ll never have), and the Colorado State Capitol and the civic grounds around it (actually it is quite nice pack and landscaped area). You see, I don’t mind walking, exploring, and people watching. It’s quite good fun: you walk, check things out, and stay healthy.
16th Street Mall…skip it…
After exploring this tiny slice of Denver, I drove out to the Red Rock Amphitheatre (located in Red Rock Park near Golden, CO). If you have ever been to the Cars ride at Disneyland’s California Adventure Park, this is most likely where the Disney folks got their inspiration from. It was a beautiful setting. Great rock formations, parking isn’t bad, and the terrain is fun to hike. Bad part was the light drizzle of rain that turned into a downpour. But what is a little rain while you on vacation? Nothing but a free shower, right?
Driving: While on vacation, I often forget that you aren’t magically able to get from Point A to Point B in a matter of minutes (this isn’t a Harry Potter novel). What I think is a five minute drive is actually a 45 minute drive. After my hike, I still had to drive out to Boulder from Red Rocks Park (which turned out to be about 45 minutes away). Time isn’t on my mind either. I occasionally might check my watch but I don’t keep track of time. As long as I’m not falling asleep at the wheel, I’m good to go.
Traffic around the Denver area wasn’t bad at all. Considering how the traffic is in Seattle, everywhere else (besides Honolulu, LA, and New York) is a piece of cake to drive in.
Accommodations: I stayed at the Hotel Boulderado. Well, I rather crashed with my friend in his room paid for by his employer. However, in reality I’m a client at his company so I really paid for my own room. Hmm, in hindsight, I should have upgraded to the deluxe suite. Nice hotel in the heart of downtown Boulder and close to the Pearl Street Mall (another closed off street featuring stores and street artists).
Next post….Day 2!