Thursday, August 9, 2012

Denver, Colorado

Easy sailing in our “land yacht” down the 70 miles on I-25 to an RV Park south of Denver; we took the car off the dolly, plugged in to the electricity and headed further south to Sue and Bill Piche's new home in Castle Pines just outside Denver - the mile high city at an elevation of 5250ft above sea level.

Sue and Bill had moved from Saratoga just two weeks earlier; their home was fully functional, even the pictures had been hung and not a box insight!  We were astonished at such efficiency - but then again this is Sue. Their house overlooks the 8th Tee box of a golf course, not on a fairway or behind a green so their windows are safe. Once again, their house is large with a fully finished and furnished basement. We stayed in one of their guest rooms in the basement with full windows so we could see the weather in the mornings.  On our first afternoon we relaxed and caught up on respective news, then after a yummy home cooked meal of BBQ meat we watched the Olympics.
Sunday, we went to church with Sue and Bill - it was very enjoyable; there was a youth choir from Los Altos, CA. The summer school children acted out the story of Jonah and the Whale, it was very entertaining, we all learned how to pronounce some difficult place names in the Bible. At the coffee and doughnuts afterwards we met a couple who will be vacationing in Ireland in September which led to great conversation. We then travelled on to Red Rock Amphitheater which is a copy of an amphitheater in Greece. What a stunning venue for outdoors concerts – U2 played there once in a deluge – it is also a favorite place for athletes who run up and down the tiers of seats. We enjoyed the story of the construction of the amphitheater; the chief engineer arranged all the dynamite to blast the rock, ordered the time of the detonation and left his office for the rest of the day - he did not want to deal with the environmental groups of the day.

From Red Rock we drove on to the small town of Golden which is the home of Coor's Beer. Originally a gold rush town it is still very busy with tourists and locals alike - Golden has lots of weekend festivities. We caught the tail end of the Buffalo Bill week; Buffalo Bill is buried nearby. The streets were closed to traffic and lined with vintage cars. Sue checked out the restaurants then we had a lovely lunch during which Sue was voted as the person to select all our eating establishments. Karyn (Sue and Bill's daughter) invited us to dinner at her home to reconnect with her and Matt and meet their family. Both of us were very touched when we arrived to see a poster on the door saying "Welcome Granny, Grandpa and their friends", then Ryan a five year old bursting with personality grabbed Tom to show him the playroom and office. Next he had Adele help him make paper airplanes (a throwback to having three brothers), allowing his brother Ben access to both of us now and then. Abby, the oldest showed Adele her newly decorated bedroom, familiar pre-teen colors! The baby Meghan is almost walking and wanted constant attention from her Mom as she prepared dinner for ten. Four delightful, welcoming children who made our day complete as we have not had the company of children since Easter when our Barrow grandchildren came over to Orlando.
Monday we were whisked up the mountains to Vail a Ski town that has been brought up to date without losing any of its charm. We had lunch in Gasthof Gramshammer an Austrian restaurant then just as we were paying the bill rain started to fall in a torrent; so…we ordered coffee and sipped very slowly. As Sue and Bill had been in Vail many years ago and challenged themselves to find the hotel resort they had stayed at, after an interesting walk they found it – a beautiful historic resort with roots in Bavaria. From there we drove to Frisco and walked around the town during which Adele got one of her many (she hopes) birthday presents – several weeks early! On to Breckenridge for a quick tour as it was getting late by now and Sue had made reservation at The Fort restaurant back at Red Rock which was a real treat. The Fort is a replica of the historic Bent's Fort and overlooks Denver. The food is western with a twist; we had buffalo, wild boar, quail and elk - a culinary adventure for both of us.

Tuesday we headed for Boulder with a slight detour to a small charming little town called Louisville. We had lunch at the Old Louisville Inn, in a pub owned by Garrett McCarthy, the son of the late Brian a friend of Tom's. Garrett a triathlete was born in Ireland but has lived most of his life in the US represented Ireland with great success on many occasions and is a former world champion. The Old Louisville Inn, one of the oldest Inn’s in Colorado has an interesting history; we had Tapas Tom said the best he’s had since San Sebastian, Spain. Bill warned us that Boulder was like Berkley - it was much more respectable. Pearl Street is pedestrianized, beautifully decorated and has great shops while Berkley and Telegraph Hill are full of people who are time-warped back in the 50’s bald heads and ponytails included. The weather in Castle Pines was very nice after the hot weather we had on the plains, in Castle Pines it rains around 4pm each day cooling everything down for the evening; we loved this! Sue was hoping we could have had more BBQ’s but the rain ruined those plans except for our first evening.
Each evening we watched the Olympics mostly gymnastics and swimming featuring Michael Phelps and Gabby "the Flying Squirrel". So, as you can imagine our nights were late and our mornings early; and, yes…we did get to walk around a few of the holes on the golf course which is very nicely laid out, with a lovely club house - a good walk away. We never did get to visit downtown Denver but we did drive past the city center so many times it became a joke that Adele could recognize all the various spires on sight.  The Capitol Building is a copy of the Capitol in Washington. The Jesuit University has a beautiful golden spire and there are some interesting buildings and sports arenas.

We were delighted with our break from RV living, sleeping in real bed in a house. Sue and Bill are wonderful hosts; we enjoyed visiting with them in their beautiful new home. Needless to say we were their first visitors, who will be next?

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