Location: Vail - Aspen, USA
We decided to head up to Aspen to have a look how the rich and famous live, so we got directions from the concierge and headed off.
We had bearly got going when we decided to stop for a quick breakfast. "Harry's Bump and Grind Cafe" was the only place we could find that was open, so that was it! It was quite an interesting little place, but it served up a mean breaky!
After our breakfast stop we hit the road again following the directions we had been given. We took Independance Pass, a high mountain road that is closed for 8months every year because snow makes it impassable. The scenery was even more spectacular the higher we went and there was still snow up around the top. We stopped at the top for a photo stop and a quick stretch of the legs. Even though it was mid summer, it was absolutely freezing up there!
Heading down from the top of the mountain towards Aspen the road got even more narrow and winding. At one stage the road was too narrow to pass a car and a 4WD (SUV) coming the other way had to back up to let us pass.
The closer to Aspen we got the flasher and more expensive the cars we passed got. Aspen is quite a small town, but very popular. It took us quite a while to find a park and even longer to find somewhere for lunch.
After lunch we went for a stoll around the shops and headed back out of town. We decided to head back to Vail via the main road, which turned out to be much easier driving. On the way out of town we passed the Aspen Airport, complete with a shiteload of private jets.
We dined at the hotel restaurant again and had an early night.
Location: Denver to Vail, USA
After a relatively early start this morning, we headed out of Denver towards the Mountains.
Our first stop was Golden, Colorado, where mum had, of course, sourced a Patchwork Quilt Museum which was a "must see". Golden is a pretty little town and home to the Coors Brewery, but now that we were travelling with Mum and Dad, we had to skip the brewery tour and free samples.
After a riveting tour of the Quilt Museum and a quick lunch we hit the Interstate again heading to Vail. We had already travelled much of the same area when we went up to Winter Park on Saturday, but the scenery was still stunning. I was riding shotgun, which meant I got to choose the music but as we were so far out from Denver, we had the choice of Country or Country. We ended up with Johnny Cash for most of the trip!
Vail turned out to be alot smaller than I expected, quite similar to Thredbo. The Marriott was quite grand and our room was lovely, except that it overlooked a construction site. Being Summer there was quite alot of maintenance and construction going on.
After checking in and having a quick beer to relax, we went for a bit of a walk to check out the area. The weather started to look a bit ominus so we headed back to the hotel and had dinner in the hotel restaurant followed by more drinks in the bar.
Location: Denver, USA
We all got up fairly early this morning and Mitch and Dad went to pick up the hire car. We loaded all the stuff in the back and headed out to the mountains.
Our first stop of the morning was Golden Colorado, where mum had, of course, sourced a quilt museum which was a "must see".
We had lunch at a little cafe on Golden's Main street with an over enthusiastic waitress.
Coors brewery is in Golden too, but given we were with Mum and Dad there were no brewery tours and free samples this time :(
We continued up the highway, in much the same direction as when we went to Pole Creek, but kept on going to Vail.
Vail isn't a big and fancy as I was expecting but, had a real ski village feel.
We went for a bit of a wander through town and decided to eat back at the Hotel (another Marriott! Thanks Mitch!). The restaurant was much bigger than the one at Mitchells hotel, but the food was still yum! (Although in true american fashion, the meals were twice as big as they needed to be!).
Location: Denver, USA
Mitch came and picked us up from the hotel fairly early this morning and we headed into Downtown Denver. The plan was to visit the "Black American West Museum" and then head into the city centre.
We drove through the Northern Suburbs of Denver for a bit before we found the Museum. It was in a predominately black neighbourhood and so far as I could tell we were the only white people in the area.
When we got to the Museum entrance it was closed! We didn't waste any time getting back to the car and we headed into the city.
We went back to Chilis for lunch. Mitch had to work again that afternoon so he headed off after lunch and mum, dad and I wandered around the city for a bit. We decided to walk to Molly Brown's House (which is now a museum) but we totally underestimated how long it would take us to walk there!
We were heading along a side street when we heard a screech of tires and a massive bang. We turned to see a car smashed into the side of a building, the driver having underturned when trying to go down a side alley. Three guys jumped out of the car and started running in different directions and the driver quickly reversed back out and took off down the street with the front of the car all smashed in! A couple of guys who had been standing near us quickly pulled out their phones and called 911. We decided it was probably best not to get involved and kept moving!
We walked for ages, before coming to the Colorado History Museum. We stopped in there and asked how much further it was to Molly Browns House and they told us that it was about to close for the day.
So, we decided to have a quick look around the Colorado History Museum instead. It turned out to be quite interesting, with displays on Native Americans and Cowboys and so on.
After the museum we wandered back into the city centre and caught the light rail back to Littleton where Megs picked us up.
We got changed and freshened up and went out to dinner with Megan and her parents. It was the first time mum and dad had met Meg's Parents and we went to Outback. Megans friend Kayla was working and served us.
Location: Denver, USA
Had a fairly quiet day today. We went to a couple of patchwork shops for mum and organised a hire car to up to the Mountains in a couple of days time.
Mitch had to work in the afternoon so we headed back to the hotel to relax and do some much needed washing!
Mum, Dad and I had a light dinner in Mitch's restaurant and had an early night.
All in all a pretty quiet day!
Location: Denver, USA
We had an early start this morning as we headed up into the Mountains for Mitch to play a golf tournament at Pole Creek Golf Course.
The Mountain roads were really pretty with snow capped mountains in the distance despite it being mid summer. We drove past mining towns that looked like theme park sets and trailer parks that bring real meaning to trailer park trash! It took about 2 hours to drive from Mitchells place in South Denver to the golf club.
When we arrived at the golf course there was light misty rain, but the mad keen golfers still headed out to play.
Mum, Dad and I filled in time at the club house, having a few beers (mmmm.... New Belgium Blue Moon....) and some lunch. When the rain had eased off we went for a walk around the housing estate surrounding the golf course. These houses were absolutely massive! We wandered for a fair bit before we scared ourselves by talking about Bears, so we headed back to the club house.
When Mitch finished up we drove back down the mountains and by this stage it was rain pretty heavily. As we drove through Winter Park, a major ski area in winter, we all saw a Bear! It was sooo cute! it was just wandering along the side of the road!
We got back to Denver in the early evening and headed to California Pizza Kitchen for dinner. Megs finished work while we were there so she was able to join us for dinner which was nice.
Location: Fort Collins, USA
After a very slow start Mitch, Megs and I finally rolled out of bed and checked out of the hotel.
We grabbed a quick bite to eat at Silvermine Subs (again just like subway but better) before heading back to Denver. We dropped Megs off so she could head to work and then went back out to the Airport to pick up Mum and Dad who were flying in from San Francisco.
We gave mum and dad the same tour as Mitch gave me when I arrived, past the Marriott and to his apartment. Mitch had to work that night so we headed to the Marriott, Mum and Dad checked in (they had a room right next to mine) and we had a quiet dinner in the restaurant downstairs.
A fairly quiet night after the last few!
Location: Fort Collins, USA
This morning we got up early-ish and headed up the interstate to Fort Collins. Fort Collins is a college town where Megan went to Uni and where a few of the local breweries are.
We lunched in town at Pickle Barrell, basically the same idea as Subway but way nicer. After lunch we wandered through the old part of town window shopping before heading out to the breweries.
Our first stop was the New Belgium Brewery, an environmentally friendly brewery (they use wind power and about half the amount of water of a normal brewery) which makes some of the best beers I've had so far. The intention was to do the guided tour of the brewery before sampling some of their Brews but as it is the fourth of July week, the tour was full. It didn't matter too much as they still gave us four free samples each and there were a few older couples sitting near us who didn't want their samples and of course we couldn't let it go to waste!
From there we headed to Odells brewery. Again no tour but this brewery gives you 7 samples for the low price of $3.00 (which the then give back to you in the form of a discount in the merchandise store). The beers weren't quite as nice as at New Belgium, but we weren't complaning!
We headed back into town to check into the hotel (another Marriott - Thankyou Mitchell!) before dinner. For dinner we went to the restaurant Megan used to work at, Outback Steakhouse. Outback is basically an Australian themed steakhouse that still serves american style food. The names of the meals were all cheesy Australian sayings and named after Australian wildlife (Kookuburra Wings = Buffalo Wings etc). They even had Fosters on tap as their Australian Beer (??? What Aussie actually drinks Fosters?????)
After dinner we headed into the center of town again to Washington Bar (or Wash Bar) for more drinks and so Mitch and Megan could catch up with one of their Friends. Wash Bar was like if you combined the decoration of Hogs Breath with the atmosphere of Upstairs Mooseheads and the prices of Shooters (Double shots were only $2.50 each and on Saturday nights Ladies drink free!). So all in all it was a pretty dodgy place, but with the help of lots of drinks we all had a great night!
Location: Denver, USA
This morning we slept as late as we could. We eventually checked out and wandered into town to get Lunch (we slept through breakfast).
We ate at a place called Chilis, which is basically a burger / mexican place. As usual the meals were oversized, but just what we need after the drinks last night!
After lunch we headed back south and hung out at Mitchells apartment for a while.
Not an overly exciting day compared to the last couple, but it is nice to have some down time.
It has still been really overcast, so I haven't had a great view of the mountains yet. Hopefully it will clear up soon.
Tomorrow morning we are heading up to Fort Collins, about an hour north of Denver, to do the Breweries Tours.
Mitchell is about to finish work tonight and we are going to head down to the Fox and Hound for a few beers.
Hope everyone is well at home and I will try to update this a bit more often!
Location: Denver, USA
Fourth of July!! Independence Day!
We spent the morning by the pool in Mitchells apartment complex. As usual I managed to get quite sunburnt despite having sunscreen on (damn pale skin!).
We headed into the city around lunchtime and checked into the City Marriott. We had tickets to the Baseball, so we had preliminary beers in the Hotel room with some of Megans friends before walking down to Coors Field (the Baseball stadium).
In typical style it started pouring with rain as soon as we left the hotel. We only had a few blocks to walk so we thought we wouldn't need to get our ponchos out, but we ended up soaked through!
It stopped raining just as we got to the stadium. We headed towards our seats in the nosebleed section, stopping along the way to get (more) beer and hotdogs! You can't go to the baseball and not have beer and hotdogs!
We eventually found our seats in the very last row, right at the top of the stands! It was quite good though cause it meant we could see absolutely everything. Midway through the 5th Innings (about halfway through the game) the wind came up and it started pouring down again! The game was delayed so we found a bar downstairs and huddled around drinking more beers! It was absolutely crazy in the Bar cause everyone was soaked and half cut.
We thought the game was going to be called off, but just as the bar announced they were closing the rain stopped and the game resumed. So many people had left that we were able to get seats right behind the home plate. Denver eventually beat the San Francisco Giants and the game was followed by some spectacular fireworks in aid of the national holiday.
After the fireworks we went back to the hotel breifly to change into dry clothes before going out again. We wandered around the city (probably not the safest thing to do at midnight) until we found some bars. One of them was another LoDo's so we went there, got some drinks and watched the happenings in the street below from the beer garden.
The bar closed at about 1:30am so we headed back to the hotel. We walked past a house with heaps of Police around it and it turns out MTV are filming the next series of the Real Life there (another reality show).
All in all it was a good 4th of July!
Location: Denver, USA
Was awake early again this morning (Damn Jet Lag!!!) and went for breakfast with Mitch and Megs. We went to SuperTarget, like Target in Australia but much bigger and combined with a supermarket, and got Bagels (how American!!).
We were invited over to Megan's parents place for lunch as her Brother was in town for the day with his wife and baby. We went for a massive 2 hour walk around their local area doing a treasure hunt thing using GPS systems and co-ordinates off the internet (her brother is in the US Army and very into these sorts of things). It was nice to get out and see some typical american suburbs with the big houses and so on.
On the way back after the walk we even saw a couple of squirells on a baseball field!
We decided to get the light rail into the city for tonights Pearl Jam concert seeing as parking was such a nightmare. We didn't realise however that the Denver Rockies Baseball game was on at the same time, so we spent the whole time squished between baseball fans.
We got to the Pepsi Centre in plenty of time and once again joined the queue. The guys in front of us were talking and I over heard one of them say that he was best friends with Eddie in high school and that the still kept in touch. He even had a photo from when the were in a covers band together. I saw the photo and it definately did look like Eddie, but I was like, if your still friends with him what are you doing in the line with the rest of us??? He seemed like a bit of a tool, so Im guessing that he just likes to try to cash in on the fact that he went to school with someone famous.
While we were in the queue a guy from a local radio station came along interviewing people. When he realised I was Australian, he asked me to say the radio stations name and "Your listening to ...." so that they can use it for promos, cause he liked my accent so much! Hehehe so now the people of Denver might have to hear me for a while!
Our seats were almost as good as the first concert and again Pearl Jam were up first. The set was great again, but still short. They played a few of my fave's (Black, State of Love and Trust, and even Leash which they hardly ever play live). If your interested you can see the set lists from both nights on the pearl jam website, www.pearljam.com
We didn't stick around for Tom Petty, we were on too much of a high from Pearl Jam, and got the light rail home again. This time we got the train just before the baseball finished so it wasn't so crowded.