|Our last leg into Golden was from a KOA south of Pueblo, CO. It was mostly up hill to our three week layover in Golden. One of the first things we noticed after crossing into Colorado from New Mexico was how green the hills and valleys are. We stayed at this RV park four years ago during our first travel season. Our travel companion, ‘the Bird’ expired due to the extreme temperature changes we had experienced getting here, we assume. He is buried on the rocky crest of the deep green covered hill behind ‘the Neighborhood’.
A summary for the last week would have to include two tornado warnings, two tennis work outs on two different courts, a train ride to downtown Denver for a free concert by Bob Dylan’s son, a 40 minute 4 inch deluge, several protracted happy hours with the best appetizers going, and an interesting trip to Boulder for more outdoor music and festivities. Wow, how to put down all the fun we have had since arriving in Golden will be difficult.
The primary reason for us coming on a wide detour from our planned journey to the North West is to visit our friends, Jack and Sharon, the very same Jack and Sharon who put us up in their driveway in York, PA three voyages ago. Fortunately for us, they have moved to the Denver area and are now in our time zone part of the year instead of being three zones away.
But I digress.
Driving into Golden after leaving the I-25, we were most pleased by the green rolling foothills backing up against the front range of the Rockies with their soaring cliffs and peaks of old slightly rose-colored granite. From most places at this eastern upper end of Golden, we can see all the way downtown to the Denver skyline. Looking toward the northeast we have an uninterrupted view of the green foothills lined by the lower mountains almost all the way to Boulder. These mountains of the Front Range, as it is called in these parts, are the incubator of much fierce weather for all parts east. Eastern Colorado, out on the endless grass prairie, and Kansas bear the brunt of these storms. But since we arrived here, Denver has had the most rain and most severe weather alerts in recent memory. Golden, as usual, is spared the worst of the weather because of the close proximity to the mountains, but we have had ample amounts of daily afternoon thunderstorms and torrential downpours. Of course, we are enjoying it so far. We try to get our chores, exercise, and tourist duties done by 2:00. After that, you’re gonna get clobbered. At least until this somewhat unusual weather system moves away.
Friday was one of our more interesting days. We retrieved Sharon from nearby Arvada and came back to the Golden light rail station. Jack was out of town on business, but would be joining us downtown for happy hour and appetizers by 5:00. Then Sharon would ride home with him while Nancy and I would hop the light rail for the trip back to port. So for $8 for the young ladies and $4 for me, the older and less dignified gentleman, we were off for an evening of adventure in the big city. The trains run every 15 minutes, every 7 minutes during peak, 24/7.
Our first impressions of Denver are most favorable. The people of Denver certainly got the ‘memo’. The downtown area is clean, biker and pedestrian friendly, and vibrant. There are countless restaurants, street side cafes, and artsy shops. The 16th St Mall is one of the more popular places for people of all sorts to congregate to eat, drink, shop, and of course, people watch. The outdoor mall is one mile long and no cars are allowed. It seems many of the restaurants compete for having the best happy hour food and drinks. Jack even has an app on his phone to assist in finding such places. We were meeting him at one of these places.
Tamayo has two bars. The one upstairs that is open air didn’t start operation until 5:00, so we hung out at the lower bar and drank a couple of margaritas and ate multiple appetizers until we could go upstairs. Once upstairs, we anchored our spots at the bar and ordered more Maggies. We had a good head start on Jack by the time he arrived. Jack got to the bar about two minutes ahead of an incredible cloud burst. The roof is made from some thin waterproof material so the pounding rain drowned out all attempts at conversation. The staff had to quickly lower their waterproof shades to keep the torrents out. Even then the rain caught a few patrons sitting on a comfy sofa by the railing. The rain did not let up for over half an hour or more. Later I heard that downtown Denver got almost 4 inches of rain from that cloud burst.
Soon after the rain let up the streets were alive again with people going about enjoying an evening downtown. We moved to another favorite restaurant of Jack and Sharon’s. Venice is a very classy and contemporary Italian eatery that just so happens to have one of the best appetizer menus and reasonably priced wines by the glass around. Remember, Jack has an app for that! No appetizer was over $4.50 and any one of them was a meal. Nancy and I shared some ravioli that was fantastic. After calling ‘no mas!’ to more food and drink, we headed out to our main destination several blocks away.
There were several free concerts going on downtown as part of the Day of Rock and the one we went to see was Jacob Dylan and his band The Wallflowers. They played great rock and roll and were a tight band. He resembles his famous father and definitely has musical talent. It sprinkled on and off during their performance, but it was manageable until the end when we had to open the umbrella.
We hastily said our goodbyes to Jack and Sharon and took off at a brisk walk down the mall toward the train station. We had to hang out in a few doorways during brief downpours but made it to the station relatively dry. Six minutes later our train left for Golden and ‘the Neighborhood’. Less than an hour later we were getting ready for bed.
What a great day. Tomorrow we all go to Boulder for more free outdoor music and happy hour. Darn!