Five Weeks in Denver

Tomorrow we leave the Denver area.  I can’t believe it’s been 5 weeks already. We arrived on July 12th to check out the 26′ mid-bath Lazy Daze for sale in Aurora.  I bopped around Aurora for a week, staying nights at a couple of Walmarts, while running errands and negotiating/completing the new RV purchase.  Our last night in ole Myrtle was spent at Cherry Creek State Park, a full-hookup park.  Bev and I had stayed there last August, right before she flew back to Austin.  I knew I would need hookups to dump the tanks before moving into the new rig and storing the old.  And, it was so hot I needed the electric to run the A/C.

Cherry Creek Site - our last night in the rig

Cherry Creek Site – our last night in the rig

Is it just me or do these clouds look like the Starship Enterprise?

Sunset at Cherry Creek

Sunset at Cherry Creek State Park

Also, during that time I worked on getting my old rig up for sale and managed to find an RV park where I could stay for a month in the new RV.  Plus, I was able to find a secure storage spot for a month for the old rig.  Lucky for me they were running a $1 move-in special, with no minimum time limit. I only had to pay a $23 administrative fee. So, I got an $85 monthly spot for $24. Score!  I hoped one month would give me enough time to find a buyer for the old rig, get the new rig set up how I need it, choose/buy a scooter and take the class to get my motorcycle endorsement on my driver’s license.  It was a lot to do in a month, but it all got done.

The best part of the month was when Chris came for a visit and reserved a week at the same RV park.  He helped me get the scooter and carrier, mounted the carrier on my hitch, devised a system to store the scooter ramp on my bumper, and drove me to the meeting with the buyer of the old rig, to the bank, etc.  One day we rode the light rail from the Golden station near the RV park to Union Station downtown.  It only takes about 40 minutes and avoids the hassle of driving, traffic and parking.  There is a “Mall Ride” free bus system that picks up at Union Station and runs down 16th street, which is pedestrian only (except for the Mall Ride buses).

Clock Tower and Mall Ride

Clock Tower and Mall Ride

The first stop was the Tattered Cover bookstore.  We both like big bookstores with character and a coffee shop.  It’s in a great renovated old building.

Tattered Cover Bookstore

Tattered Cover Bookstore

Larimer Street is supposed to be hip and trendy and the guide book said not to miss it. It has several restaurants with outdoor seating and some boutique stores.  I bet it really comes alive at night.

Larimer Street

Larimer Street

The middle of 16th Street has big trees, tables and chairs, vendor carts, and there are several pianos along the way.  Folks are encouraged to make music.  One guy was banging out a tune, and his friend was singing and really putting on a show. (At least I think it was his friend.  Could have been some random dude just singing along.)  I thought it was fun.

Piano Man and Friend

Piano Man.  His friend, on the right, was very entertaining.

We had planned to eat at a food court that Chris remembered from a prior visit.  We didn’t really see a restaurant there that we wanted to eat at, and back outside we ran into a guy passing out flyers for a lunch spot.  It was for a bunch of food carts that are set up in Civic Center Park every Tuesday and Thursday.  Our lucky day – it was Tuesday!  So we headed on to where the 16th St. mall ends, near Colfax and the Civic Center Park.  It has a neat arch entrance from that side.

Arch at Civic Center Park

Arch at Civic Center Park

Inside there were many, many food carts.  It took a while to check them all out and decide where to eat.  I finally decided on a salad from the Greek place.  Chris had found us a site under an umbrella in the amphitheater area, and we ate there.  Such a great lunch!  Good food, lovely view, nice weather, great company, all-around fantastic!

Food Carts

Food Carts

Our lunch spot

Our lunch spot

After lunch we headed to the US Mint.  I had tried to sign us up for a tour, but they were booked up through mid-September.  We visited the gift shop, then I checked to see if they had any cancellations. Maybe we could get in on the spot.  Nope.  Never hurts to ask!

US Mint

US Mint

We headed back to 16th St. to walk back towards Union Station on the other side of the street.  We stopped at Peet’s Coffee for a break and iced beverages.

Resting at Peet's

Resting at Peet’s

A little further up the road we visited the Federal Reserve Museum.  (I’m a finance person, had to get a tour of one of the big monetary establishments while in town. :-))  I really liked this history of currency.  Also, there is a picture of 30 million dollars in the slide show at the end of the post.

History of Currency

History of Currency (Click to see a bigger version)

About 4:00 we got back on the train for the easy 40 minute ride back to the Golden station.  I had dropped Riley off in the morning at the Rover’s Retreat doggie day care that’s right next to the RV park.  They will also do a bath and brush, so he got that done, too.  Spa day for Riley and I didn’t have to worry about it being hot in the RV or him needing to go potty.  Perfect!

It was great to have Chris here to help me and to do touristy stuff with.  It’s very nice to have your boyfriend come down from fishing in the mountains for a visit when parked in Denver for a month!  Tomorrow I head up to the mountains to join him again.  We will be camping in a couple of areas between Hot Sulphur Springs and Steamboat Springs.  Definitely will be cooler than Denver, where it’s been mid-80’s.  With no shade on the tin can, my rig heats up into the 90’s during the day.  I hate having to run the A/C.  Looking forward to some cools.  And to letting Riley run around off-leash a bit.  And to meeting up with Chris again.

One more shot of Golden – tubers floating down Clear Creek in the middle of downtown.  Neat little town they’ve got here.

Floating Clear Creek in Golden

Floating Clear Creek in Golden

By the way, I hope to get a picture of my new RV posted to the top of my blog soon.  Currently I have just the pictures I took in the Home Depot parking lot, and at the RV park where we’re packed in like sardines.  I’d like to get a good shot like I have above now, of the old rig at Jackson Lake in Grand Teton National Park.

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Denver and onward

So we left Mueller and headed to Colorado Springs, then on to Denver.  Bev had a flight back to Austin on the 8/22 so she could be back a few days before school started on the 27th.  We figured we would get a site at Cherry Creek State Park, which is in Aurora in the Denver metro area, to be close to the airport.  We thought we would get a rental car using my brother’s special rate (he travels a lot for work), but the company had no cars.  I checked Enterprise and several other companies, but the rate was over $50 per day.  We didn’t really have anything planned to see/do in Denver, so it seemed a bit spendy to get a $50 car, then figure out what to do in the area.  We really wanted to not travel for a couple of days, get some laundry done, make sure Bev was all packed and ready to go, etc.  So we hung out at Cherry Creek.

Site # 15 at Cherry Creek State Park

Cherry Creek is a full hookup campground, with a really nice camper services (restrooms, laundry, showers, vending, etc.) building.  The building was almost next door to our site, so we had an easy time getting our laundry done.  (Again, I used to view and select a shady site before reserving.)

While there I spent some time researching Yellowstone and Grand Tetons National Parks.  When I knew we would be going to Denver, I figured it would be good to go on to Wyoming and visit them, which I had wanted to do for a long time.  I had picked up a Yellowstone/Grand Teton travel book in Austin, but hadn’t really planned it out, focusing on the Texas to Colorado part of the trip first.  At Cherry Creek I had a phone call with my friend Dwight, who is from that area and goes back-country camping in Yellowstone with a group of guys every year.  Turns out we had a few overlapping days when we would be there at the same time, and we both planned to stay at Norris Campground.  So, we made plans to meet just after Labor Day at Yellowstone.

On Wednesday, the 22nd, Bev and I packed up and headed to the airport.  Initially we didn’t think that we could drive a motorhome to the airport (one other reason for the rental car idea), but my brother found out that we could drive to departures, which is on an upper level and has no low-clearance areas.  We had to say a quick goodbye at the drop off area and I was off.  Sad time.  Now it was just Riley and me.

While in the Denver area I wanted to run a few errands, including replacing the radio in the cab.  The Alpine stereo that was there was overly complicated (not easy to set or select the pre-set buttons) and then it died a few days before leaving on the trip.  Now that I didn’t have Bev to talk to I would really need to get a new stereo installed.  The rig is set up with extra speakers behind the couches above the back window, so I can listen to the radio while relaxing in the evening.  This is why car stereos with remotes are very handy.  I was able to find the Pioneer model I wanted (with Ipod controls and USB port for charging) at the Best Buy in Loveland, north of Longmont, where I was staying at the Boulder County Fairgrounds.  I had originally wanted to go to the Missile Site Campground in Greeley, but it was dry-camping only and the weather there was warm.  I needed an electric hookup for A/C, so went to the fairgrounds site.

Longmont, Colorado at Boulder County Fairgrounds

The next morning I would visit downtown Longmont (very cute main street), weigh the rig at the trucker stop (only 200 pounds under max weight, must dump some stuff soon), swing by Best Buy, and then head into Wyoming.