Monday, June 23, 1986

1986 Denver, CO II (6/21-23/1986)

Saturday, June 21, 1986
Today we met Mike and Ryan at 8:30, and together we took the free bus down the 16th Street mall to Champs Street. We walked over to 18th Street to LaPeep, a big brunch restaurant. I had a skillet breakfast with home fries covered with steamed zucchini, onion, mushrooms and peas in a melted cheddar cheese, and topped with two fried eggs. Very good. Kent had a Spanish omelet with a spicy hot salsa. Ryan had blueberry pancakes, which were in a pile with blueberry sauce poured over it, and whipped cream in a circle around; looked like a pie. We walked back to 16th Street and caught the shuttle back to the hotel. We got Mike’s car and headed off into the mountains again. We took US 70 and worked our way into the Rockies, going through the Eisenhower Tunnel that is 1-1/2 miles long. The tunnel cut through the Continental Divide, so all the water flowed west once we got through. We drove through the mining town of Dillon, now a resort area in a wide flat glacial valley. Noted the many bicyclers on the bike paths. We continued on to Breckenridge, which looked like a ski resort town. Through other mining towns, then stopped at a junction for drinks and ice cream for Kent. In the general store, Kent saw a fishing bell and wondered what it was for. The proprietor explained that you set up your fishing pole, attached the bell on it, then you can fall asleep!
Next we went to Hoosier Pass, where we parked and put on sweaters (it was breezy) to take a hike. We followed a dirt road up to the tree line. It was a chore, as Kent got his headache, and I got my pinched feeling in the bridge of my nose again. But the scenery was fantastic as we headed up towards snow!
Mount Hoosier Pass
Kent and Ryan
Mount Hoosier Pass snowbank
Magnificent views into the valley. Even Mike could feel the altitude; not enough oxygen in the air to let his contact lenses breathe. We crossed a ridge and found some snow where Mike slid down on his bottom. I had to change film, and the last of my sprockets broke off. I had to figure a way to thread in new film. Found a piece of Scotch tape that did the trick. The boys have been able to use nature’s restroom. At one point they found a man-made one for me. We followed alongside a stream for a ways, and came to a stream junction.
We had been snacking on Japanese crackers, and dried corn and peas. When we got back to the car, Kent and Mike sneaked a gummy bear snack in the front seat.
Kent and Ryan fell asleep as we drove back down the mountain, passing Alpine pastures, then the plains to head north to Denver. Passed near Red Rocks, but couldn’t see the Amphitheater. We again passed Buffalo Bill’s grave, etc.
Stopped at a grocery store to purchase ingredients for dinner and went to Mike’s house that he shares with two apparent slobs. Ryan gave me a complete tour of the house while Kent and Mike called their parents. We made and ate dinner of grilled steaks, with salad and iced tea. After cleaning up, Mike drove us back to the hotel.
After Kent had a nap, we took the bus down the 16th Street pedestrian mall. Found a Haagen Dasz ice cream place on 15th Street. Near the Tabor Center, there were a lot of punks and street musicians. Also horse-drawn carriages. Took the shuttle bus back to the hotel.

Sunday, June 22, 1986
We went to look for breakfast at 8:30, but nothing was open. We ran out of time as we had to meet Mike at 9:15. He drove us to a Burger King for a quick bite, then headed towards the airport. I had thought the plan was to go to the Denver Museum of Natural History and see a movie on the giant IMAX screen, then after lunch we would go to the botanical garden. Instead we headed to the Denver Botanic Gardens, and sat in the parking lot to sit and wait. I was totally in the dark, until Mike told us to go in ahead with Ryan, while he waited for his girlfriend, Beth. Aha!
Denver Botanic Gardens map
We began walking the outer gardens, starting with the Linden Allée which was now lined with fruit trees and displayed weeds (thistle and Queen Anne’s lace!).
Oenothera howardii/Howard's Evening Primrose
Linden Allée
Gypsophila sp/Baby's Breath
Then the perennials. By the time we reached the amphitheater (a depression in the ground), Mike and Beth arrived. Together we went through the dahlia section to the other end of the Lily Path, and followed that back around past a variety of lilies and a beautiful house outside the gardens.
Lily Path
House in the neighborhood
Next the herb garden, and a scripture garden.
Herb Garden
Ryan was fascinated with the square pools with fountains. We went into a couple demonstration gardens.
Ryan helps Uncle Kent figure out
they are in the Landscape Demo Garden
Kent took Ryan to the restroom as the rest of us wandered through the lovely peony garden, past a bland lilac garden, along an area showing berry bushes and evergreens, and peeked into someone else’s garden.
Kent and Ryan caught up with us at the Rock Alpine Garden which was very specific to different areas. We entered the Alpine House, with a few banks of high-altitude plants, but no edelweiss!
Four Towers Fountain
We continued through a wooded area to the Japanese Garden. Lots of carp in the pond and a teahouse.
Japanese Garden
Next the Plains and then the water lily pool.
Water lily pool
There was a plot of cutting flowers. We followed some running water upstream from a poppy field, then passed through the rose garden.
Poppy field
After the irises we made our way to the conservatory. Took a break for some sun tea.
Tropical Garden pool shadows
The conservatory lobby court contained a few tropical plants, but we went on into the jungle! It was a well laid-out jungle with sample plants galore. We noted a fig tree with figs growing out from the trunk. At the far end was an area of orchids and bromeliads.
Unidentified liana
Kent and Ryan in the conservatory
Kent and I came out of the conservatory first, and Kent sat down. I went in search of the dried flower display. The herbarium was closed. I went to the gift shop to wander until everyone was gathered together.
We left the gardens and Beth followed in her car to have lunch at Zack’s. They were having a private party today, so we went to the classy Racine’s. Had a spacious corner booth and paintings on the wall were available for purchase for $1,800-$2,000! Mostly landscapes. Ryan had brunch, more blueberry pancakes. Kent had a club sandwich and I had the three-cheese grilled sandwich with a dill pickle and fries. Kent had pasta salad with his meal. Mike had a California omelet, and Beth had a spinach salad. Beth then had to go to work, and the rest of us went to the tremendous City Park. Found our way to the Museum of Natural History, where Mike bought an annual membership and I went as his guest.
Museum of Natural History ticket
It was very interesting to go through such a museum with a geologist/botanist! Mike could answer any questions that popped into our minds. We saw fossils and skeletons, and remakes of dinosaurs and early (prehistoric!) mammals in their natural habitats. The murals in the display areas were great, and they were more apparent as we looked at present-day taxidermy. We saw meteorites, all kinds of rocks and minerals, and lots of gold, from tiny flakes to the largest nuggets. Also precious gems. Onwards to the North American animals and birds. Tremendous displays.
Kent needed to get to work, so we left at that point. Outside the museum Kent was caught hugging a woman in public, and a girl “fined” him a donation to a meals program. She asked for $3 and Kent complied.
Mike dropped us off at the hotel. We readied for dinner with the president of BIF and sales reps, and their wives. Cocktails were to be served in the hospitality suite at 17:00. At 18:30 they would leave for dinner at the Wellshire Inn. I joined the crowd later in the suite to be introduced to key people, and then we were divided up for rides to the restaurant. We went with an elderly couple from Los Angeles. Arrived at the Tudor-style restaurant set in a golf course and were taken upstairs to a private dining room holding about 25 people at three round tables. The sun was shining directly into the faces of some people, so Kent went to troubleshoot with the femme maître d’, and she brought in shades that had to be thumb-tacked over the windows. White and red wine was served along with ice water. Rolls and butter in the table were passed around when the salads came. There were bowls of French dressing on the table. Our pre-ordered entrées (choice of steak or chicken) arrived, Chicken Oscar that was surprisingly good; a chicken breast stuffed with crabmeat. It came with rice pilaf and carrots ‘n’ peas. Dessert was a scoop of vanilla ice cream with a chocolate g-clef on it. Coffee was offered. There was a little talk, but things broke up fairly early. Some folks were still suffering from jet lag, or altitude. Kent signed for the dinner bill, about $800! We were driven back to the hotel.

Monday, June 23, 1986
We took the 16th Street bus down to Lawrence Street to Bear Buns for breakfast, getting the $1.25 cinnamon rolls. They were hot from the oven and huge; six inches across and 2 inches thick! The sweet icing was globbed on top. I could only eat 2/3 of the bun. After we returned to the hotel, Kent had business, and I walked over to the Civic Center to get photos of the Art Museum and the U.S. Mint.
Denver Art Museum
US Mint
I returned to the hotel, and Kent and I got off different elevators at the same time in our floor!
We took the bus down to Lawrence Street again, but this time turned right to 19th Street to find Sakura Square, a commercial shopping building with import type stores. This area is supposedly the center of Japanese culture in Denver, but the neighborhood didn’t look any different.
Buddhist Temple
We walked back to the hotel along 19th and 18th Streets, passing the main post office and walking through the Fairmont Hotel lobby. At our hotel I gathered my things, said goodbye to Kent, and went to meet Mike as he pulled up at the hotel at 10:30. Mike drove me to the airport on a very hot day. The 12:00 flight to Chicago left about on time and arrived at 15:15. Waited for the 16:44 flight to Providence, which also left on time. Had the same dinner we had going. Arrived on time at 19:45, but had a long wait for baggage. Paid $10 for parking, and the attendant reminded me that I needed to get a receipt!

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