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sunny 98 °F

Good Morning;

Denver is only about 60 miles from Colorado Springs and the drive was fairly easy as it traverses the Great Plains. As we approached Denver we could begin to see the magestic snow-capped Rocky Mountains, a spectacular sight. Our KOA campground is located east of Denver in a little German farm town named Strasburg. It is convenient (about 20 minutes from the Denver Int'l Airport) for Pat leaves to go back to MN on Friday.
Once we got set up in the early afternoon we drove into the city to get 'a lay of the land' and to look up the Visitors Center. The lady there gave us some wonderful advice to maximize our time here. The city has a free electric bus service which goes from the north end of downtown to the south end. The busses run about every 2 minutes, an amazing service. We hopped the bus for Union Station, a beautifully restored train station which is now called Denver's Transportation Center. It serves AmTrak passenger trains, the city's Light Rail, and out of town Bus Service. Outside along the street entrance is an Interactive Splash Park for children. Since the temperatures were high 90's it was busy with many children playing in the water. There are about a half-dozen eateries and bars in the Station, and we stopped at a sidewalk venue for 'Happy Hour'. Fun time. On the way back to our car we did a light dinner at one of the many restaurants in downtown.

The next day, Wednesday, our first destination was the State Capitol for a tour. Colorado is known for its gold & silver mining history. Fortunes were made (and fortunes lost) here! The gold strike in 1858 is what caused the tremendous growth of this little frontier town in the 1860's and beyond. The area that today is Colorado was originally divided amongst Kansas, Nebraska, Utah, and New Mexico territories. In 1861 Colorado was designated a territory by the US Congress with its present boundaries. A local mining millionaire, Henry C. Brown offered a 10-acre tract of land as the site for a new Capitol building. Construction of the new building went on for 10 years, finally being finished in 1901, behind schedule and over budget. It was decided to use as much material from Colorado as possible. Granite was used for the outer walls, marble for the interior finishes, all from Colorado. Only ornamental brass, white oak woodwork, and marble stair treads and panels were shipped from other states. The end result is a beautiful domed building built on an axis in the form of a Greek cross. It resembles the basic design of our nation's Capitol in Wash., D.C. The dome, of course, is covered in gold leaf over copper. It shines brightly overlooking the city. The architect used an extensive amount of brass on the interior, a less-expensive substitute for gold gilding. Giant decorative newel posts at the base of the Grand Staircase, the handrails and balustrades, are all in brass, as are the 12' railing caps through-out the 4 floors. The effect is stunning but the brass requires daily-yes, daily- polishing by the housekeeping staff! The interior dome, like all other Capitol domes is beautiful with its stain glass. The State has 100 elected representatives, 35 Senators, 65 Representatives. All serve under term limits, two, as does the Governor. Their pay is $30K/yr, the Governor-$90K. Senate and Governor terms are 4 yrs., Representatives 2 yrs. Annual legislative sessions are 3 months with a Balanced Budget requirement at the end of each session. A little trivia- the 15th step (or 13th or 18th), a disputed number, on the staircase leading up to the Capitol has a brass marker denoting the elevation of 5,280' above sea level.

After leaving the Capitol tour we met a Gray Line city tour to get a broader view of this 3M citizen megolopolis. Let me say that it was a 20 minute Four-hour tour! The guide was not terribly informative and much of our time was spent in heavy downtown traffic. The positives were the bus was air conditioned, places of importance were driven by, and the 20 minute stop at the Capitol was consumed with a restroom visit for all. Fortunately, we had taken the Capitol tour in the morning. Of course, the bus drove by Mile High Stadium where the NFL Bronchos play, Coor's Field where the Colorado Rockies MLB play, the Pepsi Center where the NBA Colorado Nuggets, & NHL Colorado Avalanche perform. Its quite a sports town.
We caught a "Happy Hour" and dinner at a steakhouse on the way home to the MH. Tomorrow after a visit to the campground laundromat, we will return to the city to tour the State Historical Museum. A light dinner is planned at the landmark Brown Palace Hotel in Downtown Denver. Should be a delightful experience.

Posted by dixter 07:34 Archived in USA Tagged city denver

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