Wednesday was July 4th, and we started our day by heading out the Boulder Turnpike to the city of Boulder. Just before entering town there is an overlook that has a panoramic view of the city with the Front Range behind it. Next to this rest area is a prairie dog field.
We wandered around town for a while, getting the car washed while forgetting to close the gas cap (no problems, apparently just cleaner gas), then headed up Flagstaff Mountain. This mountain rising about 1800’ above Boulder, and affords a view all the way to Denver.
Travelling south from Boulder on Colorado 93 we passed through open spaces with continuous views of the Rockies, which continued all the way to Golden.
One in Golden we spent a few hours wandering the town and watching the people tubing in the river, and had lunch.
After this we continued south to Dinosaur Ridge. Dinosaur Ridge is a segment of the Dakota Hogback in the Morrison Fossil Area National Natural Landmark located in Morrison. The Dinosaur Ridge area is one of the world’s most famous dinosaur fossil localities. In 1877, some of the best-known dinosaurs were found here, including Apatosaurus, Diplodocus, Stegosaurus and Allosaurus.
With the high forest fire danger there were no fireworks anywhere in Colorado, but we had something even better, a concert at Red Rocks. I had pre-purchased tickets for a Blues Travelers show. They were celebrating their 25th anniversary, and apparently play Red Rocks every July 4th. This year they opened the show by playing their latest album Suzie Cracks the Whip in its entirety. The band Fitz and the Tantrums opened.
The Blues Travelers played a 25 song set, finished up with a cover of The Devil Went Down to Georgia. We took our time leaving, which was surprising easy, and after a late night snack, was done for the evening.
After the good time we had at the Missouri Botanical Gardens we decided to do the same in Denver. While it was a nice way to spend an hour or two, it did not come close to comparing to the one in St Louis.
The Forney Museum of Transportation was our next stop. The museum maintains a collection of 500 exhibits. Its early years were focused on antique automobiles but the focus soon expanded to other modes of transport. The museum has a slogan, “Anything on Wheels”.
Among the collection is a large number of Indian Motorcycle and various bicycles.
Across downtown Denver we toured the Colorado State Capital. The building is intentionally reminiscent of the United States Capital.It was constructed in the 1890s from Colorado white granite, and opened for use in November 1894. The gold dome consists of real gold leaf, first added in 1908, commemorating the Colorado Gold Rush. It also has the ‘Mile High Step’ but it was later found to be slightly off, so there is a gold marker that is the correct elevation.
With a lot of daylight left we headed out of town, through Clear Creek Canyon and up into the mountains to Central City and Blackhawk. These two small towns were once mining camps, but now contain a number of large casinos. Since it was now dinner time we ate at one of the casino’s and headed back to Morrison for the night.
Dinner was at the original Chipotle’s in Denver.
Pawnee Buttes is located in the flatlands of far northeastern Colorado. It is a stunning natural figure in a landscape of ‘nothingness’.
Our Colorado trip continued with most of the day spent in and around Denver. First stop – Lookout Mountain above Golden, Colorado.
Back in town we stopped at Union Station, just before it closed for extensive renovations.
Tourists thinking they are on the mile high step at the Colorado State Capital, but with more modern measuring techniques it is actually three steps behind them (marked with the small round gold plate)
A few views of downtown.
After that, we headed to the airport to pick up a nephew. The distinctive roofline of the airport is supposedly a tribute to the mountains.
Despite the fact we spent the morning snowboarding/skiing, when we returned to Denver it was 70 and sunny. Since we had time, I went to seek out somewhere I had always wanted to see, Red Rocks Amphitheater.
To our good luck, they were having a high school graduation (not the one we were there for) that day so it was open, giving us the chance to tour the entire facility.
A niece graduating from high school in Colorado was a perfect excuse for a road trip. After a fairly long Frontier Airlines flight to Denver, we took off for the mountains, Arapahoe Basin to be exact.
After passing through town we continued west on I-70.
Eventually we arrived at A-Basin, got our passes and rentals, and headed up the mountain.
The view at the very top was initially obscured by clouds, but after a brief drop down the view was spectacular. What a great day that was.