Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Denver, 2nd Anniversary: Tuesday & Wednesday

**warning: this post is rather image-heavy, since I just couldn't narrow it down any more than this...**

Tuesday brought some fun. We headed down to Colorado Springs and checked out Garden of the Gods, which is basically trails and rock formations. There's a lot to see with all the trails and stuff, plus you can get a great idea of the place in just a few minutes by driving through a large section of it.

Then we went to Pikes Peak with Jeremy, Jim, Eilbroun, and Kathy. Again, Jonathan has done this before, but it was like 15 years ago (but I’m beginning to suspect it was more like 20, LoL). You ride a cog train for about an hour and ten minutes, and it gets colder and colder as you ascend the mountain. It was a very full train, and the people across from JB and myself were from Naples, and their children were FSU graduates, so some small talk was made. My main complaint about the train ride was that one side saw the waterfalls, the other side saw the rock formations, and you ride down backwards so you’re still on the same side and see the same things. We were fortunate enough to swap with Eilbroun and Kathy, so at least some of us got to see both sides.

When we got to the top (over 14,000 feet), it was 12 degrees Fahrenheit. Pretty stinking cold, especially when you consider that I came from FL and all my winter clothes were in Cali, so I was wearing a t-shirt, a long-sleeve shirt, and a hoodie. It was fun though, and the hood ended up being great, since it was REALLY windy.

We tried some of the World Famous Pikes Peak donuts (nothing special), and then killed some time waiting to depart again. The gift shop wasn’t that great, and the only two shirts I wanted to buy weren’t sized/packaged to work out for me. The trip down took an hour and a half (you can only go like 8 mph on the way down, it’s so steep).

We then headed to the conference hotel, where the ELDPers all had to go to a banquet of sorts. I took the GPS and headed off to find my own dinner. I should mention that GPS is worthless in Colorado. It can never find where we are, doesn’t understand the roads, and can’t seem to judge distances correctly AT ALL. So after heading in two failed directions, I ended up eating at Old Chicago, a pizza/pasta/draft house place, if that makes sense. I got the chicken parmiagiana and it was fabulous. Unfortunately, it took an hour just for me, but I wasn’t really in a hurry so it wasn’t that big of a deal.And I didn't get a chance to eat my leftovers, which was a shame.

The next day, they had the conference and I worked from the room. We had a suite so it worked out well… plenty of space and everything. We were at an Embassy Suites, and were provided with a full breakfast for free, so I had a pancake, a Denver omelet (ham, cheese, onions, peppers, tomatoes, salsa), potatoes, and bacon. I met up with the group for lunch (at Old Chicago, no less) and JB and I had pepperoni pizza, which ranked up there with the Top 5 slices I’ve ever had, I’m pretty sure.

For dinner, a group of like 25 people headed to Phantom Canyon Brewery, which had some of the weirdest combinations I have ever encountered. For instance, there was a shrimp and lobster spaghetti in avocado citrus sauce. No lie. The Chipotle Caesar had buffalo shrimp and pita bread in it! Anyway, I ordered the chicken quesadillas, which were served with sour cream, mild salsa, and salsa verde, so they were fabulous (and among the thickest quesadillas I had ever seen!). Jonathan had fish and chips, pretty average. But what stole the meal was the appetizer we ordered: three soft pretzels with beer-cheese dip and stoneground mustard. DELICIOUS. After dinner we played some pool (JB and I won despite the fact I didn’t get a single ball in, LoL) and foosball (which Jessica and I played a lot of in our first year at FSU, so I have a specific methodology that doesn’t always jive with other teammates, LoL).
more Denver pics:

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