Thursday - The weekend got off to an early start as my brother Eric arrived this morning. We grabbed some lunch on Pearl Street (a popular pedestrian mall in town) and I gave him a brief tour of the neighborhood and surrounding hills. He had been up for quite a while, so prior to heading out for tonight's "fun" he caught 40 winks. After catching some zzzzs, he and I headed into Denver to watch the Flyers play the Avs (and hopefully put an end to their losing streak.) Well, those hopes were quickly dashed, and the guys in black and orange were, well, embarrassed. Final score: 5-2. We left hoping the rest of the weekend would provide cheerier times.
Friday - Today began with another trip into Denver, this time to take a tour of the US Mint there. We arrived in downtown a little early, so we took a walk around Civic Center Park and up the steps of the State House (where, on the one step, is the marker indicating 5,280 feet above sea level.) What we found surprising was the monument to Colorado's Civil War dead. It not only had quite a few names on it, but also on it were where the various regiments had engagements... New Mexico, Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri were all listed. Who knew Colorado had troops in the Civil War and that fighting took place this far West? Certainly not two East Coast-raised kids.
After that brief history lesson, it was time to tour the Mint. We got in line, and after being inspected for any contraband (weapons of any kind, cameras, aerosols, combs or hairbrushes... not kidding about the last two) we were given time to look around their exhibit on the history of money. We both found the following three related items to be the most impressive:
- A coin minted by Pontius Pilate
- A Roman coin similar to the one shown to Jesus which prompted his response: “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and give to God what is God’s.”
- A Shekel of Tyre, which is widely believed to be the same kind of silver coin paid to Judas Iscariot to betray Jesus.
As for the tour of the actual coin-making facilities, they, too, were pretty impressive. Everywhere one looked were coins at some point of the production process. Interesting fact: it costs about 1.5 cents to make a penny, and nearly a dime to make a nickle. For the numismatists and budding capitalists alike, the tour must be akin to walking through Wonka chocolate factory. Unfortunately, though, there were no opportunities to sneak off with a sample or two.
After the Mint tour, we toured another local landmark: the Coors Brewery in Golden, CO. Unlike the tour earlier in the day, there were free samples. (However, at the risk of offending the occasional reader and Coors consumer, let me just say, that given my druthers and assuming free samples are provided, I think I'd much rather prefer a tour of the Guinness brewery in Ireland.) The best part of this tour was the "kettle room." It's where the various grains and ingredients proceed through various steps (which for the purpose of this blog, aren't important.) What made this room so great was the smell... no it didn't smell like beer; rather, a huge, warm loaf of freshly baked bread.
After the Coors tour, it was a scenic drive up Lookout Mountain (which is the final resting place of William "Buffalo Bill" Cody), and then back to Boulder to have a birthday dinner (Happy 42nd Eric!)
We were lured to downtown Boulder tonight to witness the CU Stampede (a pep rally/parade that takes place on the Pearl Street Mall the night before home football games.) What lured us there if we're not CU alums? Peggy had read earlier in the week that Ralphie (the living buffalo mascot) was to make an appearance. After listening to the various school songs and walking behind the band to where Ralphie was to be penned up, we had our expectations dashed — no Ralphie. So, to soothe our sorrow, we went home and had birthday cake and ice cream!
Saturday - This morning was Chloe's last soccer game of the season. She and the TigerBears played well, and were able to score a couple of goals. It was a great way to wrap up the season. After the game and end-of-season cupcake and juice box mixer, we went home and changed around for an afternoon visiting Rocky Mountain National Park. For mid-October, the weather could not have been any better... upper 60s/lower 70s at the park's entrance, and sunny upper 40s/lower 50s at the higher elevations. The aspens were a little past peak but the clear skies provided some outstanding views. As for wildlife, we saw some HUGE bull elk resting outside the park, and a Steller's Jay.
Sunday - It was back to the airport again this morning to send Eric off back to PA (not without some gentle lobbying first to have him move out here... he'd get to see the Phillies at least once a season, right?)