Saturday, October 11, 2008

Denver and Colorado Springs

In Denver, we got to meet Lisa’s new puppy, Banjo. He is cute, cute, cute!

Lisa and her boyfriend John had just gotten Banjo a week ago. He’s three months old, part Labrador and they’re not sure what else. Banjo thought the camera was a fun toy. Here he is just before putting his nose right in the middle of Sarah’s camera lens.

And just after, trying to look innocent…

We spent a lot of the week just hanging out with Lisa, John, and puppy. On Sunday, we went downtown to Octoberfest. It wasn’t all that large, but we had fun walking around and hanging out in a nearby pub for awhile.

As we left Octoberfest, we walked by Coors Field, which is where the Rockies play. Their final home game of the season had just started. Since the Rockies are terrible this year, there were plenty of tickets to be found twenty minutes after the game had started. We ended up finding four free tickets from people who were just trying to get rid of them, including two tickets that were in the 8th row. They were amazing seats.

On Tuesday, we took Lisa down to Colorado Springs for the day (or more accurately, she took us, since we couldn’t fit her in our car). Our first stop was Garden of the Gods.

Garden of the Gods is a really cool city park where the red rocks jut out of the surrounding landscape. On a network of short trails, you can walk around and see the formations up close.

Some of the formations had cute names, like this one, the “kissing camels”.

The park is really popular with rock climbers, though we only saw one group climbing while we were there.

We walked past some more cool formations.

Here’s Lisa taking a break.

Lisa and Brian goofing around.

This formation is called the fins.

On our way out of the park, we stopped by Balanced Rock and took a few more photos.

After that, we stopped in Manitou Springs and walked around for a bit. The town was a touristy, but had a great mountain backdrop. The famous springs had surprisingly foul-tasting water though, which was a disappointment. We also chuckled at this sign.

From there, we went to the Olympic Training Center in downtown Colorado Springs. There were several statues out front.

We took the tour, given by one of the resident athletes. Unfortunately, due to the time of day, there wasn’t much training going on. The only athletes we actually got to see training were the wrestlers. Nonetheless, it was an interesting tour and worth the hour-long stop.

The rest of the week, we spent more time hanging out with Banjo in various parks. Here he’s checking out a tree that a squirrel just ran up.

We also brought Banjo to a playground in Stapleton. The kids loved him. Here are some pictures of him and Lisa playing.

And a few more photos, just because he’s cute.

On Thursday, we went downtown while Lisa and John were working. First, we toured the US mint. We’d tried to go earlier in the week but had missed the last tour of the day. This morning, we were easily able to get standby tickets for the tour. Unfortunately, cameras aren’t allowed inside the mint, but we did get to see pennies being made, and we bought a few of the latest coins in the state quarters and presidential dollars series – the Alaska quarter and the Andrew Jackson dollar.

Next, we went toured the Capitol building, where we were able to walk up in the dome. Here are views of the city and surrounding mountains.

This is one of the stained glass windows in the dome.

There was also a small museum in the Capitol building, which had among other things a miniature capitol building made out of Kroger cans. How strange.

Here’s the view from outside the building.

There’s also a lovely park spanning several city blocks in front of the Capitol.

We spent most of the rest of the day wandering around Louisville, a suburb of Denver, in our quest to check out places that might be cool to live. The location certainly was nice – right between Denver and Boulder – but the town itself was pretty generic.

In the evening, we went to the Global Travel Network (GTN) for a timeshare-ish presentation that we’d gotten talked into a week earlier at the Utah State Fair. We’d signed up because the gift for going to this presentation was supposed to be a four-day, three-night all-inclusive trip to one of several Mexican beach destinations. We asked a bunch of questions before signing up about all the fees, gotchas, restrictions, etc., and it seemed like a great deal. They had told us we’d pay approximately $100 in taxes. Of course, it had to be too good to be true.

We discovered at the end of the presentation that we had to pay almost $200 just to get the information about how to book the trip. Who knows what other restrictions or fees we would have learned about after sending in our money. Disappointed, we complained that the marketing was deceptive, so we were given a different gift instead – a two-night hotel stay, a $50 Visa gift card, and some restaurant vouchers. This gift turned out to be equally disappointing, as we discovered when we tried to book the hotel stay – what we’d actually gotten was a coupon for a two-night stay if we did another timeshare presentation. Ugh! And the gift card was only valid after we’d booked the hotel stay. How annoying – either this company does a lousy job of training its employees and doesn’t vet their “gifts” or they are just downright deceptive. They were very proud of their perfect Better Business Bureau record, which after dealing with them seems like it could only be attributed to people being too lazy to bother filing complaints.

Sadly, our week in Denver went too quickly and Friday morning we said goodbye to Lisa, John, and Banjo and were on our way to Texas.

1 comment:

Rake said...

I like how the hiking shoes are highlighted in the first picture.