A vacation in Colorado

Greetings all!  In March 2006 I took a well-deserved vacation to Denver and Breckenridge, Colorado.  Had a great time, saw some awesome stuff, saw some weird stuff.  Take a look-see...

The first full day I was there, we took a trip up to Boulder.  A very nice town, a college town, full of free-thinkers, Bush protesters, and nice and interesting shops.  Went to a store that sells original old maps, bought a few, and they also sell vintage posters and other interesting paper items.  In addition to the nice, but large French beverage posters, they also had a complete original set of the Beatles posters Richard Avedon created for Look Magazine in 1967.  Top quality, authentic, and something a little different, I was naughty and bought the lot.  Judging from my research, I think I got a good deal.  Now where to put them...

Lots of good places to eat in town, including some with quirky names.
Boulder Restaurant

My travelogue fans seem to always ask "what does ... look like".  For those who haven't been to Colorado, here's much of what it looks like:

This is driving toward Golden from Boulder.

Golden, Colorado is of course famour for Coors Beer.  As you can see from the below pics, the brewery is enormous and takes up a good portion of the town.
Golden and Coors


Took a drive up a mountain in Golden appropriate called "Lookout Mountain".  Some nice views of Denver from there.


A few days later it was time to take advantage of my friend's timeshare in Breckenridge.  I was surprised to see the local Public Access TV station showing programs in the hotel, and they look like they're doing a good job on "Breck Buzz".
Breckenridge Public Access

Breckenridge Public Access

One day we went snowmobiling, a winter activity that we thought we could handle.  This company also does dogsledding in addition to snowmobile tours.  The dogsled was getting underway at the same time we were preparing:
The Dogsled takes off

Getting ready for some fun.  It was cold, so they provided body suits as well as helmets. 

After 10 minutes cruising around the practice track, it was off to the mountains.  Good Times Adventures did a great job of making sure we all were accounted for by providing various stops, turnarounds to count heads, and by having the last snowmobile have a green flag on it to easily spot the end of the caravan.  I stepped up and was the caboose.  Yeah.

The Mountains

More mountain

Here I am with my green-flagged snowmobile.

There are a few companies that do snowmobile tours in Breckenridge and we liked this one because it's not just a rental, it's a couple hour tour, and they also had as the destination the Continental Divide, that border that runs down North America and divides the Atlantic watershed from the Pacific.  Cool.


The continental divide

Here we are on top of the Continental Divide.
On the Continental Divide

One night we took a drive over to the next major ski area, Copper Mountain, called just "Copper", the newest ski area up there.  Here's what that drive looks like:


More mountains

Here's the town.  Unlike Breckenridge, this town is smaller and seems solely focused on snow sports..
Copper Mountain


Here's Main Street in downtown Breckenridge.  Not a lot of plowing going on, you're kind of expected to be able to deal with snow and ice.
Downtown Breckenridge

And here's a pic of one of the lodges with the Breckenridge ski area behind it.
Breckenridge Ski area

Got caught in snow on the way back to Denver.

And a final weird thing.  Those of you who follow the Comedy Central cartoon "South Park" know it takes place in Colorado.  There was one episode in which for Kyle's birthday he takes some friends to a local Mexican place called "Casa Bonita", which is, as they say on their web site, "Colorado's version of a Mexican Disneyland.  In driving around Lakewood/Wheat Ridge I saw this tower in a shopping center area.  I thought it was some sort of catholic shrine, but being bright pink I thought it unusual:
What is that?

Finally I found out what it is - THE Casa Bonita.  It's real!  According to the locals, this is the place that all the Colorado kids dream of going for their big events.
It's Casa Bonita!

A large sign under the canopy says everyone over the age of 2 has to buy a meal, because you get to enjoy the entertainment regardless of what you eat.  It's an all-you-can-eat Mexican place of questionable culinary repute.  But it holds 1,100 people and has 300 staff.  Yes, 300.  The entertainment also consists of haunted areas, cliff divers, and lots of stuff.  Check out their web site, it's a trip.  We didn't go in, not being parents and being over 14, but we weren't hungry either.  Maybe next time.  And as you can see below, the South Park folks did a bang-up job placing this Colorado oddity in its context of being in a strip mall next to dollar stores. 
Casa Bonita, Casa Bonita!

(c) South Park Studios

So that's it.  Had a great time.  Recommended.