Thursday, June 17, 2010

Road trip to Denver, Colorado!

This past week, my employer sent me to Denver, Colorado to attend a graphic design conference. It was AWESOME! Both the conference and the road trip were amazing experiences. I had never gone out west before. The furthest west I'd ever been was St. Louis.

The conference itself was amazing. The presenters they brought in were very well experienced in their fields, with outstanding resumes. It was a 4-day conference, that I stretched into a little over a week with some vacation time. My wife and son tagged along to make it a nice family road trip.

Heading into Colorado on I70, you could see the outline of the highest peaks from miles and miles away. I couldn't wait to see them up close! Denver is a beautiful city (despite being the home of the Denver Broncos, see the end of the video in this post), and the views of the Rockies were gorgeous.

It was a whirlwind of a trip. We did some sight seeing, and spent one evening driving through the mountains. That was the highlight of my trip. Some things I didn't get pictures of until we were headed back to Indiana. Here are a few pictures from the adventure:

The Denver Convention Center was huge. I got a lot of walking exercise that week. The inside was very open and bright. Lots of natural light coming in from the walls of windows.

This was a view from a balcony at the front of the Convention Center.

The Blue Bear. It was Aaron's favorite.

Our first sight-seeing trip was to the Wings over the Rockies Air Force Museum. It's a small museum, but does have some neat planes and displays.

I was excited to drive up into the Rocky Mountains. I was amazed at the size of the peaks, and to see snow in June! The views were great. Traveling on I70 made Jessica nervous, but it was fun anyway.

We stopped in Idaho Springs, Colorado at about 7,400 ft. above sea level, for a bite to eat. We pulled into a small Mom-n-Pop kind of place and enjoyed a delicious dinner. I tried Fried Okra. Maybe it was the thin air that made me do that.

We kept heading west after dinner. As we passed one peak and rounded a corner, we'd see another one twice as big. I was surprised to see Wal-Mart, Kohl's, Lowe's, CVS Pharmacy and other big-named stores nestled tightly on the mountain sides. I can only imagine what the travel is like during the snowy months.

We were headed to the Eisenhower–Johnson Memorial Tunnel on I70 so we could drive through one of the peaks. The tunnel was really narrow and really long. Jessica wanted out of there fast.

The views on the other side of the tunnel were just as, and maybe even more splendid than before the tunnel. I think we ended up at about 11,000 ft. above sea level before we decided to stop and fill the car up with gas and head back to the hotel.

The next night we went to the Denver Aquarium and Restaurant.

This was the view from our dining table. Pretty cool!

After dinner we explored the aquarium. The displays were so large that it felt like you were in the water with them!

Can you spot the rare aquatic species in this display?

Beautiful, isn't it?

I'd never been under an entirely enclosed tunnel like this.

You'd think these ducks would just hop over the small glass lip and break for freedom. You can see a concrete pillar to the right of the frame that's about head level. I was standing there looking at one of the ducks when Jessica pointed out to me that another duck was sitting on the pillar, mere inches from my head.

I can see why they call the Great Plains "Tornado Alley". There isn't so much as a sniff of a hill to block any wind. I was surprised at how few trees there were.

Any guesses as to what this absolute monster of a piece of equipment is?

It's a single propeller for one of these kinds of wind powered electric generators.

It was hard to find anything to help put these into perspective. They are roughly 300 ft. tall. I was going to make a reference to the movie "Mac and Me" and the straws but I won't.

We also got to spend some time touring the US Mint, which was fascinating. The drive wasn't as bad as I thought. Nonstop the trip would have been 18 hours from home to Denver. We stopped in Topeka, Kansas to break the trip up into two days. We had a great time and I hope to go back some day.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Go Tribe!

You may have gathered from my earlier post about Bernie Kosar, that I am a Cleveland fan. My nephew Braydon was so excited to tell me that his baseball team this year was the Indians. He has played very well so far...better than most of the actual Cleveland Indians' players.