Saturday, December 9, 2017

YOLO folks head west

After selling YOLO, we headed back to Michigan to dump the rest of the boat contents into the cottage or the storage garage. Both are overflowing with our "stuff" from the last decade or two.  We figured we'd have to get rid of some stuff, but the weather turned cold and we figured we'd better get moving if we didn't want to spend the winter in the cold. 

We contacted Steve, a guy we met in the boatyard in VA who'd offered to have us come stay with him on his new boat in Curacao and sail with him and his girlfriend, Bobbie.  He and Bobbie broke up before they got the boat relaunched in Curacao, and he'd already found crew to help him sail it on his maiden voyage to Cartagena, Colombia, but he was thrilled to have us meet him there and carry on to Panama with him.  He's new to cruising and is hoping to glean some tips and tricks and techniques from us about his new lifestyle.  We were happy to oblige as it seems like a win-win situation.

As we headed west to Denver to get our flight, we stopped at my sister, Chris', house for her birthday and Thanksgiving.  Mom, Chris and me in her kitchen, site of scrumptuous foods and lots of Scrabble.
 A sunrise in Kansas as we left.
 After a fuel pump failure kept us overnight in Wakeeney, KS, we finally made it to Colorado.  We decided to play tourist a bit since we hadn't spent much time here since we lived here in the late 80's.  We visited the Denver Capitol Building and went on its tour. We climbed to the observation deck just below the gold dome.
 The pink onyx marble used extensively inside the capitol came from a single quarry in Buelah, Colorado.  The slabs were absolutely gorgeous!  Unfortunately, they used up the entire supply of the quarry when building the capitol, so there is no more of it.
 A pretty day for the view from the deck up top.
 We also went down the street to the Denver Mint to visit our money.  We took the tour and they gave us free samples--a new penny and an unstamped penny blank of copper.
 A cool fuzzy grass growing along the walk way there near the mint.
 My nephew, Gabe, Mom, Paycee, Tom, and Reina in Mom's kitchen.  Paycee fell playing basketball in Montana, where they live, and hurt her leg. During the x-rays, they found a mass they think may be bone cancer and sent her to Children's Hospital in Denver as it is one of the best in the country for this type of treatment.  They took a biopsy from the 13-year-old and we are still waiting for the diagnosis from the Mayo Clinic.  It was nice to meet Paycee and Reina as we hadn't ever met in person. I'm keeping fingers crossed for the outcome.....
 Celestial Seasonings, the huge tea producer, is based in Boulder and we drove to their site and took the tour.  They have almost 100 types of teas you can taste in their shop; I tried as many as I could find that sounded interesting.  They were all good and I sloshed as I walked through the facility.  The tour through their plant is always interesting, especially the Mint Room, where they keep huge bags of dried peppermint and spearmint for their teas.  One inhale will clear your sinuses and make your eyes water!  Their Peppermint and Sleepytime teas are bestsellers every year.
 The colorful artwork makes this a pleasing visual tour, too.  We had lunch in their corporate cafe, rated #1 in the area for its food and friendliness.
 Since we were on the cleaner, clearer mountain side of the smog of Denver, we stayed there and drove south to Golden to take the Coors Brewery tour, too.  This is the big brew kettle out front, with the giant Banquet beer can in the back ground.  It is just a facade for the pipeline that dumps the spent mash into trucks to drive away to the farmers for cattle feed.
 Lots of antique decorations in the plant, like this old poster.
 Jason in the tasting room with the first of our three free samples allowed in front of him.
 Karen enjoying a Blue Moon fresh from the tap at Coors.
 We decided to walk through downtown Golden since we were there, and to let the beer work its way out of our system before driving back to Aurora.  Here, Jason hugs the big buffalo sculpture on the sidewalk.
Back in the Denver Capitol building, the false roof was removed and the ceilings restored a few years ago to their 1906 splendor.  Nicely done.
 The round stained glass windows above the rotunda are of important figures in Colorado's history.
 A nice view from the top, looking west towards the Rockies.  The City/Council Building behind the flagpole was lit up at night in a spectacular, colorful display.
 Santa and his reindeer above the arch over the main street in Golden.
 A family dinner at Jim's house.  Scotty, Tom, Karen, Mom, Jim, Abby, and Jason in front.
 Headed back downtown to have lunch with Jim and play tourist some more.  This glass portal is outside Union Station.  If you look hard, you may see a diagonal line that goes through the pavers outside. It is the 105th parallel of longitude that passes directly through Union Station here in Denver.
 Brother Tom got me inspired and helped me create this mountain scene on a long pallet.  We used spray paint and lots of tape.  I think it turned out pretty good, considering it was my first try.  He'll use it to obstruct the view of some electrical boxes in his back yard.  It got the creative juices flowing, but I don't have time to do more as we're leaving the country again in a matter of days.
 This dress was made from curled sheets of music and was just one of the decorations in the Denver Governor's mansion.  Yep, we took that tour, too.
 The artwork outside the Great Divide craft microbrewery in downtown Denver.  This area of Five Points was known as a ghetto when I first lived in Colorado.  Now, this brewpub is in the top 20 in the state and it did a hopping business the afternoon we visited.
 The sign outside the tap room at the Great Divide brew pub.
 The Yeti is one of their iconic stouts.  I like the artwork.
 The famous Brown Palace Hotel in downtown Denver.  It sits on a pie-shaped wedge of land and is built to match the space.
 Tom made this flag pallet while I did the scenery.  This one was requested by Mom for her Christmas present. Looks great; hope I didn't ruin the surprise.
Denver saw a few days of below freezing weather (those days we wanted to finish painting the pallets, of course), but was mostly wonderful sunny days.  The place has grown so much since we lived here.  The traffic is a common complaint from folks who live here, as is the price of housing here. 

We've had our dose of civilization and are heading to South America to do some more minimalistic traveling over the winter and sailing on Forever Young.  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all of you!  Happy Holiday seasons to you, all.  Keep us in your thoughts and keep smiling.

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