Well for the first weekend in all of July, I spent all nights in my own bed. No camping, no sleeping bags, no all-night races, no bachelorette parties. It was so relaxing.
When I was teaching, I often had an assignment for students to find ways to be a tourist in their own town. The idea was broadly defined; they could go to a small hole-in-the-wall restaurant that only locals knew about or they could go explore a new place and see it in a new light. Since I have been living within running/biking distance to downtown Denver since January, I have been trying to get to know Denver and its neighborhoods.
Mostly we have been doing this through our restaurant and beer choices. The small “nano” breweries in industrial areas that sell craft beer are our favorite places to check out. We can bring dogs and games and even our own food to these places and make a night out of it. However, there is only so much beer I can drink. This weekend we stayed in Friday night and played a war-like board game:
This game is called “A Few Acres of Snow” and it represents the British and French conflict in North America. At first, I was not happy about spending a free night playing a war game. But it grew on me and we had a lot of fun. I generally do not like historical war games, but this was fun.
Saturday was our Tourist Day! I started out by running with Zoey around the same old lake in our ‘hood–nothing new there. Then I showered, worked in the garden for a bit, and David and I decided to check out Lakeside Amusement Park. This place is not too far from us and it has an old-school wooden roller coaster that I have been wanting to ride. From driving past, the park looks like it is not in great condition, which kind of adds to the appeal of the place. I looked it up online and we could buy tickets to rides and not have to pay for an all-you-can-ride pass, as most of the bigger amusement parks make you do these days.
We got to the park around 1:00 and there were not many lines for the rides. We saw a bunch of older rides that we knew from amusement parks when we were little: the Tilt-a-Whirl, the Whip, the Spider, the Matterhorn, etc. Most of these are fast rides that go in a circle and I knew my stomach would not be happy with me if I rode them. Of course there were also the classic Ferris Wheel, Merry-Go-Round, and Bumber Cars as well. We made our way to the back of the park where the Cyclone roller coaster was:
It is an historic, “landmark” roller coaster (named by the American Coaster Enthusiasts) and David and I were excited to get on board. They made the larger person get in first, so I knew this was going to be a bumpy ride where we were squishing one another. It starts out in an old tunnel and then takes us up the first and the biggest hill. On our way down the hill, I was practically in David’s lap and I laughed the entire rest of the ride. Definitely a good ride!
We had also seen that there was a ride called the Wild Chipmunk, which is like a roller coaster but with individual cars. It makes plenty of jerky turns and you feel like you are about to fall off into the lake below. We had to ride that as well.
I loved it! We also had to ride the Whip, as well. After an hour of walking around, we had seen everything and decided to head home. It was kind of sad because there were a fair share of rides there that were in disrepair and a lot of the park appeared a bit run-down. The landscaping was great with potted flowers everywhere. I could tell someone really cared about the place, but it just needs more investment. But as a family-owned amusement park, it is a rare species these days as most parks are corporately owned and operated. I hope someone can find the money someday soon to repair some rides and add new ones to it, but so that the park can maintain its old-school feel.
Saturday night, we went to the Pirates-Rockies game at Coors Field. We tried to get there early to get a jersey they were giving away, but we arrived too late. It turns out they mis-spelled Tulowitzki’s name wrong on the jerseys and they are now a collector item.
We missed out on that. Apparently, fans were getting to the stadium by 3:00 to get these jerseys. We were there to root for the Pirates, but sadly, the Pirates did not do well.
What fun places to explore are in your neighborhood?