We decided to go downtown first before heading to Colorado Springs. We started by going to the U.S. Mint, which manufactures coins. I always love tours like this because one learns so much--like how many ridges are on a dime, quarter, and half-dollar, and how coins are made. Unfortunately, I tend to forget almost all of the knowledge as soon as the day is over. Then we went to the State Capitol, which we always go to when we visit a State Capitol. We got to see the only ruby (rose?) marble in the world, which was cool. We also saw the mile-high marker(s)--unfortunately I did not have my camera since we weren't allowed to bring them into the mint.
After that, we headed to Colorado Springs to go to the Garden of the Gods, which are amazing rock formations. We drove through Colorado Springs a bit before heading back to Denver. We tried to get some food at Islamorada Fish Company since we had gone there in Dania Beach, but they didn't have the same menu, so we didn't get anything. They have so many malls--it's crazy. We then met up with Debbie and Derek for dinner at Banzai Sushi, which was awesome. I highly recommend that place--it was so delicious! Afterwards, we went back to the DBCs' condo for more birthday cake.
Tuesday was our day to drive around. We started by going to the Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison. That place is amazing. I could just feel the spirit of John Tesh around me. It was breathtaking. Afterwards, we went to see the dinosaur footprints, which was completely surreal. Then we went to Lookout Mountain and Buffalo Bill's Grave. It was so fracking windy and cold up there--my mom wouldn't even get out of the car to take my picture. :) After Lookout Mountain, we went to the Coors Brewery to take the tour. It was very educational and good to know that the Silver Bullet of beers is so environmentally conscious. My mom has pretty low tolerance for alcohol, so after a small glass of beer and a few sips of Zima, she was pretty much out for the count. It was hilarious. After we left the brewery, we drove out to Lake Dillon. It was rather amazing to see the difference in climate from just a short one-hour drive. The Eisenhower tunnel was closed due to snow and ice the day before! It was still pretty messy, and it was snowing and cold, but it was fun. Lake Dillon looked cool--I'm sure it would be awesome in summer. Then we drove up to the Continental Divide, which was harrowing and scary. I was not ready for snowy driving (at least from Columbus standards). And why am I always on the side of the mountain that is next to the cliff? I tried to walk up to the platform at the top of the divide, but the stairs were so snowy and icy that I couldn't even make it to the top, especially since there was no railing. We did make it down safely though. We had a huge dinner at a Korean BBQ place that the DBCs recommended. It was delicious-and I think I am only now recovering from the food coma.
Before we left Denver I had breakfast with Debbie and Derek at the Egg Shell at Cherry Creek. After all the Asian food we had on our trip, it was odd eating American food, but it was yummo. And so now I'm back in Columbus, Christmas shopping like crazy since I'm so behind. And I've been good--only buying a couple things for myself in the process. Happy Holidays!