Downtown Denver and Home


As part of my trip out to Colorado I wanted to make sure I spent some time in downtown Denver.  As I mentioned in the last part I went ahead and booked a room at the Sheraton Denver Downtown which is located at one end of the 16th Street Mall, which is a pedestrian mall that 1.25 miles too Denver Union Station.  I had booked this property for it being the lowest cost Starwood hotel in downtown Denver (probably due to it’s size with around 1300 rooms) since I needed to get working on re-qualifying for my SPG Gold for next year, a $40 credit thanks to American Express, and it’s right in the middle of all of the action.  My only complaints with the hotel were fairly minor.  The longest time I could not get the TV to work (I wound up just having to smash random buttons until eventually it would power on) and the frame of my door was racked or something because I had to push on the door to ensure it closed all the way.  Other than that, all of the staff I encountered was great, beds were comfy and I can’t complain about getting my SPG Gold upgrade to a room with a better view (even if it had two beds instead of one).  Here are a few pictures of the room:

2 Queen Beds - Sheraton Denver Downtown

View Across the Room

View From The Room Of The Rockies

I had planned a full morning of exploring Denver, unfortunately when I woke up in the morning my body didn’t want to agree with that and found myself hanging around the hotel until almost 930am before I headed out.  Just a short walk down from the hotel there was a Corner Bakery Cafe – a bakery-cafe chain (sort of like Panera, for those who only know what that is), that I’ve ate at in a few different cities.  Considering it was the first place with outside seating that I encountered (aside from the hotel itself), and I do like several of the breakfast options.  After eating breakfast while people watching I started making my way down the 16th Street Mall.  I stopped a few times along my way and walked all the way down to Denver Union Station.  There were signs saying that Amtrak had moved elsewhere, which I took to meant that they had abandoned the station and that it was just another sign that rail service America is further declining unlike the rest of the world.  Eventually, I found out that they are doing a massive rebuild of the station to expand light rail and commuter services and as a result Amtrak only relocated to a temporary platform.  At least some states are trying to improve rail and public transit options, unlike my home state.

16th Street Mall Piano

After a quick run back to my hotel to get my bags packed up I headed back out in search of a drink before heading to the airport.  I settled on the Rock Bottom Brewery on the mall.  I don’t remember what exactly I ordered – not due to heavy drinking or anything, but well it’s been about three weeks since this trip.  All I remember is that the first beer that I wanted to try was not available, so a surprise beer was brought out instead and it was very good.  The waitress did a great job picking one that matched my tastes in beer.  After getting my glass down with a side of a some mini-sliders it was time to start heading back to the hotel so I could check out and head to the airport.

Rock Bottom Brewery - Denver 16th Street Mall

There's a Giant, Bear Attacking This Building!

I wasn’t sure how long it was going to take me to get to the airport to catch my 3:43pm flight to Memphis considering that the rental car return was located off-site and several streets in downtown were closed down due to 2011 USA Pro Cycling Challenge.  Fortunately, I didn’t encounter any closed down streets and I made it out to the airport with plenty of time to spare.  After turning in my car to Hertz, I was dropped off at the terminal where I quickly checked in and made my way to security.  I went through the First Class/Premium line, but after having my boarding pass checked I realized that they had a Backscatter X-Ray unit versus the standard walk-through metal detectors.  I had somehow managed to avoid going through this or a millimeter wave scanner thus far (which is somewhat surprising with all the flights I take), but I saw that the screening line just to the right just had a metal detector.  Not to mention is was moving a lot faster, so I just shuffled over to there and then made my way to the train to Concourse C.

Looks Like The Southwest-ification of AirTran Has Begun in Denver...

There was not a whole lot to do while I waiting for my flight.  The flight was oversold, but they must have called for volunteers before I showed up.  Additionally, my upgrade did not clear despite being #1 on the list since I checked in the day before, which did suck a bit.  At least I had a “Have One On Us” coupon for a free drink, which made it just a little bit better.  Landing in Memphis I did not have that long of a layover until my flight back to Panama City, but long enough that I was able to grab a BBQ sandwich from Interstate BBQ before heading to the gate.  Sure I had to eat fairly quick, but when it’s delicious, would you even want to put it down?  I think not.

Anyways, the flight back to Panama City was your standard unremarkable, short, CRJ-200 flight where we arrived on time.  Overall, though the trip was quite a success.  Setting out on this trip was a great challenge and I think it really made me excited to get back into hiking.  Sure, Florida isn’t really full of exciting hiking opportunities, but I think once it gets a little bit cooler here I am going to head to Torreya State Park near Tallahassee, a place where I have been hiking many times before.  On top of this, I think I will be planning a return trip next year to Colorado.  I’d love to spend a few more days out there either multiple day hikes or do an overnight.  Maybe, I’ll even be able to convince a friend to head out there.


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