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Trip Report Mile High Sizzle- Denver Baseball Trip Report

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Home again and off two states east in just a few days- but want to thank PeaceOut and others who helped me with preparing for my Denver trip. And to tell you how it turned out.

This is a long, detailed trip report- so if you don't like specifics or have a short attention span, be warned.

We did dine at the Chophouse near Coors Field as suggested. We had a liesurely dinner there and it was SO delcious in the "cool".

Our entire trip from beginning to end was in record temperature heat. SO didn't seem to mind, but physically it was rough for me, especially the first day there. We estimated that we walked between 9 to 15 miles each day we were there.

As some here know, heat or sand is not my friend. Heat was record-breaking one day we were there and always within the 92-97 deg. F range. Also the sun stings. Closer to the source and not as many clouds! Worse than FL. Can you tell that I am not a hot weather person and never will be?

Our SW flights were both perfect, on time and friendly as usual. We used the Park & Fly from Midway and dropped Sydney at his cockatiel and bird "hotel" as usual. Flying over the week before and during a holiday was a bit different, but not much.

We landed and had an interesting hour or so trying to find our luggage pick up location. There was construction and all the signs were covered and the electronic guide was a blank screen (down). Taking the train several times in that airport (skiing trips) I am amazed at the size of the place. It's its own county.

We got a cab and proceeded to get to our hotel- highway had other plans. it was a bumper to bumper to complete stop for 1/2 hour until the cabbie took us off and into a tour of the railroad yards and such. It was flat rate, and I actually didn't mind the roundabout because it was a different view. Railroad yards are not as large as Chicago's in Brighton Park but they are comparable in type.

We got to the Burnsley All-Suites on Grant, Capitol Hill area about 3 blocks from the beginning of "downtown". They checked us right in and we were elated at the size of the accomodations. We literally had our own "flat"- balcony, kitchen, terrace area, closet space I have yet to see in any hotel or suite I've stayed before (about the length of 2 hallway walk-ins)- large eat-in area, tv and writing and computer room, plus the bedroom/bathroom. Coffeepot, coffee, utensils, plates, even a corkscrew and yes, a toaster. Priceline bid win for 4 nights at $69 per night. Rack rate that week was $219 per night.

We used the corkscrew. And the utensils too, because the food served room service was EXCELLENT. Never cooked one crumb during this trip. A.C. was fab. Lower floor but had a view of downtown and the capitol building with gold dome right in the middle- outside the patio doors. Never any elevator waits of concern either.

Decore was older, traditional but super clean and the bed was large, duvet, 6 pillows and umpteen layers of linens. Flatscreen.

We started our exploration of the neighborhood right away. Ended up at a used bookstore across from the State Capitol building. Went to the Mint. Saw the lay of the land and then went back to Burnsley for dinner. SO had the buffalo meatloaf and was singing its praises for the entire rest of the trip. I just enjoyed antipasto tray and part of a Rueben. Too hot and tired to eat.

BUT a $2.00 Coors- freshly poured into a tall elegant frozen beer glass was scrumptious.
(4 to 7 pm at the Burnsley is Jazz Happy Hour Event- 1/2 price drinks and tapas etc. Mon.-Thurs.)

We noted that people came from quite a distance for this feature, especially those going back or coming into Denver from other parts of CO for Rockies games or business at the Civic Center.

I slept for 11 hours. This is probably a record for any time I have not been sick. Definitely for the past 10 years.

We had breakfast in the Burnsley dining room area. EXCELLENT. We were starting to realize that all the food served there was top end and of mid-price and that the chef was fab. Also, what appeared on the menu (different in the hallway, from the dining room,from the list in the "flat" btw)was not all there "was". If you wanted something altered or other, it could "happen".

Honestly, other than a place in Germany or an Inn (Mendon) of superb proportions and historical method in MI, I haven't ever stayed in such an accomodating place. It was like being on a country hunt weekend in a mansion estate of English countryside in a way. Schedules, methods, much the same.

BECAUSE they are not smack in the center of Denver or on the 16th St. Mall free shuttle, the Burnsley also has gratus shuttle to anywhere within 3 miles. So off we went with our driver (who is also working the desk, and who sometimes is taking up a room service order- about 7 people total run the "outside" facade roles of this place). It's sounds impossible, in this day and age, but it wasn't. At all. In fact, during some of the off times when we were waiting 2 or 3 minutes for our ride, sitting in these tall, tall backed brocaded chairs, I was expecting Hercule Poirot or Miss Marple to join the excursion party. In fact, many of the people at dinner or at Happy Hour knew each other after any time in the place. There are 17 floors and lots of rooms, but I bet only 1/2 were filled. Just a guess.

Regardless, the wait for the driver in a brand new vehicle was miniscule. And used the service twice most days, and one day 3 times.

We tipped her vastly. There's not even a charge for this service. Only one of the aspects of Denver that surprised us! Near or in Chicago, we get charged for space, water, existence- and that is not an exaggeration.

We toured the State Capitol building. My dear significant other is and always will be a bad boy. And curious. He always wanders into areas that are not for the public. Everywhere he goes. Guess where we ended up. Well- he went everywhere, even to the Dome and Mr. Brown's Attic- but we did talk to a welcoming Representative for over 1/2 an hour. He was bored and tired and hot and said he was glad we wandered in. They are in session from Jan. to May and make $30,000 a year. June holds seeing the beauty of all the rooms with few in them, he said. He was there doing some work and rehab. Sal Pace's office.

They were also having a quilting exhibition of 400 plus quilts. I got involved with that and got to judge/vote for the top 3 in several categories. Awesome work to view!

The Sup. Court, Senate, Rep. rooms are beautiful and old- but the hearing room with the court was really awesome. It was used to film the Perry Mason series of past tv fame. The rep. told us lots of other interesting points. It was not cool anywhere. But the top floors were stiffling and Dome impossible. Only place worse for heat I have toured was the St. Louis arch in summer. Couldn't stand it there either- and left immediately. Same here. I went and did the quilts, he climbed and photographed in the Dome.

We walked all over to the various memorials and then went back to get our ride to the game. OFF at Coors Field by 4pm we had an elegant 2 hour dinner at the Chophouse. Then into Coors Field. This night I had seats just behind the Sox dugout- but I wandered with a whole hour to spare all over the place. The Rockpile is super interesting. The bull pens are esthetically perfect. You have to take an elevator to the Rockpile. It has strong comparison to the bleachers at Wrigley in "feel" there.

The game the night before had gone 13 innings and the Sox had lost, so the myriad of Sox fans surrounding us (we were amazed at the amount of White Sox fans at these games) were all comiserating upon the frustrations of the extreme amount of extra innings losses this year- amongst Dunn etc. complaints. Ken had on his red SOX hat (red is not a W. Sox color but he got the hat free about 7 years ago at the Cell) and I had on my stuff- so all around us, many fans spoke to us. Some ladies and a family from AZ with White Sox shirts on especially. They lived in CO in summer and AZ in winter and were White Sox fans. That was a first for me. He said he moved from Chicago at 15 and never liked any other team. He was younger than we are. Lots of people like he in open free conversation- very friendly crowd.

The Rockies fans are loud and polite at the same time. Much louder than say a Toronto or Seattle or even a U.S. Cellular Field. And they clearly have a huge and filling fan base.
They have several extremely observable habits that are admirable, IMHO. For instance, they may often come very late (some people came in each game after 5th inning, for instance, quite a lot of the crowd did) but they don't ever leave early, not even when the cause seems hopeless. Almost the exact opposite of the Yankees' crowd, in my observance, for instance. That crowd in 6 games I have viewed there, nearly 1/2 of the crowd leaves early. And it little matters who is winning, only that just a bit more of them leave than usual if the Yankees are behind.

It is WARM, even at night. The fans do this cute, cute chant when Tulowitski (can't spell his name) comes to bat. thump thump thump thum TU- LO kind of thing. They have rules about leaving the rows when the batter is batting. The field is excellent in quality and view, and the Stadium is superior in formation and logistics. Excellent exit and entrance and food stand options everywhere. Bathrooms 9 out of 10. This is not always so in ball parks. Seats are large enough for most and there are drink holders. Do not do fireworks as we do at home for home runs, but do this round the stadium electronic flash thing with noise request added. They get noise.

As in so many other White SOX games this year, we are trailing the entire game and then are ahead only at the end. We win.

This night we didn't call for a ride and took the 16th St Mall free bus back to the other end of the line. This was something few 60 plus folk of my acquaintance would do. SO was balking a bit- but we did it. He wanted to call shuttle and I wanted to see what this was like. 4 blocks walking and then SQUISH. The only time I was ever packed in that close was on my h.s. bus on Kedzie Ave. in Chicago 50 years ago. I hear they do it on Japanese trains too. This was the same, without the coats and with all ages present. I had 3 teen age girls and a couple of 11 year old boys on my "pole" that made jokes that I couldn't post here. One mentioned repeatedly that soon they would release the gas cannister into the death cars- trying to creep her companions out. It worked on me.

We get off at the end, and that is the only time that we could have gotten off, I believe.

We walk home and have a Coors. All the Sox fans in the lounge are smiling and talking.

Off to bed and I realize in preparing for bed that my Sox Jersey is covered with pop on the back from the bus ride. So no go for game 2 with that- but it was too hot anyway. I'll post the rest of the trip. Day Game, Zoo and other Denver reveals later tonight.

BTW, forgot- the $8.99 laminated fold out of downtown Denver with each and every block's inclusions I got from Barnes & Noble- was priceless. In Europe, USA- using most city maps or cards!!! Most aren't legended or keyed to this extent and this one was. We used it nearly every hour for something.

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    Oh yes I did. Every baseball trip may seem the same to non-baseball people, but honestly they are all so different. Some are sports mayhem, some serene athleticism, and some pure personality. And each and every USA MLB city absolutely has its own flavor.

    Denver's, btw, is very vanilla with a few nuts. This is not in any derogative or slurr sense at all. But it has so much less diversity than some, and it also has very visible eccentrics in minority, IMHO. And this I had to email one son immediately. IT WAS NOT FIT AND SKINNY LIKE SAN Diego. In fact, it had fairly hefty people in great majority.

    The next day was the day game.

    We had a Burnsley breakfast. This was the day I had Eggs Benedict and it was superlative. I did not want to eat much that day, just brought some fruit.

    BTW, Coors Field allows you to bring in bottles. And outside the park, if you have forgotten, water is $1.00.

    This was the most long term memorable day I will have of Denver. First, it was absolutely roasting, near 100 degree record. Plus we had 1st row upper reserve seats in the blistering sun. Plus I was down to my last fraction of "hot weather" clothes with 2 outfits I of long pants I knew I would never wear.

    Regardless- I have to note here that this was the only time in 12 years that SO stated he was hot and that the seat was cooking his thighs. He had on shorts and the seats were like the top of flatiron stove at full tilt.

    Cutting to the chase, we moved.

    Not only did we move once, we moved about 5 times. Some Rockies fans (maybe 30) moved with us. Repeatedly. I also have to note that there was not any other White Sox people/ fans up there but us. And that there was eons more diversity in that section than anywhere else in the park. I almost felt like I was at home.

    So here we go again. Always behind and looking at the other team's home run triumphs. And then everything changed.

    First I see this black thunderhead.

    Then I see a line drawn and after it about 100 or more grey streams as if they were drawn with a grey crayon by a mad giant. The mountains become obliverated to sight. I can barely see the solid (yet again)completely stopped expressway in the distance.

    The temperature drops 15 degrees. And we move again way up past the blue painted line that designates the MILE HIGH MARK above sea level.

    The rains reach us.

    The Sox wake up and score runs in the ninth and win.

    And then it stops, and this line of clarity breaks out directly in front of my eyes and I can see the mountains and their crevices of snow in such white light and exact detail that it is like a picture of heaven shown to you as a child. (Well, me anyway.)

    All that was needed would be John Denver singing Rocky Mountain High in the background.

    I got wet. It felt great.

    We left with a group and took the walk home. Stopping along 16th St. mall places. By the time we got back and after moving along with folk we had meet, we didn't even use the bus until we got to the last 8 blocks or so. Too tired to eat, we split a Rachel. (Like a Rueben but with turkey.)

    The next day we got up early and declared an assault on culture and the zoo. We got to the Nat. History by pure individual power and found out that all the maps and sites were wrong and that it won't be opening until later in the year.

    We grabbed some paninis and other street food (tried a vegetarian Italian beef/sloppy Joe thing from a cart- and it was not similar but it was hot and peppery)during this time, as we never had any breakfast.

    So we went back to Burnsley and got a ride to the zoo in 2 minutes.

    SO is a zoo docent and bird expert, especially predator birds.
    This zoo, despite having an area as big as the present zoo under construction for the new and terrific Tropical World water hole extravaganza, was truly excellent.

    It was comparable at least to D.C. or St. Louis or Lincoln Pstk or Milwaukee for sure. And had some animals that I had never seen in captivity and that have never been at Brookfield. For instance, a Fossa. Loved the fossa. And a Sarus Crane that was more than 6 foot tall and so much a relative of our heron in MI.

    Great day- we spent at least 5 hours there. In the heat, but it was so worth it. The primates were inside- at least 90% of all three groups. I just don't understand that as they had a tremendous outside area. Only 1 gorilla, the silverback, chose to be outside. The tigers were awesome there. One had his own raft- was an entire show by himself trying to get himself or herself to float all 100's of lbs upon it without tipping it over in a great pond leading to a stream. SO got tons of pictures of this.

    This zoo is easily walkable. Not at all like San Diego, Brookfield and the huge area of some of the other city zoos which are now habitat area or genetic maintenance and not primarily observational. Not that the other is bad, but this size, view, interaction of and with the same animals and birds (SO feed the parrots as usual)was greatly enjoyed.

    No merkats. Sigh!

    We called for a ride, and they were there in 15 minutes. That evening at the Burnsley we had dinner with a couple who came in for a romantic weekend and Coors game from a suburb. They were a joy. She was a dark haired big eyed darling and she looked about 35. He was so WESTERN. They were super friendly.
    They had SIX BOYS. The ages were 21, 18, 11, 9, 6, and 1. Can you believe it in this age! She showed me the pictures. And he said "and every time she told me for sure it would be a girl." They were originally from Craig CO and were moving to TX later this year.

    There is a certain Southern charm that cannot be denied and did they have it. She could have been in "Steel Magnolias".

    Great dinner. This was the best I had that trip. And more Coors too for us.

    I had a penne seafood with scallops and shrimp in a creme lime. It was outstanding. The French Onion soup was exceptional, as well. SO tried the trout as they only had 1 left and he wanted to get it before it was gone. He was smiling.

    This was Friday and the jazz was on. Busy, busy. Wonderful evening.

    US old foagies went across the street to Charlie Brown's too but didn't stay more than 10 minutes. Reminded both of us totally of Wriglyville there. Same exact age span, as well. They had a pig roast we wanted to taste but decided it was not worth the crush.

    The next day was the day we went home. Everything played out in order. The trip to the airport was speedy. The flight was fine. I had some trouble with boarding pass printing but the Burnsley staff fixed that problem. Our flight had 25 kids and 7 that were flying alone or with siblings only- mostly going to see Grandma in Chicago. So with some switching, I had the pleasure to be next to a 7 year old with only his 11 year old brother across the aisle. He was good at stickers and bad at crayons.

    We got home, our luggage was slow- got our shuttle and our car and had Sydney before 4pm. He was an annoying pest for 3 days and would not shut up or agree to return to his cage. He's back to normal now.

    Denver will never be forgotten for that top of Coors Field view with the heavens revealing themselves.

    Next will be Cleveland in September.

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    "Oh yes I did. Every baseball trip may seem the same to non-baseball people, but honestly they are all so different. Some are sports mayhem, some serene athleticism, and some pure personality. And each and every USA MLB city absolutely has its own flavor."

    I couldn't have said that any better. Friends of mine and even my parents can't understand why I do baseball trips the way I do.

    Up next for me is DC again but not for the Red Sox unfortunately. Will see the Phillies and the Reds. Have you been to Nationals Park?

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    Thanks for your report! I am glad to hear the Burnsley was so nice. I will be sure to recommend it to friends. Glad you liked Chophouse, too.

    Too bad you were here for our rare very HOT weather. We were out of town at the time. I am not a hot weather person, either. At least in Denver, it is cooler at night.

    Come back again soon!

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    tchoiniere- we were in D.C. just 2 months before it opened. And attended a game in Baltimore a couple of years ago at which at least 1/2 the fans were going to a Nationals game next and we couldn't. My Sox played the Nationals at home this year, but that is one of the parks that are on the very top of my list. I also want to see the new Yankee because I had only been to the old.

    After the heat of this trip, I have doubts I will ever get to the Rangers unless it is in April. LOL! I hit K.C. and the Braves, both of those when it was 100 degrees once, as well. And your Red Sox when it was nearly that hot and with that 4th of July extravaganza display crowd coming in to boot once. That last was not recently and with my youngest son.

    I LOVE D.C. and will get there for sure. We spent 7 whole days there in Feb. of 2008 and didn't even dent the stuff to do and see.

    Yes, you understand. There are varied moods predominant as well. With some places having much more angst at losing per se than others.

    Pittsburgh is an absolute delight. And the most humerous crowd I have ever experienced. They have drama and theatre in everything and near the end of each game, you can often observe serious fans with paper bags completely covering their heads with frown faces drawn upon them. Can you imagine some other fans we will not name doing something like that?

    Good travels and play ball.

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    No photos, Dayenu. He took some in the zoo but I stopped taking any photos on vacation about 5 years ago. It has to do with staying in the moment. I find that's impossible to do when I am tech messing- and particularly within visual photos or digital cameras.

    They covered every vertical surface in the place with those quilts. Most hanging free or from balcony or dropped from all the ceilings that were flat. They were of every size, as well. Massive to tiny.

    Some were extremely of the traditional Southern USA or Western USA patterns and some quite abstract or completely individual in random modern theme.

    There was an exhibition brochure that titled, numbered, and had copy from each quilter upon their theme, cloth types used, or any other comment they wanted to make upon their inspirations. Like a small phone book. Some had a lot of needlepoint or embroidery decoration, as well. It was interesting to the max. I got to know about the judging because I talked to the two docents and told them about my Amish quilts etc.- asked if they had any. Located about 10 right away, too when I went to the 3rd floor. It was so hot that I didn't go into the dome.

    It was hard to judge these quilts one against the other, because they were all so very different, even within the same pattern or style because of the varying material used, or the spacing of the quilting. One was done entirely in purples, for instance.

    I picked one from different categories and sizes to be fair and tried to look closely at the skill of sewing too.

    You can definitely use that phrase. And that's exactly what we do in the time we have most anywhere. D.C. is what more than an assault. More like a seige upon the Culture Castle.

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