A few months ago a friend of ours found out that a band he, another friend and us all like, was going to be having their last concert at the Red Rocks Amphitheater in Denver. I know many bands say that "this" is their last concert but considering the age of the oldest member of the band we believed that it really was going to be their last concert. Our friend bought several tickets and we paid him for ours. A friend of ours, Wayne, from Los Angeles decided to come out as well for the concert. Randy and I had never been to Red Rocks even though we've lived here all of our lives and this was the perfect opportunity for us to go. Many tickets were being scalped for more than double what we paid the closer it came to the date of the concert. We booked a hotel room for that evening well in advance that's not too far from the amphitheater. We knew it would be too late to drive home after the concert. We set up a camera so we could check in on our birds while we were gone. I have a good friend that knows how to get into the house as well in case we needed her too. She and her son are the only people I would trust to care for the birds in case something happened to us. I know many people probably think that we're being paranoid but life can change in an instant! We see so many distracted drivers and you never know what they'll do because they aren't paying attention to their driving but instead to their phones.
Anyway, we left here around 1:30 or 2 and got up to the hotel around 3: 30 pm. Normally it wouldn't have taken that long but their was an accident on the Interstate going to Denver AND their was construction. Google ended up taking us on something like 5 or 6 different roads to get to our hotel too to avoid the traffic but I think the more direct route would have been quicker. When we got into our hotel room we put our thermal underwear on and met our friends so we could all go to the concert together. We got there and people were dressed in all kinds of crazy outfits. Some of the young girls were dressed in hardly anything at all. We stood in line for them to let us in for a good hour or more. Then they let in about 50 people at a time so that people wouldn't be stampeding over each other to get certain seats. You had to climb a ramp and a bunch of steps just to get inside. They also checked you and your belongings to make sure you weren't carrying any glass or weapons. I don't have any pics of the walkway to get into the amphitheater.
I found this image of the walkway to get into Red Rocks from Google Images
We got good seats about halfway up the amphitheater. There are 70 rows and we were sitting at row 32 and pretty much in the center. Before the opening act got started I went to the restroom. I asked someone at one of concession stands where the bathrooms were. She said there were some at the top and some at the bottom. When she said some were at the bottom, I thought she meant the port-o-potties at the entrance. I trekked my way up to the top and wondered around a little before I went inside to the visitor's center and then down the stairs to the restrooms. Thankfully, the line wasn't very long. Found my way back to where Randy and the others were sitting. The opening act, CloZee, was really good and lasted about an hour. Not sure what happened to the other opening act but they didn't perform. Shpongle, the band we came to see, put on a great performance. The acoustics at Red Rocks is simply the best! I suppose that's why they decided to have their last concert there instead of somewhere in England, considering that's where they are from. We were just far enough away that you really didn't need earplugs. I used mine anyway and I know a few others did as well. I was a little disappointed in the music they selected to play. I wished they would have had more of their earlier music. Overall, it was still good and worth the money we paid.
Wayne has some pretty professional camera equipment and took many pictures. Here are just a few of the pics he took.
We had a great time at the concert. There were so many people either vaping tobacco or weed, smoking weed and then there was the smoke machines that Shpongle had. I think the only reason I didn't get a contact high is because we were out in the open instead of being in an enclosed space. My nose was sooo stuffy though when we left that I was having a hard time breathing. We got back to the hotel sometime around 2 am. We all met up in one hotel room and talked about the concert for a bit. The next morning we got up much later than we intended to. They had stopped serving breakfast at the hotel already so we stopped at a Starbucks to get a bite to eat and a coffee. We were anxious to get back home to check on the birds. We checked on them with the Ring app on our phone and they were doing fine but we were still ready to get home and let them out of their cages.
Wayne stayed with us for a week after the concert. Normally he stays with our friend Dave while he's out here but now that we have a spare bedroom in our house it was better for him to stay with us. Dave only has a cot in his unfinished basement and a hide-a-bed in his living room couch. He's about 10 years younger than us and I think he has a cast iron stomach. I had planned to make food for all of us while he was staying with but he wanted to eat out the whole time but he did introduce us to some new foods we've never had.
On Monday Wayne went to see some of the touristy things here, in Old Colorado City and Manitou Springs. He climbed the Manitou Springs incline which is VERY difficult even for those in good shape. Afterwards, he went to the rubber duck store in Manitou and then to the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame.
You can either choose to climb the Manitou Incline or go up Barr Trail to get to the same place
As he was climbing the incline he gave it an 8 out of 10 for difficulty. When he got to the top he revised that and gave it a 12 out of 10 for difficulty.
Wayne has a way with animals! They just naturally gravitate to him!
He didn't want to feed the chipmunk but he/she was very insistent! He gave it a little piece of his protein bar.
This girl is a BADA$$ for climbing up the incline while carrying her bicycle too!!
The rubber duck gift shop in Manitou Springs
I love this photo! Cracks me up every time I look at it!!
Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame
Woman's side saddle when it used to be unseemly for a woman to ride like a man does
Dave, Erin (Dave's childhood friend visiting here from another state)and Wayne, Randy and I met up for dinner. On Tuesday, Wayne, Erin and I met for lunch in Old Colorado City. We wandered around Old Colorado City for a while.
Wayne trying on a silly hat in a Tibetan shop
This store carries all kinds of stuff brought here by the owner from Mexico
Love the dog peeing statue!
It's a cat-erpillar
Wayne and I drove up to Florissant afterwards to see the fossil beds where redwood trees used to grow 35 million years ago.
One of the trails we took to look at the fossilized redwood trees
Wayne and I standing in front of one of the largest redwood tree stump
Adeline Hornbek, a single mother of 4, who started a ranch and lived in the house on the left for 27 years
We took Wayne to a chinese restaurant for dinner. He wanted to see how their food compared to what he's used to and compared to what he can get in Chinatown in L.A. He thought it wasn't bad and was mostly on par with what he's used to. He got us to try some food we hadn't tried before. It was all good and next time we'll have some of the same foods or maybe we'll try something else. We stopped at the grocery store afterwards and he saw that they had my / mo (pronounce me-mo) ice cream and told us that we had to try it. It's ice cream inside of a rice type pastry/dough. He made us try the green tea ice cream and then at least one other flavor. It wasn't bad but it was very strange!!! The green tea was a bit bitter though.
On Thursday, Wayne went to the space & science museum and the dinosaur museum by himself since everyone was busy but met Dave at the money museum later.
Since he was the only one there they let him hold one of the claws from a T-Rex
Wayne came back to the house later in the day and then the three of us went to a Greek restaurant in Old Colorado City for dinner. Dave called after we got seated and decided to join us. His birthday was coming up so they gave him some Baklava with a candle in it for his birthday. :)
On Friday Wayne took me to a place called Kung Fu Tea and introduce me to bubble tea (boba). It's black tea with milk and these big balls of tapioca in the bottom. The tea itself wasn't bad but the tapioca balls in the bottom was really strange! I had some of his because I didn't want a whole drink for myself.
We started to get hungry so we went to a Vietnamese restaurant called Donuts and Noodles. We both thought it was a strange name for a restaurant but we wanted to check it out and see what it was about. It had a big case of donuts but then they had a little menu to order from. The restaurant was really tiny in a strip mall. He had me get some Pho (pronounce Fa) since I'd never had it. I liked it but the serving size was way too big! I would have taken the rest of it home but Wayne said it's not very good reheated. The noodles, more than anything aren't good reheated. The women running the place were actually Cambodian. Wayne is Chinese but he could tell by what they were saying that they were Cambodian.
This was a mini shrine to their god(s) and the Donut was an offering to their god(s).
That evening, he met Dave at his parents' house and then they headed up to the mountains to have dinner with a friend.
Saturday, Wayne wanted to go to the Cave of the Winds and to the North Pole (a.k.a. Santa's workshop). It's been more than 40 years since I've been to the Cave of the Winds and it's changed a lot! The gift shop used to be much smaller. They also used to have colored lights throughout the tour. They have 3 different tours to go on. We chose the shortest and quicker one since there were other things we wanted to do. It's only a 1/2 mile if you do the discovery tour. The Lantern tour is a mile and it's a candlelight but the tour is about 90 minutes long whereas the other is about 45 - 60 minutes long. The 3rd tour is even longer and they teach you the basics of spelunking. The Discovery tour has about 200 steps throughout the tour and in some places are narrow and only about 4 feet of clearance. I'm just shy of 5 ft tall so this was the one place that being short comes in handy! lol
The original rope ladder that was used to get into the cave
An original Thomas Edison light bulb that is turned one once a year
When Randy lived in Manitou as a teenager, he and his brother happened upon these other caves called the boogin (sp?) caves which led to the Cave of the Winds. They weren't supposed to be in there and found the original entrance gate into the Cave of the Winds. Those caves are blocked off now for security reasons. We actually found that same gate though as we were going through the tour.
We drove over to the North Pole (a.k.a. Santa's workshop) afterwards but they don't open until May 19. Wayne was able to take some pictures from the parking lot and one of the gates anyway.
We took Wayne to Fargo's Pizza for dinner because it's a very unusual restaurant. The pizza isn't the best but you don't necessarily go there for the pizza. It was built in the early 1970's by two brothers from Missouri and can seat 500 people in this 2 story building. Fargo’s Pizza Company brings to life an obscure piece of mountain lore featuring the hard-drinking, straight-shooting, freethinking gambler named Fargo who prowled the mountain towns a hundred years ago until he met the beautiful Sophia. Sophia, born to nobility, came to Colorado with her parents who fled Italy to escape political persecution. She fell in love with Fargo and changed his ways. But, alas, they had no means of support. But wait! Sophia had inherited the family’s old Italian recipes. They would open an Italian restaurant and introduce pizza to the Colorado Territory. The reason this bit of history is obscure is because the founder of Fargo’s, Leon Gardner, created this story. “Thus, the legend of Fargo and Sophia was born.
They save some of the napkins that people have drawn some pretty unique things on and have them all in a glass case as you enter/leave the restaurant.
On Sunday, before Wayne headed up to Denver to return his rental car he wanted to drive up the Pikes Peak Highway to the top of Pikes Peak. Of course, we went with him. It's been probably close to 30 years since I've been to the top. The highway has changed a great deal. It used to be a gravel road up to the top once you got past the toll booth. They've paved it all the way to the top. I remember them talking about paving it before we moved to Missouri 14 years ago. They said that it would help cut down on the erosion since so many people drive up to the top every year. Also, the gift shop at the top has changed and is about to change again. The gift shop used to be much smaller than it currently is. They're in the process though, of building one that's much, much bigger than the current one. They are going to make it more modern looking though, which I'm not exactly thrilled about. These aren't in any particular order.
Some people have obviously been dropped off along with their skis and skied down parts of the mountain.
You may not be able to tell from the picture but this is a golden eagle we saw as we were coming down the mountain. I'm guessing he/she is looking for marmots or other prey.
These are the tracks for the Cog Railway. It's currently not running and in need of repairs. Apparently, there is a dispute between the city, the national park and the guy that owns something like 60% of the railway.
Crystal Lake as seen from near the top
This is sitting outside near the gift shop at Crystal Lake
Apparently, the people running the gift shop have a good sense of humor! Putting all of those cowboy hats on the stuffed mountain lion is hilarious!
I enjoyed having Wayne here and he got us out of our comfort zone and got us to try new foods. He also wore me out being on the go everyday! I spent most of the week just trying to regain my energy. We also had to go over to the rental house to finish cleaning it before the homeowner (Mr. Wonderful) does the walk through tomorrow morning of the house. We made sure to video tape how the house looks so he can't come back on us saying things are wrong with the house. We left the house in really good condition.