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Motor Coach Tour 2011
Friday, May 20th
Denver, Colorado

This day started out sunny with a few cloudy periods that evolved into mostly sunny. Today was the day before the tour was to leave so I spent most of it just wandering around downtown Denver. I had no real plan as to what to see or do but in looking out my window at this view in the picture below I saw something blue near the front of the Colorado Convention Centre. See if you can see it just to the right of and a little below centre.

BBB From Hotel

I looked at it closely and thought it looked like a big blue bear. So, I thought this might be a good place to start my walking tour of downtown Denver. I had breakfast and off I went.

What did I find???

BBB 1
BBB 3
This is what I found!
Sure enough, it is a 40 foot (just over 12 metre) Big Blue Bear.
It looks like it is touching the glass but as you can see in this view it is not actually touching.
BBB 2
BBB From Inside 2
Here is the bear from across the street.
Thanks to a kind security guard in the convention center I was able to go in and up onto the landing you can see in the previous picture so we can see what he looks like from inside.
BBB Inside 2
BBB From Inside 3
You cannot see much of the detail of the bear in this picture but you can see how big he is relative to the surroundings and the people below him. The eco-glass in the windows made getting these inside pictures of the bear difficult but here is one from the floor on the inside looking up at the Big Blue Bear.

Many thanks to the woman security guard who let me go to where nobody was supposed to be to get the upper level inside pictures. If you want to know more about the origins and construction of the Big Blue Bear (its proper name) click on this link and you will be taken to the page on the Colorado/Denver Convention Centre's web site that describes it. One of the events going on in the convention centre that day was this........

Sharepoint Fest Sign

There was also a high school graduation going on in another part of the building. This place is interesting because it combines a large modern convention centre with an arts centre that houses live performance venues all in one location. The Arts part of the complex is partially made out of some very old renovated buildings at the opposite end of the building from where I was as well as these newer buildings shown in the picture below. The older buildings are behind the ones in this picture.

Performing Arts Centre

Just a note here, When I do these web pages I usually try to keep the pictures in the order I take them in. On this page the pictures are grouped generally by location rather than by order taken. The Bear pictures above were taken over three different visits to the convention centre to get all the ones I thought I wanted. It just made more sense to put them all together. Most of the rest of the pictures will pretty much follow the order they were taken in.

After dealing with the bear (the first of the several times I was there) I headed up to Denver's main street known as the 16th Street Mall. This is a pedestrian mall that has two lanes of road up the middle that are used only by Hybrid Fuel Efficient buses that frequently run up and down the just under two kilometre length of the mall.

16th ST Mall #1
16 ST Mall #3
The 16th Street Mall. Only busses use the roadways you can see.
16th Street Mall from the same spot looking the other way.

16th ST Mall #2

This clock tower is on the mall.
There was no indication of its importance.

Here are some pictures of various buildings along the way to the other major sports venue in Denver, Coors Field.

Union Station
Ice House

A Union Pacific Railway Station currently under renovation.
It is the Amtrak station for Denver.

This building was an old icehouse that has been converted into several restaurants.
Downtown Buildings 1
Downtown Buildings 2
These are all old railway warehouses that have been converted into apartments. Little did most people know at the time that Coors Field, home of the Colorado Rockies Baseball team would be built almost right beside them bringing a big increase in value. The "Field" is right behind me in this picture.
An unusual building that I found interesting.

Not much further to go in the walking trip of Denver. The next stop is the above mentioned Coors Field.

Coors Field 1
Coors Field 2
Coors Field across one of its parking lots.
One of the gates to the field. It is located in the centre left of the previous picture. The circles on either sides are examples of different types of balls used in various sports.
Coors Field 3
Coors Field 4
The First Base entrance to Coors Field.
The Home Plate entrance to Coors Field.

Since I am on a roll with sports venues, here is one of the other ones that I saw sometime later in the day.

Pepsi Center 1
Pepsi Center 2
This is the Pepsi Center where the Denver Nuggets BasketBall team, the Colorado Avalanche, National Hockey League team,
and the Colorado Mammoth National Lacrosse League team play. An amusement park is in the background.
The Pepsi Center on the right and an old brewery on the left which is now the student union building for Denver Community College who's sports field I took these two pictures from.

Denver is the capitol of the State of Colorado and thus has the state capitol building. It also has a rather impressive city hall. I did not get to either one but here is a picture of each.

Colorado State Capital Building
Denver City Hall
The Colorado State Capitol Building.
Denver's City Hall

The final location to show in my walking trip of Denver's downtown is Cherry Creek. The plaque in the last picture explains its importance.

Cherry Creak 1
Cherry Creek 2
Cherry Creek 3
Cherry Creek Plaque

Here is the hotel I was staying in.

Hilton Garden Inn Denver Downtown

The room I was in was on the light coloured part facing left
just below the darker coloured two floors at the top.
The 2nd, 3rd and 4th floors were an indoor parking garage.

One final, rather novel thing I saw in Denver was this parking meter.....

Solar Powered Parking Meter

As you can imagine Denver gets a lot of sun. They get so much sun that I wanted to get an umbrella there and could not find one. This parking meter has some solar cells on the other side where the display is on this side. The other thing I found interesting is that it is the first parking meter I think I have seen that will take a credit card for payment.

Later in the day I met with Jack the tour director for the tour that leaves tomorrow. He really wanted to make sure that I got the information. I got three different copies of his info sheet during the day because I had come in early. There were some Australians on the trip who were there the day before me.

Near the end of the day it looked like a storm would move through but it stayed in the mountains. Here is one final picture to finish off this day. It is not the best but it is a sunset in Denver.

Denver Sunset

So I conclude my day in Denver. It is a very compact city who's official altitude above sea level is 5,280 ft, or one mile, (hence the mile high city) or for you metric folks, 1.6 kilometres or 1600 meters. It is a very nice place and I certainly enjoyed my visit here.

I had a quite evening preparing for what tour director Jack calls the worlds longest airport transfer to Rapid City, South Dakota that happens tomorrow.

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Created: August 1, 2011
Last Updated: Thursday, August 25, 2011 10:52 AM