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Evanston, Wyoming

After leaving Denver, we continued our trek West.  And our first stop was at the Welcome Center in Wyoming, where we got quite a welcome!


After we talked our way out of this predicament, we got back on the road as fast as possible.  But all I can say is...It's a LONG way from Denver to McCall, Idaho.  In fact, we drove all day and we never got out of Wyoming!





Our overnight stop FINALLY landed us in Evanston, Wyoming.  And boy...we were ready for a COLD one with the Cowboys!


We always head to the "downtown" part of town, to get away from the franchise clutter and sameness you find at every freeway exit in America.  And these old buildings are one of reasons we head into town.  We stopped on Main Street (where else?) and found Kate's Bar.




I guess some people even forget their jackets in the winter time...or maybe they just leave one there to be prepared for a cold snap!

The locals were friendly and we felt right at home...but there were no ten gallon hats.  So we forged ahead...to Spanky's Bar.





And there he was!  A real old-time COWBOY...


And he LOVED to talk.  And TALK.  He told us he owns four SECTIONS of land....and each section is 640 acres!  So do the math...that's a lot of ground to cover...on a HORSE!  He told us it takes about 60 acres of land to feed ONE COW since the land is so barren...so his ranch is considered really small.  Wow...

We learned a lot from him...maybe a little more than we needed to hear.  So after awhile we excused ourselves and headed back to our hotel for some dinner and a good night's sleep before hitting the road toward our next destination...McCall.  But before we could unpack in Idaho, we needed to cross Utah!

Stay tuned.

The OLD West...

Sometimes...we just have to pull off the freeway to check out the surrounding areas.  And when I saw this "photo op" we pulled over.


If these walls (and mountains) could talk...

On The ROAD...Again

I have MANY happy memories of trips from the Midwest to Colorado.  My Mom and Dad would pile us in the un air-conditioned station wagon, and off we would go...on two lane roads...to head West to Colorado. I still remember the Mom and Pop motels where we would stay.  Dad always managed to find a motel with a swimming pool, since that was a real treat for my brother Tom and me.

I was unlucky (or lucky?) enough to suffer from car sickness, and I would be given a Dramamine to calm my stomach.  The added bonus was that it would make me sleepy.  My brother was always jealous, because I would sleep most of the day in the car...all the way to our overnight stop.  And I would awaken refreshed and ready for a swim...and dinner.

All of these memories came flooding back to me as we turned onto Colfax Avenue in Lakewood and headed toward downtown Denver to to catch I-25 to head toward Wyoming.

It turns out Colfax Avenue still hosts MANY of the old Art-Deco style motels and restaurants of my youth. And here is the proof...in picture form.

See if any of these images jog YOUR memory of "The Good Old Days"...






Please explain this diner bathroom...with one potty and TWO SINKS???!!!



I'm told Warner Brothers didn't take kindly to the ORIGINAL name of this motel...
Now Called The BIG Bunny Motel!

It was a trip down memory lane as we headed for the freeway...and off we went.  Heading WEST!

Family...Food...and Farewell

After our attempt at being tourists in beautiful Golden, we headed back to the house to get ready for a dinner with family...and new friend.  And because this IS a vacation for me, I won't take time to add the recipes for what you'll see on this post.  I'll add those later...   But here are some photos of our fun-filled evening.

Patricia made her delicious Summer Potato Salad...

Boiling small red potatoes..then adding fresh green beans at the end of cooking time
Potatoes and green beans...


Crumbled feta and dressing added...Ready to serve

A Caprese Salad with fresh tomatoes, basil and fresh Mozzerella..
and I drizzled with EVOO and a Balsamic reduction.

New Friend Nancy and her AWARD WINNING Guacamole...
Details and Recipe later!
(No wonder it won the BEST APPETIZER Award in the Rocky Mountain News!)

Nephew Andrew, His wife Fatima, and son Nick and their AWESOME
Pasta Salad...The BEST I've tasted!  (Recipe later!)

"Chef Andrew" making Bison Burgers...DELISH!!!
(After all...this IS Colorado...Where the BUFFALO ROAM...)

For Dessert?  Two of my Peach, Apple and Blueberry Crostatas...with Ice Cream

Dinner is Served!
What an DELICIOUS way to end a wonderful week in Colorado...a week filled with true hospitality and hugs from people we love...

And now we're heading West (and North) for a long-awaited reunion with cousins I've not seen in more than FORTY YEARS...in a beautiful lakeside mountain town we've NEVER seen...
 
We can't wait to see it all unfold...

Golden is GOLDEN!

We made the short drive from Lakewood to Golden, Colorado...and we're SO glad we did.  We simply loved the town.

If you're like me...and you like BEER...the first thing you probably think of in Golden Colorado is COORS Beer, brewed with that "pure, Rocky Mountain spring water".  And the first thing we saw as we drove into town was the Coors Brewery...it is HUGE.

We were short on time so a tour wasn't in the cards, but we saw the entire operation from the outside.

Part of the Coors Brewing Company...
 We drove into the the beautiful old part of town, and we felt as if we had stepped into the Old West...in a GOOD way.  Many of the stores have retained their Old West charm, and the array of restaurants, shops and hotels was amazing.

Our new best friend...
We spent several hours strolling up and down the streets.  And I made another new friend.  (He even approved of the new turquoise bracelet I purchased in the shop he was guarding.)


At the end of the street was Clear Creek...a beautiful stream (maybe that pure Rocky Mountain COORS water?) 


We saw many people strolling along, enjoying the cool breeze by the water.  It was a gorgeous day, and that bright blue Colorado sky made us realize a shady spot was a good idea.


We also made sure to abide by all the bridge laws...


We poked our heads into the Astor House, now a museum.  It was a boarding house that opened in 1867, and stayed in continuous operation until the late 1960's!  The first bathtub in Golden was installed there, and boarders paid 25 cents for a hot bath.  The Astor House owner is said to have made more money selling baths than she made by renting rooms!


If you look at the far end of the hall you can see the famous (or infamous) bathtub!  25 cents?  A BARGAIN...considering how dirty some of those old cowpokes must have been!


We also looked in at a beautiful Golden hotel, the Table Mountain Inn.  It is a gorgeous hotel, restaurant, and catering facility on Washington Avenue.

The Table Mountain Inn Lobby
And then we REALLY struck gold in Golden!  We came upon a sculpture called THE COWBOY.  The sculpture was created to celebrate the era of the cowboy ranching industry.  And since this cowboy is SO HANDSOME, women are often seen being photographed with their hands on his derriere. 

So...When in Rome...
Or in this case...Golden...
We did what was expected of us...


And after all that excitement, we decided it was time to head back to Lakewood and COOL OFF...(Whew!)
After all, we had a Farewell Family dinner to fix!  Recipes to be included...so stay tuned!


SIMMS STEAKHOUSE

After another successful day of door replacements, Sis Patricia decided we ALL needed a break.  (It's very tiring to watch someone else work, and I've had lots of experience watching my Hubby...since he never stops working!)  So off we went to a nearby restaurant with an AWESOME view of downtown Denver...

The hike from the lower parking area was worth the effort

GREAT Small Plates...Perfect To Share
Some of the items on the Happy Hour menu looked familiar to us, and we soon realized many of the items were the same as from one of our favorite restaurants in Fort Lauderdale...The Chart House.  We finally realized Simms Steakhouse is another recent acquisition of Mr. Tillman Fertitta, the owner of Landry's Restaurants...the umbrella company for more than 400 successful dining, hospitality, gaming and entertainment properties across the country.

In fact, Mr. Fertitta's mega-yacht, The Boardwalk, can usually be found docked next to our favorite table at the Chart House in Fort Lauderdale at some point during the winter months...and it is a marvel to see.  It does block our view of the IntraCoastal Waterway, but it's fun to watch the crew come and go as they continually polish and paint the vessel.  And it would be an understaement to say the crew pampers any guests lucky enough to be invited onboard.  But  EVERYONE must remove their shoes and place them at the foot of the gangway leading onto the yacht...no shoes allowed onboard...by anyone!

Check out The Boardwalk Yacht here:
The Boardwalk Yacht

As soon as we realized the connection to Mr. Fertitta and The Chart House, we knew we were in for a delicious meal of small plates and appetizers at Simms...

Outdoor dining...With a View...and the Lazy Susan tray converts to a fire pit in the winter.

Hummus Trio and Charcuterie Platter

SIMMS Steak Sliders and Fries

What a View...
Our tapas were awesome, and the view was too.  It was a real treat to spend the evening even higher than the Mile High City...I think the elevation was more than 6,000 ft.

And I'm guessing Hubby enjoyed the evening even more because ALL of the doors in his sister's house were FINISHED!

Mission Accomplished.
And job well done.
Cheers!

And it's off for some sight-seeing tomorrow...Our last day in Colorado.

DOORS...Then DINNER

Handyman Hubby put in a LONG day.


 He loves his Sis, and he wanted to finish replacing all the doors on the main level of her house...and he did it.  In one day.


So after that long day of work, he headed to the shower, and Sis and I had a cold drink and a great dinner waiting for him.

Fresh Tomatoes...Picked warm from the Vine and sprinkled with Fresh Basil

My signature salad...That RAINBOW in a bowl...
Garlic Herb Bread Sprinkled With Parmesan Cheese...Ready for the Broiler

The Grill Master At Work...
Dinner is Served...
Grilled New York Strip Steaks

For Dessert?  FAMILY TIME...

So what's Hubby's plan for tomorrow??

Would you believe...All the doors in the basement!

(Hmmm...What to make for his dinner after THAT!?)