My Trip to Denver: Day One

There were four of us (three BoE members and the school Super) going to a Colorado Association of School Boards (CASB) Winter Legislative Conference. This is a one day thing primarily about legislation affecting schools.

But the logistics were more complex than I expected. Our Superintendent, at the last minute, decided to not drive the school sedan. He wanted to drive his own SUV so he could go hang with his brother and also stay over a day or so. So I called the other Board members going and recruited one of them to drive.

So we eventually all met at the school for the journey to Denver. Little did I know this trip would be a life changing event for me.

The trip up took much longer than we planned due to traffic as we arrived in The Big City during rush hour. As we neared our destination at the Downtown Comfort Inn, our Super took the lead and we seemed to circle around for a while before pulling into the valet parking at the hotel.

We checked in and went to our rooms with plans to meet in the lobby in a half hour. It didn’t work out for me!

My room was a mess!

The tan bag on the bed is mine.

At first I thought the hotel had left a meal in lieu of a fruit basket but quickly realized the beer bottles in the ice bucket were empty! How rude!

There was crap everywhere yet the bed looked unused. I texted the Super that I would be changing rooms since this one was used. His reaction was, “I hope there isn’t a dead hooker in the bathroom!”. There wasn’t. 😉

I called the “Operator” who called the front desk to move me. This is the first Choice Hotel, my usual chain of choice, I have been in where the “Operator” on the phone is NOT the front desk! Soon a succession of staff came by; the first hardly spoke English and apparently was to verify I wasn’t pranking the hotel! The one who actually helped me move wore full livery with lots of braid. I told him if the beer bottles had been full, I would have stayed! My first room was on the 8th floor; my new one was on the 11th.

He did as I told him: toss my stuff (four small bags) on the bed then handed me my new room cards. I unpacked a few things then went down to join the group to go to dinner.

We walked the two blocks to the 16th Street Mall. Out-of-towners like us get confused expecting an enclosed shopping center but this is literally a “mall”: a place where you walk. It is over a mile long and the only vehicles allowed on it are cops and electric buses. The buses are very unique since RTD decided to build the things themselves to their specifications when no one would even bid on the project!

It turns out, the Super wanted to go to the brewpub on The Mall and we all hopped a bus for a several block ride (It is free.). It was called the Rock Bottom Brewery but was much better than the name implies! And the place was packed on a Wednesday night! Weekends most have a waiting line. This is actually a chain of brewpubs all over the US. I had LOBSTER & SHRIMP TACOS (Two housemade tacos with Pepper Jack cheese, lettuce, pico de gallo, and citrus sauce in a crisp blue corn tortilla, wrapped with a soft flour tortilla. Served with black beans and Red Ale rice.) and a glass of KÖLSCH.

By the time our meal and conversation was over, I was done in. We went to the bus stop across the street; I leaned against the map sign while they stood nearby and chatted. A young man came over and asked if he could “pray for me”. I declined so he asked again! After he left, the Super asked if I still had my wallet! (I did.)

At this point I realized I had become part of the 16th Street Scene! That was reinforced when I got on the bus and a young lady began to tease me about having a “big evening”. I just told her I was tired; she laughed. I must have looked like I had overindulged! Wow! One beer and I was over my limit. Even the bus driver nagged me to get out from in front of the doors! I moved across the aisle, alarming a guy hanging from the next strap. He checked his wallet and moved over a bit! We got to our stop and I am sure some people were watching to see if I would go face down on the sidewalk. I didn’t.

Turns out we had gone a block too far so had to walk a block back to our street! Needless to say, when I got in my room (and I actually remembered which was mine!), I quickly got ready for bed and went right to sleep.

I had gained a new persona as a 16th Street Mall street person! That wasn’t even on my bucket list!