Day 12--Thursday, June 19, 2003
I woke up around 6:20, but that was no match for our campsite neighbor Austin, who had been up since 5:00 and had already biked around the camp. We said our goodbyes to him while Ben and I were eating breakfast, and we each set off for our own adventures.
For us, those adventures included heading into the city of Denver to see the U.S. Mint. After navigating confusing city streets, paying excessive prices for parking, and making our own personal tour of the courthouse while searching for a bathroom to relieve my much-abused bladder, we arrived at the gates to the mint. A middle-aged guard with hornrimmed glasses named Chase turned us away immediately. He told us that if we wanted to see the Mint, we would have needed to make reservations a minimum of two weeks before. We left VERY angry, since this information had not been included in any of the travel guides we had read in preparation for the trip.
I went back to the car while Ben returned to the Mint to get a picture of our not-so-friendly security guard. He was no longer there, but Ben did chat with a woman selling postcards who was set up on the sidewalk outside the Mint. She told him that the Mint had recently changed from their former "free tour" policy to this reservation thing, but it wasn't printed in any of the tour books yet and it's not published on their website. She said they turn away dozens of people and crying children every day. Of course, when Ben returned to the car and told me about these "crying children," I got over my own personal anger and decided to resent the Mint in a much more universal sense.
We got back in the car and drove to nearby Golden. Once we finally found parking and located the shuttle bus, it pulled out as we were approaching the lot. This was when I realized that Colorado hates us.
We walked to the Coors Brewery, waited in the lobby for a bit, and proceeded on our tour. I have to admit that seeing how the brewery works was kind of interesting, but I pretty much found the premise of the whole place appalling, since I very purposefully don't drink.... but Ben enjoyed it. So that, at least, was a win.
After the brewery, we called Ben's dad and got directions to a road up through a nearby mountain, which he told us provided a beautiful view. We were certainly not disappointed. We were highly impressed by the very tough people we saw biking up the mountain, as well as the very brave people parachuting off the top of the mountain.
Our nice long drive for the day took us through winding mountain roads for most of the afternoon. We got a lunch of hummus, fresh French bread, and plums at a grocery store in a small town just past Vail. Finally, we crossed over the state line into Utah.
5 / 40