So High in Denver

The view from atop Lookout Mountain

The Mile High City. Denver, Colorado. High in so...very many ways, and I got to visit for a weekend. A birthday getaway for a certain Virgo in my life.
Perfect Denver weather.

Denver has a certain feel to it. It’s a little trendy, a little old school, a little new school, a little hipster and a lot natural. I think the only other time I’ve breathed in air that fresh, I was living in Puerto Rico. It’s been years since my lungs experienced such cleanliness.

HOWEVER, altitude sickness is a real thing. A real sonofabitch of a thing. Upon arrival at oh...7:30am after a 6am flight from Austin, Texas, I was tired-naturally. We waited at baggage claim-for the record, I practically never check a bag. Like...EVER. But Frontier Airlines has really odd baggage policies where a carry on costs more than a checked bag. Clever for them I guess, but rather inconvenient for me. So we got my bag, decided we should have stopped at the Dunkin Donuts to get coffee before we headed down (there was no turning back now) and proceeded to wait what seemed like an eternity for the Payless car rental shuttle.

It was only 1.5 hours later than our flight because of the time change (one hour is a LOT that early in the morning), I was feeling a little nauseous, exhaustion was creeping up, and the walls were closing in.

Next stop: Payless car rental. Finally. The clerk was very nice, and after having to call American Express to let them know that yes, this is me trying to rent a car in Denver...we got our little Nissan Sentra and were on our way...with just ohhhh 6.5 hours until we could check in at the lovely Hilton Doubletree Stapleton.

I’d been warned that I could get sick and advised to stay hydrated. So I did just that. I drank a TON of water. By the time we got to Snooze for breakfast, it felt like my body was shutting down. I drank some of their complementary coffee and a bit of water...then...the nausea took over and I had to head to the bathroom. I threw up all the water and coffee I’d ingested that morning. Sexy.
Snooze! Coming to Austin soon!
We finally got seated, I ordered peppermint tea in hopes it would calm down whatever was going on. My head was pounding and I could barely focus. My Virgo sensed my attempts at seeming awake and chipper were fading...not to mention they were fake. I saw the menu and got bold, ordering some amazing scramble with all kinds of veggies, feta cheese and avocado, which came with my fave-rye bread. I was in pain but I was excited.

Then...the plate arrived in front of me. I took a total of 3 bites and couldn’t eat anymore. I was PISSED. It looked sooo good and I was sooo hungry. But I felt like shit.

We continued on to a friend’s house who  moved from San Antonio to Denver in pursuit of putting his green thumb to work growing things that are legal in Denver. His girlfriend-a nurse-literally saved my life. She gave me water and a chewable pepto-bismol tablet and kept the room dark so I could get some rest. It worked like a charm. By the time we left around 2 hours later, I was healed...and hungry. Sans the nausea. WIN!

We got all checked in at the Doubletree (I devoured the warm cookie), and it was naptime. Once we woke up, I was informed that there was a dispensary practically across the street. I had questions.

Don’t you need a license? Will they let us in with Texas ID’s? Can anyone buy from there?

Well...the answers are no, yes and yes.
THC Infused candy! What?!
We walked in, got our IDs checked by a guard and were told to wait. Then we were let in and greeted very nicely by our, or marijuana expert rather, who asked us if we were looking for weed or edibles. THEY. SELL. ROLLED. BLUNTS & CONES. They also sell a variety of candies, cookies and general treats that are basically laced with THC. I was fascinated. How are we in here doing this? How is this legal? Is this a trick?

Nope. Just a simple recreational marijuana transaction. Easy and amazing. I’ll leave that there. Email me for more details on how this crazy legalization in Denver thing works.

That night, we went to Oktoberfest. Yes, Denver Oktoberfest! We anticipated something a little different that was was presented to us. Lines for food were relatively short...I had a bratwurst of course. But the beer lines were something serious. First, you had to stand in a long line to get your “of age” wristband and tickets for the beer. No big deal. They do that at Texas festivals. But at Texas festivals, the beer lines are pretty nonexistent because there are about 10 people at each beer station serving it up. Not in Denver. Here, there were 3-4 people serving at each station, of which there were maybe 5 and you were in line for a good 45 minutes to an hour. ABSURD, right?

Luckily, we got the monster-mugs for the event. Huge, 32 oz. (I think) mugs that donned the Denver Oktoberfest logo, so we only stood in line once.
On tap at Miller Coors!
Just once, you ask? Yes, once...because once is ALL you need. A fun fact about being a mile above sea get drunk WAY. FAST. After just a handful of sips we were feeling a little buzzed...and thought it was maybe because of certain recreational lollipop we’d had earlier...but the next night we had 2...count ‘em...TWO beers and were buzzzz-ING. We came to the conclusion that they make you wait in ridiculous lines on purpose because if you could get beer refills as fast as you can in Texas...everyone would be sloppy by 8pm.

We see what you did there, Denver. Well played.

Other things we did on the trip included going to the Miller Coors brewery, which is fascinating. If you’re in Colorado, go to Golden and take the tour. It was free when we were there, and they give you THREE free beers at the end. They’re only 8oz, but you get to choose from a pretty wide variety of their brews...and well obviously, with the’re guaranteed a free buzz. I had a ridiculously large burger that included thousand island dressing (?) was delish. I guess that’s what McD’s uses too but...this seems to be a Colorado thing. Also, they add green chile to EVERYTHING. 
Fresh beer at Miller Coors!
You WILL see something with that as a topping or just regular old ingredient on every menu. I don’t understand this, nor did I order anything with green chile on it, but hey...if you like it, I love it, Denver. I will say that food isn’t a seller for this city, but everything else more than makes up for it. Also, I reign from the likes of Georgia, Texas and Puerto Rico so...I’m used to really, really good food.

We also hiked Lookout Mountain. It was gorgeous and brutal. I plan to conquer it again-with actual hiking boots on and a few bottles of Gatorade. I’ll be back for you, Colorado mountains!

All in all, this was an amazing trip. It was extremely relaxing and just overall chill. Being that just what the doctor ordered.

Round trip ticket from Austin-Denver: $76. Thank you, AirfareWatchDog. You’ve single-handedly helped me get cheap flights for each of my trips this year.

Up next: Chicago

Stay tuned for the play-by play...this one is a solo trip.