Great American Road Trip Day 4 – Colorado

We got an early start out of Loveland, CO, on our way to Boulder and Denver.

I got the feeling that Loveland and Longmont are still somewhat challenged by the most recent economic downturn and still in the state of recovery.

Bike sharing in Denver
Bike sharing in Denver

Boulder, on the other hand, is very robust and healthy.  I actually mean “healthy” in two ways, both economically and in the physical health of its residents.  Whenever we do a study involving health measures and health habits (eating, exercising), Boulder comes out as #1 in the U.S.

Boulder is probably the premier city in the country for an outdoor lifestyle and it is the home to many recreation companies and high-tech firms that want to lure the best talent with its recreational amenities with surround the city.  It’s also a college town, home to University of Colorado-Boulder.

When you combine all these attributes with the fact that it’s only about 30 minutes west of Denver, you begin to understand why home prices here continue to escalate.

If you can afford it, it’s definitely one of the best places to live.

Driving to Denver, I wanted to check out what was happening in the “LoDo” neighborhood.  That acronym stands for “Lower Downtown”, and is an of urban renewal featuring the renovation and restoration of many old commercial buildings.  A major league ballpark (Coors Field), a pro basketball arena (the Pepsi Center), and the elegant old Union Station generate activity throughout the year.  It has reached that critical mass that makes it a desirable place to work, play, and live.  Of course, all this comes at a hefty cost.

Bert with Steve Weil of Rockmount Ranch Wear
Bert with Steve Weil of Rockmount Ranch Wear

LoDo is also the home to Rockmount Ranch Wear, which has produced some of the finest and most iconic Western clothing for the last 70 years.  Rockmount introduced snaps on shirts instead of buttons to reduce the possibility of snagging on gear and causing harm.  When you see your favorite performer in a wildly-embroidered Western shirt, it probably came from Rockmount.  I’ve got a couple of their shirts, so it was a real treat to visit the “mother ship”.  Gretchen and I even met with Steve Weil, the third-generation owner of the company who shared stories and insights about their operation.

After checking out the beautiful and vibrant Union Station, we left Denver through the bustling Colfax neighborhood.  Colfax is now known for its hipster culture and that was evident with many music venues and trendy shops.  We noted with amusement that Portland’s Voodoo Doughnuts has opened a shop there.  In Portland, we natives enjoy Voodoo Doughnuts mainly to laugh at the long lines of visitors standing in the rain to score some overpriced pastry that can range from weird or unpalatable, to just kind of ordinary.

Apparently the Voodoo phenomenon is spreading.  We stopped in a doughnut shop in Boise but left empty-handed.   I was hoping to find an ordinary unadorned cake doughnut (my favorite) but theirs were all covered with breakfast cereals and other odd ingredients.  Oh well.  Rock on.

Leaving Denver, we drove for an hour or so and settled down in the little town of Limon, Colorado.

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