Cannonball is Golden

“Did I just flip over my handle bars?!?”

That was the thought I had as I stood in the road after a successful yet failed attempt at screeching my tires on Saturday.

Let’s digress to about 10:00am that day:
It was a spectacular morning. The type where you know the day is going to be awesome. My cohorts and I were headed to the opening of the new W line of the light rail here in Denver. There were all sorts of events happening at the stops like food, bands, vendors, and activities for kids. The best part was it was free all day to ride. The idea: ride bikes to the start at Union Station, get off at selected stops to check stuff out, and once in Golden we would ride to 2 breweries then hop the W back home. It seemed like such a simple plan.

We started the day stopping at one of Denver’s dive of all dive bars for a quick beer, Bar Bar. Located near Coors field, this place is for the dirty alcoholic in some of us. Being a bar, coffee shop, AND bookstore you can be there early to have an Irish coffee with a side of beer while reading the used copy of Fight Club you just purchased. Sitting there with all the other early morning patrons while watching this one woman dance to the jukebox, the line Cheryl Crow sings kept playing in my head. “I like a good beer buzz early in the morning. And Billy likes to peel the labels from his bottles of Bud.” This places reeks of that song along with many other smells.

The W line: mob mentality. Now, when I lived in NYC, people at least noticed if you were hauling a bike with you and gave you some room to get on the train. Not in Denver. We missed one train at Union Station because it was packed and people kinda pushed us out of the way. When the second train arrived we decided to not be polite and just get on and let the masses work their way around us. The Caddy(my cruiser with side baskets) is a big heavy bike so to lift it up 4 stairs as people are trying to get around me is an event bound for disaster. Fortunately, disaster was averted but I definitely got close-encounter-molested by a young lady’s butt against mine. She kept bouncing up and down. Good thing I’m not a guy.

Against what should have been good judgement, we get off the W line not too far from downtown to catch up with another friend. Again, we just miss a train because people push ahead of us filling the space where bikes can board. Another train comes and we get thwarted by a bum. Yes, a bum blocked us from getting on because he was sitting on the steps inside the train and when he saw us he said, “Are you kidding me?” He decided to move as slowly as he possibly could and the doors closed as his butt was vacating where our bikes should have been. Train #3: so packed even people at the station couldn’t fit on. What do we do? Well, we bike to the other stations on the line hoping we can catch a train that isn’t so full. Train after train I get more and more discouraged and finally decide that it’s not worth it so lets just ride our own route into Golden.

Tired, hot, and beerless, we finally make it to Golden, 3.5 hours after we had set foot on the train at Union Station. Passing by the insane line of people waiting to go on the tour of Coors, I get a bug up my butt to screech the tires on the Caddy. I get a great long one from downhill inertia. Hee hee!!

Golden City Brewery: I remember when it was Golden’s best kept secret. You could always find a seat. On this hot spring Saturday, the beer garden was packed to the gills. For beer-unch I decided to go with the red that was on tap. I’ll admit I don’t remember which red because I was just so happy to be drinking a beer I didn’t actually notice. I like GCB because its staples are easy drinking beer. It tastes good and doesn’t usually smack you in the face with too much complexity which makes it perfect for after biking your ass all over the Front Range. Located near Clear Creek, which splits Golden in half, it makes this brewery a great stop for jumping in the creek and getting a beer. Repeat as necessary on hot days, while kayaking or tubing. After wetting our whistles, we make the arduous climb up Washington Street to the new kid on the block.

Now that is pretty sexy

Now that is pretty sexy

Cannonball Creek Brewing Company: I would never have guessed this place opened in January. Usually when I visit a new brewery I’ll find one, maybe two beers, that catch my attention. Out of the 6 beers we tried, I liked 4. The line up:

  • Solid Gold Belgian Golden
  • High Water Wit
  • Liger (Belgian-American hybrid ale)
  • Victorville Red
  • Ferêt-Noire (Black Sasion)
  • E.B.C. American Stout

Oddly the Ferêt-Noire was my favorite(it has a light hint of cherries, my favorite fruit), the Liger came in second(nice fruit and spice with a quaint twang of hop), 3rd place was the wit(it was like smooth citrus Barry White style) , and the Golden came in an honorable 4th(it might have done better if I hadn’t drank that red at GCB first). What can I say except I was impressed by their beers and look forward to what they’ll have as the years pass.

As far as what the location looks like: it’s new. Sound seems to bounce in that place very well, so if you can’t hang in alot of noise, you may want to hit them when they first open at 3pm. But I did hear that a patio might be in the works…along with some other things. Also, if you want the most up to date information you’ll want to check out their Facebook page not the website. Their list of beers is way bigger than what’s on the website.

After getting our fill of beery goodness, hangry(so hungry you get angry) was starting to kick in which led us to the next adventure: Ali Baba and the lack of a stunt double.

Vegas, Baby….Vegas!!! Part II

After Wednesday night, it feels like all the days kinda mushed together in this odd miasma of neon, bloody marys, beer, second-hand smoke, pool parties, dancing, and excessive amounts of coffee with the constant hum of slot machines singing a lullaby of untold sins and wasted dreams. All too often I had the feeling like I was in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas sans the drugs.

Viva Las Vegas is a rockabilly convention held at the Orleans hotel and casino. It’s off the strip which makes this event almost an island unto itself. To walk into the Orleans that weekend was like walking back in time. The clothes, hair, cars, dancing, music…everything was 1950’s. My good friend Wendi, who writes a blog about vintage style called Haute Rockabilly Fashionista, made sure I was appropriately dressed and coiffed for the weekend.

Of which the weekend felt like 2 weeks. It was event after event. Workshops, shopping, fashion shows, burlesque lessons, an insane amount of bands and djs, pool parties, room parties…and that doesn’t include trying to sleep and getting pretty for the day/night.

I could tell you all about the weekend but as the saying goes, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.

But I will share with you how awesome the car show was. It was like vintage car heaven. In the way back of my mind I could see teenagers making out in back seats at drive-in movie theaters, greasers racing across salt flats, and cars cruising main streets on a hot summer night. It was hot and slightly muggy on the asphalt of the parking lot but the heat of the sun was welcome in contrast to the winter of Colorado I had come from. Vintage cars of all sorts with colors ranging from flat black to neon green and junked out rat rods to pristine highly polished DeSotos. There was even an Indian motorcycle. The place was swamped with all sorts of people not just the rockabilly crowd of the convention. It was nice to see how a common love or even wonder brought so many people together. I won’t try to fake that I know anything about vintage cars. All I can say is they definitely capture my imagination and I appreciate those that work so hard to keep that part of our American history alive.


One of my favs.

One of my favs.

I'm such a sucker for red

I’m such a sucker for red

Totally bad-ass

Totally bad-ass

Did you have your V8 today?

Did you have your V8 today?

The rumble of a motorcycle is like no other

The rumble of a motorcycle is like no other

Wandering gypsy, wandering potties, and a Nomad?

Wandering gypsy, wandering potties, and a Nomad?

Vegas, Baby….VEGAS!!!! Part I

Definitely not in Kansas anymore.

Definitely not in Kansas anymore.

Vince Vaughn is one of my male underdog heroes. At the beginning of the movie Swingers, him and a friend are driving

to Vegas from LA and he keeps saying that phrase, “Vegas, baby. VEGAS!!” It’s strange how things stick on the inside of my brain.

There I was. In Vegas. Was I excited? Not really. I’ve never been one to buy into hype and Vegas is seriously hyped. Gambling is not an activity I would consider fun (I could have bought a lot of really good beer with that money), so what does a person do in Vegas when they don’t gamble? Well…go to a 1950’s Rockabilly convention called Viva Las Vegas.

But it was Wednesday and the convention didn’t start until Thursday. So what do I do? Well, see what it might feel like to be a local, of course. I went to the grocery store . I figured out how to use their bus system. Realized there’s no shared bicycle program. Got a good grip on the insanity of how big the blocks are and how much bigger the casinos are. That the only place you really want to walk is on the strip but there’s a ton of drunk people there. Cabs are ridiculously expensive.

Yeah…don’t go to the grocery store. It’s super sad. I thought the veggie section of the Un-Safeway in Denver was horrible. This Vons made me seriously question what the hell people eat in Vegas. It made me re-appreciate Colorado grocery stores so much more.

The bus system, RTC, is only $2 to ride or you can buy a pass at one of their ticket vending machines(TVM), online, or from a list of stores. If you’re on the strip though, NONE of the listed stores carry passes(like the 15 day or month) and you have to buy it from one of the transit centers. If you want just the pass for the strip, then you can purchase it at a TVM on the strip. There’s a 2 hour pass for $6 or a 24 hour pass for $8. If you’re planning a trip to Vegas on a budget, I’d say buy the 15 day pass(depending on how long you’re staying) because it gets you access to everywhere including the strip and buy it in advance online if you can. If you can’t, plan in advance a trip to one of the transit centers. And the bus goes to/from the airport. Bonus!

The cabs are expensive. To ride from where my friends and I were staying to the convention was under 3 miles and it was between $12-$16. I’m a frugal person when it comes to certain things and transportation is one that I skimp on. It’s a means to a destination and arriving in style is not a concern for me.

After a bit of adventure during the day, a nap and downtime was necessary for the evening ahead.

Trust me, I'm doing the best I can.

Trust me, I’m doing the best I can.

Enter: Double Down Saloon. Best. Punk. Dive. Bar. EVER. Okay…maybe best one out of all I’ve been to. I’m not sure how to describe this little piece of heaven in Vegas. It’s Punk. It’s gross. It’s a serious dive bar. It has a photo booth. It has gambling. The best part besides the trashed out bathrooms was the wall by the stage that says “SHUT UP and DRINK”. The jukebox is filled with all the favs of punk, ska, garage, surf, and rockabilly. If you’re not sure if you can make it there while in Vegas, then you’re a wimp because this place is open 24-7. Really. It’s an oasis from the glitz and glamour.

Liters of Love

Liters of Love

After 2 shots of tequila and a PBR there, the next stop was just around the corner. The Hofbräuhaus is the only German beer hall (they claim) in Vegas. Lucky me! Half way into my liter of beer, my cohorts and I decide that the polka is the way to go. The oompah band playing was a little less than enthusiastic when we arrived but once we got our jig on, boy did their spirits rise! Note: When traveling, if a band is playing that you can dance to, do it. There is nothing more fun than potentially making a good fool of yourself trying to dance. Seriously. The back of the haus was pretty neat since it was made to look like you were outside at dusk.

The rest of the night was dancing and bad behavior in general back at the Orleans. My first lesson about casinos happened that night: there are no short cuts when you’re drunk through a casino to your room. It is undoubtedly the longest walk to ever occur in my memory, even after having done 15 mile hikes, so be sure you have a drink with you to keep you company.

P.S. Thank you for the photos, Miss Amanda. 😉

Part two is on it’s way….