I have done a bit of travelling as a part of my work in the Construction Services Industry. I have traveled out of town for classes, and I have traveled out of town for job sites. My trip to Denver was the first time that I actually flew out of town for either.
Post-Tensoning Level I – Certification Class. It is one of those certifications that may or may not develop into a pain in the ass in the long run. I have done Post-Tensioning Inspections on Slabs in the past, but what I was about to be introduced to was a completely new nightmare. Not that complicated, just detailed and a lot of it.
The class was scheduled to take place on Saturday and Sunday in Denver Colorado. That meant that I would be flying out of Kansas City on Friday afternoon, get set up in Denver and be ready to make the 35 minute drive from my hotel out by the airport to the Holiday Inn Express on Colorado Blvd near downtown Denver. Saturday, Class from 8 to 5, then back to the hotel room to study, then back to Class by 8am on Sunday morning (oh, and did I mention that we went to Daylight Savings Time?) Class from 8am to Noon, then the test at one o’clock. I was done by three o’clock. But it was set up to be one heck of a run from the time I landed in Denver until I put the completed test on the table and ended the class.
Welcome to Denver …
I’ve flown out of Kansas City International Airport before, so I knew what to expect. Landing in San Diego wasn’t a culture shock. Denver International Airport !!! You have to take a subway train from the terminal to where you pick up your baggage! This place is HUGE. So, land in Denver. Navigate my way through the airport to the Baggage Claim, and then to the bus so I can get to my rental car. I was soon convinced that I would never find my way back to the terminal to get back home.
Thank You Budget Rental Car. I had reserved a compact car. Something like a Ford Focus or a VW Beetle for my trip to Denver. When I got to the counter at the rental car office, they informed me that I could either sit and wait for the next 45 minutes to an hour for my car to arrive OR they would upgrade me to a Mini-Van for free. Even after my experience in San Diego, I took the Mini Van.
Thank You Google Maps! Once I was in the van, I told my phone to take me to my hotel and away we went. I think it actually took less time to drive to the hotel than it did to taxi from the runway to the terminal when I arrived. So, a quick run to the hotel, and when I walked into the lobby … well, let’s say that I quickly came to the impression that this may not have been the best place for me. The lobby was full of men and women from 80 to 6, all Hispanic, all speaking Spanish. One clerk trying to get this huge group checked in, it would take me a half-hour to get to my room.
Days Inn – Denver International Airport … NEVER AGAIN.
I will say this. The room was nice. King sized bed, couch, desk, it was a nice room. However, the television and its connection to programming fell short of being what I have come to expect from a hotel room. The breakfast provided … well, I opted to eat someplace else after looking it over and trying what they called an egg. Then there was the kids that were running in the halls and in the room over my head the last couple of nights. Finally … NO PARKING. I ended up parking on the street two nights because there wasn’t enough parking for any of the hotels in the area. Next time, I will get a hotel room away from the airport.
Post Tensioning Class
Great Class! It was held in a conference room of the Holiday Inn Express – Cherry Creek (Colorado Blvd near Downtown). Took me about 35 minutes to get there from my hotel, mainly because there was NO TRAFFIC because it was a weekend. Nice room, and hey, they provided lunch! 12 hours of Death by Power Point followed by a two hour test, but the instructor did a great job of keeping it interesting and relaying what we needed to know for the test.
And the food was good. There is an Eggcetera restaurant inside the hotel, and while it was a bit pricey for breakfast, the food was great! Then there was the buffet lunch that came with the class. Asian on day one, Mexican on day two. No one had any excuse for being hungry after lunch!
So … Sunday afternoon … class is over and I find myself standing on the top level of the parking garage looking to the mountains to my West. One of the people from the class was from Denver and he said that if I want to get a better look, there was a place called Lookout Point about 40 minutes away. Okay Google … take me to Lookout Mountain.
So I follow the directions, make my way west to Interstate 70 and then into the foothills. A short run up a windy road and I found myself sitting in the parking lot of the Buffalo Bill Grave Site and Museum. I have originally missed my turn and did a little driving along the very windy road that worked down towards Golden Colorado, but I managed to get turned around and back up. Took a few pictures, posted a couple to Facebook, and after about 30 minutes of looking around, worked my way back down to Denver and started the hunt for dinner.
I guess I could have come home on Sunday, but not knowing what time I would be done and the cost of flying on Sunday versus Monday, my boss said come home on Monday.
Now, I never really slept well in Denver. The time change, the difference in elevation and oxygen levels was being a pain in the ass for me. Then I would come home and immediately come down sick. Monday was a lot of fun. Get the rental car checked in, find my way around the airport, get through TSA and then sit and wait for my flight home.
To be honest, I would have enjoyed the trip a lot more if I could have taken Michelle with me. I would have done a little more site-seeing. I would have done a little more Geocaching (found two). Probably would have slept better. Do I see myself making another trip to Denver? It’s not on my bucket list. The altitude and I didn’t get a long. It wasn’t all that and a bag of chips and I’m not into skiing so there is no reason there. If I want to see mountains, I will go up to Washington State and visit the Olympics and Cascades again.
Frontier Airlines … you get what you pay for … not much.
Budget Rent A Car … Thumbs Up!
Days Inn – Denver International Airport … Thumbs Down!
Holiday Inn Express – Cherry Creek … Thumbs Up!