A Few Days in Denver
Just finished the first leg of my three-week trip (Denver-Boston-San Francisco); I spent time in Denver, both in meetings (PowerPoint presentations in windowless rooms in generic office parks) and hanging out with friends.
While travelling with my coworkers, I ended up being the impromptu tour guide, due to my research on the Beer Traveller's website (a fine resource for any beer lover spending time on the road). We had dinner at the Wynkoop Brewing Company--they serve an excellent stout, and a very nice summer ale with citrusy notes. The restaurant is in the LoDo (lower downtown) section of Denver; it was a depressed warehouse section of town that underwent a renaissance during the 1990's, and is now the hip urban nightlife spot. It was quite fun to walk around the area--we had dinner the second night at Ted's Montana Grill (quite reasonable, but a little generic), followed by gelato.
After my meetings, I spent a few days visiting Beemer and his boys (Jerry and Greg) in Broomfield. It was lovely to hang out with them--very nice to finally meet Greg. There's also something really relaxing about having friends who think that, "Hey, I'm going to hang out on your couch and answer email on your wireless connection this morning" is a perfectly acceptable plan. We had dinner at the Yak and Yeti (Indian and Nepalese), and lunch at the local pho place, followed by a wander through the Asian market. It definitely won the "scary mystery meat" contest: a cooler case had, "PORK STOMACH" "PORK TONGUE" "PORK BUNGUT" and "PORK UTERUS." Yeep. (Nope, Google doesn't know what bungut is.)
Spent an evening visiting Julee, who has just moved to town to go to med school. We had a very nice time wandering around LoDo, including dinner at the Wynkoop Brewing Co., and hanging out at the Tattered Cover--an independent bookstore with lots of comfy couches (a recommendation from Dave and Katie--thanks guys!).
One of the signature architecture pieces in LoDo is the Millenium Bridge--it is a pedestrian bridge over the railroad tracks that is held up by a tilted 200-foot tall ship-like mast; it is a quite striking version of the cable-stay design (i.e., a similar technology to the Lenny Zakim Bunker Hill Bridge in Boston). You can check out more images here.
Julee and I wandered around it, trying to figure out, "Why the heck is this thing put together this way?" I was wondering why a much more simple design (i.e., a beam or truss that could span those rail tracks) wasn't used. This website from the design firm talks about it:
Site constraints, utility configurations as well as complex and overlaying easements offered the opportunity to develop unique design and cable geometry. Our solution places the mast at one end of the bridge and arrays the cables from the mast to both the bridge deck and grade. This design employs the thin deck structure reducing the elevation from the street by ten feet.
What's really cool is that this is a cantilever design--the entire bridge hangs from the mast, on one side of the tracks. The only structural portions on the far side are only holding the deck down, thus stiffening the structure. If this is non-obvious, take a look at the last diagram on the web page linked above.
Anyway, Julee gave me a ride to the airport, I survived a redeye flight, and I'm in Boston now! Woo hoo! If you're in town, I hope I'll see you soon!