Let’s Explore Olde Town Arvada with Zeb the Duck

Olde Town Arvada is fun to explore.   Only a few miles northwest of downtown Denver,  Olde Town Arvada is a great place to meet friends, wander, shop, and eat.   The plaza here has tables for us to sit and chat, or enjoy a treat from great restaurants and snack shops.

Don’t you love to sit outside on sunny spring days.

Looking down the street, you will see brick buildings from more than 100 years ago.

A quiet weekday morning in Olde Arvada, Colorado

I like these murals on the Army Navy Surplus store.

Murals of Colorado

We are proud of our Colorado history.   Let’s explore one of the small shops here.

A store devoted to socks.

This store is dedicated to socks.    Just so you remember that we are in Colorado, we have a buffalo head in our sock store.

The buffalo is watching you and the socks

I’m sitting on Toe Sox.   Almost gloves for feet.       And still more socks.

More socks

You really need to visit this store.  Socks of all lengths, colors, designs and more.   This really is a fun store and the employees are so nice. After the sock shop we continued wandering.   Silver Vines is our winery.

Silver Vines winery.

We didn’t stop here today, but maybe another day.  After all, shouldn’t we support all our local businesses?   Arvada even has an old water tower.

Water tower in Olde Arvada

It is just perfect to see a water tower in Olde Town.   We are going to visit this coffee shop.   It is Global Goods.

Global Goods coffee shop

This group serves coffee and great tea blends.    And the pastries…  What can I say.   I love the muffins.  Global helps people from war torn countries.   The profits from food and beverages help those in need.   The small gift shop features items made by the victims of war.

So many choices

Those necklaces next to me use beads that are made of paper, usually pages of a magazine.   Before ducks, mom spent 3 weeks in Uganda and we have some of these necklaces at home.   These pictures on the wall are made by people affected by war.

Intrigued by the pictures on the wall

Great baskets and purses.   Global Good also operates a thrift store further north, on 88th Avenue.   We like helping others and we love this store and the refreshments.   We will be back here soon.   Next time we will show you more of Olde Arvada.   It is a great place to explore and eat.   Maybe we will see you there soon.

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Denver’s Chili Verde for lunch with Zeb the Duck and Chanel the Bear

Let’s go to lunch.   I, Zeb the Duck, love to go out for lunch.   And even more so if my friend, Chanel the Bear, is with me.   We took our moms to an authentic Mexican restaurant, Chili Verde.

Chili Verde. Let’s go inside.

According to their website, two brothers normally vacationed in Denver with their parents.   They lived in Puebla, Mexico.   (Home of the Cinco de Mayo battle, resulting in that holiday).   The family could not find food from their native Puebla, so in later years the brothers started this restaurant.   The brothers now live in Colorado, but visit Puebla, Mexico frequently, refining recipes and techniques.   Today our moms both ordered flautas.   These are small taquitos, meat filled small tortillas, rolled and then fried.   One mom ordered chicken and another mom ordered beef.   Both were very tasty.    While waiting for our lunch, we enjoyed chips and salsa and also a warm bean dip.

Flautas, chips and salsa with warm bean dip.

We really like this restaurant.   Unfortunately, our moms liked their lunch too much and did not save room for dessert.   Here we can watch talented cooks preparing lunch, and the dessert menu is right there.

Did you read that dessert menu?

But did our moms save room for dessert?   No, they did not.   The main entree was so flavorful, they ate it all.   We have heard so much about the Tres Leches Cake, that we will be back soon. Chanel and I sat in front of the colorful tile wall for a short rest and a private chat.

Friends chatting without moms listening.

Sometimes we like to be on our own.   The well stocked bar featured some good handicrafts on the top shelf.

Bar features selection of Mexican liquor and great handicrafts.

We like to see new things.  On another wall, we admired various pictures.

Colorful pictures.

These are for sale for $350 each.   Looking closer, this is a different type of art.

Colorful and unusual

Everything seems to be made of bumps or bubbles.   Our waiter told us that one of the brothers often visits Bali in the country of Indonesia and knows the artist.

Andry Aila from Bali created this pictures.

Andry Aila is the Indonesian artist.   He creates these masterpieces with a medical syringe.   We believe the syringe injects air into the paint to create these bumps or bubbles.   We were not familiar with this technique, so we wanted to look closer.

Let’s look closer

These pictures are really bright and cleverly done.   Chili Verde has an outside patio.   What a great place to eat in warmer weather.

Cute outside patio, but not for today. Still a little fresh snow

As you can tell, we had some new snow during the night, but our Colorado sunshine is causing rapid melting.   So, eating inside for us today.   Maybe outside dining next trip.   Leaving Chili Verde, we had to stop to admire (and sit on) this piñata.

We love piñatas

Chili Verde is located at 2311 Federal Boulevard in Denver, Colorado.   Maybe we will see you there soon.   It is really good.

Colorado Mountains in Winter with Zeb and Eider Duck

I, Zeb the Duck, wanted to show my cousin, Eider Duck, our Colorado Mountains in the winter.   Eider lived in North Pole, Alaska, near Fairbanks, until recently, so Eider knows about winter snow.   But our Colorado winters are different.   We have so many days with bright sunshine, so our snow melts much faster.   We drove west on I-70 from Denver.   Our first stop was Dillon Reservoir.

Dillon Reservoir, frozen

We drove through the Eisenhower Tunnel, under the Continental Divide.   But, the tunnel is still more than 11,000 feet above sea level.   This reservoir has many sailboats in the summer.   This is also a source of water for Denver.   In the winter, this frozen reservoir is beautiful and serene.   Continuing west on I-70, we stopped to watch humans skiing on the groomed snow slopes of Copper Mountain.

Copper Mountain ski area

We went into Copper Mountain resort, but from I-70 you can see many trails with skiers.   Copper Mountain resort consists of three villages, each with hotels, restaurants, ski lifts and several trails.   This is looking through the entrance to Center Village.

Entrance to Center Village, Copper Mountain, Colorado

Thousands of skiers are here at any time, so many services are needed.   And this is just one of several ski areas in Colorado, along I-70.   Colorado, because of the Rocky Mountains, has many more ski areas further from the interstate highway.   A little further west on I-70 we stopped at this rest area on Vail Pass.   From inside a building at the rest area, the view through the window shows snow to the windows and ice on the top of the window.

Through window of rest area at Vail Pass

There is a designated recreation area here at the rest area also.   Humans enjoy exploring on snow machines.

Snow machines at Vail Pass

Looking back east toward the Continental Divide, from Vail Pass, we like this view.

Continental Divide from Vail Pass

We are still less than 100 miles from our home near Denver, Colorado.   But mom says we need to head back home.   About 20 miles from Denver there is a buffalo herd that lives near I-70, at Genesee Park.  A tunnel beneath the highway allows the herd to move from one side of the highway to the other.  Today they were in the area best for viewing.   We pulled off the highway and admired these buffalo.

Buffalo herd near Denver, Colorado

There is a fence since buffalo are huge and they are wild animals.   We just want to admire these magnificent animals.   They are fun to see, don’t you agree?  Near Rocky Mountain National Park, we often visit Estes Park.   In the summer Lake Estes is a great water recreation area.   In the fall, we often see elk herds in the adjoining picnic area and sometimes drinking from the lake.   But this winter day the lake is partly frozen, the boaters are gone and the elk have moved to their winter areas.

Lake Estes in the winter

Today, another serene scene for us to enjoy.  Today our Colorado sky is a vivid blue.   Peacefulness of winter.   Another favorite winter trip is 20-25 minutes from our house.   Coal Creek Canyon follows the South Boulder Creek.   We often follow this creek and road to the town of Pinecliffe.   Let’s travel into this canyon today.

Entering Coal Creek Canyon

Close to Denver there is not much snow today.   The intense Colorado sun has melted most of last week’s snow fall.  We ducks love sitting by the creek, listening to the water.   Further into the canyon, another stop is appreciated as we admire the snow capped mountains.

View snow capped mountains from Coal Creek Canyon

Our blue skies are beautiful and we like watching the white clouds moving in.   In Pinecliffe, Colorado, we view the frozen South Boulder Creek.

Frozen South Boulder Creek in Pinecliffe, Colorado

Again, we must head home.   One last view of the sun streaming through the trees as Zeb and Eider relax on a fallen pine tree.

Sun filtering through trees in Coal Creek Canyon

Hard to see in this photo, but our pine tree perch had many tiny pine cones.   We love pine trees, pine cones and the fresh smell of pine.   Winter in the mountains is beautiful and peaceful.   But at times falling snow, wind and avalanches are treacherous.   Please, when visiting mountains in the winter, be prepared (carry water and warm clothing) and be careful.   Check weather conditions before you go and tell someone where you are going and when you expect to return.   Precautions can keep you safe and let you enjoy the beauty, serenity and enjoyment of winter in the mountains.  Have fun!

Aliens in California, Giant Watermelon in Utah with Zeb and Soapy Smith Duck

Arriving in Baker, California we see the world’s tallest thermometer.

World’s tallest thermometer in Baker, California

This thermometer is 134 feet tall and was turned on October 9, 1992.     Our moms are still looking on Roadside America, so we will be seeing the unusual in Baker.   This is really unusual!

Fresh Alien Jerky

Aliens in the California desert?   Yes indeed.   Across from the thermometer we wander around Alien Fresh Jerky.

Alien Fresh Jerky

This sign also has a thermometer just under the pictures.   Temperatures in the desert are of interest to tourists.   We see aliens.

Aliens drive cars??

They are driving, here, in our desert?   Yes they are.   And here is the vehicle they drive.

Alien vehicle

Very futuristic, we ducks think.   Inside this store, we saw and sampled many types of jerky.   There are many varieties for humans to enjoy.   Also lots of other snacks and beverages, and a huge souvenir selection.   Alien t-shirts anyone?  There are plans to open a 3 story saucer shaped motel here also.   When it is completed, it will be advertised as “Gateway to Area 51.”   Area 51 is in Nevada, and regular people are not allowed there.   Rumors are plentiful of aliens in the area?   If humans aren’t allowed somewhere, they seem to have great imaginations for the reason.   We ducks won’t express our opinion, but if the area is ever open to the public, we will be there.   Humans like to eat, Roadside America had information on the Mad Greek Cafe, and here we are.

Mad Greek Cafe

Here is Hercules.

Inside Mad Greek Cafe

Inside, this restaurant looks like Greece.   Or so our moms say.   We ducks have not been to Greece, but our moms visited before we ducks were part of the family.   Outside is the hot desert, but inside we gaze at this cool looking harbor.

Great picture. A beautiful Greek harbor in the California desert.

There are Greek columns and statues in abundance here.

Statues inside Mad Greek Cafe

We really like this place, and the food was delicious and the prices were reasonable.   Next time we are here in the desert around Baker, California, we will enjoy another meal at the Mad Greek Cafe.   Baker is on Interstate 15, the main road from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, Nevada.   Back on the highway, we soon enter Nevada.

Entering Nevada by Hoover Dam and Lake Mead

Right on the state border is Hoover Dam and Lake Mead. We will join those other humans and take a look.   When the Hoover Dam was built, it was the highest dam in the world.   Not now, though.   Lake Mead is the biggest reservoir in the United States.

Lake Mead is formed by Hoover Dam

This is what we saw from the walkway.   This dam provides electricity for Las Vegas, Nevada.   As you can guess, Las Vegas really needs a lot of electricity.   We drove through Las Vegas, but did not stop.   That will be a destination for another time.   Leaving Nevada, we drove through a small part of Arizona, and then to Utah.   In Green River, Utah, we stopped to see the world’s largest watermelon slice.

Largest watermelon slice. Green River, Utah

This watermelon slice was built in the 1950’s for Green River’s Watermelon Days Festival.   For protection, it is under a roof.   We ducks are learning to love Roadside America.   We stop to see so many things we would miss, if moms didn’t look at http://www.RoadsideAmerica.com   When you are driving, stop to see unusual things.   We think you will enjoy it as much as we do.

The Unusual in Amboy, California with Zeb and Soapy Smith Duck

As humans say, “Back in the day”, Route 66 was the a highway in the United States.   What does that mean?   When automobiles were new, no super highways existed, and Americans wanted to take road trips, Route 66 was the answer.   Route 66 went from Chicago, Illinois to Santa Monica (Los Angeles) California.   Now, with interstate highways of 4 of more lanes, and bypassing many towns, Route 66 doesn’t have as much traffic, but it does hold fond, happy memories for so many Americans.   Leaving Arizona on Route 66, we entered the state of California.

Entering California from Arizona. Driving on Route 66

A few hours later, driving through the desert, we approached the now ghost town of Amboy, California.

Guardian lion of Route 66

This is one of two lions designated as Guardian Lions of Route 66.

Guardian lion of Route 66 with Zeb and Soapy

The side view of the guardian lion is nice, but Zeb and Soapy really add to the photo.    A few miles further and we are at Roy’s Cafe and Motel.

Roy’s Cafe and Motel

The sign is the tallest thing for miles in the desert.   Roy’s opened in the 1930’s and had its golden age in the 50’s and 60’s.   Driving near Amboy, the humans were reading Roadside America, learning about unusual roadside attractions.   There was a shoe tree near the guardian lions, but in 2010 the tree fell over.   Still a few shoes, but now a tree near Roy’s has shoes.

Shoe tree

We are ducks, but we don’t really understand why humans put their shoes in a tree.   But, our moms thought it was a great thing to see.   There are even more shoes on the ground.

More shoes

Guess it is not so easy to throw them into the tree.   Next we examined the trash pole.

Trash pole

Again, it must be a human thing.   But better to put trash on the pole than throw it on the ground.   We will never tell our moms, but it was rather fun to see this stuff.   I think Soapy’s mom put one of her business cards there with many other business cards.   Next stop was Amboy Crater.

Amboy Crater

This is a natural crater, and designated as a National Natural Landmark, by the United States government.   It is 250 feet high and 1,500 feet in diameter.  This is one of the youngest volcanic fields in the United States.   This crater is located in the Barstow-Bristol trough.   The crater straddles the boundary of the Mojave and Sonoran tectonic blocks.   The most recent eruption was 10,000 years ago.   Now, to the salt mines.

Tetra Technologies working salt mines

This area crosses Bristol Dry Lake and is the site of two large active salt mines.

Salt mines. Pyramids in front of salt from mine.

The row of pyramids in the foreground gets the attention on http://www.RoadsideAmerica.com.   These salt mines produce much of the sodium and sodium chloride used in high school chemistry classes.   Driving through the desert is fun, but I don’t think I would like to be here in summer with extremely high temperatures.   Amboy, California is south of the Mojave National Preserve and north of Joshua Tree National Park.  If you are traveling on Route 66 through the desert, we hope you will stop to see some unusual things, also.   Next time we will show you some unusual things in Baker, California, still in the desert.   It really is out of this world.

Casa Bonita with Zeb the Duck and Chanel the Bear

Our moms said we are going to Casa Bonita!   Exciting and we have never been there.   Moms have been there many times and now we can go.  Both our moms were teachers and this was a favorite place to bring students for lunch after visiting a museum or special performance.

Casa Bonita Restaurant in Denver, Colorado

Wow!  A big pink castle.   Entering the building, we follow the walkway.   Things look like Old Mexico.   Great decor.   Menus are available along the way.   We all order the beef deluxe dinner.   With this dinner we can get more of any item on our plate, whenever we want more.   We order, then continue along the walkway, get our tray, silverware and napkin.   Our very hot plate is placed on the tray, then our beverage is added; we continue along the path, and soon we are met by an employee that guides us to our table.   We are seated by the edge of the diving pool.   Diving pool in a restaurant?   Oh yes, this is Casa Bonita.   A waitress brings us beverage straws and chips and salsa.   We ask for our warm sopaipillas now also.

Lots of food for us. The raised red flag indicates we need our waitress.

This looks good.   These are sopaipillas.

Warm sopaipillas

Our moms love them.   After one taste, Zeb and Chanel are big sopaipilla fans also.  This is one of those restaurants that you don’t visit just for the food.   We think the food is fine.   It is not a small family run restaurant with the best green chili, but it is as good or better than Taco Bell.   And we bet you eat there.   Casa Bonita serves good food, but the entire experience is unique to Casa Bonita.   We have never been to any restaurant that has so much to see and there are so many places to explore here.   First let’s look at the pool.

Pool inside Casa Bonita. 30 foot waterfall here.

The waterfall, and one diving platform is 30 feet (9.1 m) high.   Frequently (about every 15 minutes) there will be a show above the pool, or a diver will perform for the guests.   The restaurant is similar to things you may see in Mexico, including the Acapulco cliff divers.   This man performed a dive where he twisted and turned before entering the water.

Diving into pool

We love water and we love watching the divers.  A gorilla stars in one of the short skits performed above the pool.

Short skit with gorilla.

Some skits result in one of the employees landing in the pool also.   We have eaten enough.   We all ordered extra tacos and lots of warm sopaipillas.   Honey on warm sopaipillas is delicious.   Now we will explore more of Casa Bonita.   This is where those addictive sopaipillas are made.

Where sopaipillas are made

Heading down the stairs, past the lower arcade (yes, there is another arcade on the upper level), we find the Quien Sabe Mine.

Entrance to Quien Sabe Mine dining room

Entering we discover another dining room resembling the inside of a mine.   The lights by each table offer plenty of light.

Table inside Quien Sabe Mine dining room

What a great dining room.   Leaving the mine, we soon enter this dining room with a fairly large stage.

A stage for entertainment while dining

Plenty of seating for diners here.   Each area has been decorated differently.   And very carefully to give a varied experience.   You could return and eat in a different room and have a different experience.   You can order the deluxe, all you can eat, dinner as we did, order other Mexican platters, try a salad, chile rellenos or fajitas.   American chicken fried steak or fried chicken breast is available, and also a kids menu.   We visited the dining room decorated as a cavern.   The stalagmites and stalactites were very realistic.   Here is a jail.

A Mexican jail

Moms are putting us in jail??

Zeb and Chanel are in jail??

But mom…   It is OK.   They got us out of jail.   Back up the stairs, past our dining area by the pool, into another room to the stage for the puppet show.

Stage for puppet show

Maybe we are performing here?   The stadium style seating is nice, but we are sitting under a gorilla to watch the puppet show?

Watching puppet show under a gorilla

There is another wall with a huge head of rock, but only one eye.   Rather close we discovered Black Bart’s Hideout.

Entrance to Black Bart’s Hideout

This is a favorite with guests.   We liked it also.   Next we wandered behind the waterfall that goes into the pool.   There are even tables for eating behind the waterfall.    This balcony reminds us of some seen in Mexico.

Mexican balcony. Another great dining location

Another great place to eat.   Up the stairs, we discovered more dining rooms and a different decor.   So many choices for dining here.   This restaurant can seat 1,100 guests at any time.   And with multiple dining rooms, you don’t feel crowded.   As we head toward the exit, we loved this stack of small plates.

We loved this stack of plates. Red flag is up. Zeb and Chanel want more sopaipillas.

We just had to smile seeing them.   Zeb and Chanel raised the flag; more sopaipillas, please??  But moms said no, time to go.   But, maybe just a quick look through the gift shop.   Some of my duck relatives live here.

Some relatives at Casa Bonita

There is so much more to see at Casa Bonita.   Strolling musicians, great mariachis entertain as you dine. Perhaps watch a magic show.  You can have a picture drawn, try the arcade games, see what the fortune telling machine predicts for you and explore even more areas of this restaurant.   Casa Bonita opened in Lakewood, Colorado in 1974 and has been entertaining visitors since. We had a wonderful afternoon at Casa Bonita.   We hope you visit, eat, explore and enjoy some time here also.