This cross country trip has taken lots of planning and everything that I read said that Colorado State was completely shut down. I was under the impression that I was going to get to Colorado and have nothing to do but walk around and take pictures. There is nothing wrong with that, though, because I love street photography. This information is obviously on paper only.
Denver was the most populated area that I have been in so far. I stayed by the convention center where there was shopping, restaurants, live music, and everything else you would expect in a major city back in 2019. There was no one enforcing the state's mask mandate either. I realized that Denver was going to be busy as soon as I got onto interstate 25 because of how terrible the traffic was. It ended up turning my seven hour car ride into an eight and a half hour car ride. I am also very aware that it is a holiday weekend, but as mentioned, I was under the impression that the state was completely closed down.
When I finally arrived in Denver, I was too exhausted to go to the botanical garden like I had planned originally. Instead, I walked around and took pictures. Again, I went to the State Capitol. I will forever be drawn to legislative buildings because of my background as a politics major and interest in current affairs.
Colorado State Capitol:
When I arrived on the Capitol grounds I quickly realized that it was not a safe area for a single woman to be taking pictures. Why? Because the houseless community has completely taken over the Capitol grounds. This situation is so similar to how the Capitol grounds are in Sacramento. It's not just Colorado and California, either. This is a societal issue that cuts across the entire nation. The disparity between the wealthy and poor in this nation is so severe and extremely depressing. We have witnessed how fast our country reacts to things that they deem to be "important", but government officials continue to ignore the many houseless people across our nation. Giving the houseless shelter isn't enough either. We need mental health programs, cheaper career development and education opportunities for good jobs, AND better pay and benefits for workers across the board. It is simply unsafe and inhumane to allow people to live out on the streets. It is also too hard to ignore the disparity between the two groups of people in Denver: the travelers enjoying their holiday weekend and those living on the street in terrible conditions. This was a reminder to be grateful for the roof over my head and a bed to sleep in, especially during a global pandemic.
I ended up walking the streets of downtown to look for a place to eat. I chose a pizza place called Giordanos. This restaurant was a Chicago style pizza restaurant that originally opened in Chicago. I realize that I am traveling to Chicago and it was arguably too soon to eat deep dish pizza, but like I mentioned above, Denver was crazy busy and I found a restaurant where I could safely distance and feel comfortable. I ended up sitting near a couple who were physicians, we had a really nice conversation before I went back to the hotel.
I also stopped at the hotel bar to have a drink before ending my night. There, I met travelers from across the country. I met a man named Mike from Flint, Michigan. Of course we talked about the water crisis which has been an ongoing issue since 2014. I also met a woman from Raleigh, North Carolina. I told her that Raleigh was one of my stops, so she gave me some suggestions on what to do while I am there and gave me her phone number to connect. In Denver, I enjoyed the connections I made with people more than I enjoyed the city itself.
With that being said, I would love to explore Colorado more. I have always wanted to stay in the Stanley Hotel. The Stanley Hotel is the hotel that inspired Stephen King's novel "The Shining" as well as where the movie was filmed. It is a resort and out of the way for the type of road trip that I am currently taking. Additionally I would love to explore Boulder and Colorado Springs.