Tag Archives: fireworks

Denver for the Fourth

July 4th was on a Tuesday this year and for whatever reason my company gave us Monday off as well.  Makes sense honestly.  Lots of people would have taken Monday off anyway so why not just give it to everyone.  This resulted in a super long four day holiday weekend.  This presented a great opportunity to travel and get a descent vacation in.  After a lot of thinking I decided to head back to Denver for the weekend.  No specific reason this time, I just love Denver.

I found an early morning flight that would get me to Denver before noon.  So that meant almost a full day on Saturday and two full days before heading home.  I was so busy working and trying to put my life together that I honestly didn’t plan much for this trip.  Another reason I went to Denver is my familiarity with it.  I knew if I went I would have a good time. There is just so much to do I knew I couldn’t get bored.

This time around I didn’t feel much like jamming my day with a ton of activities. For the most part I was really lazy. There was no need to get up early and stayed up late every night. The only real plan I had was visiting the Denver Art Museum. I was sad we didn’t make it here in April so this time it was the only thing I made sure I put on my to do list.

A really great museum with a varied collection of works. One thing I quickly noticed was all the western and Native American art. I shouldn’t be surprised but for some reason I was. I was also surprised to see a Claude Mont The Coastguards Cabin (Customs House) hanging on the wall. I have seen Mont’s stuff all over the country at this point. Its kind of amazing when you think about it. All these different art museum all have a Mont in their collection.

Denver Art Musem north entrance

After a great day at the museum I walked out to what sounded like muffled voices and banging of drums. Across the street in Civic Center Park I found a protest. Not sure who organized it but it was definitely an anti-Trump rally. Maybe a few hundred people that marched from the park to the state capitol building. Surprisingly there were about a dozen Trump supporters who I thought were antagonistic but thankfully nothing happened. The police had a good present but were respectful with their distance. This is my third time to Denver this year and if memory serves me correctly I have seen a protest each trip. The locals are passionate and very vocal.

The rest of my time was spent just walking around the cities, drinking beer and eating. Brewery visits where limited this time around, only three new ones this trip. I have been staying at the Renaissance in Downtown and have already visited the closest breweries so much more walking is required now to see some new places.  Stopped by Beryl’s Beer Co., Ratio Beerworks, and Bierstadt Lager.  All around a good selection of breweries with Ratio being the best of the three in my opinion.

I love fireworks and was surprised to hear that Denver puts on a show in Civic Center Park on July 3rd.  Not sure how many years this has been going on but it’s a local tradition to head down to the park July 3rd.  After a long day of drinking and walking I eventually made my way to the park for the show.  I wasn’t interested in the pre-fireworks festivities so arrived about 30 minutes before the display.  Really cool display that was loud with lots of color.

God I love fireworks and while I might be biased I believe DC puts on one of the best Forth of July festivals in the nation.  With that in mind my return flight on July 4th would get me back at a reasonable hour in the afternoon.  My original thought was to arrive at IAD and head downtown before the fireworks start around 9pm.  It was a great idea but in the end I just went home when I got back into town.  It was a really long weekend filled with a ton of activities so by the time I landed all I wanted to do was go home and sleep.  What sealed my decision was I was flying to Birmingham the following day.  I was staying the rest of the week to train a new hire so felt no need to push myself to make it to DC.  The fireworks in Denver fulfilled my itch for fireworks this season.

Another great time in Denver thanks to the four day Jul 4th weekend.  As is usually my motive I drank some great beer and ate till I was full each day.  This is a city that always has something going on and never leaves me bored.  Already planning on going back over Veterans Day weekend to see LCD Soundsystem which will be awesome!  Still working on getting a new job here in Portland so that could screw up my plans Veterans Day weekend but oh well.  I would rather plan all this out then find airline tickets are to expensive or the show is sold out.  Most of their north American tour is already sold out so I wanted to get my ticket before it was to late.

American Independence

Got the ribs cooking so I could then enjoy my beer and have a cigar.

The Fourth of July fell on Friday this year, the perfect day of the week if you ask me. It has been in the mid-90’s the last few days but the heat wave broke and was in the low 80’s for July 4th. Combine that with a good breeze and the day was perfect for being outside.

We decided to BBQ ribs at the house and with Will and Sondra driving up from North Carolina, we gathered the family for an old fashion BBQ. Like most of my stuff, my BBQ books are packed in a box so I searched the internet for a new rub and sauce recipe. Not long after I put the ribs on the grill the smell was amazing. It had this spicy notes to it and with the hickory smoke, the combo was a good one. I modified the rub a little to add some more kick and I think it was a good idea in the end. When the rest if the family showed up to the house, Will said he could smell the ribs as they drove down the street. So far so good on cooking them.

The rest of the afternoon we hanged out on the deck. Greg and I smoked cigars and everyone sampled a myriad of beers that I purchased the day before. I love days like this. Days I get to sit back, smoke cigars, drink good beer and chill with family.

After four hours on the grill the moment of truth was reveled. For the first several hours I was able to keep a constant 225 temperature in the grill. The last few hours were a little tougher but for the most part all afternoon I had a constant low heat. To me, this is the critical part of BBQ. Anyone can make a rub and put it on meet. To cook it at the right temp for several hours is what makes you a BBQ master. With Matt’s help I pulled off the ribs from the grill and they looked amazing. One rack I had trouble getting out so I was pushing on one of the bones to free it and the whole bone just popped right out. All indications pointed to perfectly cooked ribs. A sample a few minutes later confirmed, I had an exceptional set of cooked ribs. With all the family gather I felt some pressure to perform and I came through with flying colors. Everyone agreed they were amazing.

After four hours of cooking this was the end result.

After dinner Will, Sondra, and Maggie packed up their gear and headed to Washington, D.C. Will and Sondra wanted to catch the fireworks before heading to North Dakota. I thought about going but I was in a really good groove so I stayed with everyone else at the house. We light off a few roman candles and watch the fireworks on PBS instead. I know it is not the same as being there, but we didn’t have to fight the crowds to see the show.

It was a long day but a good day with the family. The weather was absolutely perfect all day with cool temperatures and a good breeze.  The ribs came out amazing and all the sides hit the spot. I hope next year to have the Forth of July party at our new house and invite everyone over there to celebrate.

Happy Birthday America


Being only 25 miles from DC I was looking forward to going to the city to see the fireworks display on The Mall.  I have seen it several times in the past, last year in fact I made the trip up.  But I have never been able to get Nancy to go with me.  Yeah it might be a small trip and there are a TON of people that attend it each year.  But how often do you get to participate in something as extravagant as this, right in your back yard?

I had Nancy convinced to go to the city to enjoy the celebrations, but not because of my doing.  Her brother and wife were coming up from North Carolina to visit and they wanted to see the fireworks on The Mall.  Unfortunately at the last minute they couldn’t make it because of work so the plan of going to DC got scrapped.  Instead we headed to my Dad’s house to celebrate our nations birthday.  I certainly knew we were going to eat well if we came.  Matt mentioned a week earlier that he was planning on smoking some ribs on his brand new grill.  Yum.

When we arrived Matt was almost finished smoking the ribs, the smell coming off the grill made me want to dive right in.  I had not eaten all day so I was definitely hungry for some food.  After he took the ribs off the grill and let them rest he cut a rib for himself, my Dad, Nancy and I.  Sometimes it pays to hangout with the cook, normally you get to try stuff that “falls off the plate” before anyone else.

With the ribs finished and plated, we headed to a neighbors house in my dad’s culdesac to party it up with a few friends and lots of family.  In fact half the people at the party was our family, we certainly brought the troops.  Walking through their kitchen and out onto the deck we passed a full spread of food, enough to feed a small army.  At least enough to make everyone in attendance stuff with good food.  After the mandatory mingling the hostess opened the flood gates for everyone to grab a plate and start eating.  There was so much food I was a kid in a candy store.  I didn’t get a lot of any one particular things, but I made sure to sample everything that was offered.

Nicolas Cage from The Rock
Nicolas Cage from The Rock

It was wonderful sitting down talking with everyone and catching up with my family.  Bobby and Tracy brought over both kids so half the time they were chasing Ellie around while the other one had Ty.  Nancy did some baby holding and even I got in on the fun.  He is so tiny and I am so big I was afraid I would cruse him or possible drop him.  But Tracy said not to worry, kids are pretty durable.  I must have held him for 3o minutes, most of the time he was awake and staring back at me.  Cute kid.  Very animated too.  He was smiling and laughing the whole time and I didn’t have to do much.  Tracy was saying he doesn’t do that often so it felt good that I could get him to smile.  You know we bro’s got to stick together, I certainly look forward to him getting older and then we can have some real fun.

After everyone was stuff and desert was served it was getting pretty late and about time for the adults to have a little fun. We didn’t have a large collection of fireworks that shot into the air, to my disappointment.  But we did have more bottle rockets and fire crackers then we knew what to do with.  So for about an hour Matt, Bobby, Nancy and I are firing these things off as quick as we possible could.  We even started to get crazy with them and hold onto them or throw them, crazy stuff that no one should be doing when handling high explosives.  Fortunately by the end of the evening everyone had all their fingers and toes with no extra holes in our body.


As the night started to wind down I headed inside for a few minutes to catch A Capitol Fourth on PBS.  Every year in addition to the huge fireworks display there is a concert and big production put on next to the capitol building that is televised.  All I cared about was the fireworks display.  I certainly got my fill of fireworks and when it was over it was back outside for more firecrackers.  The show stopping finally Matt had was a giant roll of two thousand firecrackers.  He set it up in the middle of the culdesac and let things rip.  It took about 60 seconds for the entire roll to go off and it was pretty cool.  What was not cool was cleaning the giant mess afterwords.

After a long day of great food and company it was time to head home down 95 where Nancy and I were treated to more fireworks from people that lived next to the highway.  For a state that outlaws fireworks that shot into the are, there certainly was a tone of illegal fireworks around.  But one day out of the year to do your civic duty and celebrate the birth of our nation, I think the cops can over look.  But if you loose an eye don’t come crying to me, your an idiot.