Maggie’s Closest Route to Black Hawk/Central City, Colorado …

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“Since this post was first published, it has been revised, slashed, cut and reworked. Please read the revisions carefully before using the information to drive to the casinos.”

I was either lucky enough or unlucky enough to have casino comps from: The Riviera, Black Hawk, The Ameristar Casino and The Fortune Valley Casino, so it was definately worth making a trip up to the mountains.
Having access to a GPS unit, I decided to do a best-route test. Which route to Black Hawk/Central City, Colorado would Maggie (that’s what I call the GPS because the GPS’ voice sounds like a Maggie, also because it’s a Magellan GPS ) take if I asked [her] to plan the shortest route. You can program the GPS to plan a route using the criteria of: the shortest, fastest, most use of freeways and least use of freeways. At the intersection of West 8th Avenue & Speer Blvd. I set the GPS to map the shortest route to Central City. I entered the target address as 100 Main Street – Central City, Colorado.

[Fully expecting the GPS to tell me to take: West 6th Ave. to I-70 West to Central City Parkway, then on to Central City/Black Hawk, since everything I’ve heard told me that the new route is the fastest. [*I was indeed wrong, I guess.] I have to get more input from more sources before I can totally confirm this.]

Here’s what actually happened: Leaving West 8th & Spear the GPS directed me to proceed to West 6th Avenue and continue on West 6th. Approx. 26 mi. later Maggie “told” me to take Colorado 119 and proceed on 119 to Black Hawk. This is the old route – totally bypassing the new Central City Parkway. [*I was indeed surprised, however as I said, I have to do a bit more research.]

*This information is not wrong as the GPS was programed to find the SHORTEST route. 7-23-08

UPDATE JULY 23, 2008 – Here’s the scoop: The West 6th Avenue, to I-70, to Central City Parkway to Central City and Black Hawk is the FASTEST route from downtown Denver, according to a Magellan GPS. It’s about 40 miles (45 minutes.)
The West 6th Avenue, to US 6, to Colorado 119 to Black Hawk and Central City seems to be the SHORTEST route – in DISTANCE: about 35 miles, but a bit longer in TIME, about 60 minutes. (This information, of course, depends on your departure point. Basically the drive (approx. 35-45 miles) takes about 45-60 minutes.)

During inclement weather, I-70 West to Central City Parkway will still be your best bet.

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Hanson’s Grill & Tavern in Denver, Colorado

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Hanson’s Grill and Tavern could easily be overlooked in the quiet, older neighborhood where it’s located. Don’t let it’s mild appearance fool you. It’s a good restaurant. Several dinning rooms, a patio, and a bar offer good seating choices. Very comfortable, cozy booths in the room just south of the bar offer a secure escape.
Who am I kidd’n, it’s all about the burgers. Here’s the thing: on Mondays and Tuesdays they promote something called Burger Madness: $4.00 basic burgers w/lettuce, onion, tomato and pickle. The hunk of well-seasoned beef is huge. It must be 1/2 to 3/4 lbs. of meat. I’m just guessing, but it is one of the largest patties I’ve seen, good taste, good quality. The regular (Wednesday through Sunday) price is about $7.00.
On Burger Madness nights you can choose from a number of extras for just a buck or two: cheeses, toppings, sides etc. This is, for sure, one of the best deals in town.
Back to business. The eveyday menu is extensive with everthing from Steak dinners, and Prime Rib to pastas, salads, sandwiches, soups, chile and more…
Long happy hours and an upstairs game room add to the attraction..

Hanson’s Grill & Tavern
1301 S Pearl St
Denver, CO 80210
(303) 744-0210

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Annie’s Cafe & Bar in Denver, Colorado is open for business.

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Annie’s restaurant fits it’s new building like a well turned hand in a classic glove. For years, Annie’s collected kid’s lunch-boxes, antique toys
(like little girl’s bake ovens, ironing boards and irons,) 50s metal-slogan-signs, vintage Hollywood movie posters etc. All this was displayed on the walls of the former building which evoked more of a strip-mall-like ambience. The memorabilia was somewhat cheapened by the stark lighting and cafeteria vibe. The new restaurant is warm and cozy with it’s well patinaed dark woods, providing a perfect showcase for the mementos.

The new digs comprise several rooms, including the inner sanctum-like bar area which has a number of dark, wood-slat booths & tables, and of course, a small bar. The front dining area faces Colfax Avenue. The Colfax scene can be seen through the large picture windows. This perfect-for-breakfast room is spacious and bright.

Annie’s menu seems to be pretty much the same with the inclusion of adult beverage items – the Peanut Butter jars are still on the table [read the previous post.]

Check the website from time to time, it’s not totally “up” yet; the menus weren’t on-line at the time of this writing. The “T-Bird” breakfast (two eggs, hash browns, meat choice & pancakes) is on the menu as well as all the other breakfast favorites, and there is the jar of peanut butter on every table.
Annie’s Cafe & Bar has nightly specials such as: an Enchilada Plate, Chicken Pot Pie, Lasagna, Fried Chicken, and Grilled Fish served with soup or salad ($7.95 – $9.95.)

Diner, dinner entrees, soups, salads, sandwiches, fries, malts, shakes, cokes, booze and more are available.

The new location is 3100 East Colfax Avenue and St. Paul Street, Denver, Colorado 80206.
Annie’s Cafe & Bar’s Website

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Annie’s Cafe in Denver, Colorado opens to the public on Tuesday, June 17th

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Annie’s Cafe owners share good news with employees that the restaurant is moving to the Goodfriends location on East Colfax Avenue. Annie’s Cafe and Bar will open at the site June 17″ read more…

Annie’s new location will be at 3100 East Colfax Avenue and St. Paul Street, Denver, Colorado 80206
“The 29-year-old Goodfriends restaurant on East Colfax Avenue closes Saturday. The site becomes the next home of Annie’s Cafe, moving in June from East 8th Avenue and Colorado Boulevardread more…

Annie’s Cafe and Bar will be a major player on East Colfax with their “Big City” breakfast expertise (Annie’s kept a jar of peanut butter on every table, providing a path to immediate gratification – hopefully this tradition will continue.) Adding a bar will put them “over the top.” This is going to be one of the most popular joints in Denver for breakfast, lunch, dinner and… With Pete’s Kitchen just-down-the-road-a-piece, Colfax Avenue will definitely continue to be the place to do a “Big City” breakfast.

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Colorado casino revenue down 10.7 percent.

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By The Associated Press – “DENVER — Revenue at Colorado casinos fell 10.7 percent during the beginning of 2008, the worst drop in the industry’s history. The industry and gamblers are blaming the state’s new smoking ban as well as high gas prices. Others blame the overall soft economy.”
Stephanie Steinberg, who pushed for the smoking ban to be expanded to casinos, thinks the recession is more to blame. She said casino revenue in Las Vegas, where smoking is allowed, has also dropped.” read more of this A.P. article at The Denver

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Thai Basil – Asian Fusion Restaurant in Denver, Colorado

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Thai basil is a cultivar group of basil. It has a more assertive taste than many other sweet basils. The herb has small leaves, purple stems and a subtle licorice or mint flavor” read more from Wikipedia

Thai Basil ( 5 locations in the Denver/Colorado Springs area) is a fresh “now” restaurant offering Thai-Asian-Fusion cuisine.

In a perfect balance of Yin & Yang ( 陰陽, ) Thai Basil balances the old and new. California-modern design mixes with old-burl table tops, old-country cabinets, an Asian bed-frame (used as a dining island) here or there and maybe modern fibreglas art on the wall. I probably just “fused” the decor of the two locations I’ve visited: The Thai Basil Hang Out Grill (3301 W 38th Ave.) and the Washington Park location (540 East Alameda Ave.) The East Alameda location has the bed-frame and fibreglas; the TB Hang Out Grill incorporates the burl wood tables.

I acquired a serious appreciation for Pad Thai in Southern California and Thai Basil serves a beautiful Pad Thai.

Chinese, Thai and Vietnamese menu items include: starters, salads, soups, meats, seafoods, vegetables, noodles, rice, deserts and more. Thai Curries, Vietnamese Rice Noodle Bowl, Szechuan Asian Eggplant, Crispy Duck and Fried Rice are just a few facets of the fusion. Some of my other favorites – besides Pad Thai ($7.95) are: Coconut Soup, Satay Chicken, Thai Spring Roll and Kung Pao Chicken.

Thai Basil has a full Bar with a good selection of Asian and domestic beers. At the time of this post, The Thai Basil Hang Out Grill location is serving: (HANG ON TO YOUR HAT) $.25 cent domestic beers and $.50 cent imported beers. You have to order food & there is a limit. Call for more information…

Check the Thai Basil Website for menu by location; locations / addresses and other information..

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The Bombay Clay Oven Indian Restaurant in Denver, Colorado

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THE BOMBAY CLAY OVEN Indian Restaurant/Bar
165 Steele St.
Denver, Colorado 80206

The Bombay Clay Oven’s Official Website

The Bombay Clay Oven in Denver’s hoity-toity, Cherry Creek North is an excellent, affordable, Indian restaurant with a nice little bar, outdoor patio, comfortable center-tables and several “Traditional Divan Seating Booths.”  Go for a booth, if you can get one – the “Divan” booths are cozy and comfortable with wall tapestries, and cushions & pillows to sit on, sans shoes. These booths are like little dining caves, so to speak.
Reservations are accepted.

Click on the Bombay Clay Oven website for the complete menu, photos & additional information.

On the Menu:

BREAD, Soup, Salad and Sides

The Bombay Clay Oven has a full bar with an excellent wine list; wines start at $5.00.

This free-standing building (see photo on website) is a perfect match for the restaurant.
“There are some parking spots behind and along the south side of the restaurant, which are accessed through the alley in between St. Paul Street and Steele Street.”

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John Wayne & Buddy Holly “That’l Be the Day.”

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The other day, I rented a classic Western movie: (John Ford’s)THE SEARCHERS, which incidently is rated number 2 or 3 on my list of classic Westerns. (The reason it’s rated 2 or 3 is because my top two are either tied for first place, or they’re rated 1 & 2, I can’t decide.)

The following video is the original Trailer for THE SEARCHERS:

I had been thinking about this movie for a while, as I usually do for a part of each year; probably have since 1956. One time, while watching John Wayne utter the phrase “That’l Be The Day” about a half-dozen times, I thought to myself: “UMMMM! 1956! – That’l Be The Day!” “I’ll bet Buddy Holly was watching that movie back in Lubback, Texas in 1956 and that phrase got stuck in his head, so he picked up his Fender [guitar] and wrote the song (That’l Be The Day.)

Well I finally found an internet article that mentions this idea: “That’l Be the Day.” The title and lyrical phrase, lifted from a line that John Wayne was always quoting in the John Ford movie The Searchers. Click the link and scroll down…Here is another link that mentions it; and another!

Other articles state that the British group: THE SEARCHERS (Needles and Pins & Love Potion Number 9, just to name two of their mega-hit songs.) took their name from the movie. This information is from The Searchers’ [band] website…

The COASTERS 1957 R&R hit: SEARCHIN’, by Leiber and Stoller on Atco Records – I’m betting – is also somewhere in the mix. I can’t confirm this hypothetical yet. If I can, I’ll post it here.

My Top Two Westerns? In alphabetical order: HIGH NOON , starring: Gary Cooper, Lloyd Bridges, Grace Kelly, Katy Jurado and Ian MacDonald, released 7 July 1952 and SHANE, starring: Allan Ladd, Jean Arthur, Van Heflin, Brandon De Wilde, Jack Palance and Ben Johnson, released September 24, 1953

A bit of irony exsists in the juxtaposition of two of the movies which are mentioned in this post: John Wayne had big problems with the politics of High Noon; he felt that there was a strong, leftist, message in the film. Some refer to the movie as an “anti-McCarthyism western.”
“Although he complained that High Noon (1952) was “un-American”, when he collected Gary Cooper’s Oscar on his behalf, he also complained that he wasn’t offered the part himself.”

Here are just a few reasons why these films are rated so highly in my book:

The following clip includes the final gunfight in SHANE:
Alan Ladd’s character SHANE “calls out” hired gunfighter Jack Wilson (Jack Palance) in the saloon, after a long, emotion-building-ride into town. With one of cinema’s most memorable, provocative lines, Shane responds to Wilson’s query: “What have you heard Shane (about me)?”
“I’ve heard that you’re a low-down Yankee liar.”

This is a clip from HIGH NOON. It is the slow-paced, methodic, (opening) Title Sequence: The Miller Gang assembles to ride into town to meet the High Noon Train carrying “Boss *Frank Miller” (Ian MacDonald,) just released from prison and seeking revenge from the sheriff (Gary Cooper) who put him there. Underscoring the entire clip and most of the movie is the brilliant, haunting song, “High Noon,” sung by Tex Ritter (the late John Ritter’s father.) The music is by Dimitri Tiomkin and the lyrics are by Ned Washington.

NATALIE WOOD’S younger sister, LANA WOOD played the young Debbie Edwards in THE SEARCHERS. The searchers were searching – all the while – for Debbie Edwards
The Cinematographer for HIGH NOON was Floyd Crosby, who was the father of Rock and Roll’r David Crosby.
From the movie SHANE: “YOU SPEAKING TO ME” says SHANE to provacateur Chris Calloway (Ben Johnson) before the gunfight in the saloon (see video clip.)
YOU TALKING TO ME” says Robert De Niro, talking to the mirror,
in the movie TAXI DRIVER ( 1976.) Here’s a bit of conjecture: The line originated from 1) The Twilight Zone 2) Shane 3) De Niro…

*[The Ian MacDonald character, Frank Miller scared the heck out of me the first time I saw the movie – still does! Three faces in cinema that have that effect on me are: Ian Macdonald’s, Frank Miller High Noon, Jack Palance’s , Jack Wilson Shane and Vincent Price’s, Prof. Henry Jarrod in 1953’s THE HOUSE OF WAX – all three are pure evil, like Frankenstein, Dracula and The Wolf Man.]

Click this link to access a site that may or may not have Buddy Holly Home Recordings from November-December, 1956 [at] 1926, 19th Street, Lubbock, Texas: Buddy Holly: vocal, guitar; Jerry Allison: drums and vocals; (Poss.) Don Guess: bass.

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The Pinball Hall of Fame in Las Vegas, Nevada

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Las Vegas is known for the unusual and offbeat. Places like the Liberace Museum, the Neon Museum, the Clown Factory, The Elvis Museum, the Barry Manilow Store, the Pinball Hall of Fame… Wait a second. The Pinball Hall of Fame? What exactly is that? Or more importantly, why is there a Pinball Hall of Fame?” read more from The Pinball Hall of Fame’s website

Pinball Hall of Fame___Inside the Pinball Hall of Fame___
[Photo is from the PHoF’s website.]

The Pinball Hall of Fame in Las Vegas, A.K.A. The Pinball Museum is located “in a strip-mall on the North West corner of Tropicana and Pecos, at 3330 E. Tropicana – about 30 blocks (3 miles) from the ‘strip’ straight down [east] Tropicana.”

In the 90s a collector moved 1000 pinball machines from Michigan to Las Vegas. Most of that collection is in storage, waiting for restoration; some 190 (current number) machines are in use at the PHoF, and can be played on site for $0.25 or $0.50. Classic Gottlieb, Bally and Williams machines, as well as other manufactures’ machines are in play:
Total Pinball machines: 141
Total Arcade machines: 48
Total EM machines: 65
Total SS machines: 124
Total Gottlieb machines: 50
Total Bally machines: 38
Total Williams machines: 35
Total Other makes: 67
Total PHoF Machines (all types): 190

The Pinball Hall of Fame is a registered 501c3 non-profit. It relies on visitors stopping by to play these games, restored pinball machine sales, and ‘This Old Pinball’ repair dvd videos (available for sale at the museum). The PHoF has also helped out with fundraising for the local Salvation Army, accepting donations to benefit them. There is a candy vending stand, where the entire 25 cents of each quarter goes directly to the Salvation Army. And after the PHoF covers its monthly expenses for rent, electricity, insurance, endowment savings, the remainder of the money goes to the Salvation Army.”

” [The] ‘cheap side’ approach gives the Pinball Hall of Fame its disarming, thrift-store feeling. The royal-blue carpet? It’s scrap from a Convention Center weekend show. The change machines? Grabed [sic] from the Golden Nugget’s trash dock before the garbage men came. But it’s not about cutting corners – it’s about maintaining an almost obsessive focus on the pinball games themselves. Forget about public relations, marketing, uniforms, or even a sign outside. ‘If the games play, the people will come, quarters at the ready. There’s stuff here that hasn’t been seen since my mom was a kid. And it’s all up here, and it’s playable.'” [Excerpts are from the PHoF’s website.]

Admission is free, play the games for $0.25 & $0.50

The PHoF’s website has photos, directions, maps, game lists and more general information…

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