If you hold a chicken and put its head to the ground, humanely of course, and draw a straight line from its beak away from its head, the chicken will be hypnotized for up to 30 minutes.  I know this because I read it a while back someplace.  I tell this story quite often to explain that while I like my protein cleaned, butchered, and wrapped in cellophane, I am still very proud of my position on the food chain.

To my embarrassment, my travel companion called me on the accuracy of this oft repeated fact while watching our host Brian feed his chickens in his Boulder backyard.  Looking around for an excuse and finding none, Brian and I decided to try it.  I looked it up on my iPad and it seems this technique has gained popularity.  First, hold the chicken and gently put the head to the ground.  Then draw a line.  It’s that simple.

That’s Brian to the right holding the chicken and me drawing a straight line with the pen cap in my mouth.  If you’re a PETA member, notice the very gentle touch to the chicken by my assistant.

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The first time didn’t work for some reason, so we try again.  This time we got at least a good ten seconds of a blank look and drool from the hen. Now energized and on the verge of success, we try again.  Nothing.  Working hard to perfect this, we gave each of 5 clucking chickens a try at this — 3 times each. That’s 15 times. But for that 10 seconds of our first chicken, we were unable to unequivocally prove that man is smarter than your average egg laying fryer.

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We leave the disgruntled poultry to their roost and head to spend the day in Denver on our way to the airport.

Denver is only 30 mins from Boulder and a bit bigger in size and just as brightly lit being a mile closer to the sun.

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Squinting, we go to Platte Street and find the Denver Brew Company for refreshment and shade in the heat and mind numbing brightness.

This is a very cool place, open, with lots of tables and good looking beer drinkers to sit at them.  The only food they serve is large pretzels with mustard, but there’s a gourmet food truck out in front (although I didn’t look at the menu by the line, it must be quite good.)

I opt for the Stormy Summer Stout which was exceptional.  Below is our beer guide to the left, Nick, an expert on anything made from hops and water, and local artist Karla to the right.  You might even recognize our alpine guide from yesterday to the far right.

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After our beers, we walk along the Highland Bridge and over the South Platte River, or Niinéniiniicíihéhe in Arapaho, to make our way into downtown.

(Be careful of the subtle inflection over the second to the last syllable when pronouncing Niinéniiniicíihéhe in public as only a slight variation will cause you a lot of embarrassment in front of your Arapaho friends and possibly even jail time.)

It is difficult to see in this photo below, but there is a man there in the white water holding onto a rope tied to the bridge, and he is standing on a surf board surfing the whitewater underneath us.

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There is a lot of Native American history here with Arapaho and Comanche tribes.  This includes the very sad Sand Creek Massacre on a camp between Denver and Boulder by the Colorado Militia.  The very eloquent Chief Left Hand took his followers to the fort under treaty to surrender.  Colonel Chivington and his army raided Left Hand’s camp in the early morning killing women, children, and elders.  He came back to Denver looking for praise, but instead of becoming a hero, he was stripped from command under public outcry.

Lt. Captain Soule later wrote a letter to his commanding officer in dismay.

“…hundreds of women and children were coming towards us and getting on their knees for mercy. [Chivington] shouted, ‘Kill the sons of [..]’ […] I tell you Ned it was hard to see little children on their knees have their brains [..] by men professing to be civilized. ”  (I purposely edited the bad stuff).

All this, just a few miles away where this guy is surfing and folks are sunbathing on the beach.

The streets of Denver are recently revived and are remarkable.  It is a beautiful city with great architecture, restaurants, and shops.

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We pass by and decide to drop into the Tattered Cover, a fairly well known 50-year-old book store in the old Western era Morey Mercantile Building. This is where most of the famous authors will come for book signings.

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After that we walked down Larimer Square.

Like a lot of neighborhoods in Denver and Boulder, this too has old western buildings now refurbished such as the old Gahan’s Saloon, a legendary watering hole for politicians, policemen and city hall reporters.

Larimer Square is the hip place for shopping, eating, people watching, and drinking.

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It’s getting towards dinner time and we take the advice of our culinary guide Lizzie who is studying both nutrition and how to be a chef.

She takes us to The Kitchen; they label themselves as a community bistro.  This restaurant has a very cool feeling with an industrial minimalist decor and a serving staff in bluejeans and slim fit t-shirts.

I thought the food was fantastic.  We ordered the fried pig ear which was salty and chewy and very good. One order will feed the table.

We then had Bagaduce oysters.  Lizzie correctly ordered the grilled Sturgeon Char which was awesome.  My travel companion incorrectly ordered the Potted Salmon which she could not get past the half inch of cold butter layered on the top.

I have the house-made Tagliatelle which if I see on the menu at any restaurant and is hand made I always order.  It was very good with mushrooms from local Hazel Dell mushroom-farm and a creamy but not too creamy white wine sauce.

That is Lizzie second to the right in the photo below.  She is smiling that smile of knowing one has just selected the best dish on the menu at a table of gastronomical neophytes.

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It is time to head to the airport. We say goodbye to friends and family and reluctantly make our way to the airport.

héétce’nóóhobé3en,  which means, “Goodbye, I will see you later” in Arapaho. (And yes, the ‘3’ is supposed to be there.  And no, I don’t know how to pronounce that.)

Dain