Alrighty folks, I've had a lot of fun with this little Colorado quiz. If you missed it, you might want to go take the quiz first so the answers don't ruin it for you.
June over at Live and Learn-Toss and Turn wins the prize with about 8 and a half correct answers. Not sure what that prize might be other than bragging rights, but anyhow... I know you're all dying to know the answers .. so here you go!
1) Most of you got this, Colorado is state number 40 on this map.
And yes, the Rocky Mountains run through our state, but June was the only one to get the more specific answer which is the Continental Divide.
Besides being interesting for the sake of trivia, it means that all the rain and snow that falls on the western side of the divide eventually ends up in the Pacific ocean, while everything that falls on the eastern side eventually ends up in the Atlantic, and this has crazy weird ramifications for our crazy weird water laws!
2) OK... once again, June nailed this one, and Northmoon was in the right neighborhood. The double diamond is the symbol used to denote the most difficult ski slopes.
So when you get off of the lift at the top of the mountain, you're likely to see a sign that looks something like this:
And if you're me, you head for the greens and blues and steer completely clear of these!
I did get a chuckle out of the "Argyle Alert" guesses though. I suppose argyle and skiing sorta go together...
|Not exactly argyle, but close!|
3) OK... another one that June was the only one to get. A 14er is a mountain peak that's over 14,000 feet in elevation. Here in Colorado there are about 54 of them (depending on which ones you think "count" - some mountains have double summits and people disagree whether both count as separate peaks or not.)
My high school boyfriend was pretty obsessed with "bagging 14ers" (a phrase that could have a completely different meaning if you went with Kris's guess that a 14er is a perpetual teenager!) Anyhow, I'd imagine he's climbed most of them by now. Me, I've only climbed one, Pike's Peak... back in the dark ages. Actually "climbed" is a bit of a misnomer since there is a nicely groomed trail that goes all the way to the top, but it was still a long hard slog.
|At the top of Pike's Peak - I'm the redhead in the middle|
4) Poor Governor John Hickenlooper, everybody teases him for his crazy name and corny smile. I have to admit though, he does look a bit like Howdy Doody!
He actually has quite the interesting Colorado story. Hickenlooper was originally a petroleum geologist who came to Colorado to work in the oil industry. But he (along with many others) lost his job when the bottom fell out of the oil market in the 1980's. So the man turned to beer! Seriously, he converted an old abandoned warehouse in lower downtown into a micro brewery. (Lower downtown is now a hip and happening section of town, but at the time was a completely abandoned area full of homeless and blight).
|I believe Hickenlooper is the one on the left|
|Hickenlooper in the early 1990's|
5) OK, the Mile High City... I guess that was an easy one. CatMan said it was sorta like asking: What color was George Washington's white horse?
Anyhow, you all got it right, Denver sits exactly one mile above sea level at 5280 feet. There's a step on the state capitol building marking the exact spot.
Actually, since surveying techniques have gotten more accurate over the years, they keep changing which exact step it is... so now in addition to the engraving there are two brass markers on different steps... details!
6) OK, apparently I baffled you all with the Tabor thing.
So the first Tabor is the story of one of Colorado's mining legends, Horace Tabor, who made a fortune with a silver mine called The Matchless Mine up in Leadville, which is, coincidentally, the town where my father's side of the family comes from. Horace got filthy rich and then dumped his wife Augusta to marry the young and vivacious Elizabeth McCourt, better known as Baby Doe.
Tabor was one of the richest men the state had ever seen, and he lavished his riches upon his new bride, Baby Doe. His friends begged him to invest and diversify some of his wealth, but Tabor was sure that the Matchless Mine would continue to provide an endless stream of money, so he just kept spending and living in opulence.
|The Tabor Grand Opera House in Denver, which was torn down in 1964 in the name of "progress" - sigh.|
Baby Doe ended up penniless and living in a shack out by the old Matchless Mine while Augusta ended up comfortable with the divorce settlement that she had received. Incidentally, my grandmother grew up in Leadville during this era, and she and her friends would often see poor old Baby Doe shuffling around the outskirts of town. This photo shows her in front of the shack that she called home.
The other TABOR is an acronym for the Taxpayers Bill of Rights, which is an asinine constitutional amendment passed by Colorado voters in 1992 (not that I'm opinionated or anything.) TABOR severely limits the state's ability to collect taxes. It basically provides a formula that ties taxation to population and inflation... but it fails to take into account what happens during a time of recession and deflation when tax revenues shrink.
Anyhow, the result is that Colorado is constantly starved for tax revenue, our roads are falling apart, and our schools and children's health programs rank pretty near the bottom of the nation in terms of per-capita funding. And unsurprisingly, the measure failed to produce the wonderful economic benefits that the supporters claimed it would. But hey... we all get about a $35 tax refund each year... whoopie.
7) OK... Lois and June came very close to guessing who number 7 is... but everybody seems to be mixing up our iconic quarterbacks! Peyton Manning is number 18, and while we do love him, John Elway is "Number 7" and he will always hold the top spot for quarterbacks in this town!
Elway basically turned the Denver Broncos from a group of hard luck loosers into Superbowl champions, and we all love him. He's also been very involved in the Denver community and even helped coach my friend's son's Pop Warner football team (that's like Little League for football).
One of my favorite Elway stories is the time that he hurt his shoulder and was out for a few games. I heard him interviewed about it, and it went something like this: "So I opened the paper this morning and was greeted with a full page diagram of my shoulder, and all I could think was, geez... I hope I never hurt my groin!"
8) OK 1859... several of you got this one right. That was the beginning of the Colorado Gold Rush, which basically put Colorado on the map.
9) OK... I thought that photo was a dead give away, but only Debbie got it, however Northmoon was close... This is Red Rocks Park, the home of the iconic Red Rocks Amphitheater - which is all actually owned by the city & county of Denver.
10) Rocky Mountain Oysters... several of you got this one right, they are steer testicles, and NO, I have not, and will not partake! Eeeewwww!
11) OK... I didn't really expect anybody to get this one, but this fellow is named Jake Jabs, and he's a local entrepreneur who opened a chain of furniture stores here in the 1970's. He's one of those local businessmen whose face is ubiquitous because of his commercials, which often feature exotic animals. He was even spoofed once on the TV show, South Park.
I didn't really expect anyone from out of state to get it, but thought it would be a good chuckle for any locals who happened upon my quiz. Here's a little outtake from one of his commercials to give you the idea.
12) The 420 mile marker sign. Yup, y'all guessed that one right. Ever since Colorado legalized marijuana, people were stealing the signs quicker than they could replace them! But creativity prevailed and we now have 419.99 mile marker signs instead!
Incidentally, the number 420 has nothing to do with the name of the Colorado proposition that legalized pot or anything like that - I don't exactly know how the number came to be associated with marijuana, but the association is a universal one, not unique to Colorado.
13) Pretty much everybody got this one, it's a cattle guard.
The eastern part of Colorado is cattle ranching country, so these things are everywhere - and judging by the fact that everybody got it, they're apparently everywhere else too!
Anyhow, here's a little taste of a rural Colorado traffic jam!
14) Apparently June is the only coin collecting geek among my readers. If you look closely at the half dollar you'll see a tiny little "D" right above the date.
This means that the coin was made at the US Mint here in Denver, which is one of only a handful of mints in the country.
This too, is a leftover from our mining past, when gold and silver had to be quickly converted into coin.
So there you have it! Thanks so much to everybody who took my little quiz. It was really fun, and somewhat eye opening, to learn which things were obvious to folks who don't live here, and which were a total mystery.
I'd love to hear about some things are obvious to people where you live, but unheard of elsewhere!