Sunday, December 20, 2015

Colorado Quiz Answers

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
Honestly, it's a bit anti-climactic because you can drive to the top where there's a cheezy gift shop and cafe. Apparently it didn't occur to us to stand next to the sign to show that we made it... but still...

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
Anyhow, his restaurant/brewery was called the Wynkoop Brewing Company, and it was one of the first craft breweries in what is now a booming business in our state.

Hickenlooper in the early 1990's
Hickenlooper is also a Quaker and an all around good guy. He was a big supporter of the music school where I used to work (both before and after he went into politics) and I even had lunch with him a few times!

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.
But apparently karma has a way of catching up with you, because in 1893 the government basically took the currency off of the silver standard (more complicated than that - look up Sherman Silver Purchase Act if you're curious). Anyhow, the bottom fell out of the silver market and Tabor went broke & died shortly after.

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.
Seems to me that perhaps there is some sort of an object lesson in there somewhere... something about investing for the future... Or maybe that's just me.

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.

Perhaps this is less of a big deal if you're not a music fan, and maybe nobody outside of Colorado has heard of it. But just west of Denver are these amazing sandstone formations which create a natural amphitheater and it's famous for outdoor concerts in the summertime.
My high school graduation was actually held at Red Rocks. Hard to tell from this photo, but here I am delivering my valedictorian speech on that iconic stage...

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!


  1. You made me laugh on a day when I look and feel like a Nyquil commercial. I needed a good laugh! Some day I hope to make it to Colorado and see some of these things for myself. The natural amphitheater would be a fabulous location for a concert.

    I'm not sure what is obvious to fellow Michiganders but not to others--I think I'd have to write a quiz, like you did. I remember you commenting once that your mental image of the Mitten state is of a dense forest--we do have a fair amount of national forest land, but there is also a lot of midwest farmland and industrial towns and cities. What seems to surprise newcomers to my part of the state is that no, you really can't see Wisconsin at the Lake Michigan shoreline--it's a biiiig lake, looks more like the ocean but without the sharks or jellyfish. That's true of all the great lakes. Those of us in the lower peninsula are referred to as "trolls" because we live under the bridge ... get it??? Those from the upper peninsula are called "Yoopers"--U.P., upper peninsula, again, get it??? Gerber baby food is made (not far from me) in Michigan ... we call soda "pop"... Toledo, OH, used to be Michigan territory and there is a famous (to us) history behind it ... Mackinaw Island fudge is an iconic food item and it really is the best fudge I've ever tasted ... our state stone is a fossilized coral found only in Michigan called a Petosky stone (we took our kids camping to look for them last summer--another iconic Michigan thing to do) ... actually, here's a link that is pretty accurate that I think you'd get a kick out of.

    1. First of all, I'm so sorry that you're sick. That's no fun, especially during the holidays!

      And apparently I am completely ignorant about Michigan (which I can't spell without assistance either.) I didn't realize the state was separated into 2 different areas... I thought that "Upper peninsula" part was part of Wisconsin!

      So the "bridge" would be the land that crosses all that water? Anyhow, I totally loved the buzfeed link, and you're making me want fudge!

      Feel better soon! :-)

    2. Kris, you aren't alone we call soda -pop in Pennsylvania too.

    3. We call it pop here too... or at least we used to. Colorado now has sooo many people who aren't from here that things like that tend to get jumbled up.

    4. There was a quiz out a few years ago which linked speech patterns with where you were from, geographically. "Pop" was one of the indicators that you were from Michigan--I'm surprised to hear it is used so widely in other areas of the country. In places I have traveled, I get blank looks when I ask for pop.

      Michigan has an upper and a lower peninsula and are linked by the Mackinac (pronounced "mack-in-aw") bridge which is the 3rd longest suspension bridge in the world, also known as the "Mighty Mac". I've been to the museum which tells about building the bridge--the only way across the 2 land masses (without a loong detour) was by ferry for many years. The Toledo War was a land conflict between Michigan and Ohio over the strip of land that Toledo, OH sits on ... we lost Toledo and gained the UP, which at the time was considered not much of a consolation prize. If my history is correct, later they discovered copper and iron mines and that made the land more financially lucrative for our state.

      I am surrounded by valedictorians, both in real life (my hubby) and my virtual life. I guess I like rubbing shoulders with bright people. The conversation is more interesting. :)

      I have a really hard cold, but nothing worse. I napped for 3 hours yesterday, which is excessive, even for me (I love my Sunday afternoon naps). Hopefully I'll be back on form for Christmas.

    5. OK, you're totally blowing my mind here. So there was an actual war between Ohio and Michigan?!? Like a war with guns?!? I had NO IDEA! Who am I kidding, I didn't even know Ohio was anywhere near Michigan! Seriously, the whole Midwest is a giant blur for me.

      My mind is also reeling about a bridge that long. That must be over a mile long! I think that would scare the pants off of me to drive over something like that!

      And I remember that language quiz - the one weird thing that was supposedly unique to Colorado was "frontage road." Hmmm....

      Anyhow, I hope you feel better soon. Here's a little musical medicine to help you out:

    6. Loved the song! There's a song for every occasion, or at least that's what I believe. :) Actually, I'm more of a Dayquil gal--I have to be pretty desperate to take Nyquil, as a half dose knocks me out for about 12 hours.

      Info on the Mighty Mac (my husband hates driving over it--I've always been a passenger. The upper peninsula is beautiful, though, so he sucks it up for fun camping adventures).

      I'm finding different answers on how it ranks worldwide in length--I'm not in the mood to do an exhaustive study on this, but you're right, it's a long ride. Let's just say that I didn't find the Golden Gate Bridge to be any big deal when I went over it. :)

      Ohio is directly under Michigan. If you're dying for more trivia, here ya go: Politics haven't changed much ...

    7. OK... I've just read about the bridge and the war. Crazy on all fronts! Seriously, apparently the "length" of a bridge can be measured in numerous ways, but any way you slice it, that is one looooong bridge!

      And the Toledo war... well, I guess I just have a very modern idea about the states - the idea that they would battle over territory still strikes me as a bit bizarre. Of course, there was a group of folks from Northern Colorado, who wanted to break off and form their own state because CO was getting too liberal for them. Personally I wouldn't care, except that it would mean they'd be able to shift the balance of power in the senate, so I voted against it. Needles to say, the proposition went down in flames.

    8. Kinda like when Quebec wanted to secede from the rest of Canada? The upper peninsula, at times, has also wanted to be its own state. Not sure that would benefit them a whole lot ...

      Yes, I was getting a headache trying to figure out the length of the bridge, and I decided I really didn't care all that much. :)

      Have a great Christmas, Cat.

  2. That was a lot of fun especially now that I have bragging rights. I won't say that I instantly knew what I got right. On several questions, I just used some logic with the little knowledge I had. A couple of you answers I found very interesting. I too was an oil geologist in the 1980's and knew several people who worked in Denver. While I don't remember your governor, I probably knew someone who did.

    Also, I was valedictorian at my school too. However, I didn't give a speech in somewhere as cool as Red Rock Amph. It was on my high school football field.

    When I get a little time to work on it, I plan on doing a similar thing on my blog. I hope others do also. It's fun to learn about other places.

    1. Oh... the valedictorian speech. My speech was basically an extended metaphor about us being butterflies spreading our wings, yadda, yadda, yadda. So that morning I spent an hour running around the backyard with a net trying to catch a butterfly. All I could manage was one of those cabbage moths.

      Anyhow, I put the thing in a jar, and my plan was to release it dramatically at the high point in the speech, but alas, when I opened the jar the poor little thing fell out onto the podium dead! Hopefully, that wasn't an omen for the success (or lack thereof) of my graduating class. I saw everybody at the reunion this summer and I don't think a terrible fate has befallen us more than what statistics would predict!

      Anyhow, I can't wait to take your quiz... I fear I will probably fail dramatically!

    2. The butterfly story is too funny (except for the moth). The main point of my speech was all old things must end, so new things can begin.

    3. Ha! I think that must be the perennial theme of all graduation speeches. :-)

  3. Congratulations, Live and Learn.

    Cat, I knew 7 was Elways number, I can't believe I got that wrong! Can I chock it up to hearing Peyton was practicing this week and going into a complete freak out thinking he might play?? Anyway this was so fun I thought I would write my own. I hope you'll stop by I have one just for you. No, it's not a football question. :-)

    And, I'm really sorry about your Broncos today. I realized as it ended I had been holding my breath the entire game.

    1. Well... I was pretty sure you knew I meant Elway, but it's hard to keep it all straight these days. I pretty much gave up on that game by the end of the 3rd quarter (sorta like the offense did!) Anyhow, one of our sports writers was saying that it would be better if the Steeler's won because somehow that would mean you would have to play New England. I'm not sure I follow his logic, but I'm gonna go with it. Anyhow, the way things are goin' I won't be surprised if we miss the playoffs altogether. Sigh.

      Anyhow, I can't wait for your quiz, though I'm pretty sure I'll fail miserably! :-)

    2. I forgot to mention, somewhere there is a picture of my grandfather and me standing next to the continental divide sign.

      Oh thanks the one thing I don't want to do in the first round of the playoffs. Yes, if as the 6th seed we make it past the first round, the 6th seed ends up playing the first seed which now looks like it will be the Patriots.

      I'm actually pretty concerned for your Broncos you are only one game from the Chiefs so you could fall to the wild card with us.

    3. Oh, I'd love to see that picture!

      And you think you're worried about the Broncos?!? Things are looking pretty grim here - I continue to believe that the main problem is the offensive line, though all the injuries on defense aren't helping either.

      And oh... the fickle fans. First Brock Osweiler was the hero, now everybody's calling for Peyton to return. Caught between a Brock and a hard place, I say! Me, I'm on the Trevor Simian bandwagon (he's our 3rd string quarterback.)

      Seriously though, I think it's just one of those seasons where we just don't quite have all the pieces. I mean, it would still be nice to make it to the playoffs, but I don't see this team going very far if we do. Oh well, there's always next year. Sigh.

    4. I have no idea where that picture is right now, but if I come across it, one of my boys probably has it, I'll show you.

      You know my son keeps telling me Osweiler's stats are the worst in the league, I think he looks pretty good for a rookie. I don't know anything about Simian but good luck with that.

      I think I prefer our situation, at least our injuries were earlier in the season and now we have the key players back or good replacements that can carry us. Have you ever seen a season where so many starting QBs went down with injuries? I was surprised to see Peyton calling the plays, what's up with that?

    5. Well, I just heard that David Bruton (the only first or second string safety who was healthy enough to play in the Steelers game) actually broke his leg near the end of the fist quarter and played the rest of the game on a broken leg! Holy Moly!!!

      I don't know what it means, but this year has been a really bad one in terms of injuries. Personally, I think they all need to do more yoga - flexible bodies are much less susceptible to injury!

  4. Hah, I've seen those black diamonds. I like the green circles best!

    From my neck of the woods--y'all is short for "you all" and is plural. A lot of people trying to sound southern use it while talking to one person, and although I have heard some people claim that's okay, it hurts my brain. It's really "vosotros." The foreign language I took in college, Hebrew, also has a plural you form and I greatly enjoyed using "y'all" in the translations. I also like writing "y'all's" because it has two apostrophes.

    Y'all also might not know that the capitol building of Texas is a very un-macho sounding color: pink. It's made from the local pink granite. Also called red granite, but the feldspar in it is definitely pink. Admittedly it doesn't look very pink from far away or lit up (in white) at night.

    Also, apparently most states don't have frontage roads, though apparently yours does. I'm spoiled by ours, especially the U-turn lanes that don't require you to sit through a light. I like knowing that if I miss an exit, I can just get off at the next exit and make a U-turn.

    Also, Texas is gigantic, so it is not full of tumbleweed and cactus. Even the deserts I've seen are not mostly sand; the plants are just a bit sparser and tougher.

    1. I imagine, with as large as Texas is, that it's really hard to summarize what is typical for your state, as each area probably has its own distinguishing characteristics.

    2. I am a HUGE fan of "y'all" - my firm belief is that the English language is in desperate need of a second person plural, and I'm on a one woman mission to bring the word into the formally accepted lexicon!

      I'm chuckling about your un-macho capitol building. We have a lot of pink granite around here too.

      And I'm really fuzzy about the difference between a frontage road and an access road. Most of the major highways here have parallel roads on either side designed for local access and to ease the process of getting off and on the highways. We call those frontage roads. I always assumed they were everywhere and people in other places just called them something different - but perhaps they are a uniquely western US thing!

    3. In some places, there really is no road along the side of highways. Obviously, this happens out in the country. But even in cities. The entrance and exit ramps are just attached to random streets.

      This makes it likely you'll have fewer entrance and exit ramps. Then the highways are called "limited access" highways, and these are all the rage now. I think because if you make it hard to get on, fewer people will get on, and so once you're finally on you get to go faster. I wish people would look at the whole picture though and not pat themselves on the back that no one can use the freeways anymore.

    4. Interesting... now that I think of it, not all major freeways here have frontage roads. I pretty much hate driving on highways and I avoid them at all cost. It's mostly the merging off and on that makes me nervous, so I can see the appeal of a "limited access" highway from that standpoint. But still, a highway that's specifically designed to keep people off of it seems a bit... um... well perhaps oxymoronic is the word! :-)

    5. I may be exaggerating! But that is a real term. Also, many people think highways should go around cities, not through them. I can see that for cross-country drivers. But I also love them for getting across big cities. I live in a big city so that I can have access to lots of city stuff, not all of which is on my side of town!

    6. I think I have mixed feelings about all of it. I'm glad that they built C-470 which basically takes the I-70 traffic and diverts it around Denver. It means that the highway inside the city only has to carry the city traffic and not the folks who are going past - it's much better for both.

      So highways are great for getting across the city, but they also end up cutting off a lot of the smaller roads. I wasn't really conscious of this phenomenon until I started riding my bike more and needed to find routes on less busy streets.

      Seriously, it's REALLY difficult to find a safe route across a highway in this town because most streets don't go through, and the few that do are so busy that you'd be risking your life trying to ride a bike on them! Fortunately the city is wising up and constructing a number of bicycle and pedestrian bridges so that it's actually possible to get from one side of town to the other on a bike.

    7. That is very true. Building a highway definitely divides the people (not to mention displacing everything that stands in its way). Fortunately for me, I'm close to one crossing (with sidewalks and bike lanes) and the other one isn't too far away (with sidewalks).

      We also have a way to get past town without going through it but it's a lot further and it's pricier (a toll road). I haven't noticed the traffic easing up, but I'm glad that truckers (and others) have the choice.

      Of course cities get bigger and spill out past previously outer reaches. Hmm, wonder if that happens in places where they try to make their freeways go around cities and if so, what do they do?

    8. This is true... Denver's suburbs now extend way past C-470. I'm not sure I've ever driven on it, but amusingly enough, when they built it they put a bike path next to it, so I end up out there regularly on my bike! :-)


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