Politics

Delegating Denver #48 of 56: Texas

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RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THE TEXAS DELEGATION

Most Texan Denver Neighborhood: Stapleton

Most Texan Bar: The Grizzly Rose 5450 North Valley Highway Live bands six nights a week in what may be the world's perfect country-Western bar, with a dance floor as big as the state of Texas.

Most Texan Restaurant: Del Frisco's 8100 East Orchard Road Greenwood Village, Colorado A little taste of home, right near the delegation hotel, that will be a welcome relief after those long days of convention committee meetings with loony Westerners and snooty Easterners.

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Best Day Trip: Big Thompson Canyon

Flash Flood Alley, from Dallas to San Antonio, has a higher potential for high-magnitude flooding than any other region of the United States. Texas sits directly in the coastal plain where moisture from the Gulf of Mexico and blasts of Arctic air combine to unleash storms that have produced over half of the world's record rainfall amounts (48 hours or less). Texan training in flash-flood awareness and safety will give added appreciation to delegates taking this trip up Colorado's Big Thompson Canyon. From the hotel, take I-25 north for 58 miles to exit 257. Follow U.S. Highway 34 westbound into the town of Loveland, where the road is named Eisenhower Boulevard, to honor the Texas-born president who supplied the highway funds needed to get busy presidents up to their favorite fly-fishing locations. The road and the river meet at the Dam Store, which sits at the mouth of the Big Thompson Canyon. From here, the thirty-mile drive twists and climbs steadily up the scenic gorge, past grassy picnic pullovers and trailhead parking-lot turnoffs. The frequent signs warning "In case of flooding, climb to safety" are reminders of the devastating evening of July 31, 1976. Beginning at 7 p.m. on the eve of Colorado's Centennial celebration, a thunderstorm towering over 60,000 feet stalled over the upper regions of the Big Thompson Canyon. A torrential downpour of twelve inches in four hours turned this normally pleasant river into a raging torrent. The volume of water reached a peak of 31,000 cubic feet per second, far beyond the normal flow of 200 cubic feet per second. The resulting flash food destroyed 400 cars, 418 houses and 52 businesses, and washed out nearly all of the highway. One hundred forty-five people were killed; the churning boulders, timbers and metal scoured their bodies and made identification dreadfully difficult. Six of the missing bodies have never been found. The once-in-a-thousand-years flood happened 32 years ago, so odds of a pleasant trip are good. However rare, all canyon areas are subject to flash flooding, so it’s important for Texas delegates to keep an eye on the weather. If the river rises up to the road, climb to safety! -- Kenny Be

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Cory Casciato is a Denver-based writer with a passion for the geeky, from old science fiction movies to brand-new video games.
Contact: Cory Casciato