The Wonders of the Wonder View Tower Are on the Block: Going, Going, Gone

The Wonder View Tower isn't looking so wonderful these days.
A hundred miles east of Denver is a rise that, at around 5,900 feet, is the highest point between Denver and Kansas City -- or between Denver and Chicago, or between Denver and New York, depending on who's doing the measuring and who's doing the bragging. This rise marks what has traditionally been a busy travel hub: Wildlife have long beat a path to a nearby spring; cowboys brought their Texas-Montana cattle drives to that same spring in the 1860s; and an early stage route came by, too. The trains soon followed: As railroads headed west across the plains, optimists placed a boxcar just east of the rise for a depot and platted a town there.

At first it was called Creech, after a Rock Island executive; when that didn't catch on, the name was changed to Cable, but that moniker also fell flat. As the story goes, the burg got its next -- and final -- name when a dying Italian railroad worker told his friends that he wanted to die back in his home town in Italy. He never made it back to the Old Country -- but he did die in Genoa, Italy.

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Our Journey uncovers Colorado's prairie treasures

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Ten unusual places to stay in Colorado

Categories: Travel

Starlite Classic Campground Facebook page
A Colorado summer can be short, which is why those in the know hit the road early and often, from Memorial Day to Labor Day -- and even later if they can. There are plenty of campgrounds, RV sites, motels, condos and luxury resorts to choose from, but it's hard to top the character or quirkyness of the following list of ten unusual places to stay.

Our Summer Guide, which hit the streets last week inside the regular issue of Westword includes this list along with information on hundreds of events and things to do this summer. Keep reading for our picks.

See also: Ten don't-miss mountain festivals in Colorado

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Rock on! Silverton kicks off summer tourist season with an unusual tradition

Categories: Travel

Rocks for sale in Silverton.
Now that Memorial Day weekend is over, Colorado's summer tourism season is in full swing. And no part of the state is more eager to welcome visitors than the remote mountain regions that are finally thawing out after a long, isolated winter.

The season kicked off in Silverton the first Saturday of May, when the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad - one of the state's top tourist attractions -- made its initial run from Durango into that high-altitude town, where it was met by an oompah band of townspeople dressed in Victorian garb. But passengers were also greeted by another, only-in-Silverton sight: kids selling rocks by the side of the train tracks.

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Can Aaron Brill's single lift save Silverton?

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Dave Ross on tour mishaps, Drunk History, Deer Pile and his sketch group, Women

Sharon Alagna
Dave Ross has accomplished a great deal in his comparatively short career. He's a member of Women, an all-male sketch comedy group that also includes Jake Weisman, Allen Strickland-Williams and Pat Bishop. On his Nerdist network podcast Terrified, Ross and his guests delve into their fears and insecurities. And he's in the middle of a month-long, cross-country tour that will roll through Denver next Wednesday, when Ross will headline the Fine Gentleman's Too Much Fun showcase at Deer Pile. Westword recently caught up with Ross to discuss booking his own tour, storytelling and appearing on the next season of Comedy Central's Drunk History.

See also: A guide to DIY comedy tours with the Fine Gentleman's Club

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Lake Steam Baths, gnomes on the range, and more drops in the 2014 bucket list

Bucket lists, by their very nature, are a celebration of the ephemeral -- a wish list of fleeting activities to experience before the mortal coil goes into a death spiral. The following experiences, however, are united by a sense of enduring history, of continuing traditions that will persist past the expiration dates of our own lives.

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Cruising Colfax, Casa Bonita and more drops in the 2014 bucket list

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Total Ghost's Randy Washington on living in Japan, Haruki Murakami and SNL

Reading is about more than following a narrative or learning facts; it can also be a profound shared experience that culminates in a better understanding of ourselves and each other. In that spirit, welcome to the Westword Book Club, a weekly feature celebrating the books that inspire Denver artists.

Randy Washington may be more commonly know as Chön, the frontman of German pop sensation group Total Ghost, whose latest album, Electrosexual, was released on September 13. Total Ghost has a busy schedule ahead, performing at Park House with Chella Negro and the Charm at 8 p.m. on Saturday, October 26 and at Lannie's Clocktower Cabaret at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, November 6 for the Greater Than Social Club. Since it would be against character for Chön to read, Westword caught up with Washington to discuss our shared loved for Haruki Murakami, living in Japan and the internecine squabbles at Saturday Night Live.

See also: Author Dave Prager on Delirious Delhi, Chinese food and monkey fights

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Author Dave Prager on Delirious Delhi, Chinese food and monkey fights

Author Dave Prager and his wife, Jenny, pose for the cover of his book.
Reading is about more than following a narrative or learning facts; it can also be a profound shared experience that culminates in a better understanding of ourselves and each other. In that spirit, welcome to the Westword Book Club, a weekly feature celebrating the books that inspire Denver artists.

Dave Prager is an author, humorist and copy writer whose work has appeared in the New York Times, and on NPR and the BBC. He's a former son of Denver who has lived in some of the world's largest cities, including New York, Singapore and Delhi, and his new book, Delirious Delhi: Inside India's Incredible Capital, was released stateside by Arcade Publishing in early June. In a refreshing departure from other India travelogues written by Westerners, Delirious Delhi is not a navel-gazing tale of spiritual development set against an exotic backdrop that the writer never really permeates. Rather, Prager's book is a personal account of his and his wife's experiences, which were rich and varied due to their willingness to try anything, including learning key Hindi phrases and indulging in bhang at the Holi Festival of Colors. Westword recently met up with Prager to discuss his book, Indian politics and seeing monkey fights in Old Delhi.

See also: Westword Book Club: Author Beth Groundwater on grammar, mysteries and whitewater rafting

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Montbello high school drumline is headed to Takayama, Denver's sister city in Japan

Categories: Travel

Montbello High School's drumline will be flying high next week, when its members take one of the first Dreamliner trips to Tokyo in order to visit Denver's sister city of Takayama, Japan. In preparation for the trip, on Saturday the students went through an orientation organized by the Japan Exchange Teaching Program and the Mayor's Office.

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- Seven ways that Japanese culture has influenced Denver over the years
- The Montbello drumline drums up business for Make Music Denver
- Montbello drumline on the 16th Street Mall

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A guide to DIY comedy tours with the Fine Gentleman's Club

Fine Gentleman pro-thumb-550x366.jpg
Interstate comedy tours have typically been the métier of famous names capable of drawing big crowds and veterans of the club circuit. Many obstacles stand in the way of aspiring comedians eager to earn their living on the road, from bookers who are unwilling to take a chance on an unknown commodity from out of town to the financial constraints of travel. For most novice comedians, a "tour" of open mics and free showcases in other states amounts to little more than a road trip taken at their own expense, which is fun but fiscally unsustainable.

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- The Fine Gentleman's Club fights tragedy with Too Much Fun!
- Lucky '13: Comedian and Fine Gentleman Sam Tallent
- Too Much Funstival comedians on how Denver's scene has evolved

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Trinidad film fest gets down and indie this week

Categories: Travel

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A scene from Pig, one of this year's entries.
Film festival season in Colorado kicks off every September with the oh-so-glamorous parade of celebs and their pet projects through Telluride, followed by a chain of lesser festivals aspiring to such glory across the state. But if you crave truly independent cinema; if you long for the days when film festivals were about mavericks screening distinctly non-Hollywood fare, rather than stars declaring themselves "indy" and scoring distribution deals; or even if you long for a world without Ben Affleck -- then Trindiefest might just be for you.

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- Threesomes at the Toronto Film Festival: Critic Karina Longworth weighs in
- Best Film Festival: Mid-Winter Punk Film Festival

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