California Roadtrip 2006, Part 1

*Day 1.*

I left early from work, called Tony, and he drove me to the airport. At first I was worried that I wouldn’t make my plane, but we got there in plenty of time. You hear airport security horror stories nowadays… _”Get there three hours early, or you’ll never see the inside of that there flying machine, m’boy”_, but it was fairly straightforward… empty your pockets, take off your shoes, and go through the scanner.

I then had some time to kill, so I decided to eat dinner. This was a big mistake, mostly because I decided that Chinese food from a restaurant in the airport would be edible. I went to a little buffet, filled up my container with what purported to be General Tso’s Chicken (spicy) and ordered a coke to drink.

There was _so much sugar_ in the “General Tso’s Chicken” that I stopped being able to taste my coke, and I just threw the whole mess away. It distracted my stomach for a little while, though, at least long enough to make it to Colorado and eat something better.

The flight wasn’t bad at all – about two hours long, and I finished reading “Feet of Clay”: on the plane. I am still resolutely stuck on reading everything Terry Pratchett has ever written, which may take me some time… there are about 20 more books in the series that I haven’t read yet.

I arrived in Fort Collins, Erin picked me up, and the two of us took a tour of the dowtown. One of the first ways that I knew for sure that I was in a different city is that the streets were different – the blacktop felt extra-wide, and all of the buildings were short, much shorter than I’ve grown used to. (I suppose this wouldn’t have been such a shock if I had been coming from Wichita, where everything is one story tall…)

We went bar-hopping while we were downtown… I think we went to something like five different bars, but honestly I can’t remember for sure. Bar-hopping isn’t generally a sport I engage in. I like to find a nice place to sit and talk, plant myself, and run up a tab. Helps that I never carry cash.

That night I slept in the upstairs bedroom in her condo, and I was also amazed to note that I could sleep at night – without air conditioner, no less – and be perfectly comfortable. Not hot, not cold… comfortable. Of course, I forgot to close the blinds and got way too much sun in my face first thing in the morning, but oh well.

*Day 2.*

Our plan for Saturday was to do some further touring around Fort Collins. A hike was on the itinerary, as well as some brewery tours. We got ready around 9 or so in the morning, dressed for hiking, and drove to a bagel shop…

And her car broke down. Completely.

This was especially distressing because the car was meant to take us on a cross-country drive the very next day, not to mention all of the things that we wanted to do in Colorado before we left.

After Erin spoke with her dad for a little bit, a consensus was reached that the car should be left to its own devices in the parking lot, and we set of to walk back to her place (we had driving less than 10 minutes to get to the bagel place.) It was still a bit of a walk, though… about an hour later, we made it back.

Brewery tours still seemed like a reasonable option, though. We just had to manage to catch a bus. Erin looked up the schedules online, figured out a likely route, and we set off again to walk to the bus stop. This wasn’t as far of a walk… maybe 15 or 20 minutes. We sat down at what should have been the bus stop, waited for about 15 or so minutes, and then watched as a bus came down the road on the other side, going the opposite direction…

“Was that our bus? I think that was our bus!”

We decided to give it another little bit of time to see if another bus might be forthcoming, but… no dice. While we were sitting there, Erin’s dad called her and started explaining why we should rent a car.

Not to make the drive, mind you… see, part of the story is that even though Erin’s car was broken down, another car was available to us… a Pathfinder that was currently located at her parent’s house in Castle Rock. We just had to figure out how to make the hour’s drive from Fort Collins to Castle Rock to pick up the car.

Erin’s sister lives in Castle Rock, and could theoretically have picked us up, but she wasn’t going to get off work until late and had already made plans for the evening. A taxi wouldn’t have made sense simply because a rental car would be _cheaper_ for one day.

So, once we realized that the brewery tours were pretty much a wash-out (we needed the time to rent a car, in any case), we headed on back to her place again. Erin called Enterprise Rent-A-Car, and they sent someone with a car to pick us up.

After not too much more time, we had managed to get ourselves a rental car and made our way to Castle Rock. That night we went to a brewery/restaurant to get some food. The food was pretty good, but the funniest thing was something that our waitress did. After we had finished eating, I decided to try some of the beer they had on hand, so I asked our waitress for a recommendation, tried it out, and liked it.

They also had a stout beer on the menu, though, and not only was I curious to taste it, but Erin wanted to try something as well, so when the waitress came back, she ordered it. I’m not sure if the waitress gave her a funny look at this point, but it would have been appropriate considering what happened next.

Instead of coming back with a pint of the stout like we were expecting, the waitress came back with a tiny tasting glass and said, if I remember correctly, “Let me know if you like that, _sweetheart_.” It was so condescending it was ridiculous. Of course Erin made a point to order a full pint of the beer and drank it just to spite the waitress.


Alright, that’s enough for now. I’ll continue my epic story later.