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We Survived the Fort Collins Bicycle Breweries Tour

A tour of several Fort Collins breweries (13 as of this writing)? On bicycles you say?

It wasn’t a bike like the one in the photo (that is for next time), but this is a great trip for anyone interested in a leisurely bike ride on some excellent trails. And beer. Lots of beer.

Thanks to Sue and Lee for putting it together.

Did I mention that we had some beer?

A few statistics:

7 out of 13 breweries visited: FCB (The Fort Collins Brewery), New Belgium, ODell, FunkWerks, CooperSmith’s, Pateros Creek, and Equinox (on Sunday). The ones we missed (or saved for next time) were Black Bottle Brewery, Freedom’s Edge, Horse & Dragon, 1933 Brewing, C.B. and Potts. We also missed Anheiser-Busch…on purpose.

We did hit one distillery, which we all agreed was a mistake. The whiskey was good, but the mixing with beer…not so much.

23 beers logged on UnTappd (see below).

We logged many miles ridden, a couple of spills (Mimi’s was the worst! Ouch!) and one trick dismount/remount to impress my wife.

Trails to get there


The map above is an excerpt from the huge map of the trail system in and around Fort Collins, which has many trails for us to try on the next trip. Click on the map above and it will take you to the web site with the larger map.

Audrey and I had not been on bicycles for many many years. We did a short ride in Denver the day before we headed to Fort Collins just to get back in the saddle, and it was a good thing we did. Lee had mapped out a great ride for us to get from our hotel (the Hilton off of Prospect, on the map near where is says “Lilac Park”) down to Spring Creek Trail over to Poudre Trail and up to our first brewery, Fort Collins Brewery.

It was a great day, a great scenic trail ride along side a small stream for a good part of the way on Spring Creek trail, and past a few parks. There were lots of riders out.

As we got to the intersection of Poudre Trail, which goes along the Pourdre River, we noticed several people coming back. Some told us the trail was underwater, but being intrepid and in need of beer, we carried on. What’s a little water?

It was a lot of water. The snow melt had made the trail impassable. There were signs closing the trail as it went south, and that part was obviously under several feet of rushing water. We were able to go north a bit from the intersection of Spring Creek Trail and Poudre trail, and though we could see the other side of the trail, it would have been a nice wade (not ride) through at least waist high water to get there.

Nice Day to ride along Spring Creek Trail

Sue thinks about an attempt – Arrow shows trail resuming out of the water


How United counts on-time flights

My delayed flight

Houston is a United hub so to get anywhere we fly United. Our only other option is to drive 90 minutes south to the other airport to take Southwest. Sometimes we feel like the drive might be worth it, especially in the months after the United-Continental merger. Flights were chronically delayed, and it seemed like the airline personnel were not happy about the merger.

United HAS gotten better. But flight delays are a frequent problem. According to the US Government’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (click here, select United, look at the table on the bottom right), United’s OnTime percentage for Departures fromĀ March 2012 – February 2013 was 76%, ranking them 15th of the carriers with revenues over $20 million…that’s close to the bottom.

My recent experience is much worse than that. Of my last four flights (all between IAH and TPA), the on-time percentage is 25%. Yes, only one out of my last four flights was on time. And, yes, when United sends me those surveys after each flight, I tell them this is the best way to keep customers: on-time flights. Nothing else is more important.

Curiously, on my last flight out of Houston, it appears that United was “gaming” the on-time statistics. Via United’s nice little mobile app, you can see my flight delay.

As you can see from the screenshot, the flight was about 50 minutes delayed. Further, it helpfully says it was delayed because the plane was late coming from the previous hop. The app has a great feature that allows you to check on the previous flight (“Where is this plane coming from?”). It is helpful, as it lets you know if the plane is truly delayed (you can tell if the previous flight is in the air) or if it is indeed in danger of being cancelled (the plane hasn’t left yet and is quite delayed).

Flight bringing plane to my flight

I followed that link, and to my surprise, it stated that not only was the in-bound flight that my “delayed” flight was waiting on “on-time” but it was slated to arrive early.

How exactly does this work? The inbound flight is scheduled to land at 8pm, which is 19 minutes after my flights schedule departure.

Perhaps they cancelled the inbound flight and redirected a different flight to re-use the aircraft? Uncertain. I was at the airport earlier than usual due to concerns with the air traffic controller layoff, and all I saw was a gate change…and these very strange statistics.

I’m assuming that United counted this as one delayed flight and one on-time, but it still begs the question about how the previous flight was scheduled to arrive later than my flight was to depart.


The Day the Universe told us NOT to Gamble

My wife has won trips to the Super Bowl and the Atlanta Gran LeMans, among many other prizes. She does this with a bit of luck, but mostly dicethrough the daily hard work of an internet “system” she has perfected over the years.

So when she said we should drive to a casino in Louisiana on July 11 because it was “lucky 7/11″, and a certain casino was giving away additional prizes,  I quickly agreed. We rarely if ever go gambling, but my wife’s instincts are almost always dead on.

The universe was talking to us…just not quite in the way we were expecting.

About a month earlier, my wife’s car, an ultra-dependable BMW X5, had died at the most in-opportune time – driving to the airport to pick up my daughter, with other relatives in town for my son’s high school graduation. The BMW dealership had supposedly fixed the problem, an air sensor which when faulty made the reliable car sputter, not accelerate, then die.

As we were driving along I-10, almost to Lake Charles, my wife took over the driving. She wanted me to look up slot machine strategies: finding and playing the loose machines, how to maximize the payback percentages. She was excited and energetic; I knew she was tapped into something.

Then the trusty Bimmer died in the same way…only this time it was while we were going 70mph up the bridge leading into Lake Charles. It coughed, it sputtered, it wouldn’t accelerate…with an 18 wheeler in the rear view mirror, accelerating to make it up the bridge. (more…)

A million miles in the air

With little fanfare (other than self-generated) my local airline has informed me that my last flight (back home from Denver) put me over a million miles traveled with them. Coincidentally, my car turned over 123,456 miles…milestones everywhere, pop the champagne! I have mile on other airlines of course, but not enough to add up to much.

I certainly know some people who have more, though most people have a hard time fathoming spending that much time in a plane. While most of it was for business (esp. international trips during my 15 years with Compaq), we were able to bring the family along on many of the trips, and had more than our share of vacations thrown in (Hawaii a bunch, Greece, Spain, Belize, Guatemala, lots of Mexico).

Plus, I wrote my first novel while going back and forth to gay Paree to close a contract. As long as I find a way to make use of the time (whether it is too relax, read or write a good book, or talk to someone interesting), I have never really gotten tired of traveling.

Some of the highlights that I can recall: (more…)

Re-reading MSandT

Re-reading Tad William's Memory, Sorrow and Thorn

click on the image for more info and to support this blog

Dusk Before the Dawn

Dusk Before the Dawn

Software By the Kilo

Software by the Kilo


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