DAY 3: THURSDAY
A couple of us were up early the next morning; how we managed this after the previous “fun-filled” night, I don’t know, but we were ready to go by 8am. Sean started off his day with a beer; most impressive, but take note of it for later. Martha, Kelley and Jenna whipped up a fantastic breakfast for the gang. We’re all spoiled.
Some of the bride’s family arrived not long after that, and it was time for the EA gang to vacate the premises to give everyone some space. We all migrated downtown to the Armstrong Hotel, a fantastic place right in the center of it all. Built in 1932, the place had been recently remodeled and I was pleasantly surprised to see a 42-inch HDTV hanging on the wall of our giant suite. High society, my friends. (Yes, I define “high society” by the presence of electronic equipment.)
But, really, we weren’t there to watch TV. After we checked in, it was time for more beer! (I’m starting to feel like the overriding theme of all these trip reports is us acting like idiots while drinking excessive amounts of alcohol. Is it just me?) One of the pre-scheduled events for the week was a tour of the local breweries…on bikes. It was good that we got our drunken bike-ride test run completed the night before, as it was sure to get “interesting” as we circumnavigated the many bike lanes of Fort Collins between beer-drinking stops.
Our first stop was the aptly-named Fort Collins Brewery, where we met up with a contingent of the bride’s and groom’s families, everyone thrilled to be together at long last.
Some great beer to be had, it should go without saying, and Sean was so excited about the beer he decided to pour it all over his shorts. We spent about 30 to 40 minutes at FCB before reboarding the bikes for our next destination, Odell Brewing Company (I know, these brewery names aren’t very imaginative; I’d have gone with “Frankie Odell’s Bodacious Beer Factory!” The exclamation point would be required.)
This might’ve been my favorite place of the bunch, I mean, lookit that beer below! I’m no beer expert, though, so I can’t give you a paragraph on the finer points of brewing by way of discussion points involving hops, barley, aging, and choice of barrel wood. Again, just look at the picture below.
I think we were all enjoying ourselves too much to notice the skies had started to darken and by the time we did, a light rain started to fall. We deemed it a good time to finish up and move on to the next brewery on our tour; it was back to New Belgium Brewing Company, which Jenna, Ross, Kelley and I’d visited our first day in town. Ross and Kelley pounded their final beer sample and it was on the road again.
Arriving at New Belgium a scant ten minutes later, we were delighted to finally meet up with more of the East Aurora gang that’d just arrived in town. The slackers included Steve, Lindsey, and Dr. Jones. Their excuse for not arriving ’til today had to do with their “jobs” and “responsibility” or something lame like that. Squares! Nevertheless, it was great to see the group growing in numbers (still waiting on Dannyboy, Christine, Jamie, and PETER ROE), and there wasn’t a soul in that brewery without a big smile on their face. Ah, vacation.
Jenna, having become familiar with the staff when last we came here Tuesday, was apparently quite fond of one of them, whose name escapes me but I shall call “Lou.” Jenna and Lou got along swimmingly, as you can see.
With that happy exchange completed, the group finished their beer samples and boarded our bikes to head to our final stop of the tour, Coopersmith’s. Less a brewery than it is a full restaurant, there were nevertheless plenty of varieties of brew to choose from, including one that essentially tasted like it was chockful of pepper. Not my favorite, but it’d do until dinner arrived.
We all enjoyed a nice dinner, and it was about that time that things took a…let’s just say “interesting” turn. Remember Sean’s first beer of the day around 8am? I won’t go into much detail here, but suffice it to say the following equation applies: Daylong consumption of beer + Sleep deprivation + Altitude = Forced Naptime. I’ll restrict my retelling to that and this picture of Andy in the passenger seat of an ambulance. Those that weren’t there, I leave the rest to your deductive imaginations.
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THREE HOURS LATER
Just about everyone was pretty exhausted after a full day at this point, and headed to bed. The rest of us hardy souls decided to hit da club and do some dancing into the wee hours. Martha, Jenna, Justin and I changed into our dancing shoes (though I am always wearing dancing shoes) and headed to a place called Zydeco’s, to which Ross had urged we venture. I’m not sure if what we did on the dancefloor could be construed as “dancing” as much as it was an amalgam of gyration, spasms and coordinated stretching exercises, but we all had fun nonetheless.
While taking a break from our “dancing” at the bar, a guy standing off to the side by himself started freestyle dancing himself, making up his own style in the process. He was soon joined by another guy and two girls who’d just come into the place, and the four of them started their own coordinated dance routine. I couldn’t make this up; I felt like I’d walked onto the set of a twisted version of High School Musical….if it were set in a darkened bar in the middle of the night. Quite entertaining, regardless.
We got a call from Dannyboy roundabout this time, who’d just arrived in town with his girlfriend Christine. He walked through the rain from the hotel to join us at Zydeco’s for a drink or two, just in time to see a news item about one of the Buffalo Bills’ starting linebackers being out for the season flash across one of the bar’s TV’s. (Just thought I’d remind everyone the Bills can strike misery through your hearts at any time.) Spent from a jam-packed day, we walked back to the hotel together and gathered in my room to watch a bit of Sarah Palin’s speech from the Republican National Convention, for which we offered entertainingly derisive commentary. I must’ve been fading by that point, because the last memory of that night was Martha throwing fistfuls of Cheetos at me before I was out for good. I’m sure I didn’t imagine it, as I woke up in a bed full of said Cheetos. Dannyboy had also left some evidence in the form of his garbage on our floor.
What a day. Man, the week’s half over already!