Breckenridge Summer Beer Festival

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This weekend I joined David, Armando, Jim, and Ron in Breckenridge, where we rented a townhouse off of 4 O’Clock Trail Road. After a long week at work, I braved I-70 and drove up on Friday evening. I stopped for provisions at the liquor store and City Market and went straight to the hot tub, where we waited for Jim to arrive before having a home-cooked dinner.

On Saturday, I had the best intentions of utilizing my time in the mountains to get out and be in them, but being lazy while dehydrated was a whole lot more appealing. We had breakfast and hung around the house until the afternoon, when we walked down the road to attend the Breckenridge Summer Beer Festival at the parking lot of the Beaver Run Resort near Base Nine.

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TastingsIt was a temperate, sunny day, the beer was cold, and the crowds weren’t overwhelming. We had a good time checking out the various beer, cider, and liquor offerings; I lost count of how many vendors were in attendance, but I’d estimate 60 stalls. Back-of-the-envelope math says we each had around 90 ounces of beer (about 7.5 12-ounce beer bottles) over the course of a several hours. I’m pretty sure my favorite was Destihl Brewery’s Sour Cherry Stout, though it was also the last thing I tried. After inhaling a bowl of Indian food and other snacks, we wandered back up the hill and relaxed for the rest of the night. We didn’t have the momentum to venture out in the town, as previously discussed.

The next morning I abandoned my plans again for an early hike at Mayflower Gulch, opting to head back home before all the other flatlanders had the same idea. I parted ways with the rest of the group, who stayed in town either for the day or for another night. Good times, good company!

Doudy Draw – Spring Brook Loop hike

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In preparation for hiking the Nakahechi route of the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage trails later this year, I’m attempting to do a hike every two weeks (or less) in the months leading up to the trip.

IMG_8035To kick off my hiking season, I decided to ease myself back into the swing of things by doing something local. I woke up early on Saturday, grabbed a Cliff Bar, and hit the road to Boulder, arriving at the near-empty parking lot around 7:15a. The air was crisp, but it was sunny and I knew it would warm up soon. I strapped on my boots, sprayed on the obligatory SPF 30, and hit the trail!

It started off as a steady ascent, and the wide, gravel path slowly turned into a rocky but well-worn trail. There were already a half dozen runners and a few bicyclists out taking advantage of the cool temps. As I walked, I marveled at the looming Flatiron mountains and appreciated the wildflowers littering the surrounding grassy foothills, thoroughly enjoying my time of reflection and solitude.

Because the weather was near-perfect and there was plethora of scenery to take in, the hike went by quickly and I was done within two hours. By the time I reached the parking lot again, cars were spilling out into the street trying to park along the road. I happily gave up my prime spot and headed back east to start my day.

Lower Division Champs!

2015 Pole Dancers

After an intense weekend of well-fought games, I’m proud to say that we won the 2015 DASL lower division championship! This was my first season with the team and I’m pretty impressed with what we accomplished. We worked hard, but having fun was the priority – and it paid off!

Pre-game war faceTeammates!

A Good Hurt

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I met Chris, Dan and Adam in the hotel restaurant for another impressive breakfast buffet. Dan and Adam decided to spend their morning shopping for electronics while Chris and I opted to pay a visit to nearby Urban Retreat for a traditional Thai massage.

We ordered 2-hour Oriental Package for only 1,100 baht, which included 40 minutes of foot massage, 10 minutes of head and shoulders massages, and 70 minutes of Thai massage with herbal balls. They seated us, served us water, exchanged our shoes for comfortable sandals, and took us upstairs to wash our feet. Then we were taken in a dimly-lit room with mattresses on the floor and given scrub-like pajamas to change into. Our masseuses were scary-strong and more than a few times I caught myself wondering if I should speak up; they were really beating up on us! The tea afterwards made up for it, before we hobbled back to the hotel to shower and meet up with the others.

image Feeling refreshed, the four of us wandered next door to the Terminal 21 mall to have lunch in the food court. Normally a mall food court would be the last place I’d want to refuel while on vacation, but there were close to fifty independent food stalls to choose from, each with their own Thai dish options that they would prepare fresh for you. I tried the yellow curry with beef and pad Thai. It’s safe to say that mall Thai food in Thailand is far better than most of the upscale Thai restaurants that I’ve visited in the US. Dan made me try durian and sticky rice for dessert, which had a very… unique… texture and taste. Not terrible, but nothing I would seek out on my own.

Jetlag was starting to set in, so we took a nap break before we took the BTS elevated train visit the BACC arts center. The Thai-related exhibits were fairly unremarkable. We cruised through, retrieved money at the ATM, and walked across the street to MBK, a huge, Blade Runner-esque mall to peruse the merchant stalls and shops.

Our interests quickly turned towards refreshments, so we reboarded the BTS and made our way through some residential neighborhoods. Eventually, we came across Mikkeller, a trendy (but nearly empty) bar. We enjoyed several rounds of interesting imports and conversed with the American bartender. It turns out they were in talks with the proprietors of Modern Times, a San Diego-based brewery, to get their beer on draught. Thirst quenched and sleepy, we returned to the hotel to retire for the evening.

Autumn Classic Softball Tournament

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Last weekend I joined a group of 13 other softball players in San Diego to represent Denver in the 2014 Autumn Classic. Most of us had played in the DASL league in Denver over the summer, but not all on the same team.

I flew into town on Thursday night and stayed with good friends, Chris and Dan. I got up early and worked remotely on Friday, finishing early enough in the day to tour the town on Shon’s 39th birthday. We had lunch and beer at Carnitas’ Snack Shack and later drove over to Point Loma to explore Cabrillo National Monument and the tide pools. Afterwards, we quickly checked out Sunset Cliffs and then headed to Great Maple for a fun and delicious team dinner. We went to Rich’s briefly to register for the tournament before meeting up with some local friends at Pecs for more beer.

The tournament dragged all of us out of bed early, with out first game starting at 8am. It wasn’t our finest playing – we lost with a final score of 25-4. We used it as a warm-up for our next game at 9am, though, where we hit our stride and won with a score of 31-2.  I enjoyed playing 1st base with this group – For only have a handful of practices together, we gelled pretty well. After a few hours, we played and lost our third game of the day.

That night I organized a dinner with 12 friends at Waypoint Public, with great beer, tasty dishes, and enjoyable company. From there, a handful of us walked down to a newer brewery, Modern Times, for a few beers and good conversation. Overall, it was a great evening and I really enjoyed catching up with my San Diego friends.

The next morning, we played the same team we beat (31-2) the day before. They were more lively this round, giving us a run for our money. The score was tied in the last inning and a teammate got a base hit, sending me home to score a final run, winning  the game.

We immediately started the next game, but lost – it seems the 4 previous games had taken their toll and we were tired. Adrian (unknowingly) let me use his bat for the weekend, and I was really surprised by my hitting – somehow I managed 2 triples, 3 doubles, and a handful of singles – something I’ll have to follow up on.

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Though we were knocked out of the tournament, we now had time to enjoy the city. I was lazy for the afternoon, cruising over to Coronado before heading over to The Hole to catch up with some friends and enjoy a Flaco Burger. I called it an early night and watched some TV at Chris and Dan’s house. In the morning, I again worked remotely from the house, stopping for a street taco lunch at a new tacqueria, Perla Tacos, and giving Dan a quick softball introduction at Balboa Park. I reluctantly flew back to Denver that night.

Despite being a quick trip, I thoroughly enjoyed being back to San Diego for the first time in over a year. I was able to catch up with friends, visit my old haunts, act as tour guide for Shon, and play in a pretty fun tournament with great teammates.