This past week I was blessed with the first week of paid vacation in my working career. I have a couple friends who moved to this quaint little town, 8 hours from home, a little over a year ago and I had yet to visit them. What better way to spend a vacation?
The drive was surprisingly easy, though boring. I had to negotiate a violent 30mph headwind that put an embarrassing dent in my gas mileage, but aside from that it was pleaseant. I was a bit confused when I noticed the toll roads used cameras and license plates to charge motorists and bill them via snail-mail. I'm used to stopping at the little booths and handing money to the sweet older woman trapped in a box for 8 hours a day.
Upon my arrival, my friends and I exchanged handshakes and immediately sauntered off to a bar...at 3 in the afternoon. The bar to start the vacation was a renowned establishment dubbed "The Mayor". The bartender was a gorgeous woman, and nice as can be, which is uncommon here in my hometown. They had roughly 100 beers on tap (no that's not an exaggeration). I also ordered one of their pizzas which, by no stretch of the imagination, was phenomenal. I would've been fine if we just camped there for the duration of my stay but alas, there was much more to see.
The next day was spent touring the local breweries. The first on the list was Odell's. Unfortunately it was under major renovations, so the tour only lasted about 20 minutes. The guide was very well spoken and knew her stuff, it was a shame we couldn't do the full tour. Now the next....was incredible. We stopped by New Belgium for their last tour of the day and got possibly the best tour guide I have ever had for anything. He told jokes, he told the (romanticized) story of how the brewery came to be, he served us about 5 or 6 beers, and kept us entertained and fully engaged for almost 2 hours. I have half a mind to move to this city just to beg them for a job until they get tired of me.
The final day consisted of dressing in the swankiest of garb and throwing back a few Mint Juleps while we watched the Kentucky Derby. We got the other patrons sitting at the bar to put a few bucks on a horse of our choosing. I was torn between Verazzano and Orb....I chose wrong. Even after the loss, it was great fun. The night was topped off with some games of pool and the most delicious Old Fashioned I've ever had.
I set off for home, miraculously, at 8am today. I missed the little town of Ft. Collins and my friends as soon as I crossed its eastern border. The return trip was miserable because of this. I can't even sleep because I've been perusing Craigslist for the past few hours trying to find a job worth uprooting myself for. I have nothing against the Midwest or my hometown. However, out of everywhere that I've been, I could see myself settling in northern Colorado. In this ever-evolving utopia of beer dubbed Ft. Collins.