Day -256 – Coors Brewery

IMAG0694I’m not a complainer – honest – I hate people that find the negative in everything, but there are some days that you know someone is just not doing their best.  In fact, it was way too obvious that our host didn’t want to be on the job.

We visited the Coors Brewery in Golden, Colorado, “Taste the Rockies” they say, and we did.  Coors is very generous with their beer on their tours.  Three glasses at the end, that’s a whole lot more than we got at the Yuengling Factory last month.  But what we didn’t get was fun.  Apparently, Kyle, our guide, had had enough fun that day.

I am always fascinated by how things are made, Coors is a huge plant – the largest single site brewery in the US.  They also are a zero waste facility, nothing goes in a landfill, that’s pretty cool.  It doesn’t matter if it the waste being shipped to the farms or the cans recycled for future use, nothing goes to the dump.  I like that.  And did you know that one of the Coors family invented the aluminum can and didn’t patent it, because he wanted all companies to use it, that also is pretty cool.

These fun facts I learned by reading the walls, because our guide was whining about what a long day it was.  Three times he said he was ready to go home.  When it was all done, I told everyone who worked there what a lousy job he did.  You see, this is how I look at it.  It doesn’t matter if I was first there today, or last, my time is as valuable as the next guy’s.  I deserve 100% of what he has to give.  But let me be honest, it wasn’t just Kyle.  For a company as big and profitable as Coors, they should be trying to create fans.  That means, maybe everyone shouldn’t have to wait so long for their tour; maybe everyone should be given more information; maybe they should be trying to win us over from the start.  As it is, they have a long way to go.  Sorry Coors, no fans created here, we’re going to drink something else.


Day -246 – Person Lift

photo (2)Got to do something new today….people should know better than to leave cool equipment out where we can play with it.

At the race yesterday in Sturgis, Kentucky, Big flagged from a manlift.  It was the only way to get him over the track and keep him out of harms’ way on the short course.  I got an elevated view as well, and had my own scoring tower.  That was fun.

So, it’s Sunday now, we are cleaning up – not too bad, considering it is a shortcourse and I can walk the whole thing easily.  Afternoon arrives and we are hanging out.  Josh offers me a lesson in man lifts.  Sure, why not!

I stepped on to the platform and he starts pushing buttons.  It goes up, it goes sideways, it tilts, it rolls – you can do a lot of stuff on a man lift.  Then it was my turn.

Let’s just say…I wasn’t as smooth as Josh on the controls, but I did all of those things – tilt, up, down, sideways – well, until he told me to watch out for the power lines I was about to crash in to.  Thank goodness for Josh watching out for me.  I guess the man lift is now a person lift too – it holds both men and women, if you gotta be politically correct.

Day -233 – Helicoptering

photo (1)Six minutes in a helicopter, that’s how many I got for my $45 this afternoon, and it was worth every penny.  I sat in front next to the pilot, my seatbelt holding me from carreening out the open door.  My arm flew out every twenty seconds to wave at someone below me.  The altimeter showed we were at about 1,000 feet most of the time, but our daring pilot liked to skim the tops of trees and dive to the river.

The tour of the mountain and the river included the cross on the side of the mountain, the competition areas, the full ten miles of river and up and over the top of the campground.  It was beautiful and peaceful to see all the people spread out enjoying the recreation available.  The wind buffeted the craft and created a peace all it’s own, there was nothing else to hear but the hard rock being pumped through the headphones, one more thing to get your adrenalin pumping.

All of us were wearing headphones and microphones, I could hear the couple in the back exclaiming regularly, “on my, God”  “  whoa, whoa”  and the giggles.  That’s my favorite go-to when I’m scared.  But I wasn’t, it seemed like the most natural thing, I have flown before, even piloted before, in my quest for a license I never finished.  But, the helicopter seemed a natural flight to me.  It gained speed quickly, dipped and dove, the only thing I looked for – and didn’t find – was an “oh, shit” handle.  Even the Jeep has one of those.


Day -232 – More food

photo (4)Memorial weekend, a fine time for hanging with friends in the woods.  We found ourselves in between Birmingham, Alabama and Fredericksburg, Texas – somewhere near the half way point on some map is Cass, Arkansas.  It’s a small town, population: a handful, and five and a half miles from the turnoff you will find Byrd’s Adventure Center.

Byrd’s is redneck heaven, not a lot of rules, there is a river, four wheel drive trails and this weekend, an event called Madness in May.  Our friends Duane and Cody from Come Get Ya Some Motorsports are the hosts.  They recruit their friends to help them put on a little competition through the woods.  It’s a competition that has been going on for 13 years.  Some of the best rock crawlers got their start here.

The highlight for many is the muddin’ for life competition, the highlight for me was the crawfish boil.  Eighty pounds of crawfish, still squirming in the ice chest succumbed to the boiling water and curled their tails.  That’s how you know they hit the water still alive.  The corn and potatoes were seasoned heavily with Old Bay, or something like it.  The shrimp and Andouille followed, all of it heavily spiced and delicious.  This is a finger food meal, everyone standing around the double picnic tables covered in plastic.  There are no serving platters, no worrying about insects, you just crowd around and get ready to eat.

Eating fresh crawfish is easier than you are made to believe, the tail snaps right off and you toss the rest of it.  If you want to suck the head, it is really just the body cavity, that’s where the spice tends to gather.  Of course, that’s also where the intestines are, so it looks like poop.  Really, just like baby poop.  The tail itself, you break the pins holding it together on the ends and then either peel it like a shrimp or pinch the other end and coax it out of the shell with your teeth.  I like to look at my food, so I tended to peel the shell all the way off.

Of the sixty people standing around eating, I didn’t see one raise their eyebrows at the little waterbugs, every kid who walked by me had a plateful.  It’s good to see young ones enjoying a great meal.

The biggest thing I noticed about the weekend was the kids, there isn’t a phone to be found out here on the mountain, everyone is talking to each other, enjoying the company and nature around them.  We watched three kids in the river yesterday go from swimming to fishing to skipping stones in ten minutes or less, then start all over again.  Ahhh, to be a kid again.

Day -226 – Public fixin’

photoOne of our favorite things is finding local restaurants, sounds easy, but it’s not always.  What you find in most cities is chain restaurants, and lots of them. Now, I know there is a place for chain restaurants, they provide comfort because there are no surprises, you can get the same cheeseburger in Pocatello, Idaho as you can find in Gardendale, Alabama and almost all points in between and beyond.  But, if you want innovation, if you want an experience, you have to find a local place for that.

One such place is Porky’s WagonWheel in Fultundale, Alabama.  It’s a little bit out of the way, just behind the Chevron station, in fact, if you didn’t know better, you might not recognize it.  The first time we went, we drove right past.  The locals had told us about the Wagon Wheel, they hadn’t mentioned Porky’s.  Porky’s is what we found first, it is a bbq place that has been around for awhile, they were closing in 15 minutes when we arrived the first time, “but the steakhouse is open for another hour,” the hostess pointed us through the swinging doors.

The steakhouse and Porky’s belong to Harry, the proprieter of this little gem.  Porky’s has been around for awhile, the steakhouse was added eight months ago, and it is going great.  The menu is simple, there are five kinds of steak…rib eye, tbone, New York, and two others that didn’t appeal to me.  You pick your meat, pick the way you want it cooked and sit back and relax.  Sounds familiar, right?  Maybe not quite when you hear the rest.  The salad bar and potato bar come with the steak, and the price is the same for each cut of beef.  No haggling, no worrying about which is priced better, the weights will be what differentiates the different steaks, that is all.

The boys chose to continue this path and let Harry take care of their steaks, I chose to cook my own.  You see, the grill is 8 foot by 6 foot and is right in the center of the room.  As the patron, you can season it just the way you want and lay it out on the grill and cook your own.  It was pretty awesome, I hung close to Harry, learning the tricks of the trade, obviously he had fixed more meat on that grill than I ever would, so I figured I could learn a thing or two.

Our ribeyes came out perfect, add a salad, an Idaho russet and some sweet-tea and it pretty much was the best meal I’ve had in a very long time.  Good luck finding that experience in a chain restaurant.