My Martian Weekend

The Martian

Through both the recommendation of Mary Chapman, a family friend from Lawrence, KS, and of my good buddy Jonathan Vieker, who read it before me, I checked out The Martian by Andy Weir from the library.  I was 80 pages into it before Erin and I left for our weekend in Fort Collins, CO.  

I read it during the entire flight over to Denver. It had me hooked. It is so well researched, and is one of the best real science sci-fi books I’ve read.  The Martian is a survival story that takes problem solving to the extreme.  Little did I know, Erin and I would have our own problem solving to do that weekend.

Fort Collins

We flew in pretty late to Denver on Friday night, rented a car from Dollar rental, and drove to my cousin Jody’s place in Fort Collins. We got there late enough that the liquor stores were closed and had to resort to buying some beer from a grocery store with not as good of a selection. The beer for the night was a Singletrack Copper Ale from Boulder Brewing company. 
On Saturday morning, we made Bloody Marys from a Bloody Mary bar at the Silver Grille Cafe, and after a long 45 minute wait, had a delicious breakfast.

Pleepleus likes Bloody Marys

Odell Brewing was our next stop. I was finally able to try the Tree Shaker, which is a double imperial Peach IPA.  Right down the road from Odell was our second brewery for the day: Funkwerks.

Bike Rack at Odell

 Once we had our fill at Funkwerks, we went to the Horse & Dragon for a sample of several of their beers. We switched things up a little and then went to Scrumpy’s, a hard cider and mead bar. Right across the street from Scrumpy’s was Compass Cider, where we went immediately following.

Jody and Jason in front of Horse & Dragon

 Once we landed at Pateros Creek Brewing Company, we got some darts and played an intense game. It was neck and neck until Jody hit the bulls eye for the win.  Jody & Erica took down Jason & Erin.  It was at Pateros that we finally made the two J&E’s connection.

It got really fuzzy from there. We made our way to Hodi’s Half Note for a little taste of some live music and a few beers. I specifically remember watching Wisconsin defeat Kentucky at this place and getting excited about that. We probably should have made our way home afterwards, but instead we stopped for some Moscow Mules at Old Town Distilling Co. Barrel Room.  I had a headache the next morning.

So, we went hiking. We hiked along the North Fork Cache La Poudre River. It was invigorating and very much needed.

Erin with a view of Milton Seaman Reservoir

Black Bottle Brewing company was our after hike stop, which we followed with Easter dinner at Jody’s dad’s place.  That evening, we rented Intersteller and John Wick for a movie night. Intersteller wasn’t bad, it just had the ending that panders to the general movie watching public, which I didn’t like.  John Wick was a movie about a guy who shoots over 75 people (mostly in the head) and wins. Sorry I spoiled it for you if you were wanting to watch it. The message I think the movie was trying to convey was that one should not f*** with John Wick.

The Adventure After the Adventure

We packed up Monday morning and had breakfast at Snooze Cafe before heading for the Denver International Airport. We turned in our rental car and hopped on a shuttle to the airport.  As we got closer to the airport, Erin turned to the luggage rack and saw a loose coat that looked exactly like mine.  She asked me if it was my coat.  No, it wasn’t my coat.  But, that was a very good question, because my coat was also not in my bag. It was back at Jody’s in Fort Collins. So what, right? She can mail it to me, right?  Well, the only key to the car parked at the Kansas City Airport, to which we were flying, was in that coat. Shit.
This wasn’t a life or death situation, like about every problem solving situation was for Mark Watney in The Martian, but it definitely was a problem that needed solving. I felt like saying, “Don’t Worry! I’ve read The Martian! I’ve got this!”  
Although we gave ourselves plenty of time before our flight, there was definitely not enough time to get to Fort Collins and back before our flight. We needed to find out where the two spare keys were as quickly as we could. There was a fairly easy solution if one was in Lawrence, but it would take the help of friends there. 
Both spares were in Kirksville.
Everyone in Fort Collins was having a crazy busy day, and there was no way they could get away. At best, they could overnight the keys someplace. We sought other solutions. 
I called Suburu in Kansas City to see if they could have a replacement made if we gave them the VIN number (printed nicely on the insurance card in my wallet). It took way too long for the guy on the other end of the phone to finally get to the answer we feared. It couldn’t be done without a spare key. 
The flight was quickly approaching. While Erin thought of other solutions I approached the lady at the counter and told her of our situation. I just wanted to check whether there was a later flight to KC and how much it would cost. She sympathized and told me she would just switch us both to the later flight for free if that would help our situation. YES!
Now we had plenty of time to figure out how to get a key in Fort Collins. In hindsight, the best solution would probably have been to ask Jody to swing by the shuttle bus place, hand the driver the key and $5 and tell them there would be someone on the other end waiting for the key with another $5. It would have been a gamble, but I bet the driver would have done it.  
So, what did we do? After exploring several options, it was the least costly just to rent a car, drive it back up to Fort Collins to retrieve the key, and then get ourselves back to the airport. 
We were only delayed about 6 hours. 
Erin has committed to “bothering” me on trips again and asking whether I’ve got everything. I did the smart thing and didn’t argue.  

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