Loveland, CO/Idaho Falls, ID (Part 1)

Leg 1 of my tour of Colorado and Idaho begins:

Sunday Oct 16th through Tuesday Oct 18th, 2016

Syracuse Hancock International Airport (SYR):syracuse-international-airport-logo

Not much to note here; check-in at the United Airlines kiosk was uneventful as was the security check.  For some strange reason, the line for TSA Precheck was considerably longer that the general security line.

Sunday Flights:

Syracuse (SYR) to Chicago (ORD) on United 3982 – Embraer 145, 594 miles.

This was an oversold flight (no surprise these days), with United offering $500 travel vouchers before they got the three needed people to switch flights.

Chicago (ORD) to Denver (DEN) on United 765 – Boeing 737-800, 895 miles.

Although the flight left almost 40 minutes late, we managed to arrive in Denver on-time.  One more example where there airlines bake the delays in to the flight times.

I had an isle seat up in Coach/Economy Plus, so there was a little more leg room than a standard coach seat.  There was an entertainment unit built in to each of the seat backs with direct TV, but at $9.95 for access for flights over 2 hours, I didn’t see many people taking advantage.  There was 120 volt outlets between each seat, so you could do work on your laptop without running down the battery.

My only real complaint for this leg of the trip was the gate area.  The gates in concourse “C” of O’Hare Airport are woefully undersized.  A standard 737-800 flown by United seats 160 people, and I’m guessing that the gate could accommodate maybe  2/3 of that.   A large number of the passengers had to stand in the main hall while waiting to board. (sorry, no pictures).

The first casualty of the trip:
Nautica suitcase - broken wheel.
Broken luggage wheel.

As I made my way from the baggage return to the rental agency and hotel, I thought that my suitcase was having trouble rolling along.  Upon further inspection after getting to my hotel, I discovered why – at some point between Syracuse and Denver, either my suitcase was dropped from a considerable height, or something very heavy landed on it.  The result was one of the wheels was wheel bent over and essentially locked-up.

This is definitely one more example why you shouldn’t buy yourself expensive luggage, as “normal wear and tear”, as the airlines call it, can quickly render your suitcase unusable.

Hilton Garden Inn Fort Collins

20161018_081522_mod

2821 East Harmony Road, Fort Collins, Colorado, 80528.
Two nights in room 229

Room with a view?
Room with a view?

Room with a view? – It was dark out when I checked in, but the next morning when I open the drapes, I was greeted with an excellent view of the greenery growing next to the hotel.  I suppose it’s better than facing a brick wall (I’ve had those rooms too).

Otherwise the hotel was a typical Hilton Garden, clean, comfortable with a friendly staff.  The room had a microwave, mini-frig and k-cup coffee maker.  Used the iron and ironing board with no problems.

Breakfast:

For this property, the hotel has continental buffet with fruit, yogurt, oatmeal and some pastries.  For anything else, such as eggs, omelets, hash browns, toast, etc, you have to order from the menu. But at only $10.63 for eggs, hashbrowns and toast, the price was extremely reasonable.  My only complaint with this is the extra time it took…I’m a big fan of buffet breakfast as you can quickly get something to eat and head to the job site.

Business Center:

As with the rest of the hotel, it was pretty standard; two PCs with basic software, and a couple of printers.  There was an HP printer/scanner/fax with a sign above it stating that the fax and scanner didn’t work, but if you plugged-in a USB stick, you could use the scanner.

Internet connection:

Each room has both an RJ45 jack for wired internet access (bring your own cord) and wireless available throughout the hotel.  Whenever wired is available, that’s what I use.  As with other Hilton properties, you need to sign-in on your browser to enable internet access.  Internet access is free, with higher data rates are available for an additional charge.

Dry air/Altitude:

Woke-up Monday to a raging, behind-the-eyes headache and extremely dry sinuses…welcome to the high altitude of Colorado.  Fort Collins sits at 5,003 feet above sea-level, vs. 380 feet back home in Syracuse.  Whenever I’m out here, it usually takes a couple of days and a lot of hydration to get used to the altitude.

The Uniform (Day 1):20161017_080311_mod

I’m on-site to conduct an audit, so the we’re going with a jacket, oxford and tie.  Today it’s a red floral print, with blue pinstripe shirt and brown Harris Tweed jacket.  I’m a huge fan of Harris Tweed, because it’s a great classic look, it’s practically indestructible, and you can roll it up in your case and still remain wrinkel free.  I’ve had this jacket for over twenty years, and it still looks great.

Client visit:

My client was about 10 minutes down the road from the hotel.  The day went smoothly and as you can see from the photo below, the view was great.

20161017_085854_mod

Monday night dinner:

Dinner was pretty much a no-brainer; there was a brewpub across the street from the hotel; BJ’s Brewhouse.

Mostly American inspired fare on the menu.  I wasn’t too adventurous and ordered a veggie pizza and a beer sampler:

  • Harvest Hefeweizen,
  • Hopstorm IPA,
  • Nutty Brownette,
  • Tatonka Stout.

Although I’m not on the west coast, being “west” I was anticipating a much more intense IPA, but it was failrly mild compared to what we can get in Central New York.  Each of the beers was fine, but nothing was over the top.

Statistics:

  • Nights from home: 2
  • Miles driven: 142 miles
  • Flight miles/segments: 1,489/2
  • 2016 nights on the road (so far): 53

TLR


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