The Duo Does Deadwood

Awesome K and I were looking for something to watch. It was one of the rare nights we were home with nothing to do, and thought that loafing on the couch sounded like the best idea. So, we perused the usual places, Netflix, our DVR, and our extensive movie shelf. Nothing. Nada. Zilcho. What were we to do? Just then, A.K remembered a show he had seen, and loved. HBO’s Deadwood! I was skeptical, Westerns have never been a favorite of mine, but he was so enthusiastic, I couldn’t say no!

After a couple of episodes, I was hooked. Even though the show was not filmed on location, it was still filled with snippits of history. The death of Wild Bill Hickok! Calamity Jane! And, of course, Seth Bullock. Seth happens to be my favorite, by the way. Not just the character on the show, but the man himself. Mr. Bullock has such an interesting story! Last, but not least, the infamous Al Swearengen! Mr. Swearengen is particularly interesting, because there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot known about him, and we all know how much I love a mystery! So, after watching the show for a little bit, I started to research the real Deadwood, South Dakota.

One thing led to another, and we decided we needed to see this piece of the wild west for ourselves. It just so happens that they have some casinos there, so not only could we get a rich lesson in history, we could also play some poker! A perfect combination! We were also able to find a brewery the A.K had heard about, so we knew this was the next adventure for us. We left for Deadwood on a Saturday morning, with me behind the wheel. We stopped for our (my) obligatory road Starbucks, then we were off!

We made a couple of minor pit-stops on our way to our first real stop in Rapid City, S.D. We stopped to see if we could see the Oregon Trail – as all the signs said we could – but we were unsuccessful. We drove around a little bit trying to find some of it, but quickly gave up. While it would have been neat to see, it was not our main focus. We had a brewery to get to! Onward!

Firehouse Brewing Co Hose Our first stop on our Deadwood Adventure was in Rapid City, S.D. To some this may not seem like a very exciting destination, but we couldn’t wait to get there. A.K had heard of a brewery there that had some pretty amazing food and brews, and I couldn’t wait to see it because of the growlers they sell! I had been saving my pennies in order to buy one of these magnificent beer vessels, and I was not disappointed. The Firehouse Brewing Company in Rapid City was everything we hoped it would be, and more!

A must have for any beer enthusiast.
A must have for any beer enthusiast

After filling up on food, beer, and hilarity, we hit the road. Rumor had it that it was going to snow, and snow a lot, so we had to hustle to Deadwood. An ominous sky hung over us while we scurried through Sturgis, and we made it to our hotel just as the first flakes began to fall. We arrived at Cadillac Jack’s Hotel and Casino just in time! Situated just outside of the main stretch, Cadillac Jack’s is a great place to stay. Comfortable, great gaming options, nice rooms, and you have two different hotels to choose from! Both are connected to the casino, so no matter what side of the house you stay on, you are still close to the games. We stayed in in the Cadillac Jack’s rooms, as opposed to the Marriott, and were very impressed. The room was very large, comfortable, and VERY affordable. If you are looking for a reasonable place to stay, I would check them out. If you are in it for the history, though, I might look at staying on Main Street. ((A handy tip when looking for a room, try We have found incredible rates on a number of our adventures, but especially to Deadwood. If you have a specific hotel in mind, check their website, and especially their Facebook page. Often hotels will advertise special rates and deals on Facebook. If all else fails, call them and ask for a discount, especially if it during their “off season.”)) We settled into our room after a painless check in, then hit the casino! I have spent a fair amount of time in casinos, especially lately, and I have to say that I really enjoyed Cadillac Jack’s. Everything was spaced out nicely so that nothing felt cramped or scary, there was a good variety of games, and there were two separate areas dedicated to table games, one for poker only, and the other for Black Jack and what-not. The poker room seemed a little small, but I am used to the Ameristar that has a TON of tables, it seems, so seeing only a couple of tables seemed small to me. There was at least one table open for a cash game, though, and there was a rumor of some decent daily tournaments. We headed off to check out the slot machines and other table games, and to just relax after our drive.


The next morning we stepped outside to a mini Snow-pocalypse. The dreaded blizzard was in full force, and there was no going anywhere. While we were a little bummed, we made the best of it by checking out the previously mentioned poker tournament. A.K has played in tournaments before, and has even played at the World Series of Poker (a couple of times), I, however, had no tournament experience (other than video games). Needless to say I was a little nervous, and A.K was calm, cool, and ready to kick Deadwood booty! For my first ever live tournament, it was pretty stress free. The buy-in was only $13, with a $5 re-buy, so I didn’t need to worry that I was going to lose all our money in my first “big game.” Even with the blizzard, there ended up being a decent turn-out, with two full tables of players. Everyone playing seemed really nice (and obviously everyone knew one another, small town and all), and the game itself was pretty low key and fun. I didn’t do all that well, but I can say I was not the first knocked out, which is nice. A.K was a different story, however. He was ON FIRE! That little poker room didn’t know what hit it! Well, maybe not quite that dramatic…First he was doing well, then he made it to the final table, he made it “to the money”, then he ended up winning the tournament, winning $177! I was pretty impressed (although I know he is a phenomenal poker player), and I think everyone else was pretty impressed, too. Way to kick butt A.K!

Luck was definitely on our side that afternoon. After A.K won the tournament, we checked the weather outside and it had let up! There was even a little trolley running! We would get to see some of Deadwood after all! YAY! We bundled up and headed out.

Deadwood TrolleyWe decided to take the super cool trolley to upper Main Street, and walk back down. Deadwood is not a very big town, and when the weather is nice it would be easy to walk pretty much the whole place. If you wanted to, you could ride the trolley in a large loop around the town, and pick and choose where to get off at. There are multiple stops on the route, and the trolley runs into the wee hours of the night, so if you change your mind about all the walking, you can hop on the trolley to get you where you wanted to go. On our trip, we almost didn’t make it up the street, the roads were slick and the snow was pretty deep in some places. Luckily our trolley was pretty tough, and we made it to our stop.

We started meandering down Main Street, looking in at all the cool little shops and what-nots. There is so much history crammed into such a small town, I was afraid we would miss something! Luckily there are placards all over the place letting you know who was here, how something happened, and where you were standing. It was nice to see all the information was readily available. Despite some places were closed due to weather, or it being the wrong day of the week (turns out Monday’s are pretty dead, so bare that in mind. It’s always good to find out in advance what days most places are closed, if Monday’s are their off days, or Wednesdays. Be sure to plan ahead!), we were still able to see a lot of the things we had hoped for. One of our first stops was to check out the Historic Bullock Hotel. Built by Seth Bullock, it was originally a warehouse and (I think) hardware store. After a fire burnt down the warehouse, Seth built his hotel on the same site. While we were checking out the gorgeous hotel, we learned that Bullock was the father of two daughters and a son (nothing like the show said of his family), longtime friends with Teddy Roosevelt, and was appointed the first forest supervisor by Roosevelt, in addition to being Sheriff, and entrepreneur. We learned that Seth may even haunt his hotel, and that one of his favorite spots is the grand fireplace on the first level. It was said to be a favorite of his in life, and apparently still loves it after his death.

The GemAfter checking out some more of the buildings around town, we headed toward the infamous Gem Saloon! The Gem Steakhouse and Saloon is now part of the Mineral Palace Hotel and Gaming, with the Gem as a restaurant on the second floor. On the site of the original Gem, built and run by the notorious Al Swearengen, the Gem Steakhouse and Saloon is a great place to stop and get a bite to eat. The prices are reasonable, with the menu following the Deadwood (show) theme. You can order the (Dan) Dority Black and Bleu Steak, Mr. Woo’s Pork Ribs, or Merrick’s Ribeye. They also offer Calamity Jane’s chicken and Joanie Stubbs Grilled Swordfish. I had the black and bleu, and A.K tried the garlic ribeye. Both were delicious, and well worth the stop.

One of the places we were really hoping to see, and didn’t get to because of the weather, was Mount Moriah Cemetery, the final resting place for Wild Bill Hickok, Calamity Jane, Seth Bullock, and a few other famous Deadwood residents. The snow was too nasty, unfortunately. If you are planning on going, make sure you wear good walking shoes, and plan for at least half an hour of looking around. We heard it is a bit of a hike to see Seth Bullock’s grave, so keep that in mind when planning your visit to the cemetery. Wild Bill and Calamity Jane are pretty easy to check out, we heard.

We walked back to our hotel and reveled in the little bit of history we were able to take in on that snowy Monday afternoon. While we didn’t get to see and do everything we had planned on, it was still a lot of fun to traipse through a snowy Deadwood.

Two-Headed Calf!
Two-Headed Calf!

The next morning, before heading back to AwesomeSauce Headquarters, we decided to try and check out the Adams Museum. It was closed the day before, which was a bummer, and we wanted to try to see it before we left. We were in luck as they were open and ready for visitors, so on our way out of town we made one last Deadwood stop. When you go to Deadwood, this is a must see location! While it looks small from the outside, the three level museum is packed to the gills with Deadwood history and items, as well as some rare and unusual items from all over! There was a whole section dedicated to Wild Bill and Calamity Jane, which was really neat to see. It contained Hickok’s last letter to his wife (that they read on the HBO show), memorabilia from his show days, clothes, and so much more! We learned a lot more about Calamity Jane’s past, the woman who claimed to be her daughter (which turned out to be untrue), and were able to get a better idea of who the wild woman was. There was also a neat section in the museum dedicated to the Jewish founders, and the Chinese population of Deadwood. One of my favorite sections was the oddities section, with the not-to-be-missed two headed calf!


On the upper floor you can learn about the town’s history. Fires! Gambling! Brothels! Read the headlines from original newspapers, and learn all there is to know of Deadwood’s beginnings, and almost ends. There is also an area with some of the most intricate and beautifully wooden furniture! In the basement you find out more about the first schools, and how it was to be a learning child in a lawless town.

After a wonderful morning spent in a great little museum, we had to head home. Driving out we noticed a lot of land for sale, and “joked” about when we win the World Series of Poker, maybe we would buy some land and build a house in the Black Hills. It is a gorgeous area, and it would be easy to move in and relax. Maybe pan for gold in the streams while enjoying quiet nights with the stars, trees, and wildlife for company. Sounds pretty nice, when you think about it.

All in all it was a very fun adventure! I highly recommend going to Deadwood, via Rapid City. We are going to go back sometime when the weather is nice, and hopefully see more of what Deadwood has to offer. We might even try to make it to the town of Wall, and check out the Wall Drug store we saw so many signs for!

Thank you for joining us on our adventure! Is there someplace we missed that you think we should go? Want more information about one of our stops? Got a spot we should go on our next adventure? Tell us about it!

This post brought to you by G-Sauce. G-Sauce is a member of the AwesomeSauce Duo, and author in the Are You Ready? blog series. She works closely with the AwesomeSauce Duo P.R Manager – and Mews – Sir Archer Funnyfoot, with the Trip Coordinator – and Mews – Miss Matilda Pants, and with the Head of Logistics – and Mews – Secret Agent Sam. She loves a good cup of coffee, enjoys reading, and has a soft spot for all things nerdy.



AwesomeSauce Team….ASSEMBLE!

Here at AwesomeSauce Headquarters, we work (fairly) hard to bring the world some adventure! Between planning trips, researching routes, and, of course, eventually writing about our shenanigans, there is a lot that goes in to our overall Awesomeness. Luckily the authors, Awesome K and G-Sauce, are not alone! Let us introduce you to our dedicated team of Adventures!

los pollos hermanosHead Writer – Lead Cat Herder – CFO of Shenanigans – Director of Fantastical Operations – G Sauce (aka Saucy G, Nenner)

G Sauce has been adventuring for over 25 years, traveling the globe in search of all things Awesome. In 2001, she and Secret Agent Sam starting forming what would become the AwesomeSauce Team, eventually adding Miss Matilda Pants in 2002, Awesome K in 2012, and most recently adding Mr. Foots in 2013. Prior to becoming CFO of Shenanigans at Team AwesomeSauce, she, along with Sam and Miss Pants, earned her Bachelor Degree in Criminal Justice and Criminology from Metropolitan State College of Denver. She has worked a number of interesting jobs, everything from Dog Groomer to Probation Officer, G Sauce has done a little of everything. G Sauce is currently Head Writer for the Team, as well as being Director of Fantastical Operations, and consults regularly with Trip Coordinator, Miss Pants, on where to go and what to do next. When she is not off exploring all the world has to offer with Awesome K, G Sauce enjoys reading, fly fishing, treading water at the poker table, and all things geek/nerd/awesome related.

A.K keeps an eye out for the feds while I play on the swingsDirector of Logistical Inevitabilities – CEO of Shenanigans – Lead Editor – Writer – Craft Beer Devotee – Awesome K (aka The Kevin, Mr. Sweetheart, S, Sir Kevin S )

Awesome K began interning at AwesomeSauce Headquarters in August of 2012. After a lot of hard work, dedication, and a well deserved recommendation from then CEO Secret Agent Sam, Awesome K was officially added to the AwesomeSauce Team, finally completing the AwesomeSauce Duo. Since then, Awesome K has worked as Head Chef, Lead of Support, Writer, and has been recently named as Director of Logistical Inevitabilities (congratulations Awesome K!). In 2013, Awesome K hired Mr. Foots to manage P.R, and since then the two have been inseparable, always working together on new ideas and ways to further the AwesomeSauce goals. When Awesome K is not hard at work at AwesomeSauce Headquarters, he can be founding slinging beer at Arvada Beer Company, swinging golf clubs, flinging cards at the poker tables, and singing the songs of his peoples.


Secret Agent SamHead of Logistics – Mews – Secret Agent Sam (aka Sweetie Thai Prince, Sir Samwise PuddinBuns of House Fluffington, Sam, Mama’s Puddin’)

Before joining the AwesomeSauce Team in 2001, Sam was a decorated Secret Agent. While much of his past is still classified, it is rumored that he had a paw in hundreds of covert and secret cases. After retiring with honor from the Secret Service, Sam joined G-Sauce to form the first stages of AwesomeSauce. As a founding member, Sam has had many roles on the team, as well as a variety of side businesses and ventures. From Head of Security, to Sous Chef, Sam has done it all for the AwesomeSauce Team. In 2007, both he and Miss Pants earned their Bachelor of Science Degrees in Criminal Justice and Criminalisitics from Metropolitan State College in Denver, Colorado. Sam has also been the founder and CEO of a few Clubs, restaurants, and other smaller side businesses. After Miss Pants was found to be involved in an embezzling scandal, stealing from Sam’s various Clubs with attempts to run to Venezuela, Sam decided to retire from CEO-dom, and decided to focus solely on the AwesomeSauce adventures. He has taken Mr. Foots under his wing, and has helped cultivate the AwesomeSauce Team to be the success that it is today. With amble time to relax, Sam has turned his attentions to gardening, cat-bed-testing, and enjoys carpet swimming and watching television. His favorite shows include HBO’s Game of Thrones, and Netflix’s Orange is the New Black.All BusinessSweetie Thai Prince


Coordinator Matilla the HunTrip Coordinator – Mews – Miss Matilda Pants (aka Madam Pantalones of House Fluffington, Miss Pants, Matilla the Hun)

After defecting from the KGB, Miss Pants led a life on the run. She went deep into hiding, living with squirrels, eating off the land, and fighting for survival. Finally she was able to find asylum in a place she had previously staked out for the KGB, the AwesomeSauce Headquarters. She moved in during the fall of 2002, and quickly adapted to her new life as Trip Coordinator, Mews, and Queen of All the Things. Miss Pants is a dedicated member of the AwesomeSauce team, working on trip planning of all sorts, and can often be found meditating on maps in order to find the best routes for the Duo to travel. In recent years she has taken a more relaxed approach to life, retiring from her role as Neighborhood Watch President so that she can focus on her rigid nap routines. She still enjoys communicating with the squirrel community, attending the annual Squirrels of the World convention. She no longer plots to run to Venezuela. Or run Venezuela, thankfully.

Squirrel TalkerSerious Business


P.R Manager P.R Manager – Mews – Sir Archer Funnyfoot Wobblesworth of House Fluffington (aka Archer, Mr. Foots, Sweet Beebee)

Archer is a recent member of the AwesomeSauce Adventure Team, being hired in September of 2013. Prior to joining the AwesomeSauce Team, Mr. Foots was a reckless and wild Secret Agent, but after getting his burn notice, he was forced into a very early retirement. Secret Agent Sam, being a former Agent himself, agreed to bring the young gun onto the team, after being hired as an intern by Awesome K. Though young, Mr. Foots has proven to be a versatile member of the team! Whether working hard to promote the AwesomeSauce Duo, researching social media outlets and marketing campaigns, being a one cat Ad Man, or being a mews to the writers, Mr. Foots is always ready to do whatever is needed, and is willing to put in long hours helping at the computer. When not working diligently as our P.R Manager, Mr. Foots enjoys gardening, running, and hunting bugs. He currently holds the record for Most Bugs Caught in a Single Day!



Looking for Adventure!

Here at AwesomeSauce Headquarters, we are always plotting and planning our next adventure. Whether it be a trip to the local breweries, a jaunt to the far reaches of the state, or on a road-trip, we are always looking for things to see and do!

We gain inspiration for a variety of sources. One of G-Sauce’s favorite websites in particular, Roadside America, is a treasure trove of adventure ideas! Often while planning an excursion, G-Sauce will check there first, to see if there is anything worth finding, such as a giant Muffler Man, or the World’s Largest Pistachio Nut.

Do you have any recommendations? Any wacky, crazy, awesome, and perhaps little known pocket of awesome that you want to share? Tell us all about it!

Blast From the Past – Oskar Blues

Looking for adventure? Why not check out this Blast From the Past!

Originally Posted 11/30/12


Earlier this week Awesome K and I went on a whirlwind tour of a few of Colorado’s finest breweries. Our Epic Adventure included a trip to the Odell Brewery in Fort Collins (as described in Part I), as well as a brief trip to the Fort Collins Brewery and with a grand finale at the Oskar Blues Brewery in Longmont.

After touring the Odell Brewery, A.K and I skipped down the street – arm in arm – down to The Fort Collins Brewery. Ok, maybe we didn’t actually skip arm in arm, but we could have. We were kind of hoping to take a tour of their brewery while we were there, but they only do tours on Saturdays, and it was a Tuesday. We could see the brewery through the glass windows in their restaurant, Gravity 1020, so we we were able to catch a glimpse of their beer magic.

Fort Collins Brewing Company is delicious

While there we grabbed a quick snack, and yes, another beer. I had something dark with a hint of chocolaty goodness, and A.K had something dark with a hint of something…else that was delicious. Our snack, however, was A LOT more memorable.

A.K introduced me to Poutine. “Fresh-cut french fries smothered in Kidd Lager mushroom gravy and topped with cheddar cheese curds” with some steak added. Sweet Baby Cheesits this was one of the most delicious things I have eaten in a long time. The mushrooms melted in my mouth, the fries weren’t too soggy, and the cheese was delectable. A true delight!

After out wonderful appetizer and beer, we trucked on down to Longmont for dinner. I have been to Oskar Blues a couple of times before, but I have to say that going with A.K was a totally different, and much better experience. He makes everything an awesome adventure!

A cool lamp at the Oskar Blues

For dinner at Oskar Blues, I had the BB King Burger with a side of mashed potatoes, because that’s how I roll. A.K was a little better about his dinner diet, and had the Jambalaya. I washed down my incredible burger with some of Mama’s Little Yella Pils. After all the dark beer of the day, it was a refreshing and light change. Not normally something I enjoy, but I loved the pairing with the burger.

I had heard of the Tasty Weasel, but had never been in. Surprising, since it has such a great name! I convinced A.K to stop in with the promise of Skee-Ball. Not to pass up a chance to show off his mad skills, we swung by after our delicious dinner. A.K had just recently had a Tap Takeover at his bar, The Archive Room, with Oskar Blues as the star. It was a huge success, and it was neat to see, and try, some of the beer that was featured at his Takeover. He and his bar are also planning on having their holiday party with Oskar Blues, and after eating at the Homemade Liquids and Solids restaurant, the Bar Manager was hoping to incorporate dinner into his holiday event. I had thought that they might also visit the Tasty Weasel, if the Skee-Ball was worth it…but first, our reconnaissance mission to the warehouse hole in the wall bar/brewery.

Skee-Ball and Beer? Don’t mind if I do!

Little did I know when we walked in that the Weasel was actually the BREWERY! Of course a lot of the operation was done for the evening, but it was a really neat surprise to see the brewery dwarfing the seemingly small bar. After grabbing a handful of peanuts, another dark delicious beer, and some quarters, we found our way to the Skee-Ball. After a few “practice” rounds, and getting schooled by an eight-year-old (why there was a child in the bar is beyond me…), A.K started to get into a groove. I was impressed with my score of 220, but after hitting the hundred mark a few times in a row, I was quickly dominated. Turns out A.K really does have mad skills!


He went to the bar to get more quarters, leaving me to marvel at the brewery next to me. The warehouse/brewery seemed huge! I wished I could see more of it, and made a mental note to find out tour times for the next time I was in Longmont.

A.K came skipping back (not really, he’s just so energetic that I imagine him skipping through fields of hop flowers) and asked me if I had ever met The Gubna, of the famous Gubna IPA beer. I said I had not, and suddenly I was whisked away to meet one of the founders of Oskar Blues! A.K told The Gubna of our adventures throughout the day, and he was a little shocked that I had never been on a brewery tour before that morning, and insisted on taking us on a personal, private brewery tour RIGHT THEN! How could a girl say no?! So, after grabbing another pint of delicious dark beer, we were off!

It wasn’t running, but this is the super rad bottling machine

There are not enough words to describe the experience; Impressive, Wondrous, Marvelous, Delightful, Sense-sational! It was so good, I have to make up words. We learned about the expansions of the brewery, where the company was going next (and in what states), and about their unique flavoring process. Being on such an intimate tour of the brewery with The Gubna couldn’t have been any better….or so I thought! While we were investigating the wine barrels and discussing various tastes to come from them, The Gubna pointed to a man in workout clothes talking on a cell phone, “Hey brother! What’s happenin’?” Brother? As in Dale? Of DALE’S PALE ALE?! Yup, the one and only. So not only did I get to meet The Gubna, but A.K and I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Dale! He was incredibly nice, gave us some more fun facts, then we were off again on the rest of our tour!

One thing that really struck me while we were hanging out with The Gubna was how in tune with his business, and his people, he was. Every single person, whether it was the dude mopping the floors, the man operating a forklift, or one of the brewers, he knew them all by name, and was genuinely happy to see all of them. A warm hearty greeting was given to each person he saw, and that meant more to me than the types of hops used…a man who is that passionate about his company, and that good with his employees, is really something. I could gush on and on about it, but I will just leave it at the fact that I was impressed.

After we were done with the best brewery tour a person could hope for, we were pretty tuckered out. We managed to finish our beers, play a couple more rounds of Skee-Ball, then we were headed home.

All in all the Epic Brewery Tours were just that, Epic. I went from knowing almost zero about brewing, to having met and walked with some of the founders of some of the best beers in the country. Learning their histories, smelling the hops, seeing the processes involved, it was pretty mind blowing, in the coolest way. I am now more than a little obsessed with learning more about the brewing process (I might even dabble in making my own…or…or not), and I am more than a little obsessed with learning more about ALL THE THINGS! I want to go on every tour of every factory, ever. I want to know how tattoos work. I want to see candy being made. I want to go to NASA and learn about space travel! I WANT TO KNOW ALL THE THINGS! Looks like I have a lot of adventure planning to do!

Until next time!

Blast From the Past – Odell Brewery Tour

Looking for adventure? Why not check out this post from the past!

Originally posted 11/28/12

Yesterday I went on an EPIC ADVENTURE!

A.K and I went on a day trip north, and investigated a couple of different breweries. The plan was just to tour one, but we ended up touring two, and seeing a third, and have tentative plans to see ANOTHER brewery later this week.


The first stop on our Epic Adventure took us to Odell Brewery in Fort Collins. Awesome K has some contacts in the beer world, as one might expect, and had called his rep from Odell to see if he was around to say hi to. He wasn’t, unfortunately, but he was able to put in a good word for us.


Seasonal Brews


So pretty, and delicious!

We were able to sample all the beers on tap in their tap room for free, which was mega awesome, and we were extra lucky in that the tour we went on was just A.K, the Tour Guide, and me. Our own personal tour of the brewery! AND we were able to bring a pint with us as we toured! OK, so I think they give you a pint for the tour no matter who you are, but I still felt special. We even caught a glimpse of Mr. Odell himself before our tour, though were weren’t able to meet him…this time.

“Regular” Brews
Mmmm 90 Shilling…

On our tour we learned that Odell was started in 1979 by Doug Odell. Mr. Odell began crafting beer in his kitchen, perfecting two specific recipes; 90 Shilling and Easy Street Wheat. In 1989 he began to expand, buying an old grain silo to start brewing on a more commercial level. Eventually his wife and daughter joined the business, and helped it grow. Eventually the Odell’s moved from Seattle to Colorado, and in the early 90’s they began working out of their new 8000sqft brewery. Now the company has over 67 employees, and in 2011 crafted 58,000 barrels of beer! The history of the company made me fall a little more in love with them. Going from a kitchen in Oregon to a (hopefully) household name is neat to learn about, not to mention inspiring for a humble little baker like myself.

I learned so much about the brewing process, and some of the experimental side of things. Odell has a “Pilot System” that allows all the employees to create their own beer. Our wonderful guide told us about one of the “grunt” workers at the brewery. She and her boyfriend had some in and made a test batch of beer, I *think* it was a double chocolate espresso beer, and sampled it to the other employees, and the in the tap room. Her beer was such a huge success that not only does she get to do it again, Odell is planning on crafting it on a large scale and selling the beer! I love to see that kind of creative encouragement, recognition, and pride in a company. That really won me over! I especially liked that the tour guide made a point to tell us the story, and point out the girl. I know I would be so proud of myself, and my company, if I created something that was so well loved that they decided to market it on a mass scale while still giving me credit for the creation. Very cool.

After learning about the perils of being a flower fluffer (it’s harder than it looks!), how hops are now coming in as pellets in some cases (which is interesting and a little weird), watching the beer get labeled and boxed (a favorite of mine and A.K), and that you can create a brew in used wine/whiskey/tequila barrel, we finished out our tour back in the Odell Tap Room. There were a few things I would have liked to try while we were there, such as their hybrid, “Friek,” but I am positive I will try that on my own. The tour was a great experience, I was able to learn so much about brewing, beers in general, and getting the opportunity to try them all was a real treat. If you are in Fort Collins and looking for a fun time, I highly recommend checking out the Odell Brewery!


This looks DELICIOUS!

And this was just the first stop! Stay tuned for Part II – Homemade liquids and Solids, with a side of Skeeball!

Meandering Home

For the first time in my life, I was able to plan a road trip route, and drive it myself. This was a huge step for me! I was in total control of where we went, and how I got us there. It was so freeing, and exciting, and mildly terrifying, all at the same time! I was going to take us on an adventure!

Our first not-so-planned stop was at the Sandia Resort and Casino. We stopped in to see what they had to offer for dinner, and Awesome K (or A.K, as I like to call him) mentioned that the Poker Room was decent, so I thought it was worth checking out for myself. Sure enough, he was right! The poker room was set apart from the casino floor, enclosed in a half walled room towards the back of the casino. In it there was Texas Hold’em, Omaha, and live action Keno to be played. A.K and I got sat at the same poker table (which I normally don’t like to do), right next to each other. It worked out fine this time, which was nice. Being in a new casino, in a new state, it was nice to have a familiar face so close. I have no idea if there was alcohol served or not, as this was an Indian Reservation casino, and there was no smoking in the poker room, which was nice. They did, however, serve a delicious hot chocolate with whipped cream. Not my normal table drink, but it really hit the spot that night!

After one hand of Hold’em, we knew we had found a new favorite spot. The action was fast and loose, and there were a few people ready to give us all their chips if we let them. A.K took a couple of them up on their offers, and I even allowed a few chips to come my way. I don’t remember any of my hands, of course. I need to get better about taking notes at the table, without looking like I am taking notes at the table of course. I do remember getting quad 8’s, though, which made for a decent pot win. One thing I know I need to work on is raising, betting, and that sort of thing. A.K also pointed out a couple of my “tells” that I need to focus on. Easy fixes, I think. A.K and I both boosted our bank rolls a little bit, which was nice.

We left Albuquerque, NM, on President’s Day morning to head back home to Lakewood, CO, with a few carefully planned stops along the way. Ok, well, one carefully planned stop, and few “hey this sounds awesome” stops. After grabbing a Starbucks to go, we were off! Our first stop: Taos, NM.

I have been in love with Taos since my first visit there when I was about 10. My grandfather let me ride along with him on a business trip once, and sort of plopped me in the middle of the Taos Plaza – told me to not get into any trouble – and left me there for a few hours. It was my first memory of real independence (well…allowed independence). I remember the shops, the atmosphere, and the feeling of my first adventure alone. It was amazing! I had been a couple of times since, and I couldn’t wait to show Taos off to A.K! After a couple of hours in the car, we were there! I couldn’t believe it! I was so excited to finally be back in one of my favorite towns.

We stopped at a local brewery, Eske’s Brew Pub and Eatery, just outside of the Taos Plaza. I ordered a Buffalo Bacon Blu-Cheese burger and a pint of their red, and A.K ordered a cup of their famous green chili, and a regular bacon cheeseburger (I don’t remember his beer choice). The beer was OK, the burgers were pretty good, but the green chili blew me away! If you go to Eske’s, you HAVE to try the green chili, it is by far some of the best I have ever tasted. Ever. Ours had turkey in it, which I also recommend. If I could have taken a jar of that, I would have!

After our brief lunch, we hit the Plaza. It was a lot like I remembered it, but, of course, a lot has changed in the 20+ years I have been there! It was a gorgeous day to explore, and A.K was willing to let me walk around a bit, so that’s exactly what I did. He was a good sport and went into a lot of the little shops with me, and let me ogle some really great hand painted tiles in one spot. I ended up with one that had a kitty on it (surprise surprise) from Taos Mercantile Company. They had a few other great tiles, but we didn’t know where we would put them, so we left them behind. I might have to pick some of them up, though, on our next trip through.

After a lovely walk through the Plaza, A.K and I decided to head back into Colorado. Our next stop? Alamosa!

I have only ever ridden through Alamosa, and don’t remember ever stopping there for anything other than a tank of gas. This time, A.K and I stopped at the San Luis Valley Brewing Company, and then a tank of gas. In the short time we were at the brewery, I started to really like Alamosa.  It has a very homey feel to it, with a lot of local support, which you don’t run into everywhere. The beer was also pretty amazing! I had an Oatmeal Stout, and tasted a coffee beer that was phenomenal. I was brave, and tried their Green Chili Lager, and was impressed. It’s not something I could drink a lot of, but it was an interesting taste – in a good way. We also tried the artichoke dip, which was, of course, delicious. This is where I saw the Beer Drinkers Guide to Colorado map for the first time, too. I know A.K and I will be picking up on in the very near future. I recommend you pick one up, too, if you happen to love beer and be near Colorado.

Once we were on the road again, we decided to take the “Cosmic Highway” coming back, but by the time we got onto, it was pretty dark and overcast. We missed the UFO Watchtower, unfortunately, and we didn’t see any aliens. I did see a couple of sign posts warning that aliens might steal my cows, though, so that was cool. Not to worry, though, we will DEFINITELY be headed back down there sometime soon.

So, other than that, and stopping in Poncha Springs, Colorado, at the only gas station/bar I have ever seen (and missing Elevation Beer Company), our ride home was pretty uneventful. Which can be a good thing. A.K, however, did discover his new favorite satellite radio station – Backspin Old Skool Rap. That was a real treat, although not as entertaining as watching A.K sing along.

We arrived home safely, much to the rest of the AwesomeSauce Duo team’s great pleasure. They were not invited on this trip, and made it a point to tell us all about being left behind. Almost all the kibble was eaten out of one of the two bowls left behind, they could have starved. STARVED! (I might want to mention that the “trip coordinator” leans toward the dramatic at times).

Now to plan our next adventure! Where will the AwesomeSauce Duo end up next? Find out in a future installment of Are You Ready? to see where we end up, and what happens along the way!

This post brought to you by G-Sauce. G-Sauce is a member of the AwesomeSauce Duo, and author in the Are You Ready? blog series. She works closely with the AwesomeSauce Duo P.R Manager – and Mews – Sir Archer Funnyfoot, with the Trip Coordinator – and Mews – Miss Matilda Pants, and with the Head of Logistics – and Mews – Secret Agent Sam. She loves a good cup of coffee, enjoys reading, and has a soft spot for all things nerdy.

Blogging Bad

There I was, minding my own business, when BAM! KAPOW! BOOM! I was on a road trip!

Ok, you’re right, it happened almost nothing like that, but it was close! I am used to planning, and planning, and planning some more before I go to the store, let alone New Mexico! So to find myself in the car on my way there, after less than a week of talking about it, blew my mind. Granted, I have been planning a road trip down south for at least four years (see?), but Albuquerque was never a hot spot destination for me. Until I watched AMC’s Breaking Bad.

My boyfriend, Awesome K (or A.K for short) got me into the show about a year ago. I didn’t have cable, and had really only heard about the show in passing. Yeah, it sounded OK, but how could anyone get so into a show about a guy who cooks and sells meth? After watching the first couple of episodes on Netflix, I was hooked. One might even say I was addicted. The complexities of Walt! The dynamic between him and Jesse! Well, you’ve seen the show, I don’t have to explain it to you, right?

During one episode, the ill-fated duo went to a bar to discuss…work related business. A.K and I decided that we needed to go to that bar, and have a drink. Literally our lives would be empty if it didn’t happen. We discovered that it was Paul’s Monterey Inn, and started “planning” our trip. We discussed where we would go, what we would eat (which, you will learn, is often a motivator for our adventures), and other fun places to see. After that afternoon, though, it was never really brought up again, at least not in a serious “this has to happen, so let’s make it happen” sort of way. Or so I thought!

Two weeks ago I was told that A.K and I were headed to Albuquerque for Valentine’s Day weekend, so I had better prepare. That gave me a week to plan! After a few bumps, a little freaking out, and almost canning the whole idea two nights before out departure, we were off! We left Saturday morning, heading south on I-25, toward our Breaking Bad tour! Our First Stop? Bud’s Cafe and Bar in Sedalia, CO. After almost a full 30 minutes in the car, it was nice to get out and stretch our legs. I did mention that a lot of our trips revolve around food, right? It is a necessity, anytime we are anywhere near the area, to go to Bud’s, so of course we stopped there on our way out of town.

When you go, be forewarned, there are NO french fries, no real menus – which is fine because all you want to order is a double with cheese. Trust me, it’s worth it. OH! Be sure to bring cash, as they don’t accept cards. The burgers were well worth the stop, as usual, and this time the crowd was especially awesome! It was jam packed for lunch, which is always a good sign. We shared our table with a neat couple on their way to a brew-fest (I think A.K was a little jealous), and we were lucky enough to be a part of a birthday party for a woman turning 102! She came in, took a table in the back, ordered a beer and a burger, and had one of the best looking cakes I have ever seen! The whole bar sang to her (she stood for the song), and cheered! It was the perfect way to start a trip.

After that we didn’t really stop much, just for gas once. I am proud to say I drove the whole way! I have never driven farther south than Larkspur, and no farther north than Fort Collins, so driving all the way to ABQ was a big deal for me. I have been a passenger before, but never the driver. We arrived in the early evening to our hotel, the Nativo Lodge, located on the North side of town just off I-25. The room rate was excellent, and it seemed like it was in a decent location, plus it had a Starbucks right next door, so that helped. After we checked in, we headed off to our first official Breaking Bad location!

After some unfortunate events, Jesse Pinkman goes to rehab at the end of season 2, and is there for the first part of season 3. Later on, in season 5, the White family goes into hiding in a swanky hotel. Where are these places, you ask? Both of these are the same location, the Isleta Resort and Casino. Formerly the Hard Rock Casino, located on the southern most point of our trip, offered a neat first glimpse into the life of Walter White and Jesse Pinkman. We didn’t really get to see where Jesse spent his time recovering, and since we didn’t stay here, we didn’t get a sense of what that was like for the White family. However, I can safely say that I am glad we didn’t stay there. The casino was a little cramped feeling, and the smoke was almost intolerable! I have been to smoking casinos, but this one was a little rough. Maybe the fans weren’t working that night, or something, but it was a little overpowering. The casino floor was jam packed with slot machines, but most of them seemed a little old and outdated. Not that I have a ton of experience in casino’s, but I didn’t like the feel of this one at all. We took a quick glimpse of the poker room, which was a good size, but we didn’t end up staying. I know we ate there, but it wasn’t memorable – especially since I have no idea now what I ate. After a few goes on the slots, we headed back to our hotel to plan the next day’s adventures!

A.K found all the addresses we needed, and created a rough grid map for us to follow. He is pretty impressive like that. I contributed by snoring and mumbling about Game of Thrones. The next morning, Sunday, we were up at the crack of 10am, and we were off! Our first stop – and probably one of the most important of any Breaking Bad trip, was to the Candy Lady! This little shop was the main source for the “blue meth” during the making of the show, and she still provides ABQ – and the rest of the world – with little baggies of the “drug.” A.K and I each got one, and after a couple “selfies” we hit the road again.

Our next stop was the house where Jesse lived for much of the show. (When you go on your tour, please be respectful of others – this house, as well as the White residence, and Hank and Marie’s, are privately owned homes.) Driving up to Jesse’s house, you get a chance to see some of the most beautiful homes in ABQ! This is a gorgeous neighborhood! The house itself looks just like it did in the show, and is such a great house in person! I would live there, even if there had been (SPOILERS) a man melted in the bathtub, another one killed in the basement, and was the site of a meth lab for a brief time. We know the driveway is big enough for an RV to fit, too! After a couple more selfies, and a little more daydreaming about spending time in that great house, we headed out to Tuco’s headquarters.

Java Joes was used for Tuco’s place during filming. In the show it looks like it’s in a bad part of town, but in reality it is a hop skip and a jump from Jesse’s house, and is a happening spot! Local artists adorn the walls, and local music fills the air, while amazing coffee and food is prepared. We just missed that mornings live music, and we were just barely able to get a table in the busy coffee shop – it was pretty busy for being a drug lord hideout. A.K and I each ordered a Creme Brulee coffee and green chili breakfast burrito. Now, I have had a lot of coffee from a places all over the globe, and the coffee I had at Java Joe’s was one of the best I have ever tasted. Ever. If you love coffee, or even mildly enjoy coffee, you NEED to get a cup here. It blew me away! Even A.K loved it, and he isn’t a coffee drinker. The breakfast burrito was also marvelous, if not a little spicy (although I am a spicy wuss, so it was probably mild). I highly recommend it, as well.

After that we headed south, toward Los Pollos Hermanos! The Twisters that was used for the Kingpin’s restaurant front still has a lot of the Los Pollos Hermanos decorations, and various autographed posters on the walls. The best part is the Los Pollos Hermanos logo painted on one wall. We ordered a large soda, and waited in THE booth for our meeting with the Kingpin himself. He didn’t seem to be available, however, so after a few photos we decided to head out. As a fun little side there, next to the Twisters is a little house with a big yard, which is home to a llama and an ostrich. Just not something you see everyday!

Moving on, we headed back up north for the second half of our tour. We started this leg at Hank and Marie’s house, in the north eastern corner of ABQ. This is another gorgeous neighborhood, sprinkled with what look like million dollar homes. We found our way to the cul-de-sac, but had a hard time finding the house. The address we were provided was for a house that looked nothing like Hank and Marie’s. We peeked down into the cul-de-sac, but I didn’t want to be too intrusive, so we didn’t investigate further. It was a lovely area, with a nice looking trail head close by, for those of you looking for a fun hike!

We headed back down the little hill to check out the White residence. This was pretty awesome, I have to say. Even though it is just a house, in a normal looking neighborhood, I feel like I spent a lot of time there. I feel like I know the house, from crawl-space to bedrooms, like I helped cooked in the kitchen, and I shared in trials and triumphs with the White family at the dinner table. This is an obvious must see stop on any Breaking Bad tour! The outside of the house looks just like it does in the show, except there is no pizza on the roof. We parked a little down the street so we could take a few pictures without being too intrusive. There were a couple of other folks there taking photos, too. The current owner opened up the garage door to get a look at her current set of gawkers. She was a good sport and waved back to me as we set off to the next stop. Just a friendly reminder – when you do your tour, be respectful. These are people’s homes.

After leaving the White’s neighborhood, we stopped a little down the street at a less iconic, but important spot. Pelican’s East is the spot where, in season 2, Walt runs into a man at the bar who is having troubles with his daughter. The man turns out to be Donald Margolis, Jane’s father. A.K and I stopped in for a quick drink, and a brief rest from our whirlwind tour. We sat at the bar, roughly where Walt sat during his conversation. The food smelled amazing, but we were still kind of full from breakfast, and we didn’t want to stop in the middle of our tour! Next time, though, I think I will have to try eating here. The bar itself was unique, but I won’t say any more than that, other than you should make this one of your stops.

Luckily, the location of Saul’s office is in the same parking lot as Pelican’s East! However, the facade is totally different, which was to be expected (if not a little bit of a bummer). I was hoping it might be the same, or similar, especially since AMC is planning a spin off show surrounding the salty lawyer, but there is no trace of the law offices. In its place was a nightclub called “The Vault.” We did not stop in, as they were closed at the time, and we still have lots to see and do!

As you can imagine, our little car was starting to look and feel a wee filthy. We had empty drinks, a sunflower seed spittoon, and some other odds and ends inside, and a thick layer of travel on the outside. It was time for a wash! The Octopus Car Wash was perfect, especially because it was the site of the A1 wash! It was pretty jam packed when we arrived – which wasn’t surprising. It was a really gorgeous day in Albuquerque, and the Octopus’ prices are very reasonable, so it was no surprise that the line was long. The staff there is very fast, however, so we didn’t wait long. Once we were inside waiting for our car to be cleaned, we were amazed at how much it still resembles the show! There was a rack of greeting cards on one wall, and a variety of air fresheners on the opposite wall. Everything looked basically the same! There were a few autographed posters hanging on the wall, which was neat, and they were selling some Breaking Bad stickers and key chains. Of course they were sold out of the Heisenberg stickers we really wanted, so we opted for a couple of key chains instead. One car wash regular commented on how they were “still making a buck” off the show, scoffed at my key chain, and left to go retrieve his car. Guess not everyone was a fan…

We only had a couple of “had to hit” stops left, so we made our way to the iconic park next. This little park is set in another very pretty neighborhood, surrounded by trees. I can see why Mike would bring his granddaughter to La Palomita Park! There were no kids there when we stopped by, nor were there any thugs, or feds. It was pretty quiet! We took our pictures, sat and enjoyed the warm weather on a certain bench, then decided to meander off. I did notice a great house with ivy covered trees and the greatest mailbox ever, so if you are in the area – see if you can find it, too. Trust me, you will not it when you see it (no, it’s not Breaking Bad related, but it is still pretty rad).

This was it. The moment was finally here! What prompted our adventure in the first place! We were finally headed towards Paul’s Monterey Inn! I couldn’t decide if I was going to get a snack there, what I was going to drink, or what! We drove down to 1000 Juan Tabo Blvd NE, anxiously anticipating the dark bar with little candle’s on each table. WE ARRIVED! But what’s this? The parking lot is empty? Like, deserted? Oh no, this was not a good sign. We drove around the building looking for signs of life, or hours, and were disappointed to find neither. How could this be?! I am really hoping that it was just closed between lunch and dinner service, or maybe they were closed on Sunday’s, or MAYBE they were closed for President’s Day, and not that they are closed due to other circumstances. (After some quick investigating, it looks like they are just closed on Sunday’s, so we will have to go back on a different day).  After a sad selfie, we begrudgingly drove to our final destination on our tour…

Last, but not least, we headed to the Marble Brewery! What’s that? Don’t remember it from the show? It wasn’t featured in the show, but actor Bryan Cranston loved it here, so of course we had to check it out, too. There was a rumor that they had two Breaking Bad themed beers on tap, “Walter’s White Lie” IPA and “Heisenberg’s Dark” IPA. However, these were a limited edition, and were long gone by the time we got there. We were, however, in time for some live music, which was fun. The place was, understandably, jam packed. It was a gorgeous day, there was a live band, and a food truck parked right outside. It seems that ALL of ABQ, and their dogs, came out to Marble Brewery. If you happen to be in town, I recommend the Wildflower Wheat, and the house nachos! Since we believed this was the final stop on our tour, we busted out our little baggies of blue goodness. We had to try at least one of them, to see what all the hype was about! Sure enough, the blue meth was…delicious! Not sure I would kill anyone over it, but it was a fun little treat.

When we were leaving the brewery, we decided that we had to get just one last fix of Breaking Bad. We couldn’t let it be truly over! So, we hit up one last place on our way back to our hotel. Gus’ Laundry and Super Lab looks just like it did in the show, from the outside at least (and prior to it’s…ah…closure in the show). I could see how this could be an easy disguise for a super lab, no one would think to look in there! It would be really neat if there was a secret underground area, only accessed through a giant washing machine, but we weren’t able to go in and investigate for ourselves.

So that was it. Our whirlwind tour of Breaking Bad locations was over. There was more we could see, and we might go back down to check out some other spots, like Jane’s apartment, and Paul’s Monterey Inn is still a hot spot for us to see. Just in case you want to go on a tour like ours, here is a little map I made, just for you! All it all it was an amazing adventure into Albuquerque! I have feeling we will be back down south sooner rather than later…

Thank you for joining us on our tour! Is there someplace we missed that you think we should go? Want more information about one of our stops? Got a spot we should go on our next adventure? Tell us about it! Let us know! We look forward to hearing from you!

This post brought to you by G-Sauce. G-Sauce is a member of the AwesomeSauce Duo, and author in the Are You Ready? blog series. She works closely with the AwesomeSauce Duo P.R Manager – and Mews – Sir Archer Funnyfoot, with the Trip Coordinator – and Mews – Miss Matilda Pants, and with the Head of Logistics – and Mews – Secret Agent Sam. She loves a good cup of coffee, enjoys reading, and has a soft spot for all things nerdy.