Monday, March 28, 2016

Top of the Class Training, Part 1: The Blizzard

So I have spent much of that last couple of months traveling across the country, and boy-oh-boy it has been an adventure! Last week I was in Denver participating in the Top of the Class training with the National Cattlemen's Beef Association. Top of the Class is a group of men and women from across the country that have completed the Master's of Beef Advocacy courses, and were selected to participate in this advanced training, and my class was made up of my self and 4 others from various places within the beef industry, from farmers and producers, to sales and chefs.

Besides the intense training and motivation that this trip gave me, it was a blast!! I have never eaten more delicious beef in the few days I was in Denver. We had beef for every meal, including beef jerky to snack on throughout the day. But the big topic of the trip, besides the beef talk, was the blizzard. Right in the middle of our training Denver was hit with a monster blizzard, dumping over 2 feet of ice and heavy snow across the city shutting everything down. This blizzard made the trip go from fun to an all out adventure!

I promise that I will talk more details about the training in another blog post, however I had say something about the blizzard that truly took this trip to a once in a lifetime experience!

The blizzard hit Wednesday morning, the last day of our training... the day that we were supposed to fly home. Well, needless to say, we weren't going anywhere. The Denver airport shut down cancelling more the 1200 flights, and all freeways around the city were closed. I have been born and raised in NW Wisconsin, so I am definitely used to snow, and I have to say it was bad!! The roads were impassable, the snow came down so fast that the plows could not keep up with it. Not only was it the heavy wet snow, but layered on top of ice, making travel impossible as trees and roofs were beginning to fall.

The silly thing is that the airport shut down early in the afternoon, and my flight for that evening wasn't cancelled until late in the afternoon, making it nearly impossible for me to find a different
flight. I finally got booked on a flight leaving Thursday night, leaving me with some time to explore Denver (in a blizzard).

Those of us who were left in Denver ventured to the airport around 3 pm. The airport was still a mess, and after a security breach and the bombings in Europe, was on high alert. Brooke has a great story to tell about her embarrassment in security, that left us all rolling for a while afterwards, she shares her story on her blog Meet Your Beef. We had some time to kill before our flights, so we ate some more great food and enjoyed that last of the good company before my flight left at 7:15 taking me to Seattle. I then had a 3 1/2 hour layover in Seattle, and then finally left for my homeland, landing me at MSP at 6:00 Friday morning.

I am happy to be home and was ablet to relax and enjoy Easter with Neil and the girls. As awesome as it is to travel and get a break, it feels amazing to come home.

I will eventually get to blogging about my other trips this winter, and you will see that this whole blizzard adventure is becoming a habit for me. I think I need to come with a travel advisory: *If traveling with this person, be prepared for winter weather to follow. Bring extra clothes, supplies and plan for an upheaval in travel plans for your chances of being stranded due to the wintry conditions are very high.*
  For more pictures from my trip to Denver, check out my Facebook page.