I'm back! And, not just from Bear Creek
Posted on April 2, 2007 by Chris Owens
The shrieking alarm rips me awake at 3:30AM. When you live in Atlanta’s north suburbs, making the airport by 5am is quite a process. Despite being a groggy haze, things go off without a hitch.
While waiting for my connection in Philly, I meet up with Daryn Berlin. He promptly takes me to the US Airways VIP lounge. It seems someone can’t be bothered to sit with the commoners. Not that I was complaining.
After the shortest flight in history we land in Allentown and pick up the rental car. Daryn and I set off to visit with a few CCC customers. First we stop off in Easton and visit Troy Reynard at Cosmic Cup. Troy is a great guy and possesses the openness and sense of community most other owners only talk about.
Nest we head down to Riegelsville, PA to visit Peaberry Café. While Daryn talked with Kim DeFazio, I did a little latte art demo and lesson for her staff.
Our day finished we make our way to the Bear Creek Mountain Resort. The West and the East seem to have different ideas as to what a mountain is exactly. But, I digress. We arrive at Bear Creek as desert is being passed around. I see many familiar faces. Nick Cho, David and Anastasia of Clover, Kevin Cuddeback and the Gimme! Coffee crew, Aaron Ultimo and the Murky Coffee crew, and of course Mr. Ryan Jensen. Jay Caragay was of course fashionably late.
The next morning began the Mid-Atlantic Regional. I spent the day volunteering as station maintenance. That means I, along with John from Gimme!, made sure that after each competitor the station was cleaned and set up for the next competitor. On which side do they like their grinder? Did they bring their own grinder? Do they have a hairdryer as pert of their set up? That sort of thing. Let me tell you something, after lifting Roburs 20 or so times they get a little heavy. The surprise of the day was how many of the competitors went over time. There was even 4 DQs. Today would bring no announcement of the finalist. For that we were going to have to wait until tomorrow night.
Wednesday was the start of the first ever Northeast Regional. Daryn’s plan was to compete out of region in the Northeast. Frustratingly his competition wares had not yet arrived. Some sort of mix-up at UPS. As Daryn tries to scrounge up enough to pull off his presentation, things get underway. The Northeast seems to have it a little more together as far as time goes. Everyone finishes in under 15 minutes. Again, my day was made up of station maintenance volunteering. Roburs are even heavier the second day. Daryn managed to pull off his performance thanks to the graciousness of the other competitors. Considering everything was borrowed and he made his espresso up on the fly, he did rather well. That concluded the day’s competition. With that everyone ran off to dinner in order to make it back in time for the nights festivities: The Cassettes.
Thursday brought both region’s final rounds. Everyone was on the game today. The competition was noticeably tighter. When all the dust settled the winners were:
1st Katie Carguilo of Murky Coffee
2nd Belle Batista of Aldo Coffee
3rd Jay Caragy of ‘Spro
1st Chris Deferio of Carrige House Café
2nd Dan Griffin of Café Collage
3rd Daniel Humphries of Coffee Scholars
After all the competitors discussed their scores with the judges it was time to head to the airport. We arrive to find out fight to Philly delayed by 40 minutes. That means I’m not going to make my connection home to Atlanta. There seems to be nothing the agent can do for me. So, after a quick discussion with Daryn it is decided I should rent a car and try and make my connection in Philly. After all, it’s only an hour away. I jump in the car and set off. I immediately hit traffic. I’m sure I’m screwed. But after a few minutes it opens up. Smooth sailing. Until I hit the toll booth. In the rush I had thrown my wallet in my suitcase that way I can make it through security as fast as possible. I fumble with my suitcase and dig out my wallet. I pay and toss the wallet back in.
I drive the last ten minutes to the rental drop off, jump on the airport shuttle, and make the terminal. The security line is HUGE. I nicely explain my situation to the security agent and he lets go in the priority line. As I pass through security and make my way to the gate I notice I don’t have my wallet. It isn’t in my bag. When I though it back in it must have slid onto the seat. It’s still in the rental car. Oh no.
Luckily my ID and debit card were in my pocket. I get to the gate to find that flight delayed as well. It seems our crew is on another flight that has not arrived. As I wait, I call the car rental lost and found only to get their voicemail. It’s only been twenty minutes since I dropped off the car. I leave a message with all appropriate information and wait to board. 40 minutes later we’re boarding. It seems I could have just taken the flight from Allentown anyway.