Microsoft 365 retention policy bug that looked like it led to data loss

11/2 Update: Per the post below this turned out to be a GUI bug only so no mailbox data seemed to be affected. So in this case, it was just a display error and the policy didn’t actually apply to mailbox data, which would have lead to expected data loss. This is a similar example of where native in-place retention holds are not meant to be a backup of data, like in the KPMG example where 145K users chat data was lost due to an admin error where the retention hold was released by mistake.

More info here:

Original post:
I had a call with a very large client this AM and they noticed their Teams Retention policies were all changed to include “Exchange email”.

They are seeing this across multiple 365G tenants that they have and have been able to reproduce it. It’s also been relayed that Microsoft is seeing this at other organizations too, so this isn’t a one off issue. At this client, they had the polices set to “Teams channel message” and “Team chats” only, which were set to DELETE messages after 1 day.

Note: This client had a 1 day Teams message deletion policy, this is not a default in 365. There are no default message or item deletion policies in 365, so if you don’t have any deletion policies the impact of this issue is probably minimal if at all.

These polices are now showing “Exchange email” also included and the slider to disable it is grayed out, so the 1 day delete seems to be applying to all mailbox items. They aren’t seeing messages disappear yet but are fearful (rightly so) that they might soon.

They have reproduced this issue, after creating a Teams messages only policy and applying it to recipients. When they go back in, it has “Exchange email” selected. I haven’t been able to reproduce yet. I don’t have a 365G tenant access so this might be limited to GCC tenants, but have a MVP friend who does and he wasn’t able to reproduce it so there is probably some other factors at play here.

As of 10/29/2020 1:45 PM MT, Microsoft seems to have frozen Teams related retention policy edits and hopefully deletion polices from being applied incorrectly.

There are two notifications, one for Teams and the other for Exchange:
Related incident notifications in M365 Admin Center:

This is yet another example of the need for 3rd party data protection for your data in Office 365, covered in this blog post: Using Commvault for Exchange & Exchange Online for Items/. Commvault can protect data in Exchange, SharePoint, OneDrive, and Teams*. (* Team support is limited to data stored in the other application currently, which covers all files and a compliance copy of chat messages). For another example, this one: KPMG lost 145K user’s chat data due to retention policy change mistake.

Text of these notifications:

TM225382: Admins are unable to modify or add Microsoft Teams retention policies in the Microsoft Teams admin center, Microsoft Teams
Start time: October 29, 2020 1:45 PM

User Impact: Admins are unable to modify or add Microsoft Teams retention policies within the Microsoft Teams admin center.

More Info: Impact is limited to Microsoft Teams admins who are attempting to create a new retention policy or makes an edit to a previously applied policy. Existing established retention policies aren’t impacted.

Current status: We’ve identified an issue preventing admins from creating or editing Microsoft Teams retention policies in the Microsoft Teams admin center. We’re investigating our next troubleshooting steps for remediating impact.

Scope of impact: This issue may potentially affect any of your admins attempting to modify or add Microsoft Teams retention policies in the Microsoft Teams admin center.

EX225368: Admins may see Microsoft Teams retention policies unexpectedly update to Exchange Online policies, Exchange Online
Start time: October 29, 2020 10:49 AM

User Impact: Admins may experience Microsoft Teams retention policies unexpectedly updating to Exchange Online policies.

More info: Impact is limited to Exchange Online admins who are attempting to create a new retention policy or makes an edit to a previously applied policy. Existing established retention policies aren’t impacted.

Current status: We’re developing a fix which is designed to correct a code issue that was introduced by the recent service update.

Scope of impact: This issue may potentially affect any of your admins that manage Microsoft Teams retention policies.

Root cause: A code issue that was introduced by a recent service update is causing Microsoft Teams retention policies to unexpectedly update to Exchange Online policies.

Posted in Exchange, MS Teams, O365, Technical | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Finally getting rid of my money pit of a timeshare!

After having a timeshare for ~18 years, I’m finally going to be rid of that money pit! I got it when I lived in Houston, TX and wanted to go elsewhere and I mainly checked the week into RCI to stay other places.

Over the ~18 years I think I have only done this about ten times, so wasted the week many years. On top of that the maintenance fees went from $40 to now $130/month. Also when you check-in your week to RCI that cost about $200, then to use it cost about $200, then there are other fees. In total, I bet I’ve spent over over $50K with payments and fees over the years 🤬🤯 That would have been MUCH better spent on some amazing vacations!

In case you didn’t know it already, TIMESHARES ARE A SCAM! I’ve tried for years to sell it, for almost nothing the last couple times, and spent $100s on those services.
Was about ready to go with one of the timeshare exit companies and did further research and found out some timeshare now have a FREE SERVICE to release your timeshare back to them!

So, thanks to Reddit, I found out about and just called my timeshare company, Holiday Hills, and have started the process. I had to pay the maintenance for the rest of the year upfront, but they will be sending me papers in the next 8-10 weeks to get signed and notarized and them I’m free of it.

I was talking to Lonestar Transfer and they charge $3,995 UP FRONT and said the process takes about a year and I have to pay maintenance fees during this time, another $1,560.

Posted in Personal, Travel | Leave a comment

Tetons & Yellowstone 2020 Trip

This is a long post and a journal of my two weeks in the Tetons & Yellowstone. I plan on going back an adding links to pictures for certain parts of the post and maybe some additional text. I kept a paper journal of what I did each day while there and below is the results of that.

I spent two weeks in the Teton\Yellowstone National Parks from 8/22 until 9/5 and could have spent another week there trying to get to all the places that I was interested in. Both parks main activity is hiking with some many beautiful, amazing, and unique things to see by Mother Nature! In the Teton NP you have the Tetons mountain range shooting almost straight up out of the flat valley before it with Jenny Lake at it’s feet. Then there is the Snake river that cuts through this valley that I hope to raft down on a future to get that unique perspective. In Yellowstone the geothermal features and the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone are the outstanding parks of the park. Being in this area of the world is feels magical and exhilarating, it really makes you feel like you are on another planet and back in the time of the dinosaurs. Words, at least mine, can’t really get close to doing in justice so I took 100s of pictures and you can get an idea of the uniqueness of these national treasures by viewing them.

My trip started on a Friday, I left home with my toy-hauler RV ( about 4PM on the 21st. I had debated on going very basic, just my truck with its camper shell and a trailer for my street bike, 1997 Honda Nighthawk 750. Due to COVID this was a solo trip, since I had no one in my bubble that could make it. Once I decided to go for almost two weeks I decided to glamp it instead and bring the big beast out. I plotted out a drive, pretty much taking highway 287 from home all the way into the Tetons. On big factor was fuel, hauling the RV my truck (Toyota Tundra) only gets about 6 MPG and with a 27 gallon gas tank that meant about a max of 150 miles between gas stops. So I planned for stops in Laramie, Rawlings, Lander, and Moran, WY; to be safe I also got a 15 gallon fuel tank in my truck bed. The drive was smooth and about an 10 PM I stopped at Diversion Dam Junction Rest Area which was about an hour out from Moran, WY; my last stop before my planned camping spot just outside of Teton NP. I was back on the road about 8AM, stopped in Moran for fuel water before heading to the camp spot. I had done research before I left on open camping areas, that didn’t require a reservation since all the reserved spots were already booked by the time I decided to go. I found “Upper Teton View aka Toppings Lake” that has lots of great reviews, but a bumpy one-way forest road to get to it. So fingers crossed I left Moran and headed to it hoping I could find a spot and that I didn’t run into someone coming down with a rig at the same time.

Toppings Lake was a great spot! I got up there about 11Am and found a spot open right by the edge of the rise over looking Jackson valley towards the Tetons. Camping in this area, and most open camping spots in the Bridger-Teton National Forest are limited to five days due to high usage, but it’s not strictly enforced I found out. The first couple of days you couldn’t even see the Tetons due to the smoke\haze from the CO fires, by the 3rd day it started to clear up and on the fourth the view was exactly what I hoped for, outstanding! After I got the RV parked, setup, and Nighthawk unloaded, I took the bike out and did 100 miles. I went to Mormon Row and walked around the main sites, barns and houses from the 1890s, then decided to head into the town Jackson for a beer at the Snake River Brewery, which a friend of mine who used to live there highly recommended. While driving around Teton and Yellowstone Parks I had on GyPSy Guide which provides an audio history and details of the areas you are driving though at that time. (HIGHLY RECOMMEND IT!) I stopped many places to take pictures, get off the bike to look around, or take short (to long later in the trip) hikes. When I got into Jackson I realized that coming in on a Saturday was a mistake given how busy it was, I ended up parking my bike due to the stop\go traffic, and walked around. Most people in town were wearing mask, mandatory sighs were up everywhere in town about this, so was glad for that but I still avoided people when I could and didn’t go inside anywhere. I walked over to the brewery, which I knew had a lot of outdoor seating, but there was a line down the block to get in so forgot that. I ended up finding a small Mexican restaurant, Juan’s, that had four tables outside spread pretty far apart. So got dinner and a beer then headed back to camp. Almost every evening I read books or magazines, same in the AM while I was waiting for it to get warm enough to take the motorcycle out. first full day was Sunday 8/23 and I made the most of it by dirt biking and paddle boarding on the same day! Near where I was camped was forest\jeep roads and one section of single track. So I left on the Segway X260 (aka Luna Cycle – Sur Ron) from camp and went down the forest roads several miles to where the single track was. This was a mountain biking trail, that cut through the woods from one forest road to another. It was a very nice trail, that rare gets used based on where it’s at, a ways from any paved roads. Ran across one small group of hikers, stopped to say hi and they were cool and were curious about the X260. Then headed down the forest roads to ATV trails. These trails were really 90% old forest roads, but still fun to go around on and many great views. On the way back to camp I notices some other narrow trails and checked them out, turns out there is a large network of horseback riding trails since there is a large dude ranch nearby that uses them. So explored these a bit, keeping an eye on the map to keep heading towards camp since batter was down to about 15%. I got back to camp with 8% battery.

I got back to camp around 2PM, changed clothes and loaded up the paddleboard and headed to Jenny Lake. First I had to go by a ranger water inspection, paddleboard was new so that wasn’t an issue but they informed me I needed a boating sticker. So then had to goto the visitor center, across the street, and get a sticker for $12. It wasn’t that busy at all, two people in line in front of me and everyone was wearing a mask and distanced. After getting that I parked in the lot by the put the board on my head and walked the maybe ½ mile (longer than I thought it would be) to the lake. I spent about three hours on the lake, staying near the short for the most part due to the waves from the winds and shuttle boat going across the lake taking hikers. I went from one end to the other on the East shore, then to the SE area where the waters were better since it was a little cove and mediated for about 15 minutes in the middle. I took the paddleboard back to the shore and also took a short swim, I was surprise that the water wasn’t much colder than it was. Got back to camp about 7PM and made dinner, which most nights was A) hamburger, B) brats, or C) spaghetti, I did try two of the dehydrated meals I had in the RV, one was chili and the other a Mexican dish over the two weeks.

My primary mode of transportation around the parks was my Nighthawk, which I put about 1,100 miles on it during this trip. Monday AM, once it got above 50 degrees out (about 10AM), I took it out like I did about every morning. This morning my plan was to hike to Taggart Lake, about 6 miles, but I ended up going an extra couple of miles (now 8 total) to Bradley Lake also. On the map it had “waterfalls” labeled, but besides one near the start I didn’t see any others but did get great views of the lakes from way up on the trail. (See pictures of course 😊). About 3 miles back from the parking lot my knee was really hurting, right calf started to cramp, and my right hip was hurting, I ended limping back the last couple of miles when going down hill was the worse on my knee and starting to keep that leg straight. Got back to camp just in time for a strong rain storm, which got rid of most of the smoke & hazy I was happy to find the next morning!

The next day, Tuesday, I was pretty sore so read the graphic novel The Legend of Drizzt: Exile. I also brought two of the later books in the Drizzt series, which spans about 30 books all by R.A. Salvatore about a group of heroes, mostly lead by Drizzt the dark elf or Drow, in the fantasy world of the Forgotten Realms where most of the D&D based books I’ve read and is the setting for many of the D&D games I’ve played over the last 30 years. I started this book series around 1989, the 1st book came out in 1988 when I started playing D&D, and is by far my most read and cherished characters. Around 11  took the Nighthawk to Jackson Lake and explored the various open\1st come, 1st serve, campgrounds in Teton National Park. Due to the storm the night before the skies were much clearer and I got the 1st good view of the Tetons. These mountains are pretty unique in the way they just jut up from the flat land around them 1,000s of feet. Very impressive range and major contrast to the land leading up to it. Got back about sunset and by then it was hazy again, but much better than the previous few days.

Wednesday I left about 10:30 in the truck with the X260 loaded in the back. I had done research and found that there was much more single track in the area, mainly a 12 mile loop called Horsetail Creek\West Fork Loop. So headed out to it, it was only 22 miles away but with a well-worn asphalt and dirt road that was also getting repaired it took about two hours to get there. It was worth it! This was a beautiful single track trail with only a few technical\rocky sections, but it did have several large downed trees (which I had the lift the bike, only ~120 lbs, over). The dirt was also “magic”, due to the rain the night before it was soft and “sticky” so made for good speeds with perfect traction. This trail seems pretty new, maybe 3-4 years old and is a must do if in the area on a dirt or mountain bike! After getting back I loaded the bike up and head five miles further down the road to some ATV trails that were on the map, maybe 15 mile loop with some off shoots to forest roads. The 1st challenge was getting across Slate “Creek”, really it was a river that was well over 50’ across and unknow how deep. Luckily there was a trail maintenance crew there with an ATV and small bulldozer getting ready to go across. After watching them I saw it was maybe knee deep at max, but also could see it was mostly softball to bowling ball sided smooth and round rocks. So crossing my fingers and basically duck walking across the river I went in. Yes, the rocks were very slick and the bike slid around to the left and right on them and the back tire spun a lot, throwing water well into the air and back down on me. I got across, with two pretty wet boots and a back. After getting across I took my boots off, dumped the water out and rung my socks out and went to check out the “trails.” They turned out be old forest roads but was still fun and I wished I had a full battery to check them out. As it was I only had about 40% left and decided to ride until I hit 25% and at that I turned around, doing an additional 6 miles for a total of 18. I could have gone several more miles, but didn’t want to take the chance of having to cross the river pushing the eBike. After I got back to camp I had about an one hour call with JC (my girlfriend), which was the 1st time we’ve talked since I left and 1st conversation with anyone since then too.

Thursday I moved from my Teton\Toppings Lake spot into Yellowstone. I had loaded most things up and gotten ready to roll out the night before. So was rolling out around 10AM to Bridge Bay Campground in Yellowstone, which I had booked over a month ago for a week. This campground is right by Yellowstone Lake and Fishing Bridget area.Took about two hours to get there, about 70 miles away, and everything was smoothing, including not coming across someone heading up the forest road while I was heading down. After getting the RV parked, unhooked, solar setup, I took it easy and mostly read the Drizzt book Gauntlgrym and Scientific America magazines all day and evening.

Friday I rolled out on the Nighthawk around 9AM when it was in in the high 40s. I did have a good dual sport motorcycle jacket with a windproof liner, thermal top, gloves, and windproof pants. So I thought I was good on temperature, but was wrong. I was heading to Mud Volcano area which was about an hour ride away and about 20 minutes into the cold damp morning air was getting painful. So I took my time and stopped at a couple of interesting pull offs to warm up and take some pictures. I spent about and hour and half at Mud Volcano area and then headed to my goal for the day: Mount Washburn hike. This was the #1 rated hike in “Day Hikes of Yellowstone” by Hike734, which was my goto list of hikes I was planning on doing in Yellowstone. It has 65 hikes, of which I did 10 of for around 45 miles of hiking the 10 days I was in Yellowstone. Unfortunately, due to a fire in the are of Mount Washburn the road to get there was closed. So I ended up stopping at the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone and spent the day there hiking the North & South Rim trails on both sides of it and continued up to Ribbon Lake on the South side. This is a MUST DO, seeing Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, the views of the canyon, waterfalls, different colors and erosion of rocks is amazing here. On the way back to camp I made one stop at Cascade Falls to capture another waterfall, which is right but pull-out from the main road.

Saturday, 8/29, I headed out about 10AM once it got just over 50 degrees out and with an extra upper layer on too, to West Thumb Geyser Basin, which was very close to where I was camping and next to Yellowstone Like. It was pretty busy here so I kept my mask on the entire time and decided to wait till a week day to goto Old Faithful area. I then road to the East side of Yellowstone Lake to hike Storm Point Trail and Sedge Bay area. Got back to camp about 5PM and hooked up a 2nd 12 volt battery and played videos games for about two hours, until it was low on juice. I then made plans for which days I was planning on doing the other main sites, Old Faithful (Mon), Biscuit Bay (Mon), Fountain Paint Pots (Tue), Mammoth Hot Springs (Wed), and Norris Hot Springs (Wed), and move to new area (Wed).

I planned to move to the NW corner of the park now, since Bay Bridge was on the South side of the park and the whole East side was closed due to fires and now a tanker truck wreck that messed the road up. This meant to get to the NE side I had to go around the entire Grand Loop, taking about 3 hours vs 1 hour. So Sunday was spent mainly checking out campsites in this area that were 1st come, 1st serve. Started with Norris, but they were closed I assume due to COVID, then Indian Creek which is seven miles south of Mammoth Hot Springs in the far NE corner and it turned out to be mostly empty; it the low was 26 the night before and that meant many people left, and lastly Mammoth campgrounds. Indian creek had a lot of trees and was very nice, so I was pretty sure I was going to go here but still checked out Mammoth. Mammoth had many large spots (40+) and good views, but very few trees so decided to move to Indian Creek on Tuesday. This evening I finished the book Blowout: Corrupted Democracy, Rogue State Russia, and the Richest, Most Destructive Industry on Earth, by Rachel Madow.

Monday it was 37 when I woke up and raining and snowing a bit, so great day to head to Old Faithful when I figured the crowds would be the lightest. I took the truck this day, due to weather and brought a little big bigger lunch than the Cliff Bar and tuna fish sandwich I had been eating pretty much every day since I was leaving camp before 11 and getting back after 5 most days. I hiked the ~2 miles of trail, all boardwalks, in the Upper Geyser Basin where there are around 20 different geysers. Around lunch I checked the schedule for Old Faithful which goes off about every 90 minutes +\- 20 minutes and headed to the truck for a quick lunch. Head back out in time to get a front row spot, it wasn’t that busy as I hoped, and took pictures and video of it going off. After that I went back to the truck and headed to Biscuit Basin area and then Fountain Painted Pots area. When got back to camp I loaded things up and prepared to move in the AM.

Tuesday I moved to Indian Creek campground, left about 9:30 but didn’t get there till about noon, it would have taken an hour if the road on the SE side was open but due to the closure, animals, and slow traffic it to about 2.5 vs 1.75 it should have taken going the longer route. I learned that it takes a lot longer to get around Yellowstone than you expect. I got delayed by two accidents, one part of the Grand Loop was closed due to a 3rd, another part closed due to a fire, animals (most bison watching but one time a mother bear and her three cubs, which I got to see), and people just going slow to take in the views. On the Nighthawk I would pass about every pass zone it was safe too, since most people did 45 MPH (speed limit normally) or less and crawled\stopped if there was an animal (99% of the time bison) near the road. At Indian Creek I got a spot in the sun, for the solar panels since generators weren’t allowed, but I didn’t need to use mine at all this whole trip except to charge the X260 ones. After getting things setup I headed to Norris Geyser Basin, then to Porcelain Basin Hot Springs, and finally “Roaring” (it doesn’t anymore) Mountain. That evening I finished the book Gauntlgrym.

Wednesday I headed out to Mammoth Hot Springs and spent about two hours there walking all the trails\boardwalks around it and nearby geothermal features. Since I was only seven miles from camp I went back for a full lunch, then headed back out to the NE side of the park’s Tower area. Here I did the Yellowstone River Picnic area hike and got some great shots of the river. This is a must do hike for the views, pretty mellow and worth it to see the river and the canyon it has cut. Got back to camp about 6 and started book 2 in the Neverwinter Drizzt saga: Neverwinter.

Thursday I road over 120 miles on the Nighthawk and did Grand Prismatic Hot Springs (video) in the Midway Geyser Basin. This is my favorite feature in Yellowstone, it’s the 2nd largest hot spring pool in the world, is 120’ deep and is just amazing to look at with all the colors and otherworldly appearance of it and the surrounding area! After doing a hike that took you to a ridge looking down on this amazing site I continued on to Fairy Falls, and then to Imperial Geyser. This hike is also a must do for this great geyser that you can get right up to and even put your toes\hand in the spring water that comes out of it (just do it a way downstream when it’s well below the ~180 degrees at the source. This geyser erupts for about a minute every few minutes and you can get right in the steam path of it, right on the edge, and chances are you will be by yourself too! After getting back to the bike I decided to head out the West exit of Yellowstone, though the small old west, sort of, tourist town of West Yellowstone, and continue on about another 10 miles to cross into Idaho.

Friday was my last day in Yellowstone and still had several things I wanted to see, I decided to check out Pebble Creek & Slough Creek campsite in the NE corner of the park. Made it to Slough Creek but the campground was closed, not sure if this was due to the late season since most campgrounds closed the week after Labor Day or COVID. After leaving the Slough Creek campgrounds, which is 2 miles down a dirt road, I went past Pebble Creek and drive into Cooke City, MN (small western style tourist town) out the NE exit of the park. I had looked for interesting forest roads in the area to check out also and tried one that went to a Daisy Pass, but after about one mile it was getting way too rugged for the Nighthawk so I turned around. I had noticed a side road that ran parallel to the main road through Cooke so deiced to check it out. This road went from a nice gravel road with nice houses on it to a bit of a challenge with big mud holes and much more of a 4×4 road. There were a few mud crossing I did where I felt the tires sliding around some, which are 60/40% off/on road tires luckily on the Nighthawk. I thought about turning around, but I was half way through already and continued, with the ruts, roots, and mud holes I got more of a work out than expected on this road and the one to Daisey Pass for sure! Headed back to Pebble Creek trail and did this four mile hike which was 90% pretty steep uphill, went from 7,296’ to 8,345’ and took about two hours. In the end the views were worth it! Got back to camp and made dinner and backed things up.

The best part of this trip was my 1997 Nighthawk. It made getting around so much quicker, fun, and exhilarating! Other highlights were paddleboarding on Jenny Lake, that amazing 12 mile single track loop, cross the river to get to the ATV loop, Fairy Falls trail and Imperial Geyser, North\South Rim trails of the Grand Canyon, seeing a momma bear and her three cubs, one of which attacked a small traffic cone and rolled around with it for a bit.

The drive back on Saturday took about 12 hours, having to stop about every two hours for gas adds up and I also took highways vs interstate since hauling a 27’ ~6,000 pound trailer is better going slower. Getting back in CO I noticed, what I thought was, a huge thunderhead about an hour north of Fort Collins. Turned out this was the smoke from the Cameron Peak fire that is still burning weeks later West of Fort Collins and has even burned into Rocky Mountain National Park and caused ash fall to built up enough to coat cars with ash.

Posted in Camping, Personal, Travel | Tagged , | Leave a comment

How to fix expired Office 365 Pro Plus license issue

So starting a week or so ago I have several friends\family, whom I provided Office 365 license and support for tell me Outlook was telling them their license was going to expire soon. They were all setup with Office 365 Business Premium, which includes Desktop Office, so this shouldn’t be the case.

I tried uninstall and reinstalling Office and they were still getting this prompt. So after researching more I found that and old license was stuck on the system.

After a bit of searching I found this article: Below I’ll cover what is has in it, with more details.

This article covers using the ospp.vbs script (Office Software Protection Platform script) that can be used to manage licenses of Microsoft Office.

To fix the issue I did the following

  1. Opened a Command Prompt as an administrator
  2. Went to [C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office16], for 64-bit off
    • If running 32-bit: [C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office16]
  3. Run: cscript ospp.vbs /dstatus
  4. This will return results like this
    ospp Output
  5. From this list, I see that BCD8GP & BTDRB are both from expired licenses
  6. So to remove these expired keys I ran this: cscript ospp.vbs /unpkey:BTDRB
    • Replace “BTDRB” with the last 5 of the product key returned on the system you run this on

I then uninstalled Office, again to be sure, and installed it fresh from

After doing that Outlook was working correctly again. On two other users Outlook just worked again, without having to re-install Office.


Posted in Microsoft, O365, Outlook, Technical | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Microsoft 365 Business Voice is out – For your virtual PBX using Microsoft Teams

Does your small to medium business/org need a phone system, now that more\most\all people are working from home? Or even if they aren’t, this is a great offering!

Microsoft has had a virtual PBX\digital phone system, built on Skype for Business for years now. This support was moved into Microsoft Teams around a year ago, as Skype for Business is phased out\replaced by Teams. But the licensing of this support was a confusing (I struggled to get it all working and had to phone a friend). It required an Office 365 E1 or E3 license with three additional licensed added on, or an E5 license. This new offering works with the cheaper “Office 365 Business” licenses, designed for business with under 300 users.

Today Microsoft just launched “Microsoft 365 Business Voice” in the US. It’s a $20/month add-on per line, with the base license being $5/month so $25/month.

It is built on Microsoft Team, which provide chat, conference call lines, video conferencing,  desktop sharing, webinar “live events”, and a virtual PBX\phone system support. The phone system support auto attendants, call queues, call parking, and many more advanced PBX type options.

You can sign up for a 30-day trial, which normally can be extended to 60 days, for everything for FREE during this period.

So for $20 Microsoft 365 Business Voice replaces the following thee licenses, which saves you $2 and this option is now available for Office 365 Business Essentials ($5/month) vs the previous cheapest offer of E1 ($8/month); saving a total of $5/month per user.

  • $12 Microsoft 365 Domestic Calling Plan – Required to make outgoing calls
  • $8 Microsoft Phone System – Required to connect to (PSTN) external phones
  • $2 Audio Conference – Required for a user to host a conference call

I used this support, via the old licensing method, for a eight hour virtual meeting\webinar on Saturday to provide phone support to over 750 people. The help desk team provided over 21 hours of phone support, and answered 226 calls. The system worked pretty flawlessly. You can use the Teams app on your smart phone or computer to make\receive calls using a real #.

Posted in MS Teams, O365, Technical | Leave a comment

Izzy’s books of 2019

Here is the list of books I’ve read in 2019, or almost done reading. I’m 100% done with books 4 and on; except for The Guns of August which was too slow and try for me and probably won’t finish it. My “Rating” below is how much I enjoyed the book, most of which were listen do via Audible. I think this is all 21 books I read this year, I normally have many books going at once and have started a few others but not more than ¼ into them so didn’t list them here.


  1. Factfulness – Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World – and Why Things Are Better Than You Think – 60% done
    • By: Hans Rosling, Anna Rosling Rönnlund, Ola Rosling | Rating: 4.0
    • Goes into how much better off the world really is and how humans default to a negative view on things. This is on Bill Gates’ books he expects employees to read at Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
  2. The Red Web – The Struggle Between Russia’s Digital Dictators and the New Online Revolutionaries – 80% done
    • By Andrei Soldatov | Rating 4.0 | Book about how Russia has controlled the spread of information and monitored it since the very first telephones and even before then. Book covers up to around 2013.
  3. Timeline – 75% done
    • By Michael Crichton | Rating 4.0 | Fun read, about basically time travel back to the middle ages
  4. How to Change Your Mind – What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence
    • By: Michael Pollan | Rating: 4.5
    • Great book for those interested in or experienced with psychedelics! I’ll leave it at that 😊
  5. Buddhism Plain and Simple – The Practice of Being Aware, Right Now, Every Day
    • By Steve Hagen | Rating: 4.5
    • Straight forward book on a bit of the history of Buddhism, but mainly on the basics of the practice. It really resonated for me, about being present and mindful and the eight-fold path: Right view, Right intention, Right speech, Right action, Right livelihood, Right effort, Right mindfulness, & Right meditation/concentration.
  6. Permanent Record
    • By: Edward Snowden | Rating: 4.5
    • Must read for everyone! There was nothing shocking in this book for me, I knew the CIA was copying all data on the Internet back in the late 90s. I’ve been a building with a dark ops floor, where all the Internet connections from Europe came into.
  7. The Righteous Mind – Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion
    • By: Jonathan Haidt | Rating: 4.0 – Was a dry read\listen, but very meaningful topic
    • Eye opening book that goes into how us humans are born wired differently across the conservative to liberal spectrum. The last chapter goes into things we can do to bridge the gap. My key take-away we humans have six key moral found pillars: 1) Care/harm, 2) Fairness/cheating, 3) Loyalty/betrayal, 4) Authority/subversion, 5) Sanctity/degradation, and 6) Liberty/oppression. Good article on this here. Summary is that liberals have much stronger Care & Fairness values then conservatives. Conservatives then have much stronger Loyalty, Authority, and Sanctity pillars. So this is what leads to our strong disconnect. Check out for lots more info, studies, and surveys on this. I plan on re-reading the last chapter again soon!
  8. Tiamat’s Wrath – The Expanse, Book 8
    • By James S. A. Corey | Rating: 4.0 – Very enjoyable sci-fi read, all eight of these books are a most for any sci-fi fan. Should read them before watching the Amazon Expanse series, which closely followed book 1 = season 1, etc.
  9. The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye – A Lisbeth Salander Novel, Continuing Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Series, Book 5
    • By: David Lagercrantz | Rating: 3.5 – 1st three, by Stieg Larsson are MUCH better. The way Larsson talked about hacking was much more realistic and enjoyed his books story flow much more, sadly he died after the 3rd book came out.
  10. Mustaine – A Heavy Metal Memoir
    • By: Dave Mustaine, Joe Layden | Rating: 4.0
    • Very enjoyable for metal head of the 80s who saw Megadeth four times and Metallica 15 so far!
  11. Slaughterhouse-Five
    • By: Kurt Vonnegut | Rating: 3.0 – Classic I know, which I neve read before, but didn’t really enjoy it much
  12. The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
    • By: Benjamin Franklin | Rating: 3.5 | Interesting learning about this found father
  13. Magnetic – Cultivate Confidence, Become Rejection-Proof and Naturally Attract the Women You Desire
    • By: Tripp Kramer | Rating: 4.0 – Has lots of tips to get over hang-ups that prevent you from connecting with women, like starting a conversation with a women you don’t know. Plan on reading this again and working on some of the items in
  14. Persepolis Rising – The Expanse, Book 7
  15. Babylon’s Ashes – The Expanse, Book 6
  16. The Handmaid’s Tale: Special Edition
    • By: Margaret Atwood | Rating: 3.5 – Disturbing read about a dystopia future, after reading it I decided not to watch the TV series… But I do love Claire Danes, who reads this book, so that might change 😊
  17. Nemesis Games – The Expanse, Book 5
  18. The Girl in the Spider’s Web – A Lisbeth Salander Novel, Continuing Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Series, Book 4
    • By: David Lagercrantz | Rating: 4.0 – 1st three, by Stieg Larsson are MUCH better
  19. The Guns of August – Book on WW1
    • By: Barbara W. Tuchman | Rating: 3.0 – It’s a slow moving and dry book, at 19 hours I got about 13 hours in but haven’t picked it back up since Jan 2019
  20. Prince Lestat and the Realms of Atlantis – The Vampire Chronicles, book 12
    • By: Anne Rice | Rating: 4.0 – Another fun read, but pretty far out there and not dark, which I prefer
  21. The Right Stuff
    • By: Tom Wolfe | Rating: 4.5 – Enjoyable and historical read, that focusing on the lives of the Mercury astronauts.
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2019 Shows & Events

Here is the list of the 2019 shows & events I’m going to or have gone too.
My 2020 Shows & events.

  1. 1/26 PM Odd Fellow’s Shrimpfest w/ Cat Jerky
  2. 2/8 – 2/10 Steamboat with Nitro & Burners
  3. 3/2 – 3/9 Ski trip to Tahoe
  4. 3/15 – 3/17 Steamboat
  5. 3/21: Nick Mason’s Saucerful Of Secrets w/ Schmide, Zilla, & Tommy Z
  6. 3/28-4/1 Crested Butte ski trip
  7. 4/2 Buddy Guy – w/ Sante
  8. 4/12 Led Zepplein 2
  9. 4/13 Supercross $471/7 w/ Dan, Crist, Jeff
  10. 4/26 – 4/28 KoboldCon – COS
  11. 4/30 Guitar Shorty (Blues)
  12. 5/10 Paul Oakenfold (EDM DJ)
  13. 5/31 – 6/2 Apogaea Work Weekend
  14. 6/6 – 6/9 Apogaea w/ Andrew & Greta in RV
  15. 6/19 – 6/24 Element 11 w/ Andrew & Greta in RV, and many other there
  16. 7/7 – SAMSKARA @ Fiske Planetarium – w/ Tarah
  17. 7/11 – 7/15 Druid & Dragons Con – w/ Chandra Wayne, Tom, & Terri
  18. 7/30 DMNS – Into the Deep: Leonardo Underwater – 2 w/ Tarah
  19. 7/31 Susanne Vega – 2 /w Aubree
  20. 8/9 – 8/11 Myths and Legends Con (MALCon) 2019
  21. 8/12 Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals / Trombone Shorty –  w/ Grant @ Mission Ball Room
  22. 8/18 Gov’t Mule – RR – w/ Aubree @ Red Rocks
  23. 8/21 – 9/2 Burning Man w/ Sante, Harris in RV, and many other friend there
  24. 9/13 – Foggy Molly & Social Distortion @ Mission Ball Room
  25. 9/19 DMNS Science Lounge – 2 – w Aubree
  26. 9/20 The Melvins (Punk) & Redd Kross  w/ Biz
  27. 9/21 BCDP Truman Dinner – 3 w/ Tarah, Aubree and AOC 😉
  28. 9/26 Thur – DMNS Science Riot – 2 w/ Aubree
  29. 9/28 John Digweed w/ Rita
  30. 10/2 Roger Waters: US + Them (movie) – 2 w/ Irving, Scmid-e, & Xilla
  31. 10/5: The mice will play 2.0hh no! – Mike house party
  32. 10/9 The Raconteurs – w/ Grant @ Mission Ball Room
  33. 10/11 – 10/13 Aftershock Festival – 2 | Blog post on festival
    • Tool, Rob Zombie, Slipknot, Staind, Korn, STP, Marilyn Manson, Clutch, Halestorm, Badflower, Fishbone, Highly Susepect, Bad Religion, The Hu, Crystal Method, Babymetal, Chevelle, Fu Manchu, A Day to Remember, and many more
  34. 10/13 Tool @ Pepsi Center w/ Schmid-e
  35. 10/13 Tool @ Pepsi Center w/ Schmid-e & Tommy Z
  36. 11/8 Opio (EDM) – 1 w/ Tommy, Schmid-E @ Mission Ball Room
  37. 11/10 Puddle of Mudd (Alt Rock) @ Buffalo Rose, Golden
  38. 11/20 Ministry, Primus, & Slayer (Rock) – 1 w/ Sarah & Rev Jer
  39. 11/22 Jay and Silent Bob Reboot Roadshow – 2 @ 10PM w/ JC
  40. 11/23 Ghostland Observatory @ Fillmore – 1 w/ Schmid-e and others
  41. 11/27 Pigface – 1 @ Summit Music Hall
  42. 12/7 Colorado Music Hall of Fame 2019 Induction @ Mission Ball Room
    • Inducting Tommy Bolin, Zephyr, Otis Taylor, Freddi & Henchi, Tony Spicola and Wendy Kale
    • Tommy Bolin Band with guest appearances by Warren Haynes & Joe Bonamassa, Tribute to Zephyr by: David Givens and Friends, Otis Taylor Band, with Freddi & Henchi, Chris Daniels & The Kings
    • The Tommy Bolin Band features
      • Stanley Sheldon (long time member of Peter Frampton Band)
      • Johnnie Bolin (brother of Tommy and member of Black Oak Arkansas)
      • Max Carl (current lead singer of Grand Funk Railroad and former singer for 38 Special)
      • Bobby Berge (formally of Zephyr and Buddy Miles Band )
      • Lucas Parker of (of Groovement and the Lucas Parker Band)
      • Jeff Cook and Gary Wilson (Tommy Bolin Band, Energy)
      • Joey Porter (The Motet)
      • Taylor Babb (of the Lucas Parker Band)
  43. 12/6 Shpongle (Simon Posford Live Set) w/ Desert Dwellers, Goopsteppa @ Fillmore Auditorium
  44. 12/7 My annual Ugly Something Party 
  45. 12/12 Nick Offerman – 4 Thu • Dec 12 2019 • 9:30 PM
  46. 12/13 Woman Up Music Festival w Janiva Magness, Cass Clayton, Mojomama
  47. 12/24 & 12/25 Skied – X-mas day is one of the best days to ski (almost no one out)
Posted in Events, Music, Personal | 1 Comment

2020 Shows & Events

My 2019 Shows & Events list

Last Updated: 10/24/2020

Yeah, most these didn’t happen because of COVID 😭

  1. 1/24 – 1/29 Weekend in Atlanta
  2. 1/28 – Tool in Atlanta
  3. 2/7 – Queensrÿche @ Ogden
  4. 2/8 – 2/9 – Steamboat Trip for world record fireworks attempt – w/ several burner
  5. 2/13 – 2/16 Gengis Con – Gaming\D&D Con
  6. 2/14 Silversun Pickups @ Ogden
  7. 2/15 Oysterhead @ 1st Bank
    Les Claypool (bass), Trey Anastasio (guitarist) of Phish, and Stewart Copeland (drummer) of The Police
  8. 2/20 Ott
  9. 2/28 OPIUO

Everything else past this point was canceled or delayed to 2021 due to COVID

  1. 3/1 Soul Asylum & Local H – Moved to 2021
  2. 3/17 Anders Osborne + Jackie Greene @ Boulder Theater
  4. 3/28 – Grace Potter @ Mission Ballroom – 1
  5. Rage Against the Machine
    1. 3/26: El Paso, TX – Not going
    2. 3/28: Las Cruces, NM – Not going
    3. 3/30: Phoenix, AZ – Going to try to make this date
    4. 4/10 & 4/17: Indio, CA April Coachella – Not going
  6. 4/3 Lewis Black @ Paramount – Moved to 2021
  7. 4/7 Reverend Horton Heat @ Stanley Hotel – Moved to 2021
  8. 4/8 Lords of Acid
  9. 4/16 – 4/19 French Qtr Fest (Maybe)
  10. 4/18 Colorado Dems State Assembly & Convention & CDP Obama Dinner
  11. 4/20 – 4/24 Commvault Ready (Work Conference), Orlando, FL
  12. 4/21 – Beth Hart @ Mission – Moved to 2021
  13. 5/1 – Dead Can Dance @ Mission – Moved to 2021
  14. 5/16 Leftapalooza  |
  15. 5/21 – 5/25 Soak (Regional Burn) |
  16. 6/10 – 6/15 Apogaea (Regional Burn)  |
  17. 6/25 – 6/28 Element 11 (Regional Burn) |
  18. 10/9 – 10/11 AftershockMy blog post about Aftershock 2019
  19. 10/29 – 11/2 Halloween in New Orleans (Thur-Mon))
  20. 12/10 – 12/16 Global Eclipse Festival|
Posted in Events, Music, Personal | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Aftershock 2019 Music Festival Summary

This festival started in 2014 as a one-day event and this year expanded to three full days, with “90,000” attendees which in reality was around 30,000 per day. There were three stages, two main stages and a smaller one; scheduled so both the main stages had a bit of overlap. While the main stages were being reset, a band was playing on the smaller (Coors) stage. From the Kolas (dispensary change in the area) to the Monster Energy stage was less than a 10-minute walk and then about five minutes to the Coors stage. There were plenty of food, drink, port-a-potties and merch vendors throughout the entire grounds. Overall the festival was well planned, lines at all, but the festival merch vendors, were pretty short all weekend. Prices of stuff were on the high-end though, all beer and booze cost $12, same for crappy Coors Light as for a mixed drink, and a pulled pork sandwich (no sides) was $15. T-Shirt were the normal $40, concert poster $40, and Tool hoodie for $75; they had a HUGE merch area setup that had stuff for all 50+ artist who were there. The line-up was hard rock\metal focused, I saw 27 of them; of those I was mainly her for Tool since this was the 1st show of their new tour for the new album, but Rob Zombie and Dropkick Murphys were must see for me.

I booked an Airbnb just across the river, almost, from Discovery Park where the festival was held. Discovery Park is next to the America River where it runs into the Sacramento River, so it had rivers on two sides, with I-5 running right next to the Coors stage. While I was only about ½ mile from the Park it was just over 3 miles away by bike or car, since I had to go over a mile to get the closest bridge and another mile back to the park. When I booked the place, it looked like it might be on the other side of the river, but after booking the actual location wasn’t where I hoped. Not a big deal since there were Jump bikes and scooters everywhere, which I enjoy using. The Airbnb was a huge house right by the river, beautiful place, that an older later owned and used for short-term rentals. There were also two twenty-year-old girls from the UK who were also staying her for the festival and visiting CA. The daily bike ride took about 20 minutes and cost about $6, besides a bit of nerve-racking narrow bridge crossing it was a good ride. Saturday AM I went to Rite Aid and got drinks and snacks for the house, and had those for a 1st breakfast each day after. Sat & Sun AM I had full breakfast around noon and was at the festival around 1PM each day, where I had a late lunch and dinner.

Below is the list of the bands I was able to see Friday, after dropping my stuff at the Airbnb and taking a Lyft to the festival I got there about 3:30PM. The stand outs, to me, Friday were Dropkick Murphys , who always put on a killer show then, a new band to me, Halestorm. Halestorm’s lead singer, Lzzy, stood out and the band had a good beat, attitude, and stage presence. Yes, Clutch, STAIND, and Slipnot were good too but the top three bands of the day for me were Dropkicks, Halestorm, and Lamb of God. I spent all of Dropkicks set on the perimeter of or in the pit, the crowd energy at a punk show is hard to resist. Lamb of God also had a good pit I spent about half the show at it. STAIND I find a bit too mellow and main stream for my taste and I did enjoy Slipknot, but from near the back of the crowd.

Friday’s bands, I saw:

  1. Clutch (Rock)
  2. Dropkick Murphys (Punk)
  3. Halestorm (Rock) Listen
  4. Lamb of God (Metal)
  5. STAIND (Metal)
  6. Slipknot (Metal)

Saturday, I got there about 1PM and Badflower was just going on and I stayed for their entire set since I really enjoyed them. They were one of the newest bands there, 1st single in 2015 and 1st album in Feb 2019, and glad I got to see them. Fishbone was up next and can’t recommend seeing them enough, good band that always makes strong political statements; they have been around since 1979. Then I went to the smaller stage and enjoyed Ghostemane. Bad Religion put on a good show, but energy level was a bit low. STP was up next and their new singer, Jeff Gutt, does Scott justice as a single and front-man; but does sound a little bit different. I’ve been an STP fan since I first heard and saw them in the early 90s, but only got to see Scott once; I’ve now seen Jeff three times. Marilyn was on the other main stage, after STP, and it was packed over there. I didn’t bother fighting the crowd to get closer since the three other times I’ve seen Marilyn I’ve rated the show as “A bit lame” or Sucked; sadly this one was also a “A bit lame” show. Marilyn was out of shape and drunk or messed up on something. I stayed for a few songs before heading back to the middle stage for Zombie. This is the seventh time I’ve seen Rob, going back to 1992 with White Zombie, and five of those shows have “Kick Ass” (highest behind “Top 10”) and sixth had “Damn Good”. This time also got a Kick Ass rating, GO SEE ZOMBIE if you have the chance. He puts on a hell of a show, great performer, hard rock\metal music, with lots of pyro. Closing out the night was Blink 182, I stayed for a few songs before I left. I’ve never liked Blink much, too pop sounding for me.

Saturday’s bands, I saw:

  1. Badflower (Rock) Listen
  2. Fishbone (Funk Metal)
  3. Ghostemane (Metalish)
  4. Highly Suspect (Rock)
  5. Bad Religion (Punk)
  6. Stone Temple Pilots (Rock)
  7. Marilyn Manson (Rock)
  8. Rob Zombie (Metal)
  9. Blink 182 (Rock)

The last day I got there early and caught several bands I hadn’t heard of before, from the goth “dream” metal band Blue Midnight that was very mellow but entertaining. Then walking toward the middle stage I heard Black Hole Sun by Soundgarden, one of my all time favorite bands, and followed the sound to the solo performer Evan Konrad and stayed for most of his set, which was mostly originals. Enjoyed most of Brkn Love set then headed back to the smaller stage to see The Hu (pic), which is a Mongolian metal band. They put on a great show, with a unique string instruments, Mongolian throat singing, and other instruments in the seven-person band. Check them out if they come to your town! Then it was back to the middle stage for The Crystal Method, which is a DJ I’ve been catching since the 90s who always puts on a harder edged set and he did not disappoint the metal\rock crowd! A moving moment in his set, was when he did a tribute to Keith Flint (The Prodigy), who committed suicide on March 4th, 2019, with his image on the large screens. I then went over to see Babymetal, but only stayed for a few songs. It was three Japanese front girls singing and dancing with a backing band, all dressed in black with black mask. They are basically pop Japanese metal, and I wasn’t into it at all so headed over to see Gojira. Gojira, France metal band, did not disappoint! They are mix of prog and death metal and have been around since 1996, though I had just heard of them recently I think, and had a great set with a damn good pit. Chevelle was OK, but not really a fan, then was Fu Manchu, whose roots go back to 1985 punk scene. Fu I enjoyed a lot also and need to listen to them more. I did catch A Day to Remember, or some of them, but don’t remember their set so they didn’t stand out. But Deadland Ritual was who I was mainly looking forward to next. This is a “super group” made up of Franky Perez (Apocalyptica), guitarist Steve Stevens (Billy IdolMichael Jackson), bassist Geezer Butler (Black SabbathHeaven and Hell) and drummer Matt Sorum (Y Kant Tori Readthe CultGuns N’ Roses). They did a setlist made up of mostly Black Sabbath songs with two Billy Idol and Slither by Velvet Revolver and a few originals. The next big band up with Korn, but I skipped them completely to get a good spot for the main band I was here to see Tool!

Tool was the PRIMARY reason I came to Aftershock, when I got the ticket they hadn’t announced any other dates, their entire catalog had just been released to digital\streaming sites, and their 1st album in 13 years, Fear Inoculum was getting ready to be released on Aug 30th. So I decided I had to see them since they are one of my favorite bands and I had only seen them four times before, yeah I know for some people that’s a lot but I’ve seen most of my favorite bands around 10 times. The 1st time I saw tool was in July 1993 at Lollapolooza in Raleigh, NC, then again in Feb 1994 at a small venue in Norfolk, VA, then at OzzFest 1998. I wouldn’t get a chance to see them again until their very limited tour in 2016, when I flew to San Diego to see them with Primus. So, I had to see them and loved many others on the line-up for Aftershock and I hadn’t been to a music festival in 2019. As expected, Tool start with a song from their new album, the title track Fear Inoculum which was their 1st time playing in live. They did ten songs, with some from about each album, setlist and they sounded and looked great. The crowd was mainly there for Tool on Sunday, about 1/3 of the shirts were Tool ones and I think about all 30K people were packed into the middle stage area and stayed until the last song, Pneuma was played. I’m very glad I went and enjoyed Tool Sunday, but the Tue & Wed shows back in Denver at Pepsi Center were MUCH better; sound, visuals, and stage wise.

I really enjoyed this festival and on the last day they announced the TWO night headliner, doing a different set on Friday and Sunday, would be METALLICA! So the day I got home I bought a ticket to Aftershock 2020 and will be back next year! Hoping to line up some friends and split an house\condo next year, so who’s in!?!

Sunday’s bands, I saw:

  1. Blue Midnight (“Dream” Metal)
  2. Evan Konrad (Alt Rock)
  3. Brkn Love (Rock)
  4. The Hu (Metal)
  5. The Crystal Method – The Prodigy (DJ – Big beat\trip hop\breakbeat)
  6. Babymetal (Metal, sort of but not really)
  7. Gojira (Metal)
  8. Chevelle (Rock)
  9. Fu Manchu (Punk)
  10. A Day to Remember (Punk)
  11. Deadland Ritual (Rock)
  12. Tool (Metal)

Summary of the bands I saw, from my show database:
Aftershock 2019

 Kick Ass list from Aftershock 2019
Kick Ass - Aftershock 2019

Posted in Music, Personal | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Off to Europe on X-Mas for an adventure

It’s been almost a year since I’ve posted here. Since that time, I’ve been busy with work, got divorced (more on that another time maybe), dirt biked about 1,000 miles of mostly single track, and skied eight days so far this season. These are all topics of more blog post in the future maybe. It’s also been years since I’ve posted a personal blog post, but Facebook is my personal public blog for the most part.

This will be my 1st blog post on this trip to Europe and my 1st trip Europe, and out of the county, since 2010/2011. My last trip I celebrated NYE in Prague (pics), and have a blog post about somewhere, before this site came on-line. Since then I got married and divorced and my ex never got her passport, so I never went out of the county while we were together. It’s just me on this trip and this is my Christmas present to myself. 15 days in Europe, four in Amsterdam, Netherlands, four in Lisbon, Portugal and seven days in and around Porto, Portugal. Five of the days in Porto will be spent with Free Ride Spirit Enduro Tours, four of which will be on a KTM dirt bike!

I’m staying in an AirBnb in Lisbon, one night in a small hotel in Porto, five nights with Free Ride in their accommodations, and small hotel in Amsterdam. I fly into AMS, via MSP and Delta, Christmas, get in on the 26th in 11:30 AM (UTC+1). In AMS for three days, then fly via easyJet to Lisbon until the 1st; so I’ll be doing NYE in Lisbon. For NYE I’m planning on going to Club Europe for Freaky Fiction – Special NYE Party or maybe Club Noir, I plan on checking them both out before NYE and several others. There is a long list of places I went to see, but with only three full days it’s going to be tough to get the top sites on my cool places in even!

Then off to Porto, via 4 hour train from Lisbon, where the 1st night I’m staying in Pensao Favorita Hotel for one night. Next day I’m picked up by Free Ride Spirit and the dirt bike “long tour” adventure begins. The first night we meet all riders, I’ll be riding with a group from Canada, talk about the route, and have dinner. Next two days we ride, route TBD, then we have a day off in Porto, then we ride for two more days. All gear (hydrations back to boots), 2019 KTM, meals, support vehicle, spare bike, and guide all included… For about $2,000.

After the ride, I fly from Porto to Amsterdam, on Air Portugal, where I’m at for about 24 hours then back home, via MSP and Delta.

If all goes well, I should have some great pictures and stories that will be posted here later in 2019.

1/24/19 Update: The trip was AMAZING! I’ve got to create a blog post about it soon. For now here are the pictures:

Posted in Personal, Riding, Travel | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments