Croatia Cruise and Cycling Vacation

Two bikes on the hill

Kat and I had a covid-delayed trip to Croatia booked for quite some time. The tour company and airline allowed us to push the trip back from our original 2020 date. We signed up for two weeks in Croatia – with one week spent on a boat – getting dropped off at idyllic cycling locations.

When case numbers dropped lower in the spring/summer of 2021, folks were getting vaccinated, and international travel was a thing people told us they were successfully doing, we decided to commit to the trip. It was amazing! Here are the photos.

Here’s what I wished I had known BEFORE the trip:

  • Germans take cycling seriously and will suit up accordingly 😉
  • When you bike from a boat – you start every day at sea level.
  • When you think of a flat island – you are wrong. You will climb a mountain every day.
    • The scenery is worth it.
    • You should train harder.
    • Get the electric bike when they offer it!
  • People riding electric bikes do not make a good group ride with traditional bikes
    • The electric biker will inevitably STOP at the bottom of the hill in front of you – then start up again and pass you.
    • They will also order a beer and dessert at the lunch stop – with seemingly no ill effect on performance! (SO JEALOUS!)

Here’s how I would summarize what I learned about Croatia on the trip.

  • Croatia is beautiful everywhere.
    • You can’t turn around without taking a photo of some scenic water vista or some castle on a cliff-side.
  • The people are incredibly kind and make great hosts.
  • They love cats!
  • The food is amazing with plenty of great options wherever you go.
  • Overall – it was a pretty affordable trip!

In summary: We would definitely add Croatia on our list of places to visit again!

Brenneka’s Wedding

Brendan and Anneka’s Wedding

Our amazing friends Brendan and Anneka (henceforth known as Brenneka) got married in Colorado on New Years Eve 2019/2020. It was an awesome time and we used the trip to see old friends, get outdoors, and just have a great time.

Side note: This trip in December was also what partially inspired my “Dry January”.

We spent the first few days of the trip with Mark and Jennifer, Kat’s flight attendant friends who live in Denver. We had a good time exploring local breweries and hanging out while we were snowed in. They may THE BEST breakfast – definitely a great visit! We were a little jealous of how much they get to travel. So many great photos on the wall from so many places.

After two days in Denver we got picked up by Rama and Graciela and took a trip to Rocky Mountain National Park. It was freezing cold up there so we decided to go on a hike around the like, and even hike out onto a frozen lake.

At the end of the park day we headed back south to Como, Colorado to stay in a tiny AirBnB cabin. It was a neat little place up on a very cold very windswept plain right next to the town of Fairplay, which is apparently the hometown that South Park is based on.

Waking up in the frigid -15 F temps we decided to take it a little easy and roll on up to Breckenridge around 9ish for cross country skiing. We bundled up like crazy and even though it was below zero we were still sweating and had to drop layers.

After getting our skis under us we headed straight back to Denver for night 1 of friend hangout and partying. Day 2 we met friends for brunch in a giant group, took a quick nap, then had an amazing New Years Eve wedding and reception downtown.

This was a fantastic trip. It had been such a long time since the gang was all together. It was nice to mix up some exercising, exploring, and partying all in one trip.

Peru Trip Overview

It’s been a dream of Kat’s to explore Peru and hike Machu Picchu for years now. Thanks to her influence it also became a dream of mine.

Before we get started on the details, here’s a link to the curated photos of our trip. I took thousands of photos, and these are the ones that stood out the most. Click each of these images below to open up a gallery for that part of the trip.

Pre-trek in Cusco Photo Gallery
Choquequirao Photo Gallery
Machu Picchu Photo Gallery
Rainbow Mountain Photo Gallery
Cusco Post-trek Photo Gallery
Post-trek in Lima Photo Gallery

Last year we were able to make this happen! We trained for MONTHS leading up to the Peru trip with all sorts of hiking and biking to get ready for the physical part of the challenge. We spent hundreds at REI getting all the right packs and gear we thought we’d need. We took all this gear on hikes all over the Southeast in preparation (like Mt. Mitchell in NC and Dragon’s Tooth in VA). Kat even went all-out and put dive weights in her pack to prepare for climbing at higher elevation.

We found a guide company, Kusa Treks (who we’d highly recommend), and invited some of our closest friends to make the adventure with us. It wound up being a trip with 5 people total. This was fantastic as we got what amounted to a private trekking experience.

I’d like to write up a post in the future that contains some more details.

  • The cast of characters
    • Kat & Jason
    • Nicole & Justin
    • Jackie
  • Trip Highlights
    • Best part of the trip
    • New thing that we learned
    • Best food
    • Thing that surprised us the most

I think the format should probably be one post for the trip overview, and then one post for each individual section. It seems like I’m looking at a lot of writing work. Consider this post the pre-overview. Leave a comment if you’d like to see anything else covered.

Things You Won’t Learn on My LinkedIn Profile

I had to do a little introduction exercise when I moved over to the marketing team as a Tech Marketing Engineer. I had to share some things you wouldn’t learn on my LinkedIn Profile with the team. I thought it was fun to walk through and worth reposting here!

I just married the woman of my dreams (Kat) who was born in Germany but moved to Florida when she was young. She says y’all with a mixed German and Southern accent and it melts my heart. When we got married we smiled so much our faces hurt. We’re both still amazed that our lives turned out this way and we get to live our dreams.

Despite my mild mannered appearance, I like to live life dangerously. In addition to the rock climbing with my wife, you can find me riding motorcycles, snowboarding, or my one true guilty pleasure, eating Chipotle on my walk to and from HQ and the SJC airport.

I’m a Tough Mudder finisher. You’ll find me out crawling through the mud once a year.

Our long term goal is to move to a walkable city (maybe in Germany or the Netherlands) and spend summer nights walking between cafes. Especially Eiscafés

Vienna Avaya Technology Forum

Part of my role on the Nutanix Performance and Solutions team is to “evangelize” the technology and tell the world about all the great work we’re doing writing documents, testing products and solutions, and assisting with customer engagements. The physical manifestation of that is me sitting in an airport typing up this blog post, on my way to the Avaya Technology Forum in Vienna, Austria.


Nutanix will have a booth and I’ll be doing demos of the product interface and reaching out to Avaya communications and networking customers. I’ll be joined by members of the local Nutanix team to help share the duties. I’m looking forward to meeting more of the international Nutanix team!

The Nutanix Virtual Computing Platform is a great fit for Avaya customers looking to virtualize their communications infrastructure running Avaya Aura, or IP Office. Nutanix also simplifies the compute and storage side of the data center for those leveraging Avaya Fabric Connect to simplify the network stack.

Imagine being able to scale your compute and storage seamlessly with auto discovery. Imagine one click upgrades of the entire compute and storage ecosystem (INCLUDING THE HYPERVISOR!). More importantly, imagine all the time you’ll have to work on the applications that really matter.

IP Office Reference Architecture

Avaya Aura Reference Architecture

Stop by the Nutanix booth in the Solutions Zone at the Hilton Vienna on May 5th – 8th if you’re in the area!

Nutanix and The 2015 Avaya Technology Forum

I’m at the 2015 Avaya Technology Forum with Nutanix to talk about Avaya Unified Communications on the Nutanix platform. Stop by the Nutanix and CRI booth to see the Nutanix gear in action. Nutanix 3460 and 1450 nodes will be powering all the demos you see for Avaya Aura and other applications!

I’ve been testing with the helpful engineers at Avaya to do two important things:

  1. Ensure Avaya Unified Communications applications run flawlessly on Nutanix.
  2. Test the Nutanix Distributed File System (NDFS) performance and operation on top of Avaya Fabric Connect.

The result of all this work is being presented here at the Avaya Technology Forum in sunny Orlando. The Avaya colleagues I’ve been working with are from the Boston area (and Canada), so I imagine coming down here to find 81 degrees and sunshine is a welcome change!

The first item I want to bring to your attention is the Nutanix Avaya Unified Communications Solution Brief. This is a high level piece to show the overall benefits of combining Nutanix and Avaya Unified Communications. Nutanix makes the data center admin’s life easier by eliminating silos between UC and other data center apps, bringing scalable compute and storage to the masses, cutting down on management time, providing blinding fast I/O performance, and tying it all together with high availability baked in.


Whether you’re running Avaya IP Office, a full blown contact center with Avaya Aura, or something in between, the Nutanix platform brings web-scale technologies to these virtual applications. To top it off – Avaya Fabric Connect technologies allow the data center admin to provision highly resilient, low-latency, high-throughput network backbones without the drawbacks of traditional spanning tree architectures.

Nutanix performs hyper-convergence at the storage and compute layer using a software defined Controller Virtual Machine. Find out more here at the Nutanix Bible to see how Nutanix ties together the disks of many nodes to form a resilient, distributed, high-performance compute and storage cluster.

Avaya brings Software Defined Networking and Virtualization with Avaya Fabric Connect.

These two technologies together save time and money in the datacenter, while also providing blazing performance.


Check back for updates during the conference. I’ll be sharing a Reference Architecture for Avaya IP Office Server Edition running on Nutanix. In the future you’ll also see a Reference Architecture for Avaya Aura on Nutanix.

Find me at the conference by tweeting @bbbburns or stopping by the Nutanix and CRI booth.

Motorcycle Weekend – Myrtle Beach and Wright Brothers

I spent the weekend riding the motorcycle to Myrtle Beach SC to spend some time with my sister Amanda. I took a route directly to her place, but today took a pretty long road home to visit the Wright Brothers National Memorial and tour some scenic NC coast.

The bridges were awesome to cross. The burned swamp land was breath taking and went on for miles. There were some SERIOUSLY deserted places out there.

A 733 mile shakedown run on the bike, new seat, and new shoulder. Everything works pretty well so I’d say I’m prepared for Tail of The Dragon next Friday.

The new seat lowers me (good) and cramps my legs a bit (bad), but I get used to that. My butt isn’t AS sore as it used to be with the old seat, but sit in the saddle for a 12 hour day and comfort is relative.

The new shoulder works perfectly with no complaints (as long as the weather is nice).

Plane Travel Plus Kindle

I think one of my favorite parts of the Park City trip was the new FAA regulations on portable electronic devices. We took Delta and were instructed that we could use our portable electronic devices during all phases of flight.

I used my Kindle Paperwhite to read the HELL out of Caliban’s War which is the second book in the excellent series The Expanse, starting with Leviathan Wakes.

It was great to be able to continue reading uninterrupted because it’s a pretty fast paced book.

Canyons – Day 6

Day 6 after a short Cross Country interlude was our final day boarding in Utah. We decided to mix it up and head over to Canyons. The weather forecast was SNOW all day (up to 10 inches) and there was already 4 inches on the ground.

Park City was effortless for buying tickets but Canyons just up the street proved to be a real pain. We bought tickets online ahead of time to save some time and money but when we got there the line for tickets was taking people about 30 – 40 minutes to get through. Talk about a SERIOUS waste of time on a powder day.

The trick here is to go to the Ski School window inside the building where they have more agents just waiting to help you out with ZERO line. I don’t know why this wasn’t better load balanced or advertised for customers that had already bought passes online.

Once we got on the slopes we didn’t have too much trouble getting around but we did have trouble with the conditions. It didn’t seem like anything had ever been groomed so the terrain hidden underneath the snow was pretty inconsistent. You’d plow through a powder pile and slow down, then at the end it would all go to hell when the last bit of the pile slid away due to the ice underneath. It was tough on us boarders but the skiers said it was brutal since the conditions varied from one ski to the next.

The Dream Catcher area was definitely our favorite of the day. It appeared to have the most untracked powder and the most consistent conditions underneath. The next favorite area was called Red Pine Road which had a lot of free areas along the side to head off into the trees with the deep stuff. We only did this run once on the way out and couldn’t find an easy way to get to it again without taking two lifts.

Overall thoughts: We picked the right housing location by being “Ski In – Ski Out” at Park City. It had plenty of groomers to keep the skiers and boarders zooming in fast conditions. It also had a lot of fun Adventure Alleys to let people run through the trees. On top of that it just seems really well put together in terms of navigation. We never had a problem figuring out which lift to take or where to go. Everything just flowed! Canyons seemed tougher to get around with conditions that just didn’t lend themselves to high speed runs. Park City was non stop fun no matter which way we went!

Park City – Day 5

Day 5 started out super lazy. We were gonna go to Canyons but the group consensus was to do nothing at all for a while.

The day off included a ton of computer time…  Then we decided why not go cross country skiing?!

We rented skis and boots and did a 5k around the golf course. It was a bunch of fun after a few falls. I’m now a skier… Sort of.

Hot tub now.