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Uncle Markie out and about.

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Sat
26
Oct '19

Trip Report: SF Quickie

Not sure why I made this reservation – I’ve already made Alaska MVP Gold 75K. But I like San Francisco, and there was room at the WorldMark San Francisco Union Square. Off I go. Booked this flight out of Everett Paine Field because it was $115 roundtrip – and I got upgraded to First 3-days […]

Wed
23
Oct '19

Trip Report: Return To Waikiki

After the long trip to Vietnam and travelling with other people, it felt like a good idea to take off on a self-holiday. Time for a little pre-takeoff breakfast! Got the upgrade after I’d already checked in so it was a window bulkhead seat rather than my preferred aisle, but an upgrade is an upgrade! […]

Fri
18
Oct '19

Trip Report: Return From Vietnam

Well, it’s been a fun trip, but now it’s time to head back to the US. Fortunately, Sean lives 10 minutes from the airport – it was a ridiculously cheap Grab fare, and quick. 51,000 Dong – or $2.20 USD – which included the 10,000 Dong airport drop off fee (0.43 USD). No one in […]

Thu
17
Oct '19

Trip Report: Saigon, Part Three

Michael’s flight back isn’t until noon, so we have time for breakfast at the hotel: And the rooftop views are WONDERFUL! After Michael leaves, I stay on until closer to checkout – got to get my money out of the room (and Sean is teaching until 5pm). Looks like we had a party in the […]

Wed
16
Oct '19

Trip Report: Saigon, Part Two

Back in Saigon after our couple of day in Da Nang, it’s off to the hotel after leaving Sean’s place to drop the bags and find an early lunch. Gold Fish was the answer (the restaurant, not the children’s snack: Yummy food at 10am when most lunch places were still closed. After lunch, we were […]

Tue
15
Oct '19

Trip Report: Return To Saigon

Our return to Saigon day was a mellow one. Sean and Michael went to the beach (China Beach) and I slept in. Not that I didn’t go to the beach, just that I took four pictures and left: Then I set off to find a convenience store to stock up for the train trip… We […]

Sun
13
Oct '19

Trip Report: Linh Ung Pagoda and Marble Mountains

Death March Part Two – but we are in Da Nang for only one full day (plus a couple of half days). First up is the Linh Ung Pagoda… The seven-story pagoda contains 21 Buddhist Alters – fortunately nobody wanted to walk the stairs. Back into the car we go – one MUCH SMALLER than […]

Thu
10
Oct '19

Trip Report: Early Morning Trip To Mỹ Sơn

Having arrived in Da Nang last night, today is sightseeing day – and it starts EARLY. How early? We need to be downstairs and ready at 5:10AM (I kid you not). We arranged for the hotel to give us some tiny box breakfasts (hard boiled egg, bread, banana, coffee) since we will be missing their […]

Wed
9
Oct '19

Trip Report: Train To Da Nang

Sean, Michael, and I are taking the night train from Saigon to Da Nang. This was my idea – I love a good overnight train ride. Left pretty much on time at 9:55pm from District 3 in Saigon. The round-trip in an “air-conditioned 4 person soft sleeper” was about $100 USD each. Each of the […]

Wed
9
Oct '19

Trip Report: Saigon, Part One

Sean was a saint and met me at the airport and whisked me back to his place – staying there the first two nights…comfy! And morning brings coffee after Sean has left for work… The plan for the day is to jut explore the neighborhood, find a cash machine, keep myself fed and amused until […]

Wed
2
Oct '19

Trip Report: Headed to Vietnam

Headed back to Vietnam after a two-and-a-half-year gap. And using miles to fly business class on Korean Airlines, which gets me into the Delta Sky Club…   Also checked out their other one on the South Concourse…   Since I’ll get fed on the plane, I try to not stuff myself. The food is much […]

Sun
22
Sep '19

Life Report: What If We Went Back To College

While I was visiting Dan and Lisa – Dan talked about returning to school for a degree at Colorado State University in Fort Collins. It got me thinking – so I looked up what courses they offered, and found this link to a “what am I suited for” quiz as it related to the CSU […]

Sat
21
Sep '19

Trip Report: Denver For Towelettes

OK, when I booked Denver, I wasn’t thinking towelettes. That was just the bonus. And getting upgraded to/from. And then there was the other bonus of old Virgin America metal in an Alaska paintjob First Class seat. I’m going to miss these: It’s like flying in a white leather BarcoLounger. Only 10 inches of recline, […]

Sun
15
Sep '19

Trip Report: Kansas City Quickie

This picture should explain how I felt the morning of this trip: Apparently, so did the guy in the fourth row. A quick trip to Kansas City since we are running out of Arthur Bryant’s BBQ Sauce, and they won’t sell and ship to me wholesale, but if I show up at the restaurant they […]

Fri
13
Sep '19

Destination Report: Kamaka Ukulele Factory Tour

I have so many pictures of the Kamaka Ukulele Factory in downtown Honolulu that I thought a separate post would be easier. This was probably my tenth tour of their facility –yes, I drag all my friends and family on this tour, and no one seems to regret the time. They have been in business […]

Mon
9
Sep '19

Trip Report: Waikiki With The In-Laws

It feels “odd” to call them “My In-laws”, but there is no blood connection with them, just very strong bonds. Jen is my dead brother Karl’s widow. Kennan is her husband. Jameson and Julian, who you’ve read about in this blog are Kennan’s nephews. In many ways, when they married, we became a three-family unit. […]

Thu
5
Sep '19

Trip Report: PDX Mileage Run

In my quest to get to Alaska MVP Gold 75K faster than December, I decided to take a little day hop down to Portland. Even booked it in First (only a few dollars more since they are such short flights) so that I could have my favorite seat on an E175 – which is 1A, […]

Tue
3
Sep '19

Trip Report: San Diego

Hard to believe that I haven’t flown anywhere in two months. I’m surprised my hands aren’t shaking. Destination: San Diego WorldMark Balboa Park. Haven’t stayed at the location in quite a while. An inexpensive Uber ride in from the airport, oddly with a driver I think I’ve had before. Cuban. Unlike WorldMark’s Inn At The […]

Wed
28
Aug '19

Lounge Report: Alaska’s New Seattle N Concourse Lounge

Hard to believe I haven’t been in the air for TWO MONTHS. Might be a record. A couple of “firsts” for me today. The first time I’ve used CLEAR to clear security (took like two minutes – much faster than TSAPre) and my first visit to the new Alaska Lounge in the N Concourse. 16,000 […]

Tue
27
Aug '19

Home Report: Upgrading The Shop

Being home for the summer (other than a couple of trips to Whistler) give me more time to devote to the wine shop. My business partner went out of town for 10 days and I decided to remodel the shop – first by widening the entry into the bathroom, turning a doorway into an opening […]