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Sep '16

Trip Report: Round Two At Whistler With Roxy

In July Roxy and I purchased season passes to Whistlers Peak-2-Peak Gondola – this would be the second year for us doing this, my third year running for going to Whistler a couple of times a summer:

Interesting that they just pulled last year’s picture off the server – so If I go next year, the same picture.

So, the pass is $40 USD for the day, or $58 for the season (Mid-May to Mid-September) plus taxes/fees. Roxy and I were trying to get the most value out of our season pass so we came back up to get the most bang for our bucks. I think we are down to less than $1 per ride.

But first, we have to get there, and I’ve booked us into a Studio Unit at the WorldMark Birch Bay:

A word to the wise – avoid the Studio Units, though I hear the handicapped units have a better configuration – this is with the bed lowered:

Yep – really easy to get to the bathroom or kitchen from the couch.

I declined the “owner update” in favor of sleeping in – and we were actually out of the place around 10:30, and 20 minutes later (after Duty Free), this:

Now if Roxy would get a Nexus Card – though in all honesty, the lines at the borders weren’t bad in either direction.

Here is a shot on the Sea To Sky Highway which skirts Howe Sound:

And a VERY disturbing selfie of Roxy:

We got to the WorldMark Cascade Lodge in Whistler a little after 1pm, expecting to not be able to check in until 4pm. Surprise!

The sort of original plan was to go up the mountain while we waited to check in…we got lazy, we went out for a snack instead – we split a Charbroiled Kobe Beef Burger at The Beacon Pub. You can just barely catch the rim of my Manhattan ($11.95 CAD) – nicely made from Bullitt Rye (which seems to be the “house rye” in Whistler), Cinzano Vermouth, Orange Bitters, and THREE Luxardo cherries!

And I’m a dipping sauce kinda guy, which is why we got the “Royal” sauce on the side, and I order a little tartar sauce as well. Roxy is NOT a sauce kinda guy.

And it was a little gray and drizzly out:

After that “snack” dinner was late – post 9PM. Pork loin and roasted potatoes and a salad:

Lots of left overs to go with the eggs in the morning!

We actually were out of the condo before noon and headed for the mountain!

Overcast and drizzly, but not bad at the top:

Even with the overcast we are up to our usual hijinks on the gondola:

Yep – reading – Roxy is still working on the same book from our last trip. Back and forth we go until we work up an appetite for a late lunch at Christine’s On Blackcomb – our guilty, expensive, pleasure. The view is a little socked in, but you can see the lake in the valley:

Went with the “house” Manhattan which was Crown Royal ($14 CAD) – good, not as good as yesterdays.

Roxy went for the Vietnamese Pork Burger (I had a taste – YUM!):

I went for the lighter Scallop Ceviché:

A most interesting presentation – but damn tasty.

Time to go back and forth, and forth before heading back down to the village:

Dinner was rib eye steaks…oddly, no pictures. Just an evening in watching TV and surfing the web.

Turns out the next day on the mountain was even worse, weather wise – more time for reading!

On the upside – less people, no line to get the photograph on the rings:

Or to disturb the wildlife – like this black bear (the only black bears in British Columbia populate Whistler/Blackcomb):

Or the Hoary Marmot:

Popped into the theatre (first time in my three years of going to Whistler) for a 15-minute video which I wish had more about the building of the gondola….

But soon it was time to go back to Christine’s – this time splitting an entree so we don’t ruin dinner. And a Manhattan with the Bullitt Rye (same price as the Crown Royal – wish I’d known!):

That would be the Frittata – a second breakfast!

We ran into the General Manager of Nester’s Liquor Store on the Gondola – turns out there is a trade wine tasting in another part of the restaurant this afternoon – I could have made it a “work” trip!

Maybe we should have ordered from the Kid’s Menu – they have a HOT DOG!

I’m a little surprise to see both Salmon and Falafel on the Kid’s Menu – those crazy Canadians.

Yep – more reading in the drippy weather before we finally bail on the mountain:

Did I mention that there is EXCELLENT 4G LTE service on the mountain – and Wi-Fi at both mountain tops.

Met lots of fun people just going round and round on the gondola – who thought we were “odd”, especially the Australian ladies.

Back in the condo, it’s time for a cocktail and dinner… not the fanciest, but I had sausage on the mind.

We were actually on the road at 9:30 in the morning – yes, ME. And the weather cleared up at bit for the drive home:

Another adventure down – more to come.


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Jul '16

Trip Report: Whistler With Roxy

In what has become an annual tradition for the last three years, Roxy and I are once again off to Whistler for some “hiking”.

Top down the whole way, with a few sprinkles – overcast mostly.

Condo was ready for us when we arrived a little after 4pm – not a bad place. It’s a one-bedroom so Roxy is on the fold-out couch:

First stop is the IGA for a bird and supplies:

Just like my trip to Puerto Vallarta a couple of weeks ago, it’s going to be a chicken week, made easier by the fact that Roxy is enthusiast about food.

The next morning up and on the road – but with a wake-up selfie for a friend just back from Europe:

A bit out of focus, but that’s Roxy’s fold-out couch/bed.

We were SLOW getting out of the condo, it was after noon when we picked up our Peak2Peak Season passes… what was overcast yesterday was cloudy and drippy on the mountain….this is on the first gondola:

Which turned into this on the Peak2Peak….

For us, having skipped breakfast (for sleeping in until 11am) we headed directly to Christines for lunch – it was closed for renovations last summer, but it was a favorite our first year:

Roxy had the Salmon…

I had the Blackened Ahi…

Sorry that both shots were after we’d “tucked in” as the Brits would say.

This should give you an idea of the weather on our first two days on the mountain:

But there was a “cool” display of a “faux” GMC Denali gondola:

After last night’s dinner, I’d stripped the chicken and Roxy made us Chicken/Ciabatta/SweetOnionDressing sandwiches for our mountain adventure – tasty they were:

I also boiled down the bones and made stock for chicken/vegetable/noodle soup – with is tonight’s meal:

Got to get your money out of that chicken!

Even made it to the hot tub for a soak post dinner after our “grueling” day of “hiking”:

Day Three in Whistler required a room change – down the hall in the Handicapped Unit – couldn’t find four days together in one unit, so that meant packing everything up, leaving it on a trolley, bagging the stuff in the fridge, and having it magically appear in our new unit.

But, again, the mountain was socked in…

This day, we were wise enough to bring books along, spending many revolutions in the Peak2Peak Gondola, not bothering to get off – just introducing ourselves to new riders with each turn.

More chicken noodle soup for dinner – the staff kindly moved it pot and all, replacing the missing pot from our new kitchen.

And oh what a difference a day makes when the sun comes out! Lines everywhere…

No more round-and-around for us. People everywhere because of the break in the weather…

And the first hike we do – it’s a Black Diamond trail to the Peak Express. Remember, I’m the guy that only does the Green Diamond Trails. That would be the lift down in the valley – bad for my knees on the way down, bad for my breathing on the way up:

Said “Black Diamond” trail:

On the walk I saw this gentleman doing a watercolor on the path – reminded me of my brother-in-law on hikes:

That would be a snow making lagoon on the upper right.

As you can see from the video below, there is a reason we didn’t take this lift Tuesday or Wednesday in the bad weather – they are open chairs!

But it sure is pretty at the top!

The way DOWN is actually a little more breathtaking – though I didn’t get the camera turned on in time to see the sudden “over the cliff” launch – but as luck would have it, that’s right where the lift stopped.

I had a hankering for a hot dog – apparently not easy to find when they don’t have their outdoor grill going – unless you are a whole suckling pig!

Guessing that’s for the pulled pork poutine (which I had last year). I had to settle for the Children’s Combo which had a VERY SAD hot dog, fries, and three sides (yoghurt, fruit strips, fruit cups, etc.). That said, it was $10 CAD, minus 10% because we are pass holders, bringing it to $9 CAN, and with the exchange with $1 USD equal to $1.30 CAD, it was a cheap lunch in an expensive place:

Alas – lunch at Christines is a once-a-trip treat (we spent $110 CAD on lunch Tuesday for the two of us).

The trip is coming to the end, so, a little more reading, hanging out on lifts, but no more hiking:

And from our final ride down the mountain:

Before you know it, we are one the road headed home – actually got out of the condo by 9AM! Don’t we look relaxed on the road?

The border was maybe 20 minutes because I spent five minutes buying duty-free rye, cutting off another 10 minutes of traffic – would have been quicker, but Roxy doesn’t have a Nexus card – but not bad. We made it home after getting stuck in Seattle traffic by 3:30 or so… plenty of time to cook dinner for our mutual friend, Mr. Whippet!

Pardon the stacks of wine boxes – got 10 cases of “Buck-A-Bottle” for upcycling.

All-in-all, a fun trip. Going back early September since I have a season-long pass – and there is “room at the inn”.


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Sep '14

Trip Report: Cabo San Lucas With Roxy

This post will mostly be pictures, since I didn’t really do anything other than lay around on the outdoor couch. A place that is so comfortable (after 3PM when it’s in the shade) that I’m going to post the picture again:

Now all I need is a houseboy…alas, Roxy isn’t that type of boy.

Speaking of Roxy, he was out playing when I arrived at the resort so I was all by myself for the “owner/new owner/upgrade” reception at Baja Brewing on the roof of the building next door to ours in the complex.

Alas, I didn’t win any of the prizes….so it was back to the condo with its wonderful view:

And the condo isn’t too bad either…

Sorry, forgot to take pictures of the bathroom which had a walk-in shower for four people, including a nice bench.

Roxy finally arrived, with a boy in tow (a theme that was to develop during the week)…

I shouldn’t say boy as Carlos is 28 (Roxy will turn 31 on Friday, the day I leave). We ordered room service for dinner my first night.

Tuesday at noon it was off for the “owner update” for $60USD in restaurant vouchers. Had I known Roxy was going to tag along (for the free lunch and drinks) I would have had him listed on the presentation and we would have scored $160USD. Add this to the $100 in restaurant credit I got for paying my dues early, and that should make a dent in our food expenses (and whiskey expenses were trimmed at Duty Free).

We got a buffet lunch (value $18USD according to them) with a decent Margarita at the restaurant while we went over the preliminaries, then it was on to the real “sales pitch” and several more margaritas….

I’ve never seen someone put salt on the rim of a Styrofoam cup – but they were like 16 oz. Margaritas… I got through another 1.5 and took the rest back to the room after they finally realized they weren’t getting any money out of me…when you only paid $1USD plus a $100USD transfer fee (THANKS COLONELS!) they’d have to set the bar REALLY low to get me to pony up. That and I’m pondering if I want to keep it at all, preferring the WorldMark Cabo San Lucas for its full kitchens and closeness to the Mega Mart just up the road (and walkability to old Cabo – San José del Cabos).

Not that the scenery by the pool is lacking at Cabo Villas:

I can only imagine what a zoo this place is at Spring Break (when Linda, Peter and daughter Claire are coming next spring)…

With all the restaurant credits at Baja Brewing, we took many meals on the rooftop, including this lunch one of the days.

Enjoying a couple of Bourbon and Gingers on the roof while waiting for our food.

Champagne corn chowder with bits of catch-of-the-day, and Roxy’s grilled catch-of-the-day salad:

Ack! The view is so boring!

If you wanted water-based activities, there are certainly lots to choose from:

Jet ski rentals, glass bottom boats, parasailing, dinner cruises:

Including one on a “pirate” boat:

Though I’m a little unsure about the name of the boat…yes, that would be the Buccaneer Queen:

Though, my former Tall Ship Captain buddy, Bebbe-Center, recommends you check out the “Sunderland” which moored at the marina in the center of town but sank in 2013, was refloated but not allowed out of the harbor for dry dock repairs so it was broken apart to be used for educational exhibits…sigh.

Or, you can just experience the sunset:

A truly lazy week laying around until you are hungry, go to one of the restaurants on the property, use the 10-15% off card, or order in (and transfer it from the Styrofoam to real plates), then go back to relaxing.

Finished up all the New Yorkers that I brought, killed another paperback (that wasn’t even worth coming home with – Night Watch, by Alistar Maclean), leaving the hardback for the trip home.

Whilst I was lounging about, Roxy was working the local scene like a pirate plundering booty…of 9 meet-ups arranged, 8 showed up and he ended up plundering booty from 7 out of the 8, and one came back for an additional plundering, another for three. Made me tired just watching the effort involved. But I guess when you return to college in a week after a seven year absence you need to all your oats in the ground before fall. One more metaphor and even I might puke.

My last night (Roxy stays another night) he didn’t get home until 2:30AM – good thing I’m not his mother (or father).

That said, we both had a great time doing the things we love. Maybe I should sell the timeshare to Roxy and go back to staying at the WorldMark – just a thought.

Back in the air tomorrow. Now to figure out how to get to the airport.


Aug '14

Trip Report: Rainier With Roxy.

I was feeling the need for one more road trip with Roxy – and actually pulled it off. He wanted to go hiking on Rainier with our Park Ranger buddy Sierra. An overnight hike isn’t my cup of tea – but at least I got him up there. Sierra will run him back down the hill to Enumclaw afterwards and he can catch the bus home.

On the road again…

The entrance to Rainier National Park…

The Visitor’s Center at Sunrise in Rainier National Park…

And our buddy Ranger Sierra…

I didn’t know that having a personal invitation from a Ranger would get you in the park free – there’s a $15 savings!

Ranger Sierra actually lives in the building to the left of the visitor’s center photo:

Yep, his bedroom window looks out on Mount Rainier. And here is the common room. Glad to see the Rangers drink beer:

Ranger Sierra was leading the 3PM walk – he switched from the 1PM so we could do it, not realizing I had to leave at 3. As it turned out later, I made phenomenal time getting back to Seattle and probably could have made the walk and still make my 7:30 appointment with a house appraiser. Here he is in a park poster:

Since I was going to miss it, Roxy and I set out on one of the easy trails…yes, I’m hiking AGAIN.

Here are some of the better shots from our outing:

And finally the one that was taken by a German Tourist of the three of us, just before I left to head back to Seattle:

What a fun way to spend the day.


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Jul '14

Trip Report: Whistler With Roxy.

Roxy goes back to college at The Evergreen State College in the fall, and left both of his jobs at the beginning of the summer to have one last fling before academia. With that in mind I’ve booked us three nights in the WorldMark Whistler Creekside – a one-bedroom plus.

Roxy’s bedroom – albeit meant for children:

My bedroom was meant for the adults:

Not a bad view – and this was taken before they came and whacked down some of the closest trees for an even better view:

We got to the place about 3:30 after stops in Squamish at the liquor store for wine and cider, and Nesters for groceries. The room was ready and I think I’ve even had this room before since it’s on the third floor – but that’s the entrance floor. Room was at the end, close to the back door for convenient parking.

Since Roxy is a PescaTerian, it’s fish rather than fowl for dinner – halibut with salsa to be exact, along with a nice salad:

In the morning it is up and out – according to what I have read, the 7th Heaven Express lift has limited hours. A little breakfast and out the door with the first stop be Guest Services to pick up our lift tickets – if you book 5 days in advance, you get a discount (which pretty much pays for the tax) and a second day free –which is a huge discount. Basically it works out to $25 a day for unlimited mountain top rides, but only one time up the mountain. We were in line behind some nice German boys:

What I discovered over the two days on the mountain is that Whistler/Blackcomb is truly an international destination. German, Italian, French, Kiwi, Spanish, you name it.

Our first ride is up the Whistler Gondola:

That takes you to the Roundhouse Lodge where we caught the Peak-to-Peak to get to Blackcomb.

The Peak-to-Peak is the world’s longest gondola run at 1.88 miles. From there we caught the bus to the 7th Heaven Express. So weird to see people waiting in line half in and half out of ski gear – I prefer the half out:

The bus was crowded since the lift had only opened half an hour earlier. Figure half tourists, half ski/snowboard.

Here is a selfie with Roxy on the open-air lift:

A beautiful day to be in the mountains. And from the top, which is 7,494 feet….

And the ski-bowl, which is open until July 27th this year:

Complete with skiers doing aerial tricks:

After hanging around for a bit, it was time for a little snack:

That would be the ham and cheese melt on a big slab of multi-grain bread, a shot of cognac (which hits you like a ton of bricks at that altitude), and my “water bottle” filled with Whiskey and Diet which lasted me all day – got to keep hydrated. As for Roxy – just a can of cider, he’s not much of a mid-day eater.

We caught the bus back down and grabbed the Peak-to-Peak back to Whistler and set off for the summit via a .37 mile hike (elevation change 180 feet) and yet another open-air chair lift. Whistler Summit is 7,807 feet in elevation and needless to say has stunning view.

Just to give you a feel of the ride down – several people have commented….no way in hell!

We decided to take the Solar Express to Blackcomb Base Camp since it looks on the map like it will be closer to the Free Day Lot (Lot Number 4) where we parked. We saw a black bear on the way down, but I didn’t get a good picture of it. For this ride on the Peak-to-Peak, we waited for one of the two glass-bottom cars:

The downside of these cars is that you have to wait for them rather than immediately getting on one of the regular ones, there are not as comfortable (i.e. you can’t put your feet up), and most importantly they are stuffed with other people.

Back at the condo – it’s another fish night, this time was a slab of grilled salmon with grilled eggplant – did I mention the condo had a grill?

A quiet evening for the boys…a little whipped by the altitude.

Up the next day – not as early since we’ve already done the summit with the early closing time – today is all about hiking – yes, I used that word. Granted, we are only doing the “Green” trails, not the “Blue”, and god-forbid, the “Black” trails. But nonetheless, yes, I’m hiking. Here is the hiking trail map.

We did one hike on each of the mountains, coming up the Solar Express from Blackcomb Base Camp in the morning. The first hike was the Spearhead Walk, which was .74 miles long with an elevation change of 55 feet. Twice the trail passed over the downhill run from 7th Heaven:

Lots of great views of the valley between the two mountains on our little hike:

After our first hike of the day, it was back onto the Peak-to-Peak to hit the Alpine Walk on Whistler. This one is .96 miles long with an elevation change of 213 feet. More great views, just no great pictures.

With that hike done it as time for a late lunch at Christine’s back on Blackcomb – onto the Peak-to-Peak we go….Christine’s is the fancy sit-down restaurant and I thought we should treat ourselves. It’s also a great way to avoid parents with children. My expectation was OK food and that you are really paying for the view….but first… cocktails:

Manhattan for me, Blueberry Margarita for Roxy. As for lunch, Roxy had the hot ahi tuna sandwich with arugula and black truffle aioli and I went for the pound of steamed mussels:

We shared bits and both were EXCELLENT – one of the best meals that I’ve had in YEARS. The bill? $88 CAN not including tax for the two entrees and three drinks. Any yes, the view was STUNNING as well:

It was after 4 by the time we were done with lunch, and time to head back down the hill.

Today there were four black bears out foraging for huckleberries – and I got a nice little video of one of them:

On the way back, we stopped at the new grocery store (Creekside Market) in Creekside Village where the condo it. I hadn’t been to this one, it’s only been open since the Winter Olympics in 2010 where Creekside was at the bottom of the downhill run.

We found a great selection of sausages – salmon sausages for Roxy, lamb for me.

Well after dinner, Roxy found some playmates down the hill – and me, I had another drink and went to bed.

Off before 11 in the morning as I have to been Susan at the Costco in Burlington to pick up some more bindery equipment that she is getting rid of – that after an easing short line at Customs after our trip to Duty Free (2 liters of Dark Rum for Dark and Stormy’ s since I still have some of the Reeds Ginger Brew). Roxy still needs to apply for Nexus so that when we go to Cabo San Lucas in September that he has Global Entry.

Both of us got a ton of sun on this trip…. 5 hours with the top down on the way up, 5-7 hours each day on the mountain, another 5 on the way home.

It was nice to switch off driving on the way home. Speaking of home, got there at 4pm after dropping Roxy off at his place in the old brewery.

And my next house guest was patiently waiting for me – he’d arrived yesterday. Luckily I have a lock box with a key in it for such emergencies.

[? ? ?]


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Jan '14

Victoria Bound With Roxy In Tow.

This week’s midweek trip is to lovely Victoria BC with Roxy who spent the night so that there was one less stop to make in the morning.

Up at 5:30am, out of the house at 6:30am, checked into the ferry at 7:00am – only to find the waiting room packed with Canuck hung-over Seahawks fans in blazing Seahawks gear – boy was in a quite ride to BC.

Mimosas at 8am while still at the dock in Seattle.

Nap at 9am on the boat. Photo courtesy of Roxy:

Taken, he says in response to the picture I took of him last night crashed on the chez lounge.

As expected our rooms weren’t ready – it was 11am after all and check-in is at 4pm. So off to the Blue Crab located at the Coast Hotel next door, armed with a 15% off coupon… which I forgot to use. Damn. C couple of good pictures from lunch…

Roxy reading (GREAT picture of him)….

It seems the Monday drink special with $3.99 CAN for a highball… which is VERY CHEAP for Canadaland – bring them on.

And our lovely lunch…

Roxy had the seafood sandwich – lox, shrimp, avocado, tomato, greens, I went for the diet busting fish and chips – the single piece version… but it was one big piece of fish – and I was patient enough to wait to eat the fish until it cooled down. It’s as bad as pizza just out of the oven.

For our amusement there was a team of police scuba guys going through trailing – complete with a really wet RusaAnnie….

After lunch it was off shopping as I’m cooking for seven tonight:

  • CrowDog
  • RobinHood
  • Roxy
  • Me
  • Royce
  • Kyle
  • Elliot

On the menu is a surf and turf – turns out Tyler is a vegetarian, luckily there are lots of non-surf and turf items for him:

  • Pupu platter of cheese, crackers, smoked oysters, hummus
  • Mixed greens with baby carrots and mushrooms with a raspberry vinaigrette dressing
  • Maui style marinated boneless ribs
  • A kilo of salmon
  • Dessert courtesy of CrowDog and RobinHood (who also brought me 222’s, a Canadian aspirin, caffeine, codeine mix)

A wild meal with some of us hottubbing after dinner.

Final damage in the booze department:

  • 40 oz. of Bacardi Rum
  • 13 cans of Diet Ginger Ale as mixer
  • ½ a liter of Maker’s Mark
  • Almost 2 bottles of wine

For seven people – boy those Canucks can suck down the duty-free booze.

All and all, a wonderful evening with old friends and new friends. Was having too much fun to actually get any pictures. Sorry all.



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Nov '13

Work & Dinner With Roxy.

Standard day at the office (aka wine shop)—today we were tasting (1) Champagne (1) White from the Loire, and (3) Bordeaux. Didn’t sell as many as we’d hoped, maybe it was because lots of people were picking up their wine club shipments.

Was going to pick up Roxy on the way home, but a quick call diverted me downtown to pick him up at 3rd and Pike.

Salmon stuff with lobster and crab is tonight’s entrée – with a large salad as well. And the bread – Roxy loves his bread (or should I say, “my bread”):

When all that was done and we started another run through the still – the second to the last as I will be out of “feed stock” soon.

Meanwhile, progress on the new rolling bar has come to a halt:

It’s getting there but is going to need many more hours, which I don’t seem to have.



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Oct '13

Breakfast in Hong Kong

Lunch At 35,000 Feet

Dinner In Seattle With Roxy.

Up at 6 (me) and down in the dining room when they opened. One big buffet is what’s on offer:

Everything from western-style omelets to miso soup and sushi, or a green salad, or baked beans for the Brits.

TokyoDave all bright eyed and chipper:

A little after 7 we set out to find the bus stop for the cheap (under $2 US) city bus to the airport – beats the $40US cab ride – but don’t expect a seat half way through their pickups:

Lots of people standing. And my favorite highway sign that I failed to get a picture of on my last trip:

Both Hong Kong Disney and the airport (and the giant Buddha) are on Lantau Island.

Settled in on the plane next to a tiny Chinese woman, I have my reading stand all set up for the trip:

That should take me though the end of the first meal service when I wash down an Ambien with a glass of wine.

Flights on time or early – and had the luxury of having my SFO-SEA flight depart from the International Terminal which gave me a little more time in the lounge between flights. I have to say I love the speed and ease of Global Entry – it takes longer to walk there than it does to get through Immigration and Customs.

Got back to the house a little before 2pm – plenty of time to bake some bread for my dinner with Roxy tonight. The menu:

  • Ceviché Gazpacho
  • Salad
  • Fresh Baked Rosemary Challah
  • Grilled Salmon

The plan was to east a little earlier at 6pm since Roxy goes to work at 4am. We succeeded in getting the dinner over, but then Roxy’s new boytoy showed up for after dinner drinks:

It turned into a whiskey sampling. I pity Roxy tomorrow – they didn’t get out of the house until 10:30!

[209.6] but that was mid-afternoon.

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Lunch At 35,000 Feet

Dinner In Seattle With Roxy.

Jul '13

Open The Shop, Close The Day With Roxy For Dinner.

Well, dinner WITH Roxy, not a dinner of Roxy, though as a vegetarian I assume he’d taste quite nice.

Odd day at the shop, can’t wait to see the final numbers tomorrow. Was out of there a little after 4 to pick up the car-less Roxy. Actually, he has a car but his father transferred the registration into his name when mom/wife died… an illegal transfer since it was in the will to go to Roxy. Time to unleash the legal hounds.

So, someone dropped off a sample of a cinnamon flavored whiskey sort of like hot damn at the shop. Jim saved it for me being disgusted at the concept of adulterated whiskey. As for me, I figured out a cocktail of:

  • 1 part Cinnamon Whiskey
  • 1 part Perucchi Rosso Vermouth
  • 1 part Ginger Ale
  • 1 whiskey marinated Bing cherry

As for dinner, an Ahi Tuna Steak for Roxy, and a Strip Steak (beef) for me, plus some small round crab cakes, a big salad, and, of course, for the carb hound, fresh baked bread.

A lovely evening – but didn’t get any packing for tomorrow’s trip accomplished.

There is always tomorrow night.


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Apr '13

Dinner With Roxy And Brandon.

Worked the usual 10-2:30 shift at the print shop.

Ran some errands and came home to prepare for dinner with Roxy and Brandon.

The funny thing is that I met Brandon through Roxy, but Rox doesn’t know he’s coming to dinner since he moved 45 minutes away to lovely (kidding) Spanaway. Brandon’s spending the night and will cut the lawn tomorrow to earn some bucks. Not only is he stuck in the middle of nowhere three miles from the closest bus, he’s out of work and doesn’t have a car. Not good. Luckily he has a saint for a sister.

Dinner tonight is a rack of pork ribs for Brandon and I – and cod for Roxy.

Way too much fun. Roxy didn’t get out of here until midnight which will be rough since he gets up at 3am for his other full time job (other than being my boss at the print shop).


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Apr '13

Monday In The Print Shop With Roxy.

I think I know the owner’s motivation – another full day of training in how to run the print shop. Personally, with the half-hour crossover between our shifts, I get how this works, and if I don’t, it still goes out that day because pickup is at 4pm.

The way Roxy deals with this is “its work hours, I’ll as many as they give me, it’s all over in mid-June”. This from the guy who is working a 40 hour week at Nordstroms as well as this 25 hour a week gig.

Worked until 6, then it was back home for a quick cocktail before heading off to dinner at The Brooklyn downtown. The boys (CouchSurfers) wanted a truly Seattle meal and were willing to drop bucks on it.

We all started with the oyster samplers:

  • I went for Vodka Sampler (4 ½ ounce shots of different vodkas, four different oysters)
  • Aaron went for the White Wine and Oysters (same combo pattern)
  • Johnnie went for the MicroBrew and Oyster sampler

Four different oysters, four different vodka/beer/white wines.

  • For dinner, I had the duck entrée
  • Johnnie had the Goat Cheese Pockets (Pockets my expression, they had some Italian name for it)
  • Aaron had a cup of the chowder and the foie gras over scallop

Bottle of Writer’s Block for dinner – it’s Jed Steele’s son’s label if I remember correctly from my time in Lake County north of Napa and Sonoma.

And then it was time for dessert. Poached Asian Pear with mascarpone:

With no Grappa Sampler anymore, I had (another) Manhattan, with the Bullet Rye I believe (or some local rye):

The boys split the Port Sampler (I think that makes FOUR samplers for the night!):

We lingered so long at the restaurant that the bartender had the key to my car – avoided a $9 valet charge! But with a two-seater, the boys took the bus back to the house – and got there 15 minutes after I did – shocking! They hit the bus stop downtown the same time the bus showed up. No traffic at 9+ at night.

Stayed up (again) too late – must work in the morning.


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Jun '18

Trip Report: Wellington – Day Four

I know someone in Wellington, he’s been to dinner at my house in Seattle at least once, a friend of Roxy. We’d been messaging over the last couple of months – I added Wellington to my itinerary because he said it was his favorite city in New Zealand. Getting together with him is proving a little more problematic. Long gone is the hope of maybe crashing on a floor someplace, replaced with an hour after his massage a couple of blocks from my place and maybe a get together later in the evening – small crisis, he’s leaving for Australia tomorrow, and he left his passport in his place two hours away.

My morning is free so besides sleeping in until 9am (not sure what is up with this trip, but I’m popping awake 8ish (which is not my norm), I’m off to ride the Wellington Cable Car – it was closed yesterday for maintenance, but open today. And it’s three doors down from the lower hotel entrance.

Needless to say, this isn’t the 1902 version, but the 1979 rebuild (including track gauge change), refurbished in 2016.

It’s a fun ride and here is the view from the top:

With the Cable Car Museum (free) at the top (along with the Rose Garden, Arboretum, and a handful of other attractions.

Crappy exterior shot, but inside was fun.

Including some props to dress up in – I really should have gotten a shot of the couple that went to town with this!

I was done with the hill early, so I hung out in the Burger King around the corner until his massage was finished…and finally we connect and he takes me to the underground market – he only has an hour, but we might be able to hook up at the end of the day once he’s retrieved his passport:

One of the things the underground market holds, is a hot dog stand that usually is on the walk to the waterfront.

Fritz’s Wieners – which during the weekend is located in the Underground Market:

What I really wanted to taste was their lamb bratwurst.

Since Rache and I are going to Chile next year, I was tempted by the booth across the way:

Jake dropped me back at the hotel (he had a car with him, and I napped, then explored the city while he ran back to “Palmy” for his passport, and, of course, another crisis. He didn’t get back into town until after seven, so we settled for a drive to the top of Mount Victoria. It was LOTS of narrow windy roads to get to the top, but the lights were amazing.

They (Jake and his mate) dropped me (again) at the hotel then went off for dinner and packing for their trip tomorrow. I called for room service for another bucket of ice. They finally got the message and brought me a lot:

The half dozen requests before got me this much:

Some day I’ll do a post comparing all the “bucket of ice” requests I’ve made around the world, and what shows up at the door. The winner still is Novatel Citygate Lantau Island (Hong Kong) that brought this. They provided ice buckets in the room, but no public ice machine. (Full post here)

This is my last full day in Wellington, off to the South Island tomorrow.

[? ? ?]

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Jun '18

Trip Report: Headed Down Under

The journey begins with the tale of two lounges…I started off in the Alaska Lounge for round one of food/drink, then went to the other end of the airport to the United Club because it was closer to my departure gate and as a Million Mile United Premier Gold for life, lounge access comes free with any itinerary that includes an international segment.

As a side note, I have a friend who works at Florette in the airport as a barista – but he never seems to be working they days I end up flying through…and I thought that would be the case today, but I messaged him, and he was scheduled to work after I left, but then two things happened:

  • He got there a little early
  • My flight was delayed by an hour

I was hanging in the United Club and he came and joined me!

I know him through Roxy, but don’t feed him dinner often enough – the funny thing was that we all just had dinner last Friday night.

Twice in one week. Yahoo.

One thing I’d like to point out is that the United Club in Seattle has stepped up it’s game, bitters wise. I really like the Dale DeGroff’s
Pimento (All Spice) Aromatic Bitters
. And all their bitters are on the bar, so you can self-doctor your cocktails. I found a wonderful combination of Evan Williams, Diet Coke, and a couple of dashes

When we finally boarded, I realized I’d booked the bulkhead row:

The only seat open in the plane was between myself and a Global Services (the highest, invitation-only frequent flyer level at United) – who had a short connection to make at SFO. It didn’t help that we were delayed another 20 minutes on the tarmac – I, on the other, had five hours’ worth of layover.

First stop was Duty Free where I picked up three bottles of Bourbon – New Zealand has very liberal alcohol importation rules, but you can only bring 50 cigarettes in – that’s a pack and a half. Interestingly odd.

Next stop was the United Club in the International Terminal – only to discover that it’s a subpar lounge. Beer and wine, yes. Mixed drinks, no. Had a glass of wine, a bowl of soup, and trekked back to the closest full-service lounge. United has three regular full-service lounges at SFO, and one Polaris Lounge which is business class only – which I’m not on this trip, though I swore after the Montevideo trip last November that I was never ever again flying international in the back.

This would be bowl number two of soup (first at the other lounge) and a real cocktail:

This lounge closes earlier than most – so it was off to their smallest lounge for one last cocktail before the unknowns of Air New Zealand’s drinks policy.

That would make five lounges in one day.

One thing I will say that I like about the United Club lounges is their use of vintage photos in their lounges. This is a collection from the four United Club lounges I was in today:

And speaking of retro things – saw this modern United jet in the 70’s Continental livery:

My flight to Auckland on Air New Zealand didn’t leave until 9:30pm, and it’s about 13 hours in this:

Not as much room as the last flight, and this one is seven times as long – and, as it turns out, a plus size person next to me. For 13 hours I sat side saddle which is only possible because I know where the hidden button is to raise the aisle armrest. More annoying was that the person wasn’t assigned that seat, but was travelling with a group of high-school students and swapped seats so a couple of them could sit together. Again, if the ticket wasn’t so cheap ($409.10 r/t Seattle/Auckland), I wouldn’t be in the back. That is about 1/3 of what a typical bargain ticket to KiwiLand is. A friend in Wellington got $800 NZD to Chicago at Christmas, another steal – and on a 787.

Here is the beef version (as opposed to pasta) option for the dinner:

A downside of Air New Zealand long-haul flights is that in the back, instead of 3-3-3 for nine seats across, as it was designed (the 777) originally, they (and many Asian-based airlines) have opted for skinnier aisles, and 3-4-3 seating.

On the upside, they have some of the most wonderful bathrooms I seen (and I’ve see a lot of airplane lavatories). While no larger than normal, they are “decorated” with a bit of whimsy – like this one with a fake library wallpaper:

Another one had wallpaper of a chandelier!

Once meal service was done – they fired up the seatback ordering system. You may be crushed in the back, but they will bring you cocktails on demand:

This is a feature that is available on the Airbus Alaska fleet that was inherited from Virgin America as well.

I used this as an opportunity to order a double and wash down an Ambien after dinner and watching The Blue Brothers from the Classics section of the inflight entertainment. I actually managed to get some sleep by extending the center armrest with the flight blanket (amazingly thick) still in it package to create my own armrest, since the other one was overflowing.

This is what greeted me in the airport – nice welcome:

The flight was running 30 minutes late, so instead of a 5:30am arrival, it was 6am – but customs/immigration was so efficient that I was on the airport bus to downtown and to my hotel by a little after 7am – and it’s a half hour ride.

Was tempted to stop for a snack curbside at the airport, but I saw the bus coming:

I’m staying in the Central Business District at the Ramada Suites:

And some shots of the room (which wasn’t ready at 7am, so these are from later in the day):

With mini-kitchen, kitted out as they say, with dishes, pans, etc., including a mini-dishwasher:

With kettle and French Press for coffee (provided, along with hot chocolate packets):


And en-suite washer/dryer:

And decent views:

Including from the bathroom once I lifted the blinds!

I’m close to the city government offices on one side, and the big Sky Tower on the other:

Yes, at 7am, it’s not quite light yet – it being winter in New Zealand.

Let the adventure begin!

[? ? ?]

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Jan '18

Home Report: Home For The Holidays

Yep, it’s already a third of the way through January, and I’m finally documenting my Christmas/New Year fun.

After visiting friends in Forks the first two days of Mark and Onyx’s visit, I returned home to a full holiday feeding schedule. Look at the Beef Wellington that Onyx (and Mark) made for a group dinner at his cousin’s house in West Seattle:

I brought a 3-liter bottle of Bonny Doon Le Cigare Volante Blanc – a replacement for a bottle that died a year ago Thanksgiving. We put a good dent in it!

Talk about a WONDERFUL meal:

Next up on the holiday parade was dinner up north at mutual friends, Seth, and his daughter Maia. As you can tell, it was a mess of wrapping paper:

More dinners with friends but no photographs….but I did get photos of Mark helping me with making some pillow covers at xMess presents:

And, mind you, I’m also working the shop in the holiday season:

Christmas Eve dinner found me working until five, while Onyx and crew worked on a Beef Bourguignon
in my kitchen:

It was a nice hearty meal to go with our Christmas Eve snow…

And it’s not the holidays unless the plumbing goes south, first it was the dishwasher not draining, and then all the connections to the kitchen sink dripping…

As you can tell, this isn’t the first time – the above is with all the racks ripped out. And below with a heater drying everything out:

Having the Ford Escape DOES help in the repairs:

I used basement subflooring turned the wrong way to give the cabinet a waterproof base:

And because of the cold, the outdoor icemaker stopped working….

Between Christmas and New Year’s, more Bay Area friends showed up – and out to lunch we go, to try the new Mexican restaurant on 14th:

Excellent food, but a bit on the pricey side….


And for dinner, Roxy and his boyfriend showed up for shrimp fried rice:

Eating well this holiday season!

Trip Advisor sent me this little video about my 2017 Travel:

And the plumbing issues continue…, now the washer/dryer combo is washing, but not drying – time to rip that apart when I start running out of clean clothes. Oi!


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May '17

Trip Report: Portland For The Day

Amtrak Guest Rewards Double Points Days ends on the 20th, and this is the only time I’m able to get away for the day – and use my upgrade to business class coupon. I still have a companion fare to use on Amtrak, but I have until July to use/lose that one.

Grabbed the 11:15am Amtrak Cascades from King Street Station in Seattle:

Another reason for the trip to take one of the last trips around Point Defiance – within the year they will be using different tracking to avoid freight and knock 15 minutes off the schedule. If they could get it up to 125mph, it’d be quicker than driving. But this is the view that you will lose:

Well, OK. The view was from the seats on the other side of the car. And there is Wi-Fi, and cocktails:

We were a little late getting into Portland, but Swanda’s sister was waiting for me at the station to go out for a nibble and a drink – which turned out to be under one of my favorite signs in Portland:

And we parked in front of my stop after nibbles, but more on that later.

The place is called Seres.

I ordered a Fig Manhattan:

Tasty. we both ordered chicken pot stickers which were very small and very fried – my second appetizer was MUCH better – the salt/pepper calamari:

It was great to keep in touch with her after Swanda’s death – my excuse is that I collect toiletries for her church to put together into kits for the homeless.

Spent $130 at the liquor store which would have been probably double that in Seattle. The half-gallon of Evan Williams was $27.95 (tax included). Occasionally you can find it in Seattle for that price, but then there is 30% tax to add in. I did stock up!

Soon enough I was back at the train station for the trip home:

And the view as we rolled out of Portland, headed to Seattle.

The load was so light on the way home that I got two seats for myself.

Just a quick daytrip to Portland. Thanks Roxy for the ride to/from the train station!


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Feb '17

Trip Report: Bye Bye San Juan

Time to head back to work. Time to say goodbye to Old San Juan. Since I had luggage, I used the ancient elevator, which moves at the pace of a very old man.

Yep – it has an inner folding closet door that must be closed for it to work.

Breakfast back at Caldera, this time actual breakfast. Two eggs, ham, toast:

But soon enough, it was time for me to call Uber and get a ride to the airport:

Basically, it was $11 – that would be almost exactly half of what the taxi from the airport cost. Fernando had warned me about tension between Taxi and Uber drivers – this was confirmed by my driver when he had to pick me up a block away since there was a cab stand across the street from my hotel.

Got checked in and just past security (yes, there was a TSApre line) was duty free. Wait. Duty free? You can have duty free without having customs and immigration first? Yep. So I ask at the counter what the limit was on the number of bottles of booze I could legally purchase. “How much can you carry?” She was talking about WEIGHT, not quantity.

Yep, this is what I picked up:

That would be (4) Liter Jim Beam (2 for $24), a Don Q Anejo ($18) and a Don Q single barrel bottling from 2007 (on sale, was $100, now $40). Thankfully they packed them in security bags –

Had a little lunch and got some work done at the airport bar:

Didn’t eat many of the fries – if I’d known I’d have had them hold them.

The airport is nice enough – but no lounge, sadly.

No upgrades on this leg, still holding out hope for the Chicago to Seattle leg.

But speaking of lounges – I noticed that my boarding pass had INTL in big letters – meaning United considers this to be an international flight, meaning I get lounge access because I’m Premier Gold. WooHoo!

And it’s one of their remodeled lounges!

Where they make “fancy” drinks at the bar (if you are willing to pay):

As for me, in my hour layover I had three cocktails, two bowls of chicken corn chowder, a helping of 5-cheese lasagna and a spinach salad.

And grabbed some cookies to zip lock for the flight.

So far it was a smooth flight day…until I got to the gate. It was time to board when the captain came out and announced there was a mechanical problem with the engine deicer – which flying into Seattle is a critical piece of equipment. The minute he stopped talking, all of us in line just sat down where we were”

Yep – we are all on the floor.

O’Hare has this cart that I haven’t seen anywhere else, it’s a mobile food stall that just drives around from gate to gate:

Thought that was really cool!

The delay was long enough that I probably should have gone to the lounge that was a gate away. But I was still pretty stuffed, and just a little buzzed.

We loaded up about two hours after we were supposed to and off we went. Sadly, no upgrade, and no middle seat open – at least I was in the bulkhead with a smallish women in the center.

Got into Seattle only an hour late, but it was almost midnight with doesn’t bode well for Roxy sleeping though texts/phone calls for a ride home. He keeps his phone on silent since he has so many message boards he’s on that it would be non-stop bleep, bing, gong, etc.

Time for another Uber!

Basically $23, but I’m home and can wind down from the trip.


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Feb '17

Trip Report: Puerto Rico Bound

Why Puerto Rico? When I was bumped off a flight in October in Columbia, South Carolina I was given a $600 voucher. When I was looking at the calendar – February sounded like a great time to go someplace warm.

Roxy was around so I got a ride to the airport in my own car — $20 savings right there – with time for a goodbye hug:

Got my bag checked and headed to the Alaska Lounge – with a pit stop along the way. I was coming out of the bathroom when I spotted these two guys that looked interesting…and looked like they could use free food and free drinks. Dragged them into the Lounge with me since I’m allowed two guests:

That would me myself, Jeff (I think):

And Payton:

Both from Bend, Oregon, I hope these boys don’t end up dead – they are on their way to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico on the spur of the moment. Basically $2,000 dollars in airfare. For that, they probably could have flown first but I doubt they thought of that. They have an overnight layover at Sea-Tac so it’s probably a good thing I got them into the lounge for some food. Lounge closes at midnight, so hopefully they won’t burn it down in that time. I do worry a little since they seem to be out of a Cheech & Chong movie. Peyton is sporting a black eye from “falling down a couple of times”.

My guess that Payton is the wild one and Jeff the hapless tagalong was confirmed by this mugshot:

Seems that when he was 20 he got popped for DUI at 3:30am. Let this be a reminder – ALL sorts of stuff ends up on the web. (http://oregon.arrests.org/Arrests/Payton_Hill_22889703/) Had he not given me his business card with his full name on it…..

That was my airport excitement. One of the nice (and few) things about flying United is that in the waiting area they have a seat map of what’s still open – meaning that when I saw my bulkhead row was full, I had them move me to the exit row where the seat next to me was open:

A note to fliers – that bulkhead seat is also directly across the aisle from a bathroom door, so don’t expect to get much sleep.

Up in the air and it’s time for drinks, even though it’s a red-eye (which means I’ll pay for it upon arrival in San Juan):

Just as Alaska Air has added more premium liquor to the in-flight service (Crown Royal & Woodford Reserve), United has added Jim Beam Devil’s Cut (90 proof, which might not be a good idea) and for a dollar more, Buffalo Trace (both are Bourbons).

Spent too much of the flight reading and drinking, with not enough time sleeping, so my arrival at IAD (Washington, DC) was a little on the hungry/groggy side. Grabbed a quick bite – didn’t seem like enough time to make good value out of my United Lounge pass in my current state.

I’d gotten upgraded to First on the IAD to San Juan leg a couple of days ago (I was number one on the upgrade list for the SEA-IAD flight), so I have a little more room on this leg:

And pre-takeoff drinks…..

I was not hungry from my snack earlier, but I can’t turn down free food. I also realized I’d be starving by the time I hit San Juan at 1:30.

I really should have slept more on the flight to Washington – that way I could have drank more free whiskey on the way to San Juan. After that second breakfast I was OUT until we landed. Live and maybe learn.

Upon landing in San Juan I almost thought I was in Vegas!

Contrary to what Fernando told me, Uber doesn’t service the airport for arrivals – but the cabs are flat rate, with a “quote sheet” with the “base fare” of $19 and the “extra” $1 per bag, $1 airport fee, $2 fuel surcharge. Not that bad.

Got checked into the Hotel Plaza De Armas after a little delay – I showed up at 1:45 and check-in is at 3 – but they got me in at 2:30 with no extra charges. I’d wanted to stay in the heart of Old San Jose, which means, nothing is cheap. Even the non-fancy stuff is not cheap, hence, my $90 a night for a monastic windowless cell.

Plus side is very tall ceilings, down side is that wi-fi doesn’t reach the room, and cell service barely does, no coffee maker, no clock. Clean but a little on the tatty side.

I should add that there is a HUGE, for the size of this hotel, atrium that does have decent wi-fi (though I could never get the laptop to connect, the phone did) and plenty of comfortable places to sit.

As you can see, I’ve taken up residence on one of the walkways outside my room – FYI, this furniture wasn’t here when I checked in.

This spot is less than 20 feet from their routers wired third-world style:

What I wish they’d do is take a sander/buffer to the floor tiles, which would really POP. When this building was built, this was an open-air atrium.

My first priority was taking a three-hour nap.

Next up, exploring Old San Juan.

[? ? ?]

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Feb '17

Trip Report: Denver For A Couple Of Days

Another week, another trip or two or three – this week two. Off to see Dan and Lisa – been months since I’ve been there. I did see them for lunch at the end of November on a mileage run with Dancing Bear.

All my trips start with a trip to the Alaska Lounge for a meal – in this case, breakfast:

Should you want pancakes, they have a machine for those….

No upgrade, so I’m stuck drinking out of plastic on the plane:

On the upside – Alaska now stocks four different whiskies (Jack Daniels, Crown Royal, Woodford Reserve, and Dewar’s).

Lisa picked me up at the airport and soon we were in lovely Broomfield (between Denver and Boulder in the sprawl). Nobody wanted to cook, so out we go for sushi. Hello Hana Matsui Sushi! I was surprised by the number of parents with children in the place – kids? Sushi?

How about starting with a Lychee Martini?

Followed by lots of Sushi, oysters, black cod!

A pretty early night for everyone, and a late rising morning for me before running errands and grabbing lunch to go from GQue…

We both went for the pulled pork, and got a small side of the mac and cheese. Pork good, mac/cheese boring.

Odd that they also sell whiskey, but I didn’t see any fixing for anything other than booze and mixer – not things like Sweet Vermouth for a Manhattan. And it always seems odd to be standing in line to order, and ordering a Manhattan to go with your BBQ – I should know, I did it in Charleston a couple of weeks ago.

A quiet evening at home – but we started with some bubbly:

Off to the airport in the morning with a little preflight relaxation in the Admiral’s Club…

My flight home was on one of the retrofitted Alaska planes with three classes of service. First, Premium Class, and Main Cabin – which means that now it’s a two-step upgrade dance as you can see from the “upgrade” screen at the airport:

What this means to me personally is that I’ll now start trying to book 7C instead of 6C now that there are more rows with extra leg room – that way I have a seatback table (rather than in the arm) and a regular seatbelt (rather than one with an airbag in it).

This is row 6 and 7 – notice the extra knee room in 7 (through 12)in Premium:

And it looked to me like they’ve added a couple of inches to the First Class knee room….

And in Premium Class you now get free cocktails (I get one free no matter where I am behind the curtain), and a snack box:

Sadly, you don’t get the quick refills like you do in front of the curtain.

Home in one piece with Roxy picking me up at the airport.

[? ? ?]

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Jan '17

Trip Report: Boston Mileage Run Number One

My business partner just rolls his eyes when I mention mileage runs. Not sure what I’m talking about? CLICK HERE.

This is the first of four mileage runs I have planned this spring – all transcontinental flights, and number one is Boston. The fare was $256.00 roundtrip. That works out to 2,496 each way for a total of 4,992 flight miles, plus another 4,992 Bonus Miles for being an MVP Gold, so basically you have 10,000 miles (technically 9,984) to redeem which would be a round trip between SFO and LAX, or a little less than half for a roundtrip to Florida. End numbers — .0256 per mile which isn’t bad considering they are valued at 1.9 cents, but the way I use them I get much more value since its business class international flights where I use mile – ticket prices that I’d never pay cash for.

The schedule: Leave SEA at 9:20pm after having drinks, salad and soup in the Alaska Lounge, arrive BOS 5:30 – walk from Terminal C to Terminal B to use the Admiral’s Club, sleep for a couple of hours, get a cocktail:

I was a little surprised at the size of my whiskey/diet, but I was a trooper and finished it.

Nice lounge though…

Jill picked me up at 11 to go have lunch with Pucci at Jose’s Cantina in Cambridge. Great lunch!

After lunch, we went computer hardware shopping before stopping at Jill’s for installation (her), shower (me) before heading back to the airport.

Back at the lounge, the Mexican theme continues – there is a guy making fresh guacamole!

And one of the two soups being served was Chicken Corn Tortilla!

Return flight is at 6:20, and I’m number five on the upgrade list, so it doesn’t look good – but sometimes, miracles happen!

And even my number two favorite seat (favorite is 1C). Now if they’d just shut the back cabin door since it is turning the jetliner into a wind tunnel – I needed those layers!

Of course, I’d stuffed myself in the lounge, but I ate the dinner they served anyway:

I went for the cod…

My seatmate went for the ravioli…

Not much sleep on the way home…and then Roxy showed up, so, not much sleep in the evening as well.

Only three more mileage runs to go!



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Oct '16

Trip Report: Saskatoon Bound, First Stop Vancouver

Who doesn’t want to go to Saskatoon for a couple of hours! It’s really just about the journey, not the destination. Rache and I are going on a train ride! Actually TWO train rides, one short (to Vancouver), one long (Vancouver to Saskatoon). You might ask why not Edmonton (would require a hotel room either two or from because of when the trains arrive/leave), or Winnipeg (same reason), or Toronto (it arrives Saturday, and this week I’m also working Friday). The train from Vancouver arrives at 8am in the morning (assuming it’s on time), and we have a 3:20pm flight to MSP, then SEA. Enough said.

I really wish Amtrak’s Cascade Service had a mid-day train. Our only choice was the 7:30 departure which gets us in at noon, and our ViaRail connection isn’t until 10:45.

Don’t I look happy on the train:

It’s a little better once we are on the train and I have a little food in me, but…

Lovely fall colours (since I’m headed to CanadaLand I’ll get a head start on the spelling):

Here is a shot of the Vancouver train station. Sorry for the lighting…j

We need food, so we head in the direction of China Town which I’d never really explored – found this piece of street art made more sinister by the shadow of my hand – I’m seeing a theme here!

We walked, and walked – what we were looking for was a sit-down, service, bar, nice lunch. It wasn’t in China Town, but there were enough street junkies and people shooting up, hanging out, offering us drugs, that I was glad it was noon on a sunny day with lots of cops around.

An hour and a half later – stumbled into Per Se Social Corner and settled in for a cocktail for me, and a beer for Rache:

Before settling into our shrimp and vegetable linguini with flatbread and salad:

Wonderful presentation – and on the lunch menu the food was $14 CAD each, my drink was $12 CAD – and the booth was comfortable and the bathrooms clean.

After our leisurely lunch, MORE WALKING – YES, ME. Passed by the Law Courts, spied the WorldMark Vancouver, passed three JapaDog stands, ended up at the Waterfront near the Cruise Terminal.

Random Vancouver tourist pictures….

Decided to take a ride to North Vancouver on the ferry. Neither of us had ever been, and at $4, seemed like a great way to kill time even though the transit was under 15 minutes. Man, they have loading and unloading down to science!

Since it was after three at this point in the day – HAPPY HOUR – and we found one in the Harbour (those crazy CanadaLand spellings) at the Tap and Barrel:

It was a HUGE space – look at the Keg Room!

And the bar area (dining area is at the far end, upstairs to the right are private function areas):

And it really is about wine and beer (but with a full bar). The barrels are the wine taps, the stainless steel, the beer:

I ordered a Happy Hour highball (Rye and Diet Coke) for $4 (CAD) for the 1oz shot (they are a little skimpy with hard liquor in CanadaLand), Rache went for the $10.50 beer sampler:

And who can say no to deep-fried pickles (well, Roxy could – he hates pickles and anything else sour, except for me):

It was easy to kill time in the only two cushy club chairs in the place – right in front of the non-running fireplace.

And the two random photos from the dock area of North Vancouver – two signs:

As for the upper one, self-explanatory, the one below, just because it’s a sign for a Green Market with a planter of dead plants, both of these The Tacky T-Shirt Lady would love.

Here was our wondering journey this afternoon – if you look closely you can see the miles and steps on the map (dashed line = public transit):

What, were we (NOT) thinking!

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