DavTravels: Season 1, Episode 12

2021.08.15 – 2021.09.16: Work brings me to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina- it’s been too long!  Memories of visiting The Pavillion, so many years ago! | On my birthday, I enjoy some ice cream in Austin, Texas! Birthday dinner is an amazing kielbasa at Banger’s! | I end up in Long Beach, California, excited to prepare for my next visit to Hawaii!

DavTravels: Season 1, Episode 11

Show Notes:

My quest for dinner in #Columbus, #Ohio at the North Market, bears fruit… or a Polish sausage, at least. Then some of my favorite ice cream! | I end up in #Portland, #Oregon where I get to take a look at the mall, then go on a beautiful hike! | #Tampa, #Florida for a quick overnight and bite to eat at a Waffle House. | Again to the west coast! #Sacramento, #California (home of the million dollar bunny rabbit) and breakfast at Black Bear Diner. Back to #Denver, #Colorado and home to #Tucson, where I take #Reba on a walk in the blazing hot desert!

Scotland 8: PreTrip

03.01.20 | Salt Lake City, Utah | 07:26

It’s time to start ‘Phase 2’ of this vacation, which I am going to mark with #Scotland 8! I’m excited to return to this place that I love so much, and every time I’ve visited over the years, I’ve found that I love it more and more. Back in 2017, Scotland was voted, ‘the worlds’ most beautiful county’! This doesn’t surprise me at all. I didn’t even take the survey, but I agree. It’s true, I haven’t been to a million different places, and sometimes you can’t compare apples and oranges, but I feel that nothing can match the beauty of Scotland!

I am sitting in the Salt Lake City International airport, waiting for my non-revenue flight to Los Angeles. When I left for Scotland two years ago, I asked my nephew, Sam, to crash at my place overnight, and then he drove me to the airport since I had an early flight. I decided I didn’t want to inconvenience him again last year.

This last year, I parked my car at my sister’s house, close to Park City. I loved this idea, having my family watch over my car while I was gone for such a long time. The only bad part was the fact that I had to get a Lyft from her house, all the way to the airport (like a good 40+ minute drive) and then from the airport back to her home when I got back. This was very expensive! Not to mention having to drive my car from her house, all the way to my house after having been awake for more than 24 hours! I basically saved no money by doing this.

This year, I decided that the best plan would be to leave my car at home. This way, it can be in my garage, out of the elements. I’m not saving any money by parking it all the way at my sister’s house, and she doesn’t have room to park it in her garage. It cost me $55 to get a Lyft to the airport, which is steep, but I’ve had plenty of time to prepare for this trip, financially.

My last few visits to Scotland, I have used my mobile phone freely. AT&T, my service provider, has decent coverage in most of the places I go, and a pretty competitive plan for international travel. It’s $9.99 plus tax for a rolling 24 hours of use. This gives me access to my mobile phone plan, which is unlimited data, talk, texting. It’s been a blessing not to have to watch my minutes or gigabytes. The only problem, however, is that this will add up to a whopping $609.39 plus tax by the time I return home.

This year, I have discovered Skyroam, which is a mobile wifi hotspot. The device looks like an orange hockey puck. You pay $179, and it offers a rate of $8.99 per rolling 24 hours if you buy it, or $9.99 per day if you decide to rent the device instead. This isn’t a savings over what AT&T offers me, but Skyroam also provides a rate of $99 per month for unlimited use! This is how I plan on saving some money abroad. Rather than paying the $609.39, I’ll be paying $377. I’ll let you know soon enough if it’s working throughout my travels.

I’m sitting in the B terminal at LAX. My flight doesn’t board for about an hour and doesn’t leave for about two hours. It took me a while to get through security- not only are there so many passengers in the line, but my bags had to run twice since I forgot to take my laptop out. I’m used to going through security in uniform, and when I do that, my computer doesn’t have to come out. My focus is on Scotland, not on safety- whoops!

The B Terminal at LAX

Before coming back through security, I walked down to In-N-Out Burger on Sepulveda. I enjoyed my double-double, animal style. It’s been a few weeks since I had a good burger, so this was a great lunch!

Double-Double, Animal Style

LAX-LGW | 21:22 (California Time)

Before boarding, I ran to a newsstand in the airport to purchase some chocolate for my flight crew. All I could find (within my budget) was some Hershey’s Nuggets, and even though I usually get something more decadent, this would have to do.

Thanks to this little token, they have been a fantastic crew, continually checking on me. They gave me a blanket, a pair of headphones, and a couple of bottles of water- they keep asking me if I’d like any snacks.

Legroom

When you have to work a reserve block, you never know what you’re going to get.

Route: DEN > LAX > SMF

You can try to self-assign an available trip within our online system, but that all depends on what is available and what you’re legal to work. I checked last night, and there were only two or three trips that I was interested in. I called my scheduling department and asked for one of them, and they said yes! Thank goodness, because most of the other available trips were p.m. shifts and didn’t look very good.

I don’t usually have to work reserve, but one of my coworkers was desperate to get rid of it. I’m not sure what she had going on, but I was even willing to offer a little bit of cash out-of-pocket. I, of course, would never dream of taking money from someone for such a thing. That would be arguably dishonest, as it’s nearly impossible for the government to track or tax such a transaction. *Pardon me while I adjust and polish my halo.

For whatever reason, this reserve assignment was now on my board, and I am so glad to have gotten a decent trip. I’m working with two gals whom I’d never met before arriving at my gate this morning. I lucked out, however, and they’re both just a sweet as they can be.

I hadn’t been to Sacrament in about 6 months, and it’s always nice to get back. Tonight I’m staying at the Holiday Inn, located in a great spot downtown, very close to Old Town, Sacramento. I know I just had a burger the day before yesterday, but I also knew that Burgerlounge was nearby. While I was eating my delicious lunch, I came up with this idea:
From now on, I’m only going to have one burger a week (all that red meat can’t be good for me). So at the beginning of my work week, I’ll look at my scheduled overnight locations and decide where I will get the burger from. Burgerlounge is definitely one of the places worth waiting for. Note to self: Get more Sacramento layovers.

Burgerlounge prides itself on being “the original grass-fed burger,” and they do taste absolutely amazing, but what really sucks is the fact that I have to pay so much for this “experience”. My combo meal cost me over $18! That is for my double burger, side of fries, and soft drink. Am I paying for quality? Probably. $18 worth of quality? Hell to the NO! Will I be back? What kind of question is that? I’ll be back.

I suppose my “Burger of the Week” will start next week. Where will I consume a cow next week? You will have to check back and find out! I know what you’re thinking, and yes, that is totally worthy blog fodder.

Today wasn’t all about that burger. I also went to Macy’s and bought some new socks.

Scotland 7: Day 40 (conclusion)

04.11.19 | Home | 07:15

By the time my head hit my pillow last night, I was out. My body had been up, at that point, for 22+ hours. This is what happens when you ride the cheap seats: LGW > SEA > OAK > SLC. Shoutout to the most amazing Norwegian crew who brought me from Gatwick to Seattle. They made that 11-hour chunk of my journey, so nice! Again, I bribed my way into their hearts by bringing chocolates that I grabbed from the duty-free shop at the airport. It never hurts, people! I’m telling you it doesn’t!

I realized when I landed at SeaTac, that I had forgotten to factor in the time it would take me to get through international customs and then all the way to the ‘B’ gates to catch my second flight. Thank goodness for the Mobile Passport app that I have on my phone! This made it to where I could cut most of the people in the line. I almost don’t want to share this information, because the more that people know about this, the longer the line is going to be. At least this blog doesn’t have a whole lot of readers- let’s keep this information on the D.L.

After missing my train exit, and going to the wrong security line, I got to my gate with only moments to spare. Then I found out that not only was there room on the flight, but the plane was a few minutes delayed. For once, I was very thankful for a delayed flight! I was soon in Oakland, waiting for my last flight to Salt Lake City. Once again, there was plenty of space, so getting back to Utah wasn’t a problem.

Here are some lessons I have learned over the last 40 days:

  1. Don’t bring a printed itinerary. It was a waste and I didn’t need it. From here on out, I will only use the TripIt App on my phone (check this out before you travel next time) and will keep a back up of all my confirmation information in an email folder.
  2. Just about every business in Scotland will take a contactless payment, therefore I can use my Apple Pay everywhere! This gave me so much peace of mind since I didn’t have to give out my card number a million times. I learned to go to a reputable A.T.M. (like a major bank) and take out about £100 at a time, but only using that for places that wouldn’t take Apple Pay, or I would use that cash to tip servers, etc.
  3. When booking trains/buses/transportation, factor in when I am allowed to check into my next lodging, that way I don’t have to lug around a heavy backpack while I’m waiting to check in. Some places will store a bag for me so that I can go out and explore, and some places will charge a fee for this.

Ok, I need to go get some things done before I return to work- no pressure, but there is only approximately 324 days until ‘Scotland 8’.

Greetings from Milpitas, California. After an easy three-leg day, my I ended up at SJC. Since I’d had to wake up so early in Columbus, I felt like I needed a nap. I laid still with my eyes closed for about an hour, but I guess it wasn’t meant to be. I didn’t even get close to sleep. 

After working online for a while, I decided it was time to go find some dinner. I set out to a restaurant called Sushi King, but then I noticed that it only got 2 1/2 stars on Yelp. Instead, I went next door to In-N-Out Burger. At the very least I knew exactly what I’d get for my dinner. 

After dinner, I walked back to the other side of the freeway and had to grab some dessert at my favorite place in Milpitas: 85°C Bakery Cafe! I only recently discovered this bakery- the last time I was here. I’ve only tried the cake (naturally), but my crewmate who brought me there that first time said their pastries, bread, and soups were all amazing!

I brought a slice of Black Forest and a slice of Deluxe Strawberry back to my hotel room. Please understand that the only reason I brought back two different kinds was for scientific research. I’ve been told that everything at this bakery is amazing, and not wanting to take anyone’s word for it, I simply must do the research for myself.

Today was one leg to Los Angeles… I can’t believe that I forgot to post the last time I was here: It was a perfect day in L.A.! Since I had about twenty-three hours to kill, I decided to take a Lyft into Hollywood. I saw a documentary called Three Identical Strangers. It was all about a set of triplets who had been separated at birth. Two of them happened to meet when one attended the same college as the other, and then when their story made it into the newspaper, the third brother read the article and realized that he was the a brother as well.

The documentary was actually quite good- it looked at a certain foster care system in New York City and exposed them for having separated all these multiple births, all in the name of a very unethical science experiment. It’s definitely worth seeing, if it’s playing in your neck of the woods.

I got some breakfast at a place called “The Griddle”. I ordered some kind of pancake and when they brought it out, it was two cakes, bigger than my head! It was delicious, but I only made it about a quarter of the way through! I hated to waste all that food, but since my day was just beginning, I didn’t want to have to carry around a to-go box for the duration. Lesson learned.

After that, I walked down to the Hollywood Walk of Fame. I realized that I hadn’t been there since high school. I was on either a choir tour or a band trip, walking the street and seeing the sights with my classmates. It has been long enough ago, that I don’t have very many memories of that trip. I do remember standing in front of the Chinese Theater, however. I also remember fat Spider-Man, skinny Spider-Man, and brown Spider-Man, who will allow you to take a picture with them, if you tip them, that is. No thanks.

I was able to do a live stream on Periscope, but am choosing to not post that here, since things got a little ugly and political during the video. It had to do with certain stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and my desire for people to stop being mean, and my rant in defense of a certain president. Luckily the taunts of the liberal class mean nothing as their viewpoint is largely emotional and based on opinions offered by the likes of one Whoopi Goldberg. Sister Act is over… and a lot of us just aren’t that into you.

Fast forward to today… This morning, I landed back in Los Angeles. Another long overnight means that I had time to have some kind of adventure. After changing out of my uniform, I called for a Lyft. I went into Santa Monica and saw the movie, Crazy Rich Asians. I gotta say- that was a great film! I will probably buy it once it comes out… well, once the price drops, that is.

After a stop at the Apple Store, I walked out to Santa Monica Pier. On my walk, I called to check on my parents’ I realized that today is their 59th wedding anniversary! Fun fact: My parents were actually married in Santa Monica, and here I was close to that very place! Sort of one of those full-circle moments… not really, but kinda.

Even with the L.A. smog, and the smoke from the wildfires, Southern California is very beautiful today! Everybody was out- If I could afford to live here… well, I still wouldn’t, but would be nice to have that kind of money!