DavTravels: Season 1, Episode 9

Show Notes: 07.21.21 – 04.28.21 I’m working one flight to Boston and then back to Denver the next day. Then I road trip with Jeff, Dawn, T-bug, and K-bug for Russ and Darrien’s wedding! Then it’s off to Salt Lake City for a quick trip to visit the folks’. Next, I’m back at work where I get a surprise visit from my sister Karen, my niece Annie, and my great-nieces Missie and Pepper (whom I’m meeting for the first time)! This was my first time not only on a PWM overnight, but my first time to experience the state of Maine (bucket list items #74 and #99 are one step closer to being accomplished!

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

Hawaii 2020: Day 8

02.27.20 | Lihue, Hawaii | 22:37

Today was another beautiful day with my family (the last one, unfortunately)! I woke up early enough to do one more load of laundry- I had plenty of time because most of the family didn’t rise very soon. 

First, I want to tell you about Mali. Mali is a cat who has been hanging out at our house last night and this morning. He/She has even made it into the house a few times. Much to Melanie’s dismay, since she is allergic to the creature. I, on the other hand, would have happily let it stay over for the night and would have even shared my bed. Alas, my family wasn’t on board. 

When I woke this morning, it was still outside, meowing and meowing. I went out and picked it up (I’m not sure if it’s a male or a female, but will assume it is male from here-on-out.). Melanie gave me some leftover pepperoni to feed to him. He liked it but didn’t finish all of it. 

I chose the names Mali, because the Hawaiian word for “Stranger,” according to the internet, is “Malihini.” I took him over to some neighbors to see if they recognized him, but they didn’t. When I was walking back to the house, he squirmed around, signaling that he wanted me to put him down. When I did so, he ran back to the neighbors house. Oh well- Mali is their problem now.  

Mali

Once my family was up and ready, most of us headed over to see the lighthouse at Kilauea Point. It was beautiful, but we couldn’t get closer without paying an entry fee. No thanks. 

Kilauea Point

We made the drive down to see some waterfall that boasts a higher fall than Niagara Falls. That may be the case, but it isn’t anywhere as large or as breathtaking as Niagara falls.  It was beautiful to see it from above, however. 

We stopped for lunch in the town of Koloa, then grabbed a double scoop of some tasty ice cream. I don’t remember the flavor I picked, but it was definitely Hawaiian and definitely yummy! 

We drive down to walk across a swinging bridge- it felt good to stretch out legs for awhile. 

Dinner was barbecued chicken from a restaurant called “Chicken in a Barrel” (I think). It was another great meal. Perfect for our last meal together as a family! 

23:10

I just boarded the first of two flights. I’m not looking forward to going home, but I am looking forward to what comes next. I’m sad to be leaving my parents, siblings, and their spouses. I certainly won’t miss how expensive Hawaii is! Bittersweet feelings, for sure. 

Hawaii 2020: Day 7

02.26.20 | Princeville, Hawaii | 21:42

Today was a great day! It was probably the most adventurous day that we’ve had on this trip. We started on a kayak/canoe adventure on some river, and ended up hiking a mile through the forest and ending at a beautiful waterfall! The only one missing was Joe, since he had to leave early for a work meeting in Washington D.C.

After swimming in the waterfall pool, and hiking back to the canoes, we explored further up the river, until we found a place and did some cliff jumping into the water. Matt had been here a few years before.

Hawaii 2020: Day 6

02.25.20 |Princeville, Hawaii | 20:18

Last night I didn’t get any sleep. It was a night of tossing and turning, and for some reason, I was unable to clear my head. I’m not sure why that was. I was pretty exhausted by the time my alarm went off at 05:00.

Nevertheless, today was a great day! We jumped in the cars and headed to the airport in Lihue. It’s a relatively cheap, round-trip flight to Oahu- especially since Southwest is still having a sale.

Up Before the Sun
On the Plane

We had a fantastic tour of the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor. This was especially meaningful that I got to be with my dad there since he is such a history buff.

Feed the Birds

We decided to drive to the Dole Plantation. It was a pretty cool tourist trap. I recommend a walk through the garden, and it’s worth it to line up for a Dole Whip come, but other than that, we didn’t do anything. I think most of is didn’t want to spend the money. But there is a train ride and a maze you can walk through.

Dinner was in Waikiki. Most of us were craving a good burger, and we found some in a mall food court. Even though my burger was tasty (it had an egg and brown gravy), and the truffle fries were amazing, I hope I never have to pay $17 for a burger combo again. Hawaii is expensive!

Hawaii 2020: Day 5

02.24.20 | Princeville, Hawaii | 16:51

Today was a beach day! It was so much fun to get back into the water! I did spend much of the time partially blind because the suntan lotion that I put on my face kept getting into my eyes. Still, I can’t complain!

It was a beautiful day, and the clouds kept it pretty cooled down. I did manage to get a bit of a tan, however.

Beach Day

I wanted to try a pizza place for lunch. Hanalei Pizzeria is fantastic, to say the absolute least. I had the forbidden pizza, which had garlic butter, mozzarella, lamb sausage, feta, olives, onions, tomatoes, and spicy honey.

I sat there and ate the entire 12-inch pizza by myself, and I feel no regret since it came on a cauliflower crust! I hope I can get another pizza there before the end of this adventure!

Hawaii 2020: Day 4

02.23.20 | Princeville, Hawaii | 21:52

In Front of the Church

Today turned out to be another spectacular day! Since it was Sunday, we all went and caught a church service in Kapaa. It felt so good to be with the family at church. Afterward, some of us drove to the west side of the island to see Waimea State Park. The first part was like a mini Grand Canyon. The second part was a beautiful hike through a very green area. It was lovely to look off and see the beautiful mountain and coastline!

Rooster
Karen
Panoramic

When we got home, we all sat down and had some chicken pot pie for dinner. As we were chatting afterward, my family got to sharing memories all about me growing up, mostly in Arizona, and then they presented me with a hanging quilt.

The quilt is fantastic! Each of my siblings added a picture of something that reminds them of me. One was musical notes because I loved singing, another was a picture of my favorite dog growing up, and there were various other squares on this quilt that means a lot to me!

I’m not sure the reason they decided to make this gift to me, however. It’s not my birthday or anything like that. It was just a simple gift to show me that they love me.

I felt this was so wonderful because I occasionally feel somewhat separated from my siblings. I was born five years after my brother, and so by the time I was in my teenage years, they were off doing their own thing. Sometimes I feel so detached from them, especially when I was growing up.

I do have to say that this was very unexpected and very appreciated. Perhaps someday, in the future, I will post a picture of this quilt.
I sure do love my family!

Hawaii 2020: Day 3

02.22.20 | Princeville, Hawaii | 21:04

Today was a good day. I spent quite a bit of it alone because my family all wanted to go out on a boat ride. I don’t know exactly what this ride entailed, but even though they said it was a good time, I couldn’t wrap my mind around the $140 price tag.

Instead, I decided to walk into Hanalei. I did some exploring, bought a rash guard shirt, found some fish tacos for lunch, and got my second snow cone.

This walk took about two hours, and the only reason I decided to Uber back, was because there was hardly any shoulder on the roadside to walk on. Quite a few times on the way into the city, I had to duck into a bush so that I wouldn’t get hit by any vehicles.

Every Town Needs A Crazy Person

When I got back to the house, I took a little abit of a nap. About two hours later, my family got back from the boat tour.

Matt and I made dinner tonight. We made a hash with pineapple sausages, onions, peppers, and potatoes. It was delicious!

Hawaii 2020: Day 2

02.21.20 | Princeville, Hawaii | 02:04

Before most of the family was awake this morning, Matt, Kas, and I decided to go for a bike ride. Our Airbnb provided a few bicycles, so it was a great way to start the day!

Morning Bike Ride

We ended up at Hanalei Bay and spent a few minutes standing on the shore. We should realize we had to start our way back to the house, and most of this ride was uphill. I was reminded just how out of shape I am. We eventually got back to the house, however.

Hanalei Bay

We tried to go hiking on this excellent 8-mile trail that Matt and Kas have been to in the past. They said it was one of the most beautiful hikes they’ve ever hiked. I was looking forward to it! When we arrived, however, we discovered that you now have to make a reservation to hike on this particular trail, because it was such in high demand. Unfortunately, the lady at the entrance told us that the booking would’ve had to be made about three months in advance.

We ended up stopping at a beautiful beach, and we played in the ocean for a while. One of my sisters brought sandwiches for everyone, so it was great to sit, chat, and eat on the beach.

We explored downtown Hanalei and I ended up getting my first Hawaiian shaved ice! Growing up in Arizona, we had a place that did this shave ice, but this was incredible! The snowcone was atop macadamia nut ice cream and they pour sweetened conndensed milk over the top. It was the most fantastic thing ever!

We decided that we would go back and swim, once again, at Queen’s Bath. Yesterday, my sister Lori and her husband Scott, weren’t able to be there with us, and we wanted them to have that experience. We even talked Lori into jumping off a high rock into the water. It was amazing! I think, all in all, I end up spending more than seven hours swimming in the ocean.

Hawaii 2020: Day 1

02.20.20 | Home | 02:04

I set my alarm for 04:15, but my body has been wide awake since midnight. I’m not going to fight it anymore- Today is the first day of my vacation, and I can hardly stand it- I’m so excited! Not only will I be one step closer to visiting every state (bucket list item number 99), but this is just going to be phase one of my adventure for the year.

This past August, my brother announced that we were going to Hawaii for our 2020 family reunion. Those invited: My parents, siblings, their spouses, and myself. We love the next generation, but these family members are not invited. We tried to do this last year, but there were just too many conflicts. We felt like this needed to happen- not only am I one step closer to completing my bucket list item number 99 (visiting every state), but this has been a life long dream of my mother. Since my parents are in their 80s, we figured that this is a good enough excuse to go. She ain’t gettin’ any younger!

The next seven days’ worth of posts will merely be ‘Phase 1’ of my 2020 vacation. I’m going to use ‘#Hawaii 2020’ Because there are going to be three phases over the next two months, I’m going to try my best to update this blog daily. A few friends have told me that they enjoy following along, and so I’ll continue to do what I’ve been doing over the years.

I want to do some more live-streaming on this journey, so I want to invite you to download the Periscope app and follow @DavTravels. I will post the videos on the blog as soon as I have time, but you can always see them sooner via Periscope.

I also want to invite you to join my Facebook page, if you haven’t yet. This is one way to get notifications whenever there is a new post. Just click the Facebook link up top! Then, “Like” the page, and you’re all set!

Salt Lake City, Utah | 04:32

I guess I was too excited to go back to sleep, because now I’m sitting in the Salt Lake City International Airport, waiting for my first flight.

07:34

This is my first time flying on Alaska Airlines. I handed the “A” flight attendant a bag of Dove chocolates, so I hope he was grateful for the gesture. I cannot stress enough: Bring something for your flight attendants!

08:54 | SLC-SEA

The flight crew just paged for medical assistance. It seems like something is going on with a passenger in the back of the plane. I hope they are ok.

09:02 | SeaTac, Washington

If I bring a gift for the flight crew, whether it be a gift card, snacks, or chocolate, all I expect is a “Thank you.” I’m not expecting them to upgrade me or any form of special treatment.

On the flights that I work, I try to make a big deal about receiving a gift, making sure the crew members know who brought it, so they can thank him or her. I’ll even jump on the p.a. and make an announcement if I feel it’s appropriate.

I feel like my first exposure to Alaska Airlines was nothing special. I’ve heard such good things about their flight attendants, but I don’t know what that first crew’s deal is. Nobody bothered thanking me.

When I handed the gift bag filled with chocolates, I smiled and told the lead flight attendant that I was also a flight attendant and that I work for Southwest Airlines.- I got half a smile.

I guess I should be thankful for that half of a smile. I have more chocolates for my second crew, but little do they know- their reaction or lack of reaction is going to be the deciding factor of whether or not I bother to bring a gift on my return trip next week.

Inflight Snack
SEA Airport

SEA-LIH | 13:23 (Hawaii time)

It looks like I got my wish. The new flight crew was incredibly kind and even told me they were very thankful for the chocolates. That’s all I wanted- my faith in humankind (and Alaska Airlines) has been restored. I’m going even to go one step further and give the airline bonus points because they have a place for me to charge my phone.

Soon, these amazing flight attendants were comping my meal and even gave me a tablet to watch movies. This crew seemed so much better than the first.

Princeville, Hawaii | 16:16

As soon as I got my checked bag from the baggage claim, my sister Karen, Joe, and Brett were already outside waiting for me. We drove to the north side of the island, to Princeville, where we are staying in two Vrbo homes that are side-by-side.

20:57

This afternoon, my brother Matt took some of us down a very muddy trail to the ocean. The swimming area is called Queen’s Bath. It was so much fun to swim around in the ocean for a while!

The Muddy Trail
Queen’s Bath

The only tough part was walking back up the muddy trail to the car. B the time we made it back, most of us were covered in mud!

For dinner, we had some delicious grits with shrimp in them, that my sister Melanie made. It was perfect!

Dinner with Family

I have now been awake for over 24 hours, and I’m starting to feel that way. I’m hoping to fall asleep fast.