Author Topic: "Holiday Road" - The Official Vacation Thread  (Read 107635 times)

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Online Ali the Baseball Cat

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 :shock:

Offline Count Walewski

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A friend just announced that he is getting married this fall in Houston. Houston is the largest city in America that I have not yet been to. What should I do if I have just a few days?

I don't think they'll let me wear my Howie Kendrick Nationals jersey with the 2019 world series patch on it to the ceremony but perhaps somewhere else around town.

Online imref

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A friend just announced that he is getting married this fall in Houston. Houston is the largest city in America that I have not yet been to. What should I do if I have just a few days?

I don't think they'll let me wear my Howie Kendrick Nationals jersey with the 2019 world series patch on it to the ceremony but perhaps somewhere else around town.

Spend your time in San Antonio, Austin, and Fredericksburg and only go to Houston for the wedding. :)


Offline Dave in Fairfax

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Johnson Space Center.
San Jacinto Monument
The USS Texas is closed for renovation. I don't know when it is supposed to reopen or if it's being moved to a new location.

Online Ali the Baseball Cat

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USS Texas is the last dreadnaught still afloat (there are plenty off of Jutland and Scapa Flow but you need dive gear to visit them)

Online skippy1999

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Made plans to visit my son in Colorado in August for a few days. After booking everything I thought hmmm wonder if anybody good is coming to Red Rocks while I'm there? Found out the Black Crowes are playing the night of the day I'm leaving. I've wanted to see a concert at Red Rocks since U2 filmed their rainy concert there in the early 80's, and I saw the Black Crowes at a tiny venue in Pensacola in the early 90's and they were fabulous so I thought YOLO and redid my whole trip so my boy and I can go see a concert at Red Rocks and I could not be more excited :)

Online imref

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Made plans to visit my son in Colorado in August for a few days. After booking everything I thought hmmm wonder if anybody good is coming to Red Rocks while I'm there? Found out the Black Crowes are playing the night of the day I'm leaving. I've wanted to see a concert at Red Rocks since U2 filmed their rainy concert there in the early 80's, and I saw the Black Crowes at a tiny venue in Pensacola in the early 90's and they were fabulous so I thought YOLO and redid my whole trip so my boy and I can go see a concert at Red Rocks and I could not be more excited :)

I've toured Red Rocks but haven't seen a show there, enjoy! Hopefully you get good weather.

Online Ali the Baseball Cat

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Oh hell yes
Made plans to visit my son in Colorado in August for a few days. After booking everything I thought hmmm wonder if anybody good is coming to Red Rocks while I'm there? Found out the Black Crowes are playing the night of the day I'm leaving. I've wanted to see a concert at Red Rocks since U2 filmed their rainy concert there in the early 80's, and I saw the Black Crowes at a tiny venue in Pensacola in the early 90's and they were fabulous so I thought YOLO and redid my whole trip so my boy and I can go see a concert at Red Rocks and I could not be more excited :)

Offline wj73

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We are back home from our Alaska trip, safe and sound. What an amazing three weeks it has been. Neither Mr wj73 nor I had ever been to Alaska, so everything was brand new to both of us. We spent 11 days on a Windstar small ship cruise, then 4 more days on a Windstar add on overland trip from Seward through Anchorage, then on to Denali, ending in Fairbanks. We extended a few extra days in Fairbanks, then broke up the long plane trip home by extending a few days in Seattle.

It’s hard to even describe everything we saw and experienced. We watched glaciers calve, then kayaked in those waters, avoiding ice floes loosed from those  glaciers. We took a helicopter to the far reaches of one of the glaciers, and then trekked for two hours across the glacier using crampons with inch and a half long spikes (not like the little YakTrax we use at home) armed with an ice ax that we could use for gripping, climbing and chipping away ice as needed. We hiked in temperate rain forests, across cold beaches, and next to glacier-fed rivers. We saw modern skyscrapers and ancient petroglyphs.  We saw incredible waterfalls falling thousands of feet from melting snow packs on the mountains.

We saw humpbacks and orcas, and more bald eagles than we could count. Otters and sea lions were regular companions as we anchored in isolated fjords. We saw moose, caribou, and even a grizzly bear! We saw indigenous villages and gold rush towns. We visited larger cities like Juneau, Sitka, Anchorage, and Fairbanks, but also anchored far up into fjords where there was no one else for miles. We also visited small fishing villages like Ketchikan, Wrangell, and Haines. We took a ferry to Skagway, and a train to Denali. We passed through Wasilla at one point, but could not see Russia from there. We ate fresh salmon and spicy reindeer sausage.

One of the most special experiences was the day we took a small plane up to Utqiagvik (formerly known as Barrow), the northern most point of the United States. We touched the Arctic Ocean where it has started its spring thaw and walked on the frozen Arctic Ocean ice where it hasn’t thawed yet. We learned a lot of what life is like living in a frozen land. The population is about 70% indigenous and many ancient traditions remain, Including subsistence hunting and whaling. The whaling is tightly controlled, with a limited allocation given to selected indigenous villages each year.

I have a lot of ethical issues with commercial whaling, but have no issues with subsistence whaling done by people who use traditional methods they’ve used for thousands of years, such as going out in wooden canoes and using harpoons. While we were there we passed a group of locals cutting up chunks of a bowhead whale one of them had taken in March. They were preparing it for a traditional summer solstice community feast. They invited us over to take pictures and explain what they did, and even gave us samples! It was very much of an honor for us that the man who had taken the whale offered to share it with us, and we accepted it as such. Turns out raw whale tastes much like steak tartare, but fattier and chewier. What cracked me up is that they were seasoning it with Old Bay seasoning. Never thought of that being used on whale!

And we ate! The food on the ship was amazing. We each gained 5 pounds. The ship normally holds 312 passengers, but there were only 150 passengers on our sailing. With 200 crew. Can you imagine the service we got? Also, being on a small ship, the captain and other officers frequently walked the decks, chatting with passengers as they went along. The ship also had several scientists aboard, including whale experts, a glacier expert, plant biologists, etc. They gave nightly talks on various fascinating topics about Alaska.  They also led hiking and kayaking excursions. And again, with so few passengers on board, they got to know us by name and could point out things of particular interest to us. One evening the ship brought on board a Tlingit storyteller elder who gave a fascinating talk about Tlingit culture, ancient and modern.

And yes, we even managed to find a baseball game. Fairbanks has a college-level wooden bat league team called the Alaska Goldpanners. On our last night in Alaska, we watched the Goldpanners take on the Ventura (CA) Pirates. Although it was a night game starting at 7 PM and not ending till 10, no stadium lights were needed as the sun did not set till almost 1 AM. The game was 6-4 in favor of the Pirates going into the bottom of the 9th, but ended 8-6 after a Goldpanners walk off grand slam. I’ve been to hundreds of baseball games, and have seen walk off home runs, but never a walk off grand slam.

After setting so late, the sun also rose shortly after 3am, which was a very interesting experience. It never really got dark. It simply went from dusk to dawn, with no night in between. It was astonishing to walk out of a restaurant at 10:30 pm into the blazing sunshine. I don’t think I’d mind living there in summer with all that daylight, but I would absolutely hate to live there in winter when the reverse is true and it goes right from dawn to dusk, and never really gets light.

And then to finish off the trip, in Seattle we took in the Angels v. Mariners at T Mobile Park. The Angels won, with Trout of course hitting a home run.

We were on Alaska Airlines the whole way coming and going, with no delays or cancellations. We were very grateful for that after reading about the recent delays.

We’re working our way through mounds of dirty laundry now. Other than that, I personally plan to sleep for a week!  All in all, it was a great trip. Truly a once in a lifetime, bucket list experience.

Online imref

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sounds incredible, thanks for sharing.

So how do you top it?

Offline wj73

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sounds incredible, thanks for sharing.

So how do you top it?


I have no idea. The experience of being on the Arctic Ocean, eating raw whale seasoned with Old Bay, is hard to top!  :lol:

Offline Natsinpwc

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That does sound awesome. I hope you did not watch any Nats during the trip to ruin it.

Online skippy1999

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I have no idea. The experience of being on the Arctic Ocean, eating raw whale seasoned with Old Bay, is hard to top!  :lol:
I would hard pass on the raw whale but other than that it sounds amazing!!!

Offline English Natsie

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  • It's baseball, Jim, but not as we know it...


So how do you top it?

The unmissable 2 Sisters  Chicken Processing Plant.... ;)

Offline wj73

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I would hard pass on the raw whale but other than that it sounds amazing!!!


When the dude who killed the whale while he was armed with just a harpoon riding in a handmade wooden canoe offers to share it with you, that’s an honor that you just can’t refuse. But the Old Bay definitely helped!

Offline wj73

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The unmissable 2 Sisters  Chicken Processing Plant.... ;)


Damn. Forgot about that. Well now the trip is just ruined.  ;)

Offline wj73

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That does sound awesome. I hope you did not watch any Nats during the trip to ruin it.


Got a couple of Nats scores along the way, but just downed another Alaskan Amber to ease the pain.

Online imref

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The worst part for me of returning from Alaska is when I craved some halibut and found it was $27 a pound at the local market. :)

Online Ali the Baseball Cat

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The Royal Canadian Legion Hall in Prince Rupert has fresh-caught halibut fish & chips on Saturdays for less than the price of a beer.  Of course the beer has to be shipped 500 miles so there is that.   

Offline Count Walewski

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I was supposed to fly from Phoenix to Chicago on Southwest at 4:45 PM yesterday. The flight was delayed repeatedly and took off at about 8:10 PM from Phoenix, arriving in Chicago-Midway at 1:30 AM. Southwest.com crashed for most of the time that the flight was delayed and the PA system at Phoenix-Sky Harbor sucked so I could not hear any announcements. They told us we would be compensated with vouchers but I did not hear the amount.

After we landed at Midway at 1:30 AM, we went to baggage claim. We were told our luggages would be at baggage claim 5 and the entire flight waited there for an hour. The women's bathroom in the baggage claim area was closed for maintenance and the female passengers grew angry that there was no bathroom for them while they waited: they ended up storming the men's room and using it.

At 2:30 AM, somebody finally realized that our luggage ws at baggage claim 8, mislabeled as being from Denver rather than Phoenix.

Then it was time for everyone to pay 2.3x surge pricing on Ubers home. We got to my parents house in Chicago at 3:10 AM finally.

Thank god I am out of vacation days at work!

Offline Natsinpwc

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What a mess the airlines are now.

Online imref

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We're leaving for 2 weeks in Europe next week, including two inter-EU flights, several trains, and a couple of rental cars. I have warned the family to be flexible and patient, and that our plans are going to change.

Yesterday I reached out to the B&B owner of the place we are scheduled to stay on the second leg of our trip to confirm our arrangements (we booked directly with him in January). He got back to me in broken English to let me know that he had a software crash, lost our reservation, and has already booked the room to someone else. Fortunately he found us another place to stay nearby at the same rate.

Semper Gumby.

Online Ali the Baseball Cat

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I have back-to-back redeye flights in August.  The 5.5 hour layover in between them seems barely adequate to catch the 2nd flight, never mind connecting checked luggage - I'll probably check an empty suitcase for laundry in the off chance that it actually makes it all the way.     

Online Ali the Baseball Cat

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Bright side: Euro and USD are almost at parity
We're leaving for 2 weeks in Europe next week, including two inter-EU flights, several trains, and a couple of rental cars. I have warned the family to be flexible and patient, and that our plans are going to change.

Yesterday I reached out to the B&B owner of the place we are scheduled to stay on the second leg of our trip to confirm our arrangements (we booked directly with him in January). He got back to me in broken English to let me know that he had a software crash, lost our reservation, and has already booked the room to someone else. Fortunately he found us another place to stay nearby at the same rate.

Semper Gumby.

Online blue911

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Tom Seaver pitched for the Goldpanners.