Author Topic: "Holiday Road" - The Official Vacation Thread  (Read 84571 times)

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Offline Count Walewski

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Re: "Holiday Road" - The Official Vacation Thread
« Reply #2700: September 11, 2020, 04:51:27 PM »
Oh man have I had a crappy last few days.

So I arrive at my Airbnb in Decatur, IL where I am supposed to spend 10 days of peace and quiet. But my second day there, I see a bedbug in the kitchen. I catch it under a glass, and I contact my host. My host sends an exterminator who tells me it is not a bedbug, and then smashes it to bits. I took pictures, and the thing was definitely a bedbug. Everyone who has seen my pics agrees, including an exterminator. I think the exterminator was either inept, or more likely in cahoots with the host.

I knew it was a bedbug, so I still vacated the property and cancelled the rest of my stay, which automatically refunded 50% of my costs. I will fight Airbnb for the remaining 50%, but to do so I need to actually contact Airbnb customer support, and they have been unreachable as presumably they are dealing with a lot of people unhappy with their Labor Day accommodations. Meanwhile the host is sending me name-calling messages.

Meanwhile I am back at my parents house in Chicago, washing my clothes to kill bedbugs, and am about to spray my car with bedbug poison I bought on Amazon. It is cramped and crowded here. My wife is depressed and difficult to deal with right now, but who can blame her: she has now had 2 vacations cancelled, one for COVID and one for bedbugs.

I'm still winding my way through the Airbnb bureaucracy. I finally reached a case manager today, who looked at my pictures of the bedbug, who forwarded me to the "department that handles this" where the woman was non-committal and said she'd reach out to the host for his side of the story. Still no clue whether I will get my ~$500 back or not.

Airbnbs are great when things go great, but this is my second time something went wrong, and in both cases the host quickly became verbally abusive and Airbnb was hard to reach. Hotels at least have dealing with customer complaints down to a dispassionate science.

I can't wait until this stupid pandemic is over and I can feel comfortable staying at hotels again.

Offline Natsinpwc

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Re: "Holiday Road" - The Official Vacation Thread
« Reply #2701: September 11, 2020, 04:56:03 PM »
I'm still winding my way through the Airbnb bureaucracy. I finally reached a case manager today, who looked at my pictures of the bedbug, who forwarded me to the "department that handles this" where the woman was non-committal and said she'd reach out to the host for his side of the story. Still no clue whether I will get my ~$500 back or not.

Airbnbs are great when things go great, but this is my second time something went wrong, and in both cases the host quickly became verbally abusive and Airbnb was hard to reach. Hotels at least have dealing with customer complaints down to a dispassionate science.

I can't wait until this stupid pandemic is over and I can feel comfortable staying at hotels again.

Good luck.  Nice to know and understand the fear of hotels at this point in time. 

Offline imref

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Re: "Holiday Road" - The Official Vacation Thread
« Reply #2702: September 11, 2020, 05:28:13 PM »
Good luck.  Nice to know and understand the fear of hotels at this point in time. 

Man that sucks Count.  We stayed at a condo last week in Myrtle Beach but it's one of those mega-resort places so we reserved through the management company.  In that case, they take care of any issues.  We ended up delaying our arrival by a night and they credited us for the missed night without any issue.  Unfortunately, the condo, while having great views, was kind of a dump with a kitchen terrible shape (peeling cabinets and cookware, dirty), but at least everything worked.  Still, I'd much rather stay at a home or condo that's not in a high-rise.  Having the full kitchen meant we could eat most meals in the room though we ate at a few outdoor places for dinners.

Offline Count Walewski

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Re: "Holiday Road" - The Official Vacation Thread
« Reply #2703: September 15, 2020, 10:15:12 PM »
Airbnb contacted me today to say I will be getting pretty close to a full refund. I'm also gonna nuke the owner of that place in my review now that I know he can't stop me from getting my money back.

Yesterday I went boating and apple picking in Wisconsin. Today my wife and I went to the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago by ourselves (while grandma watched the kid), we were literally the only people there without a small child, everyone else was a parent or a nanny. Tomorrow we are going to Starved Rock State Park, allegedly the most beautiful place in Illinois (it's full of waterfalls).

Offline Natsinpwc

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Re: "Holiday Road" - The Official Vacation Thread
« Reply #2704: September 15, 2020, 10:24:22 PM »
Airbnb contacted me today to say I will be getting pretty close to a full refund. I'm also gonna nuke the owner of that place in my review now that I know he can't stop me from getting my money back.

Yesterday I went boating and apple picking in Wisconsin. Today my wife and I went to the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago by ourselves (while grandma watched the kid), we were literally the only people there without a small child, everyone else was a parent or a nanny. Tomorrow we are going to Starved Rock State Park, allegedly the most beautiful place in Illinois (it's full of waterfalls).
Glad you got the money back. Sounds like some fun there.

Offline varoadking

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Re: "Holiday Road" - The Official Vacation Thread
« Reply #2705: September 15, 2020, 10:29:33 PM »
Tomorrow we are going to Starved Rock State Park, allegedly the most beautiful place in Illinois (it's full of waterfalls).

Man...forgot about that place.  I must have been there 60 or more years ago with my folks...

Offline OldChelsea

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Re: "Holiday Road" - The Official Vacation Thread
« Reply #2706: September 16, 2020, 06:53:10 AM »
Canada-US travel restrictions to remain in place at least till the end of November: https://www.cp24.com/news/restrictions-around-canada-u-s-border-to-remain-in-place-1.5106601

...this despite the IATA, two days ago, urging Canada to liberalise its requirements: https://www.flightglobal.com/networks/iata-encourages-canada-to-relax-travel-restrictions/140164.article

Meanwhile, BA boss testifies before Commons that his airline is in a fight for survival due to fewer people flying because of ever-changing quarantines: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8738773/British-Airways-boss-Alex-Cruz-defends-decision-axe-12-000-jobs.html

Offline OldChelsea

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Re: "Holiday Road" - The Official Vacation Thread
« Reply #2707: September 21, 2020, 06:29:11 AM »
Hawaii to re-open to tourists 15th October - with limitations: https://www.washingtonpost.com/travel/2020/09/18/hawaii-reopens-tourism/?itid=hp_travel

Offline Count Walewski

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Re: "Holiday Road" - The Official Vacation Thread
« Reply #2708: September 21, 2020, 10:10:13 AM »
Well I've wrapped up my two-week "vacation" at my parents house in Chicago. Some highlights of things that I saw include:

  • Starved Rock State Park: about 90 mins outside of Chicago to the southwest, it's a bunch of cool rock formations along the Illinois river with trails that go through or over them.
  • Naperville, IL: Like 45 mins outside of Chicago, to the southwest. Growing up within the actual city of Chicago, I assumed all of Chicago's far western suburbs were just soulless bedroom communities filled with eerily similar McMansions and nothing else. This is true of most of them, but Naperville is different. It wasn't founded in the 1950's, it was founded in the 19th century. They have a historic village with old buildings from 19th century Illinois small towns, a beautiful downtown park system, etc. Worth a day trip from Chicago.
  • Woodstock, IL: Like an hour outside of Chicago, to the north and west. This is where the movie Groundhog Day was filmed and it looks just like the movie. We happened to go there on the day they had their farmers market. It is far enough from Chicago to be surrounded by farms, and we went berry picking afterwards which is much more fun than apple picking.
  • Joliet Prison: You know the prison from the Blues Brothers? It was closed in 2002 and can now be toured. Most of the tour is outdoors so it is COVID-safe. About 45 mins southwest of Chicago
  • Arboretums: Before COVID-19, I would never have been caught dead in an arboretum. A bunch of trees? Sounds BOOOOORING! But because we're not comfortable doing indoor things, I visited not one but TWO arboretums in the last two weeks. We went to Chicago's arboretum, which is actually about 45 mins southwest of Chicago, and then we also went to the arboretum in Rockford, IL about 90 mins west of Chicago. And...we actually had a good time at both! Arboretums can be appreciated on two levels. One, a place to learn about trees. Two, beautifully landscaped parks where admission fees keep out the riff-raff. IME #2 is actually where you get more mileage, in part because it is hard to put an educational sign on each and every tree. Now I'll have to visit the National Arboretum.

I'm staying at my parents house an extra week but I'm not classifying it as vacation since I will be working. I'm currently in my childhood bedroom, laying on the bed, with my work laptop open. I will take a conference call from here in about half an hour.

When will I take my next trip? Who the hell knows. I won't be traveling again until there is a vaccine. At that point I'm going to have a metric crap ton of Chase points and take one of the great vacations of all time.

Offline GburgNatsFan

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Re: "Holiday Road" - The Official Vacation Thread
« Reply #2709: September 21, 2020, 01:56:16 PM »
Hawaii to re-open to tourists 15th October - with limitations: https://www.washingtonpost.com/travel/2020/09/18/hawaii-reopens-tourism/?itid=hp_travel

No one from the continental U.S. Allowed? :D

Offline Ali the Baseball Cat

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Re: "Holiday Road" - The Official Vacation Thread
« Reply #2710: September 21, 2020, 07:52:46 PM »
I really like these dispatches from places I've driven by on the Interstate and never bothered to stop at.  Makes me want to take like a year-long road trip. 
Well I've wrapped up my two-week "vacation" at my parents house in Chicago. Some highlights of things that I saw include:

  • Starved Rock State Park: about 90 mins outside of Chicago to the southwest, it's a bunch of cool rock formations along the Illinois river with trails that go through or over them.
  • Naperville, IL: Like 45 mins outside of Chicago, to the southwest. Growing up within the actual city of Chicago, I assumed all of Chicago's far western suburbs were just soulless bedroom communities filled with eerily similar McMansions and nothing else. This is true of most of them, but Naperville is different. It wasn't founded in the 1950's, it was founded in the 19th century. They have a historic village with old buildings from 19th century Illinois small towns, a beautiful downtown park system, etc. Worth a day trip from Chicago.
  • Woodstock, IL: Like an hour outside of Chicago, to the north and west. This is where the movie Groundhog Day was filmed and it looks just like the movie. We happened to go there on the day they had their farmers market. It is far enough from Chicago to be surrounded by farms, and we went berry picking afterwards which is much more fun than apple picking.
  • Joliet Prison: You know the prison from the Blues Brothers? It was closed in 2002 and can now be toured. Most of the tour is outdoors so it is COVID-safe. About 45 mins southwest of Chicago
  • Arboretums: Before COVID-19, I would never have been caught dead in an arboretum. A bunch of trees? Sounds BOOOOORING! But because we're not comfortable doing indoor things, I visited not one but TWO arboretums in the last two weeks. We went to Chicago's arboretum, which is actually about 45 mins southwest of Chicago, and then we also went to the arboretum in Rockford, IL about 90 mins west of Chicago. And...we actually had a good time at both! Arboretums can be appreciated on two levels. One, a place to learn about trees. Two, beautifully landscaped parks where admission fees keep out the riff-raff. IME #2 is actually where you get more mileage, in part because it is hard to put an educational sign on each and every tree. Now I'll have to visit the National Arboretum.

I'm staying at my parents house an extra week but I'm not classifying it as vacation since I will be working. I'm currently in my childhood bedroom, laying on the bed, with my work laptop open. I will take a conference call from here in about half an hour.

When will I take my next trip? Who the hell knows. I won't be traveling again until there is a vaccine. At that point I'm going to have a metric crap ton of Chase points and take one of the great vacations of all time.

Offline Ali the Baseball Cat

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Re: "Holiday Road" - The Official Vacation Thread
« Reply #2711: September 21, 2020, 07:53:30 PM »
It's just like 'Muricans going to Cuba, gotta fly via Canada. 
No one from the continental U.S. Allowed? :D


Offline wj73

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Re: "Holiday Road" - The Official Vacation Thread
« Reply #2712: September 27, 2020, 08:32:32 PM »
Just re-scheduled our Cooperstown trip - this is our third attempt. COVID has cancelled the other two.  :icon_frown:


We’ve booked a private guest house on a farm about a half an hour outside Cooperstown through VRBO so as to avoid hotel lobbies, elevators, etc.  The house has a full kitchen so we can cook for ourselves and avoid restaurants.  They’ll even let us bring the dog.


Reading the HOF webpage, they appear to be taking a ton of COVID precautions, including limiting admissions via timed tickets. Maryland, for now, is not on NY’s rather extensive quarantine list, so it’s legal for us to go.


We wanted to get there to see the 2019 WS exhibit before they take it down in mid-November and install the 2020 exhibit.

Offline imref

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Re: "Holiday Road" - The Official Vacation Thread
« Reply #2713: September 27, 2020, 09:06:16 PM »
Good luck. It’s almost a religious experience

Offline Ali the Baseball Cat

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Re: "Holiday Road" - The Official Vacation Thread
« Reply #2714: September 27, 2020, 09:36:19 PM »
 :clap:

Post photos please!
Just re-scheduled our Cooperstown trip - this is our third attempt. COVID has cancelled the other two.  :icon_frown:


We’ve booked a private guest house on a farm about a half an hour outside Cooperstown through VRBO so as to avoid hotel lobbies, elevators, etc.  The house has a full kitchen so we can cook for ourselves and avoid restaurants.  They’ll even let us bring the dog.


Reading the HOF webpage, they appear to be taking a ton of COVID precautions, including limiting admissions via timed tickets. Maryland, for now, is not on NY’s rather extensive quarantine list, so it’s legal for us to go.


We wanted to get there to see the 2019 WS exhibit before they take it down in mid-November and install the 2020 exhibit.

Offline wj73

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Re: "Holiday Road" - The Official Vacation Thread
« Reply #2715: September 28, 2020, 07:41:24 AM »
:clap:

Post photos please!


Will do. The nice thing about the HOF is that they encourage visitors to take photos. We will represent, wearing full Nats gear!
 :babyshark:

Offline varoadking

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Re: "Holiday Road" - The Official Vacation Thread
« Reply #2716: September 28, 2020, 07:59:16 AM »

Will do. The nice thing about the HOF is that they encourage visitors to take photos. We will represent, wearing full Nats gear!
 :babyshark:

They may ask you to take off your cleats at the door...  ;)

Offline Mathguy

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Re: "Holiday Road" - The Official Vacation Thread
« Reply #2717: September 28, 2020, 09:52:28 AM »
Went to Cooperstown in the late 1960's as a young teenager and it was fantastic.  Have a great time


Offline wj73

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Re: "Holiday Road" - The Official Vacation Thread
« Reply #2719: October 13, 2020, 05:44:35 PM »
The Cooperstown adventure has started. We’re settled in at our VRBO, a little guesthouse at a farm in Cobleskill, about 20 miles from Cooperstown. It was a beautiful drive up, despite the occasional mist and fog, as leaves were near or at peak all through PA and NY. Our guest house is nestled in a valley, with beautiful views of mountains everywhere we look. The farm is about 10 miles off the interstate. On the backroads coming here we saw two different flocks of wild turkeys and some deer. The foliage everywhere is incredible. It’s a good year for fall color.


We have 9am timed tix for the HOF tomorrow, so tonight we’ll probably have a couple of adult beverages and some dinner, and unwind from the drive. With stops to hit the bathroom and walk the dog, it was about a 6 hour drive. Tomorrow should be sunny and perfect. 


BTW, the NY Welcome Center on I-81 as you enter from PA is about the nicest I’ve ever seen. They have a snack and sandwich shop, a lovely glassed in eating area, electric car chargers, a fenced in dog park, and even a good size motorcycle shelter. It’s located on a hill with a mountain view. They have a giant “I ❤️ New York” sculpture on the overlook, just begging for people to take pix in front of, and of course everyone was doing just that.






Offline imref

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Re: "Holiday Road" - The Official Vacation Thread
« Reply #2720: October 13, 2020, 09:21:41 PM »
Have a great time

Offline OldChelsea

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Re: "Holiday Road" - The Official Vacation Thread
« Reply #2721: October 16, 2020, 10:32:27 AM »
US passport office now has its processing time down to 10-12 weeks (https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/ea/passport-covid-19.html) - what we need now is someplace where we can travel on those passports.

Offline imref

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Re: "Holiday Road" - The Official Vacation Thread
« Reply #2722: October 16, 2020, 10:48:24 AM »
US passport office now has its processing time down to 10-12 weeks (https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/ea/passport-covid-19.html) - what we need now is someplace where we can travel on those passports.

Newark NJ?

Offline Natsinpwc

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Re: "Holiday Road" - The Official Vacation Thread
« Reply #2723: October 16, 2020, 11:19:29 AM »
Sounds like further studies are needed.   ;)

Offline Natsinpwc

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Re: "Holiday Road" - The Official Vacation Thread
« Reply #2724: October 16, 2020, 11:19:54 AM »
Sounds like further studies are needed.   ;)
Oops. Wrong thread.