Category Archives: Travels and Adventures

Places I’ve gone, people I’ve seen, things I’ve done.


Poipu SunsetWe’re on the road again … well, more the plane again.

For the past week we’ve been vacationing in Hawaii … first stop: Kauai.

We’ve been to Kauai in the past … only for a short time, and it was kind of a screwed up vacation.   I got a sinus infection the first day.   On that trip Kauai had been kind of cool … even cold at night.

Well this trip is somewhat better … no sinus infection, but it wasn’t much warmer.   Mid 70’s during the day, low 60’s at night.

Although we’ve done some fun stuff this trip … I’m not sure I’m all that interested in returning.

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York to Dublin

Today’s a big travel day … we have to go from York all the way to Dublin.

By train we have to go from York to Manchester, then to Chester, and ending up in Holyhead.   At Holyhead we take the ferry to Dun Laoghaire in Ireland.

Once we got to Dun Laoghaire, we had a bit of a problem figuring out how to get into Dubliin … as the people at the DART station (Dublin Area Rapid Transit) were not all that helpful when we asked for information.

We finally got to down town Dublin and took a cab to our hotel.   The trip was longer because we were being driven … had we walked, it would have only been about 6/10ths of a mile.   But, considering we had luggage, it was worth the €5.

Once we got checked into the hotel, we gave my friend Paul Tuohy a call over Skype.   He agreed to pick us up at 9 in front of our hotel.

G’Night Dublin.

Dinner with the Rowe Family

Today we just wandered around York a bit … it was a Bank Holiday … so it was kind of busy.

We did have to arrange our trip to Dublin … which was a bit complex.   Once that was sorted, we walked around a bit … had lunch at Little Bettys, which was quite good.   I was even able to find an open wifi network while at Little Bettys so I could check email.

We got back to the hotel around 3:30 … as my friend Martin was going to pick us up at 4.

Martin came to collect us and took us to his house … we had a wonderful time with Martin, his wife Jane, and kids Ben & Heather.   Jane made a wonderful beef stew with potatoes and vegetables from their garden.

Of course Martin and I geeked out a bit … talking iSeries, Linux, digital cameras, and Martin’s Asus Eee PC (which I’m probably going to have to get).

One thing that was very interesting was to see Martin’s house … Martin and I are both in similar age & economic brackets … so seeing his house, community, and town, was quite enlightening.

Stow to York

We traveled from Stow to York today … took the train, as it was the easiest thing to do.   Or so we thought.

Yesterday we were a bit worried that we would even be able to get a cab … but the front desk person at the Unicorn was able to get that sorted for us.

First leg of the journey was from Stow to Moreton on Marsh via cab … then we took the train from Moreton to Oxford.   There we had a one hour layover.

The train from Oxford to York was QUITE full … there were about 10 people, along with their luggage, standnig in the isle of the train (along with us).   We had to stand up for about an hour before the conductor told us there were unreserved seats in the carriage in ahead of us.

After we arrived in York, and a quick cab ride to our hotel, we both checked email (keep in mind we had been out of touch with the ‘net for 5 days).   Took care of a few bits of important stuff and then called my friend Martin to arrange a time to get together.   Skype is a wonderful thing 🙂   We also gave my folks a call just to check in.

After all that business was taken care of, we started to figure out what we wanted to do for the rest of the evening.   Last time we were in York, Ginny had wanted to take one of the Ghost tours … but we weren’t able to work it in.   This time we were going to.

There are a number of outfits that do ghost tours of york … we had fliers for three of them … we had chosen one on based on my parents recommendation … as we were going down to where they organized the tour, we ran into a guy who was (I assume) an independent tour guide that runs his own ghost tour.   Trevor Rooney (we learned his name later) told us that the tour we were heading for had a lot of little kids and ‘prams’ (strollers & buggies).   We liked the guys character and decided, if he was right, we would check out his tour.

Turns out he was right … so we headed back and signed up with his tour.   He charged £1 more than the other operators, but it was quite worth the £5 each.   He told wonderful stories, weaving local history, his own family, and ghost stories into his patter.   As an added bonus, most of the the people on the tour were adults … only a handful of kids … and no babies.

After the tour we headed back to the hotel (longish walk back) and are now relaxing, updating blogs, etc.

G’night all.


Today we went to Oxford. A quite enjoyable town, full of history and interesting places.

Took a bit of time to figure out the bus and train scheduled. Bus fare is quite reasonable ( £1 each, Stow to Moreton). Oddly enough the train operators don’t see very concerned about checking tickets.

Our first stop was the Tourist Information Center to get some local maps and information. We lucked out and arrived minutes before a walking tour was about to start. We signed up for it ( £7 each) and were waken on a very enjoyable and informative stroll around the colleges by Phillip May.

After the tour, we stopped for lunch at a pub (fish ‘n chips) then wandered back to see the natural history museum. After that we started to go back to another pub Ginny wanted to see when we passed the history of science museum. I wanted to pop in there a bit, which was quite worthwhile. Very interesting, especially the photography exhibit. The old cameras were very cool. Especialy the Kodak Brownie Hawkeye, which is the same camera I started out with. Quite a contrast to the Canon 40D I use now.

After that we went to the Turf Tavern for a quick cider. It was the we realized we actually had a while to wait before our train because we misread the schedule.

Back at Stow, we had dinner at Tallbots and then headed to The Unicorn to relax for the evening.

Walking around Stowe

Did a 6 mile walk around the area of Stowe on the Wold today.

Weather wasn’t great, but we’ve walked in worse. Saw a number of nice landscapes, hopefully some of the pictures will be nice.

Only problem was the fact that we neglected to walk much before the trip so our feet hurt when we got back.

For lunch we stopped at the Golden Ball Inn. Nice place PLUS the had wifi available. The only gave us a half hour free, but that was enough to download mail to our iPhones and send my last blog post.

Tomorrow were going to Oxford for the day. I’m not sure what the weather is going to be like though.

Off to Stowe

Were on the next leg if our journey. Currently on the train to Morton on Marsh … Where we’ll take a cab to Stowe in the Wold.

We’ve been there before and enjoyed it greatly. We’ll be doing some hikes, and day trips via train to Oxford.

London was enjoyable, although we didn’t have enough time (as usual). Spent some time at the national gallery and the horse guards area. We tried to get to greenwich again, but got delayed and arrived after they closed the entry.

We did connect up with Ginny’s friend Jette for dinner. We had a very nice sushi dinner and chatted fir quite a while.

The hotel we stated at was marginal, but clean. The room was a glorified closet. The had Internet availble, but it cost £9.99 / day. Not great, but less than some. They apparently were having problems, because we only got billed for one day.

Because we don’t have cell phones here, I tried Skype to make outgoing calls for the first time. After one wasted call to Jette, I figured out how to configure my microphone, we were able to make the call. It was a lot cheaper than getting a cell phone for the two weeks or paying the hotel phone rates.

Today we’ll probably explore Stowe and figure out what to do tomorrow.

The train just left Oxfird and the countryside is beautiful although it’s kind of hazy and overcast.

Top of the morning, Chaps

Well, we’re off on another adventure.

This time to the UK and Ireland.

Had to wake up ugly early. But managed to get out of the house on time.

Mike, our taxi driver from American Taxi, was great. Even checked the status of our flight when I couldn’t get online with my phone. I got his card for the return trip. He said to text him with flight info and he would be there.

Check in was uneventful. TSA guy was WAY to chesrful. Someone needs to check his coffee.

Right now were waiting at the gate, hoping for an upgrade to business class. Ginny checked availability yesterday and it looked good.

Before we left, I pointed the webcam at Riley’s food, so we can check up on him.

Found out that boingo now offers 15 minutes free wifi access if you watch a 15 second ad. The ad, however, does not play on the iPhone. I’m not complaining.

Now all there is to do is wait for the flight to board.

Maui Bound

Well, here we are again on a plane going to Maui. It’s Ginny’s birthday in about a week and we’re going to celebrate. I’m not going to say how old she’s going to be, but I’ll give you a hint it starts with 5 and ends with 0. You do the math.

Our flight was entirely reasonable leaving at 10am, so we only had to wake up at 6am so we could be on the road by 7am. As usual, the cab arrived about 20 minutes early but we didn’t try to rush. Riley wasn’t happy, but that was to be expected.

I checked us in using United’s website seemed like a good idea. The only problems occurred when we checked our bags. First we had to hike down to the other end of the terminal to get to the “ bag check area and the barcode scanners at the bag check stations couldn’t read our boarding passes. I think they were broken though as two other people had trouble using the scanners.

Once our bags were checked, we went through security. I really hate the security check even though I know and understand the need for them. I wish they had a longer run-out after the x-ray machine. If people are the slightest bit slow getting stuff off the table, things get jammed up. It would also be nice if you didn’t have to take off your shoes.

Because we arrived at the airport so early, we had some time to kill. We picked up some coffee and muffins for breakfast and I wandered around a bit and picked up a book and a copy of Wired magazine (I only read Wired when I’m traveling).

I did see something interesting in the airport terminal so sponsored kiosks that were nothing more than really small carrels with power outlets. One was sponsored by Verizon (advertising their wireless broadband service, but there was no wireless broadband service available there) and another sponsored by Principal Financial Services. They both were basically just billboards. Nice idea though. I also noticed a distinct lack of available power outlets in the terminal seating area. Ginny ran out and picked us up some sandwiches for the flight. I’m not sure what’s better, buying in flight or before we leave. The meals they have in flight are only $5, but I suspect the fare you can buy in the terminal is better quality.

No big problems boarding the plane Ginny asked if there was any possibility of getting upgraded to economy plus, but the flight was completely booked. Considering how many open seats I saw when I checked us in, I was quite surprised they weren’t asking for people to volunteer to take a later flight.

So far no big problems on the flight it’s a little bumpy, but nothing too bad. Sometimes Ginny gets nervous when the flight is bumpy, but she’s fine.

We’ve been feet wet for a while it’s 11:47 HDT (4:48 CDT) so we have about 2 hours of flying time left. The flight crew reported we may arrive a little early, so that’s nice.

About 3 hours ago I realized I had forgotten my camera tripod at home I always forget something. I’m going to see if Steve can send it over. Not sure what the cost would be, but I suspect it would be cheaper than buying a new one. Of course our walking sticks (which I didn’t forget) have camera mounts in the head but that’s only good for short term stabilization not enough for long exposure. Of course there’s always the option of asking Steve to just get it to my mom & dad, since they are joining us in 5 days. That would probably be harder to manage than just having Steve ship it to us.

Ok, I just found another nice feature of this laptop (Dell Latitude D630) the screen is a little shorter than my Inspiron 600m was (because it’s a wide screen), so it fits better on the airplane tray without bumping into the seat in front.

Where is my Super Suit?

Ok, talk about a panic.

A few weeks ago I attend the System i Innovation Award banquet at the COMMON conference.

This was a formal affair, suit and tie, but all my suits were pretty old … since I don’t wear them to work (only once or twice a year), there hasn’t been a driving need to get a new one.

So off to Nordstroms Ginny and I go … we find a really nice charcoal wool suit that requires minimal tailoring.

Fast forward to the COMMON conference … because I’m only going for the awards banquet … I wasn’t able to get MKS to pay for me to attend. I did a bit of wheeling & dealing, arranged to room with my friend Aaron (who is a vendor) , and paid my own airfare (Ginny was able to find me a pretty reasonable rate).

When I arrived at the hotel, I found Aarons room and dropped my stuff off … including hanging my suit up in the closet. A little while later, a friend of mine told me that he was in a suite at the hotel … and had an entire room available that he wasn’t using. He asked if I wanted to stay in that room instead. Obviously I said yes. He gave me the key and I went back to Aarons room to get my stuff (including my suit).

Fast forward again to Monday evening … about an hour before the awards banquet. I’m getting ready, pull out my suit … only to find my suit pants missing.

The first thing that flashed in my head was that I had forgotten my pants at home. I called Ginny to see if she could check the closet (not that she could do anything about it at that point). She wasn’t home. I tried calling Aaron, who would be on the expo floor, to see if he knew if they were still in the closet of his room. I got his voice-mail.

As a last ditch effort, I called Marty (who is a co-worker at MKS, and also on the expo floor) to see if he could go and ask Aaron to call me. I got a text message from Aaron saying that he couldn’t leave the expo, but I could come over and get a spare key.

I sprinted over to the expo (luckily it wasn’t far) and got the key … then ran back to Aaron’s room and checked his closet … THANKFULLY the pants were still in the closet. I had taken the pants off the hanger the jacket was on so they could hang separately.

I then ran back to my room and finished getting ready … took me a bit of time to cool down, but I was once again presentable … and the rest of the evening was a success (although I didn’t win the award 🙁 ).