Friday, May 20, 2022

The Travel Insider's Move: An Expensive Fiasco

We've been readers and supporters of David Rowell for many years, since we came across his website, The Travel Insider. We've corresponded with him on numerous occasions.

David, a native of New Zealand, lived for many years in the Seattle area, just down the road from us (I-5) so to speak. Like many others, he's leaving a high-tax state, Washington, to live in a low-tax state, Texas, where he's bought radio stations and is involving himself in broadcasting.

He's nothing if not a careful consumer, and many of his columns over the years have consisted of product and service reviews. Even so, he's found himself enmeshed in a situation in which he's paying many thousands of dollars to move his belongings from Washington to Texas and has no idea when they'll actually arrive. 

After the fact, he wishes he'd rented a U-Haul. His sad tale is worth reading.

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Another List: 'Things to Avoid on Your First Trip to Europe'

 9 Things to Avoid on Your First Trip to Europe

We're drawn to articles with lists such as this one out of fascination with the creativity of the writer.

Still, this list is better than many, and we agree with (and generally follow) most of the recommendations.

There are a few exceptions. We solve the problem of "lining up for hours" to visit the Eiffel Tower by buying tickets in advance that allow us largely to skip the line. That's the voice of experience after taking six grandchildren so far up there, with the seventh hopefully to follow in July.

In recent years we haven't had any downright ripoff attempts in Venice, with one possible exception (see here and here), but it's always good to keep a close eye on the menu and its prices.

Those quibbles aside, it's an article worth scanning.

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Harvest Time on Sehome Road

Kathy harvested a full two pounds of asparagus just now.

We spotted this wee bunny next to our hedge around the same time. He looks a little sullen to us.

In Our Garden

As Peter Sellers says in Being There, his last and perhaps greatest movie, in the character of the intellectually limited Chance the Gardener, who becomes known as Chauncey Gardner, the distinguished public intellectual,  "In the garden, growth has its seasons. First comes spring and summer, but then we have fall and winter. And then we get spring and summer again."

For us this year, after a cold, wet, and windy winter that destroyed several of our plants and bushes, the weather has swung back and forth between spring and winter. Finally it's spring, even though we see more wind and rain in the forecast, and we've been planting.

We've had rabbits nesting in our hedges for some time and emerging to nibble on whatever they can reach, including the tips of our precious asparagus. This year we've bought fencing and more fencing. So far it seems to be working.

Here are our peas starting to sprout...

The lettuce is starting to grow. That's garlic in the background...

We spotted a wascally wabbit approaching our asparagus patch, but the fence outwitted him... at least so far.

They've never shown much interest in our chives, and the crop in its pot remains attractive and tasty.

Yes, we're eager to "get spring and summer again," just as Chance predicts.

The Alaska Ferry

We spotted it docked in Fairhaven while walking in Boulevard Park, one of our favorite strolling spots.

Monday, May 16, 2022

European Union Drops Airline Mask Requirements, But Pack Your Mask Anyway

Our friend Ben covers the latest developments in his One Mile At A Time blog.

European Union Drops Airline Mask Requirements, But...

Basically, the situation was complicated before, and as of now more than half of the EU countries are continuing to require passengers to wear masks.

The situation regarding vaccination and booster requirements is even more fluid, as we search for reliable and up-to-date information for taking a grandson to Europe in July.

In the meantime, if you're traveling to Europe, keep your mask handy.

Saturday, May 14, 2022

The 'Best' North American Airline?

It depends on which class, according to JD Powers rankings highlighted in USA Today.

We can't help but notice that our current airline of choice, Alaska, scores in the top five in all three categories.

Which is the best airline in the US? Depends on the class. See JD Power's 2022 rankings.

 We do raise eyebrows to see that Allegiant slightly outscores Alaska for "Basic Economy," but then we've never flown Allegiant.

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Aboard Quantum: A Canadian Sunset

Please forgive the musical play on words. It was a lovely evening as we sailed out of Victoria, situated on the southern tip of Vancouver Island and thus south of our Birch Bay home.

Of course, our Birch Bay sunsets are equally spectacular. We do live in a pleasing little corner of the world, and it was an easy two-hour 15-minute drive there Monday morning from the Seattle ferry facility in Bob's comfortable pickup truck.  

A great time was had by all.

Aboard Quantum: A Quick Stop in Victoria

After one sea day, we docked at the Victoria, B.C. Cruise ship terminal. We saw helicopters, seaplanes, and even the Coho, the 60-year-old ferry that sails between Victoria and Port Angeles, Washington.

The Coho looks small from our Deck 13 balcony. Of course, it’s only about 340 feet long, so it is small compared to our 1149-foot behemoth.

We had time to taxi out to say hello to Brian’s stepmother, Louise, who just turned 96. Happy Mother's Day, Louise!

Then it was back to the ship for a sunset sail away and the final short cruise to Seattle.