Monday, October 31, 2016

Ode to Oakland

We enjoyed our brief flight on Alaska down to Oakland, complete with  a tasty salad and happy flight attendants.

We called the Hampton Inn from the hotel pickup area and a friendly shuttle driver picked us within 10 minutes.

The hotel even upgraded us to a junior suite, a pleasing surprise on a points stay.

We used the hotel shuttle to go to La Penca Azul, a well-regarded Mexican restaurant.

It was surprisingly busy on Hallowe'en night. We celebrated with a margarita that arrived complete with a slice of sugar cane.

Kathy's tortilla soup was ample and delicious.

Brian is always a sucker for tacos, and went for shredded beef and crisp shells.

We ended up with this layover after a flight was cancelled, and it's turned out to be an enjoyable interlude. Onward to Kona tomorrow.

A Rainy Day at BLI

But a little brighter at SEA as we sit awhile in the N Gates Alaska Boardroom.

Do We Remember How to Fly?

Our travel in the first six months of 2016 was intensive by our standards, but it's been awhile.

We were planning to coast anyway during the second half of the year, and Kathy's torn meniscus made that an easy decision.

We last flew in early June as we returned from Australia, and this is probably the longest stretch of time on the ground since we retired.

In a couple of hours we fly from BLI (Bellingham) to SEA (Seattle) to OAK (Oakland), where we overnight.

Tomorrow we fly onward to KOA (Kona). There we plan to pick up our cheap rental car and drive to the Hilton Waikoloa Village. We stayed there once years ago and found it quite expensive. This time we found an insanely cheap all-inclusive rate that we just couldn't turn down.

It's a rainy morning in Birch Bay Village, and we're already looking forward to some Hawaii sunshine.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

White Rock, British Columbia: Sunday Brunch

To celebrate the recent successful renewal of our NEXUS cards for another five years, and to avoid just moping around the house the anti-climactic morning after the Storm of the Century that never happened, we decided to cross the border at the Peace Arch for lunch in White Rock, less than 30 minutes from our house.

Despite the eccentric GPS on our new Subaru Outback taking us the long way around, we soon found ourselves parked near the White Rock Pier, and enjoyed a blustery stroll out to the end.

Brunch itself, at one of the best-rated restaurants in White Rock, was a disappointment. It's an honest and friendly establishment, but we both found our orders lacking. Once Brian got over his initial disappointment that the Corned Beef Hash (below) was like none other that he'd ever eaten (is it "deconstructed?"), he tried to enjoy it for what it was. What it was turned out to be salty, and the mildly sweet tomato-type sauce didn't work for him.
 Kathy had anticipated with excitement her Bavarian Meat Loaf, a dish she's most commonly dined on in Lufthansa Airlines lounges. Sad to say, she was similarly disappointed.

Nonetheless, we enjoyed our little outing and it didn't break the bank.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Mount Baker from Birch Bay

One last glorious day before the rain arrives...