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All Purpose Travel Thread

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Depending how my ankle heals up, I'm looking at heading to Los Angeles/SoCal in October.

 

I am looking at possibly going to Salt Lake Park in what looks like Huntington Park area.  This would more or less be a stop by to find spotted doves.  I'm not really familiar with LA, is this a good/bad/medium neighborhood that I should avoid/be wary of?

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I'm heading to Atlanta this weekend, I'm told the eastern part.  Can anyone recommend a good little jazz club or a cool dive bar?

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I'll be in New York this week and weekend. I was going out for Rock the Bells, but that got cancelled. 

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The wife is being headhunted by a recruiter that wants her to take a job in Anchorage, Alaska. Ooof. Thank gawd she's got something else to keep her from even giving that any serious thought. Although being able to watch Miami Heat games at 4pm AKST(!!!) and NFL games at 9am would soften the blow slightly.

 

I did a ton of traveling earlier this year. The longest stretch was May to June.

 

May 22nd - Flew to Charlotte (worked)

May 27th - Flew home

May 30th - Flew to Baltimore (worked)

June 3rd - Flew from Baltimore to St. Louis (stayed with family)

June 6th - Drove to Kansas City for rehearsal dinner

June 7th - Got married 

June 9th - Flew to Denver for honeymoon (stayed in Vail)

June 14th - Stayed a night in Denver

June 15th - Flew back to Houston

 

We were home for all of two weeks before our lease in Houston ran out and we moved out. We stayed in a hotel in Houston for a week, then a hotel in Austin for a week. I flew to St. Louis for work, and then met my wife in Kansas City for the next week. Then we flew back down to San Antonio, where we stayed for the following week, before driving up to Kansas City. We have been here ever since.

 

Our trip schedule is kind of up in the air right now, depending on what job my wife ends up going with. I know that we're tentatively scheduled to go to Cedar Point in May for my birthday. The middle of the week, while the kids are still in school, is the absolute best time to go there. Something I learned from when we lived in Cleveland way back when.

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I've been to a lot of places! My wife and I love road trips. We're also trying to go to every baseball stadium. If you're single, find a woman who loves baseball. Trust me on that. It's a great way to see the country.We went on a great road trip this summer. We flew into Detroit. Detroit's not a vacation paradise, obviously, but I met up with some Internet comedy people I know. Detroit's baseball stadium is top-notch and one of the best in the country. It's gorgeous. The rest of Detroit lives up to its reputation, but it's at least interesting to see exactly how much our post-industrial society affects areas that, for whatever reason, couldn't adapt to the new economy. We stayed in Dearborn which is a huge Middle Eastern town and had great food.We then drove up the Lake Huron coast (what they call the Sunrise Coast) for some great scenery. It's a beautiful area but the tourism towns there are faded. The Michigan economy really is struggling and it trickles down to tourism, obviously, especially in areas that don't get tourists from outside the region.

 

Our next stop was Mackinac Island. This is pretty much were Lake Michigan, Lake Superior and Lake Huron all merge. It's a Victorian town where there are no cars. The only way to get around is by foot, bike or horseback. It's a big tourist trap but a very interesting one.From there, we drove across the spectacular Mackinac Bridge to the Upper Peninsula. I always wanted to go there because it's likely the weirdest geographic outpost in the continental US. It's stunningly beautiful and rustic. And legitimately rustic -- mining and logging are huge industries. My only regret is not making it up to the Lake Superior coast but we were pressed for time. But it's such a unique area. There's a great local accent and they have their own cuisine -- I'm a fan of the "pastie" which is a pot pie type thing developed for miners to eat down in the holes.

 

We ended up at Green Bay. Green Bay's a really weird and unique city. It's legitimately 100% about the Packers. Everything is about the team. We were tipped off about a local park they had. We went there and wondered why -- a lot of soccer fields and stuff like than and then all of a sudden there's a big wooden roller coaster in the middle of this park. They have a tiny amusement park where you pay per ride. The coaster was $1 or $2. I'm a huge roller coaster fan but my wife's not so we haven't been to an amusement park in ages. This was so much fun.I'm also a big NFL guy anymore and my wife abhors football. But we still went on the Lambeau Tour. This is 100% recommended. I think we take the Packers for granted. There's no way a city of that size would get a professional sports franchise these days. But they do and they're one of the best we have. It's shareholder owned and there's a real community behind it all. The tour took us to the press box and certain sections. It culminated by a look at the away team locker room and then out onto the field. We couldn't go on the field itself but stood on the sidelines. It was absolutely amazing. My wife walked away really appreciating the Packers and what they represent -- sports are a big business, but they thrive because of American can-do spirit in the face of corporate greed. Just an amazing place.Our next stop was Milwaukee. I didn't really know anything about Milwaukee before we got there. And, uhm, it's my favorite city in the country not named Philadelphia. It's stunningly beautiful -- the views of Lake Michigan are breathtaking. There's a great little downtown and a lot of fun places everywhere. They also love, love, love to eat. Their version of ice cream is so wonderfully creamy. A lot of sausages and the like. My wife's vegetarian but she loved it because of the cheese. I loved everyone I met, too -- it's completely unpretentious and relaxed. It reminds me a lot of Philly in that way. Everyone in the Midwest who is really career oriented goes to Chicago, I feel. And it's the same with NYC (and Boston, to an extent, due to all the colleges and finance jobs). The cities people leave from retain a really prideful population. They like home and family before a great paycheck first. Their baseball stadium is also great and wonderful. I wish the team was any good this year because supposedly the atmosphere when the place is packed is through the roof. The tailgate seen pre-game is also wonderful.Our trip ended in Chicago. I know I sounded like I dissed Chicago a bit above but I love that city. It was my third visit. This time, though, I stayed with one of my best friends who now lives in Jeff Park. She and her husband just bought a house and also have a one-year-old daughter I had yet to meet. Instead of doing the tourist/visitor stuff, we just hung out with her and did the local stuff, aside from a trip to Wicker Park since I'll fess up to us being hipsters (my wife more than me -- my clothes are mostly Jos. A. Bank but I still love Superchunk).  The best parts of Chicago are the areas where it's still really a lot of locals. It was right after the Blackhawks won, too, so there was still that really energetic city pride vibe.I haven't been abroad except to Spain for 10 days and to Toronto and Montreal, which really shouldn't count. I sort of regret not doing any foreign travel. But America is an amazing country. We might have the most unique geography of any place on earth -- sea to shining sea, Rocky mountains, warm seashores, spectacular cities, etc. Road trips are amazing.My favorite cities I've visited:1) Milwaukee. Aforementioned.

 

2) Portland, Maine. Just an amazing small city right on a spectacular ocean and with top-quality food. Maine absolutely rules.

 

3) Pittsburgh. You would never think this place is beautiful due to its steel town reputation but it is. Three rivers and surrounded by the Allegheny Mountains. And maybe the best baseball stadium. Especially now.

 

4) Boston. I lived in Boston for three years and kind of hated it. The cost-of-living and weather and the huge amount of college kids just really added up. But we visited a few months ago and it was great. The area's changed enough for it to be a bit foreign but we still have a lot of really close friends. It's the best of both worlds. I actually love Somerville more than Boston or Cambridge a lot more. Somerville rules. I'm also including Plymouth under the Boston umbrella -- I worked in Plymouth for a really long time and absolutely am in love with that place.

 

5) Albany. A really quirky little city. People are in and out of there because of the government but the locals really know how to make it their own. My parents also live in Lake George which is an hour north. That place has been my third home my whole life so it's not really like I'm visiting anymore but the Adirondacks are number one and the best.

 

6) Austin. As everyone should know. A lot of fun. Texas weirdness is so much better than weirdness anywhere else. A lot of people are trying a bit too hard, though.

 

7) Houston. A weird choice. I had to go there a lot for work and sort of oddly love it. It's super different from the northeast cities where the downtown is the hub of life. Houston has no zoning codes so everything is spread out and doesn't really make a lot of sense. It's really individual in a libertarian sense. Everything is also really modern and glimmering. I also love the food.

 

8) Seattle. We went for a wedding. We started at the San Juan Islands and drove down to the city. And then from there we drove through Olympia to points south. I can see why people love Seattle but it wasn't exactly for me. I don't know. It didn't 100% click.

 

9) San Francisco. I think it was because we stayed near the Tenderloin but it felt a lot like pre-Giuliani NYC. Really grimy and dirty and a lot of street people harassing me everywhere. The wealth disparity is also very irksome. But there's a lot to love, too. I loved hanging out on Pacific Beach and the East Bay a ton.

 

10) Portland, Or. This place is really trying too hard. Portlandia is spot on. I didn't hate it. But Powell's Books says it all -- a bunch of dickheads being smarmy about my book choices.

 

11) Tulsa. I had to go there for work. I didn't see a lot but it didn't look like much. But I did love my BBQ the one night I was able to get out.

 

GO SEE AMERICA!

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8) Seattle. We went for a wedding. We started at the San Juan Islands and drove down to the city. And then from there we drove through Olympia to points south. I can see why people love Seattle but it wasn't exactly for me. I don't know. It didn't 100% click.

 

9) San Francisco. I think it was because we stayed near the Tenderloin but it felt a lot like pre-Giuliani NYC. Really grimy and dirty and a lot of street people harassing me everywhere. The wealth disparity is also very irksome. But there's a lot to love, too. I loved hanging out on Pacific Beach and the East Bay a ton.

 

The San Juan Islands are awesome.  We spent 4 days in Friday Harbor and just loved it.  Would definitely go back, in a heartbeat.

But the city of Seattle proper?  Yeah, don't like it.  Been there a few times, will go back again multiple times, and I just don't like it.  It's kinda dirty and it just doesn't work for me.

 

San Francisco is a dump.  There's fun stuff to do but it's filthy.  To be fair, it's been 13 years since I've been there so things may have changed.  I doubt it but you never know.  Anyway, what I saw in downtown was trash, lots of dirtiness, and multiple people peeing right out in public (this was downtown).  It's also way overcrowded and just...ugh.  Not my scene at all.

 

My favorite city?  I liked Portland, OR a lot.  And I LOVED Arlington & Dallas, TX.  I could probably live there.  Oh yeah, and St. Paul, MN.

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We are planning to hit Hawaii in March.  Gonna spend a fortune and be there like 10 days and can't wait.  We decided to quit putting off "the big trip" and decided to go before our health issues make it impossible to enjoy.  Can't wait!

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We are planning to hit Hawaii in March.  Gonna spend a fortune and be there like 10 days and can't wait.  We decided to quit putting off "the big trip" and decided to go before our health issues make it impossible to enjoy.  Can't wait!

 

I went to Oahu for a big family trip. It was great. I have family in Oahu so they knew the lay of the land. Make sure you head up to the North Shore a bunch. It's like another planet. They also have these awesome shrimp trucks that are delicious. Waikiki is a super tourist trap but it's also pretty fun. But, yeah, if you're there for 10 days definitely go in deep and go local to places.Also: Make sure you go to at least one Zippy's. It's like their Denny's but only on the islands and a local favorite. And if you scour super deep, try and see if you can get an in to a Micronesian barbecue. Oahu has this exploding Micronesian population (mostly from Chuuk). They're really into family (housing units are a lot of aunts/uncles/grandparents/cousins as opposed to our traditions of mom/dad/kids in one house) and love extending that to strangers. I heard that if you hit some big parks on a weekend, you can come across some big bbq cookouts and they love sharing.

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My favorite cities I've visited:

 

2) Portland, Maine. Just an amazing small city right on a spectacular ocean and with top-quality food. Maine absolutely rules.

 

6) Austin. As everyone should know. A lot of fun. Texas weirdness is so much better than weirdness anywhere else. A lot of people are trying a bit too hard, though.

 

7) Houston. A weird choice. I had to go there a lot for work and sort of oddly love it. It's super different from the northeast cities where the downtown is the hub of life. Houston has no zoning codes so everything is spread out and doesn't really make a lot of sense. It's really individual in a libertarian sense. Everything is also really modern and glimmering. I also love the food.

 

I spent a summer in Green Bay. That summer weather is perfection. Definitely could see people going stir-crazy if they lived there long-term, but for a couple of months it was perfect. You can literally get from one side of the city to the other in less than 20 minutes.

 

 

I am from Maine. Portland is the closest thing to a legitimate big city Maine has. Which one could take as a positive or a negative. You can't go wrong with Maine in general - as long as it's not the winter.

 

 

Austin and San Antonio are both miles better than Houston. 

 

Houston is not a city that anyone would ever go to, for any reason, unless it was work-related. We lived there for 18 months and it was one of the worst places either of us have lived in (my wife has lived in the most rundown of Phoenix areas, and I've lived in Cleveland and Detroit - so that's really saying something). Other than the higher temperatures (90 degrees even in December), there is NOTHING worth seeing there. 

 

There is heavy traffic from 7am-10am and then 3pm-7pm. And when I say heavy traffic, I mean "don't even bother leaving the house unless you have to." I work from home, so I didn't suffer as much as my wife did, but I still remember getting stuck in 5pm traffic ...on a Saturday. Multiple. Times. 

 

There is no reason to go to any store, shopping, etc unless it's off-hours. Need something at the grocery store or mall on Saturday? Good luck with that, there are going to be 10,000 people there.

 

The city planner was also high when he designed Houston. It's like they had a plan, and then after they built the base of the city they decided to just throw eight more highways in the middle of it all. You have million-dollar houses a subdivision over from rundown homes. We saw one new development that had these $2K/month studio apartments across the street from junkyards and people with broken-down cars parked in the front yard. There is no rhyme or reason for why anything is where it is.

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We are planning to hit Hawaii in March.  Gonna spend a fortune and be there like 10 days and can't wait.  We decided to quit putting off "the big trip" and decided to go before our health issues make it impossible to enjoy.  Can't wait!

 

If you go to Maui, you should definitely take the Road to Hana, which is basically a trip around the island.  It's so beautiful.  

 

Also, you might want to try the Haleakala bike tour. They take you up to the top of one of the higher elevated towns(Kula) by bus and then the tour guide lets you coast all the way downhill thru the little towns all the way to the beach.

 

Lastly, try camping in the Haleakala Crater, just to watch the sunrise.  You'll see few things as beautiful as a sunrise in Hawaii.  When I lived there, I did it at least once a month.

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Looks like I'll be in Richmond, VA this weekend. Any cool spots to check out? My girl and I would particularly be looking for cool bookstores and/or music/record shops. Also, where should we eat? Pretty sure there are some fine Virginians on the board to point us in the right direction! 

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Theres a minute possibility I may be heading to San Antonio for a week at the end of May as a +1 to my brilliant wife.

 

What can a man do in san antonio that obviously doesn't involve pissing around or near the Alamo?

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Theres a minute possibility I may be heading to San Antonio for a week at the end of May as a +1 to my brilliant wife.

 

What can a man do in san antonio that obviously doesn't involve pissing around or near the Alamo?

 

 

Horsefeathers Saloon on Wurzbach Rd. was quite the place last time I was there. Picture is likely still on the wall, if they haven't torn the place down...

 

Whoops, sorry about that... Guess it's been gone for over a decade. Well, there still has to be some divebars with great live music and darts SOMEWHERE in Alamo Town.

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8) Seattle. We went for a wedding. We started at the San Juan Islands and drove down to the city. And then from there we drove through Olympia to points south. I can see why people love Seattle but it wasn't exactly for me. I don't know. It didn't 100% click.

 

9) San Francisco. I think it was because we stayed near the Tenderloin but it felt a lot like pre-Giuliani NYC. Really grimy and dirty and a lot of street people harassing me everywhere. The wealth disparity is also very irksome. But there's a lot to love, too. I loved hanging out on Pacific Beach and the East Bay a ton.

 

The San Juan Islands are awesome.  We spent 4 days in Friday Harbor and just loved it.  Would definitely go back, in a heartbeat.

But the city of Seattle proper?  Yeah, don't like it.  Been there a few times, will go back again multiple times, and I just don't like it.  It's kinda dirty and it just doesn't work for me.

 

San Francisco is a dump.  There's fun stuff to do but it's filthy.  To be fair, it's been 13 years since I've been there so things may have changed.  I doubt it but you never know.  Anyway, what I saw in downtown was trash, lots of dirtiness, and multiple people peeing right out in public (this was downtown).  It's also way overcrowded and just...ugh.  Not my scene at all.

 

My favorite city?  I liked Portland, OR a lot.  And I LOVED Arlington & Dallas, TX.  I could probably live there.  Oh yeah, and St. Paul, MN.

 

 

Arrrgh... Typical Seattle hatred from the Eastern part of the state... Hardly dirty compared to most major cities, unless you are talking about a certain stretch of downtown or Pioneer Square. I will grant that Portland is many degrees cooler, but they do have ice storms and they DON'T have major league baseball (of course, you could make a pretty compelling case that neither does Seattle...)

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We are planning to hit Hawaii in March.  Gonna spend a fortune and be there like 10 days and can't wait.  We decided to quit putting off "the big trip" and decided to go before our health issues make it impossible to enjoy.  Can't wait!

 

Granted it was almost 25 years ago, I did a trip to Hawaii where we hit Oahu, Hawaii and Maui.  When I did the helicopter tour of the big island, back then they give you an option of volcano, waterfalls or both.  We decided to do both.  The flight over the volcanos is pretty amazing and seeing where the lava hits the sea was great, but the water fall tour was pretty breathe taking as well.  The hotel that we stayed at in Kona (I think it's now a Shearton) had lights pointing out at the ocean after sun down, the Manta Rays come in at night to feed on the fish that are drawn to the lights.

 

I would also suggest doing the sunrise at Haleakala on Maui.

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I've never been to New York City. Will be in and around museum mile this weekend. Best spots to eat on the cheap? Don't necessarily care if it's touristy, but I'd likely avoid chain places. Or do I want to hit up food carts/trucks because I have nothing like that around here?

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I don't think I'm getting enough sleep. I just saw this as "All Purpose Time Travel Note."

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Malvern, PA. I will hopefully shortly be in you for a week.

 

Show me your sights.

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Going to West Texas to get away from the city soon. Anyone here seen the Marfa lights? 

 

Been to a ton of cities on vacation...

 

New Orleans, Chicago, DC, New York, Philly, Vegas, San Francisco, Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Flagstaff, Phoenix, Los Angeles/Anaheim, San Diego, Mt. Estes, Cheyenne, Rapid City, SD, Omaha, Kansas City, Oklahoma City. My favorite experiences were in Chicago, San Francisco and San Diego. 

 

Living in Texas, been to all of the big cities multiple times. Dallas is fun if you don't have the kids weighing you down. Austin is a liberal island in a sea of conservative red. San Antonio is like Charles Barkley says it is, "A small town with a creek running through it." Houston is a traffic nightmare. It doesn't matter what time of day it is. 

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Going to West Texas to get away from the city soon. Anyone here seen the Marfa lights? 

 

Been to a ton of cities on vacation...

 

New Orleans, Chicago, DC, New York, Philly, Vegas, San Francisco, Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Flagstaff, Phoenix, Los Angeles/Anaheim, San Diego, Mt. Estes, Cheyenne, Rapid City, SD, Omaha, Kansas City, Oklahoma City. My favorite experiences were in Chicago, San Francisco and San Diego. 

 

Living in Texas, been to all of the big cities multiple times. Dallas is fun if you don't have the kids weighing you down. Austin is a liberal island in a sea of conservative red. San Antonio is like Charles Barkley says it is, "A small town with a creek running through it." Houston is a traffic nightmare. It doesn't matter what time of day it is. 

 

I just did a loop of Texas bird watching where I hit Big Bend and the Davis Mountains.  If you're going to be near Marfa, I think it's like maybe 20 to 40 miles to McDonald Observatory.  I understand they do star parties on Tuesdays and I think Friday and Saturday.

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I've been to Marfa but the lights didn't show.  And there's not a whole lot there besides.

 

Ft Davis is nice and worth a stop.  There's plenty o' nature, the observatory, and the fort.  If you go around the 4th of July they do an 1880s baseball game and artillery demonstrations that are pretty cool.

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I went there this past weekend. 

 

I have been to several national parks and the Ft. Davis Scenic Loop just doesn't compare to the Black Hills or the Rocky Mountains. There are some nice sight lines but not enough to justify an hour of driving. The best scenery is on your way to Ft. Davis on 17. 

 

The McDonald Observatory was pretty great if you like to look at the stars and planets. We saw Jupiter (awesome) and Mars (eh) up close so that was an experience. Also, if you are a stargazer, there is no darker sky in the world than West Texas. Holy shit. 

 

Went to Marfa after the star party and watched the Marfa Lights for about half an hour. My uncle, who lives in West Texas, says he has never seen them so active and that I was lucky. Pretty neat seeing the lights dance and disappear but there was no way they could live up to the hype. 

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Malvern, PA. I will hopefully shortly be in you for a week.

 

Show me your sights.

Ah! Did you go to Malvern yet? I work near there.

It's a suburb of Philly. If you can, go to the city. You can take the regional rail right into downtown Philly. You can also drive if you wish. Without traffic, you can make it to Center City, Philly in 30-35 minutes.

If you don't feel like going all the way into the city, you can drive down Lancaster Ave. into "The Main Line" which are the haughty taughty suburbs. All sorts of nice restaurants and shops and the like. You're right by there.

There's also a "downtown Malvern" that supposedly has some nice shops and places to eat. I haven't been, though.

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We (the UK quality manager and I) will be going over in mid-June. 

 

Flying out on the Monday, working Mon pm-Friday. then the weekend to ourselves. so I'll be going into the city proper and hitting the tourist spots, running up the steps, viewing the bell. Big red tourist bus stuff. Then Sunday off to the king of Prussia for the day before catching the red eye via Boston on the Sunday evening to work from home on the Monday. NCIH I'm back in the office on the Monday, that's a stone jug.

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I'll be on holiday tomorrow and I'd like to make it over to London while I'm there. Where should I be going to get some proper fish and chips or kebabs?

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