Sep 102014

Ok, this took far, far longer than I planned to get around to.  I figured “I’ll be spending 30,000 miles on planes over the course of 12 days, lots of time for writing.”  What I didn’t take into account is that my sleep schedule would get so out of whack that I’d find myself wandering streets at 3am enjoying cities in a whole new way, and sleeping when I could.  Plus, the trip ended in Vegas.  I don’t really need to explain much more.  I got home after this mother of all mileage runs absolutely wrecked in more ways than one.  Then there was life, and work, to catch up on…but finally…here we go!

In case you missed the post about how this trip came up, I’ve linked it here for reference.

Soon, the big day was here, and it was time to head out!  Decided to be a bit frugal and take the Metro to the airport, which in rare form was running with no delays and everything went smoothly.  So smoothly in fact, that I was from home and through TSA in under 30 minutes.  Ended up with almost an hour before my flight, so popped into the Delta SkyClub for a quick breakfast.  I wanted to check out their new offerings…and was seriously happy to find greek yogurt and hard boiled eggs.  No salt anywhere though.  Grrr.  At least I had a chance to stock up on protein knowing Señor Jeff would soon try and put me in a carb-induced coma.


Boarding was right on time, and we were on one of United’s oldest 737-800s today…but at least there was WiFi!

United Airlines flight 1662
Washington DC, National (DCA) to San Francisco, California (SFO)
Depart 8:15, Arrive 11:19, Flight Time 6:04
Boeing 737-800, Registration N18220, Manufactured 1998, Seat 2E

Today’s route of flight was rather strange, I assume due to the storms covering the flyover states.  Although we were blocked 6:04 gate to gate, flight time was announced at just 5 hours and 5 minutes…rather quick for this route.  I was rather excited to be on this route, instead of having to trek out to Dulles and it was my third ever transcon out of DCA, and the first on United.  So happy to have this route as an option now!


Not only were full pre-departure drinks offered, but they came with refills if you were a quick enough drinker.  This was going to be an excellent crew!  There was almost no wait for takeoff, and we were airborne less than five minutes after leaving the gate.

Today’s breakfast choice was either scrambled eggs and sausage (powdered scrambled eggs on planes scare me…Jeff’s sausage pucks scare me even more), or the big tray of carbs.  I decided to go with the carbs and a bloody mary, figuring at least it might put me to sleep.


No dice on the sleep, so I spent the next four hours on the incredibly slow WiFi doing work.  It was only $1 an hour, however, so you can’t really complain about the speed too much at that price!  About an hour after breakfast the crew put out the snack basket, stocked with what would become very predictable fare over the next few days.

The flight literally flew by (see what I did there?) and before I knew it we were landing in San Francisco.

Grabbed a quick iced coffee at Peet’s (the first of many, many on this trip) and then decided to pass my 90 minutes at a new-ish wine bar called Uncork’d…where I discovered the cheapest glass of wine was $15 and the cheapest I was at all interested in was over $20.  Um, no thanks.  See, look at me being responsible.  So I had a beer…a Lagunitas Hairy Eyeball…and it was delicious.  Then, I had a second…just to be sure the first wasn’t a fluke you know!


Scientific research complete, it was time to board the flight to Honolulu!

United Airlines flight 300
San Francisco, California (SFO) to Honolulu, Hawaii (HNL)
Depart 12:50, Arrive 15:09, Flight Time 5:19
Boeing 777-200, Registration N779UA, Manufactured 1996, Seat 1A

This was a newly-configured old United 777 which had formerly been a three class international plane and was now a two-class Hawaii config.  I did a quick look, and the last time I’d been on this plane I’d been in 2A from London to Washington with Tony Blair across the aisle.  I chatted with the flight attendant a bit about the new configuration, and he insisted this had always been a two-class plane and used to be the old domestic 777 configuration.  Bzzzt…thanks for playing…just remember that when you believe flight attendants always know what’s going on at the company.  😉

Being a Hawaii flight, at least there was bubbles…even if they were served in a plastic glass before departure:


Relatively short taxi, and soon we were off.  I don’t often pick window seats, but had decided to on this flight since I was most likely going to want to sleep and not have anyone climbing over me.  Also, that’s why I chose (unusually for me) the bulkhead.  The advantage of the window was a few shots of SFO and the Bay Area right after takeoff:

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The crew kicked into gear quickly, and there were nuts…and they were warm, and they were split in half.  Ugh.  Discount nuts.


Choice of lunch was “chicken cacciatore” or “pasta.”  I went with the chicken which I’ve seen numerous times over the previous few years and knew would be a safe option with a reasonable amount of vegetables and protein.


The drinks trolly, sitting out in the gallery.  Note the bubbly and pre-made mai tai skewers:


…and for dessert, Jeff Sundae #1 of the trip, this time with two cherries and hot fudge.  (Pay attention, we’ll get back to this.)


Flight went quickly despite no WiFi, mainly because I passed out for three hours after lunch.  Lack of sleep and a few glasses of wine will do that.  Woke up shortly before approach into HNL:


Grabbed a quick Starbucks in the terminal (that’s americano #2 of the trip) and headed out of the airport to get my rental car:


They’d run out of the tourist special (the Mustang) so instead they tried to upsell me to a Camero.  No dice.  So…when I got out to the lot…all that was left was Cameros, so I was told to just take one.  Mess.

Traffic wasn’t awful, and was at my hotel, the Moana Surfrider, in about 30 minutes.  No real upgrade to speak of, slightly bigger room, and headed right out to walk off some of the jetlag.  Walked up and down Waikiki enjoying not having to wear shoes, and feeling the sand and water on my toes.  Did a little bit of shopping, and just generally slowed down.  The relaxation had set in!

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Saw Duke’s OceanFest was going on that week, and for a brief moment considered the one mile openwater swim the next morning.  However, considering I haven’t swum in 10 years, and am contending with a fractured hand AND two fractured ribs, I decided it might not be the wisest thing to do.  Drowning on my first day of vacation would be a bad thing.


So, instead of signing up, I retreated to the Moana for a mai tai.

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…throw in a post-mai tai beer and it was time for a gorgeous sunset.

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By this time I was fading pretty hard, having been up since approximately midnight Hawaii time.  Despite my three hour nap in flight, I just didn’t have the energy to venture far for dinner…so I headed next door to Duke’s to sit at the bar and people watch.  Tonight’s entertainment was a sketchy swarthy Lebanese guy and his posse who kept telling me about his days “in the export/import business” in Paris.  He also asked me if he smelled good…um…dude…you smell like the 1990s.  Do people really still wear that much cologne?

Had my usual…the nachos with Kalua Pork.  YUM! …and a few Big Swell IPAs of course to keep the nachos company.


Made it back to the hotel, and by 9pm was absolutely passed out.  It had been a very long day!

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