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  • Where the Helicopters Come April 20, 2017

    We wanted to do a helicopter ride around the Grand Canyon for our anniversary. It was (lucky) number 15, we were in Vegas, we felt a moral imperative to go. We did some research online and Sundance Helicopters got great reviews. We went with the Grand Canyon Sunset picnic tour in the EC-130 upgrade (more windows to see the sights). We were considering the private helicopter but decided it wasn’t worth the astronomical cost.

    The limo picked us up an hour and a half before the scheduled tour and we checked in about an hour early (based on region of where they pick you up – the earliness of the pickup was kind of a bummer). Then there was a lot of waiting, and waiting, and waiting. As we were waiting, we were surprised how many people were taking this tour. We were afraid that they would cancel the tour because there’s a minimum of 6 people. No worries there.

    The view on the way to Grand Canyon

    Thank goodness we didn’t opt for the private helicopter! Each timed tour takes off at the same time and lands at the same time, and there were easily 10 helicopters on our tour. Even though there was one couple who did the private helicopter, they sat with the rest of us (6 per helicopter, 60 other people gathered in one small area so it isn’t exactly “private”). We had a small picnic at an approved ridge and hung out for 30 minutes or so. We were a bit shocked how little we got to see of the Grand Canyon. Here it is.

    Break in the Grand Canyon

    The most impressive part of the trip honestly was the sunset and the quick tour around Las Vegas at night. Sure, the lights are just lights but at night they were really something.

    Sunset

    We were happy to have done it. We can now say “yes, we’ve flown in a helicopter” and “Grand Canyon? Check!”.

    Helpful hint 1: you will be walking on ROCKS and you will be near helicopter blades. It also gets very cold in the evening. There were people who had a ton of problems because of their choice of attire. They were freezing, couldn’t walk without looking like a baby giraffe and clearly regretted that decision to leave the jacket behind. Meanwhile we were strutting around because we chose wisely. “Lookit us! Climbing rocks without issue!” Okay, not really strutting. We really didn’t do that. But we were strutting in our minds.

    Yay, helicopter!

    Helpful hint 2: you get a limo ride to and from your hotel (we parked at a hotel around Las Vegas Motorcoach Resort, 5 minutes away from the Silverton). When you leave for your limo, it’s last in/first out. We were lucky that the six other people in the limo didn’t seem to mind going so out of the way from their strip hotels to drop us off first.

    If you’re in Vegas, want to see the Grand Canyon, and only have 4 hours to see the Grand Canyon, this might be a good workaround to see a lot in a very little amount of time.

  • Tank Cleaning April 17, 2017

    We decided to research people who cleaned out tanks because our grey tank always showed 33% full, despite being completely empty. We knew there had to be something on the sensor. We tried Dawn, this solution, that solution, water, filling it, emptying it, getting the suds up, draining them, hot water, cold water, luke warm water, et cetera. And yet, each time, it jumped from 8% to 33% as it was emptying. We knew we had to bring in the big guns. We thought of trying to clean it ourselves. It meant we needed to buy a couple of tools (black tank wand, grey tank wand), spend some time researching the how and probably spent an hour or two cleaning. That, and we would’ve had to come up with something that would be all that with intense water pressure.

    Sure, we could’ve done that. The thought of the potential risks, seeing visions of Christmas Vacation and Robin Williams’ movie RV, no. Just no. We said “if it costs us more than a certain amount, we will try cleaning it ourselves” We called to find out it was $25 less than our cutoff that we had in our minds. Sure, some will say it’s a complete “waste” of money (get it? get it?). But you could give us a Hazmat suit and it still wouldn’t seem like enough. Hazmat suits are expensive. So we call it a “wash” (man, we are witty today).

    We knew the grey tank was probably bad. We weren’t good stewards. We would clean dishes while having food still on the dishes. We knew it.

    After we had Daisy Fresh  come out, we realized that we were TERRIBLE stewards of taking care of our RV. We’re getting better, but as newbies we were terrible. In short, we’re disgusting.

    When we compare before/after, all we can say is “ew”.

    The issue made us keenly aware of our camping habits. Our motorhome is our full-time home so we treated it like our full-time home. Feed the cat? Take the fork we use to put the wet food in their dishes and rinse it with hot water, of course. But wait. That food has oils/grease in it. And it smells like fish (much to the cat’s delight) which is probably the thing we hate most. Same with dog food. Pasta sauce. And everything else. Rinsing the food off the utensils and dishes with hot water goes into the grey tank and sits there until we empty it out or, if the tank is open, let things drip down into your tanks.

    We changed our habits. Wiping off grease and grime before cleaning has become a habit. No Hazmat suits will be needed in the future.

    So be good stewards. Be careful with food and oil going into your grey tanks. Keep the grey tank closed. Even if you are a good steward, once a year, either clean your tanks (spending $40 for tools plus water, throw in an extra $100 for the high-end Hazmat suit) or hire someone to clean them for you with enough PSI to have an impact. Normally we’d go with the cheaper way but considering the nature of the task and time involved, you may be like us and hire someone to do it. Now we have a tank that reads “0%” when we empty it!

  • You’ll Be Back April 13, 2017

    Geeks come in all forms. Most people think of “geek” as someone who is into sci-fi. Sure, we like sci-fi. But we’re also theater geeks. Well, Kim is, and has slowly but surely turning Chris into one. Even non-theater geeks know Hamilton is a must on the “to see” list. When we found out it was opening in San Francisco, we immediately knew we needed to go. Disclaimer: we understand that this review will make or break the show. With that power comes great responsibility. Luckily we have nothing but good things to say. Lin Manuel Miranda is breathing a sigh of relief. *phew*

    How we actually got tickets is a strange situation. We didn’t know there was an Amex presale until the day before the Amex presale (the “get information about tickets” form being filled out did nothing, by the way). As ever, websites are never really true to their word – knowing this, we logged in for tickets five minutes before the official launch. Five minutes before the presale officially started, the site was up and running.

    The problem is we didn’t know when we’d be in the San Francisco area. We knew it would be March. We looked at dates and seats available. We ended up with March 16th and March 28th. We figured we’d give the date we wouldn’t use to friends.

    Hamilton at the Opheum, San Francisco

    That was until we received an email that indicated we were clearly trying to resell our tickets. Apparently our address – shared with hundreds of others who full time and use the same mail forwarder – triggered a flag that the same address was ordering tickets more than the allotted three pairs. They threatened to reneg on both sets. The only way we could keep both, after much discussion and negotiating, is if we showed up with IDs and credit card in hand. So that’s what we did. Two more weeks than we had planned in San Francisco. Alrighty then.

    This musical. It will ruin all and any other musicals if you’ve never seen a musical in person. You will have high expectations for the rest of your days. You may have to sell your kidney to get tickets, but it would be worth it. After the first time seeing it, we were thrilled to be in a position to be able to see it again. We couldn’t wait to see it from a different vantage point and to expect what had previously been unexpected before. We would be back. Yay!

    Do yourself a favor. Buy the soundtrack. It will help you understand some words (some go fast) found here.

    If you have the soundtrack, you’ll know what’s going on but it will not prepare you to see it live. Run, don’t walk, and see it. We’ve already stalked oops researched where else it will be playing in future runs. There are so many parts to it that are so intricate and ingenious. Small things like the chorus wearing gloves during Jefferson’s introduction to larger things like having the same actors play different characters and how effective it is. You may know all the words by heart and yet you will still be surprised.

    We were able to see it from center orchestra row V, and then center orchestra row D. See it up close if you can but more to the middle of the center orchestra. There’s a reason those are the most sought-after tickets.

    We saw the entire show from the seats further from the stage, but saw so many details from up close. In the middle of the center orchestra, about 4-5 rows back, would’ve been just right.

    View of the stage from our seats

     

    So run. Go forth and buy tickets however you can. See it. Full disclosure: the people next to us left during intermission. This apparently isn’t the show for everyone. We couldn’t imagine who wouldn’t enjoy it but it *is* possible.

    But trust us. You want to be in the Room Where It Happens (room where it happens, room where it happens). Non-Stop. You’ll like it so much that You’ll Be Back. You’ll want to tell others The Story of Tonight. You’ll definitely be Satisfied. Don’t Say No to This. Don’t Wait for It.

    Okay, fine. We’ll stop. Before we do this One Last Time.

    Okay, really. Stopping.