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Porter City Park

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3 travelers at this place:

  • Day37

    Brenda's Overall Trip Highs & Lows

    November 10, 2017 in the United States

    We've been home about a week, so have had time to reflect on our trip and come up with some overall thoughts about the trip. First of all, the obvious: it is WAY better to be on vacation than to be at work. I had a busy re-entry back into my job, as it was an extremely busy week and I had lots to catch up on. But as for the trip itself, here are some of my favorite and least favorite things:
    FAVORITES:
    1. My very favorite part of the trip was having David all to myself. It was great to be able have this time to focus attention on us and the trip--not work, tv, video games, chores, etc. I think we make pretty good travel buddies, pretty compatible for the most part. Beber is pretty easy to travel with too.

    2. The trip itself. I recognize that most people do not get to travel to far away places like this, especially for such a length of time. I am thankful for that privilege. Traveling helps give one a new perspective on one's own life and the lives of others in the world. So great to see what is outside our little bubble.

    3. The Milford Sound flight home to Queenstown. This was so memorable, I am sure I will hold it in high esteem for years until something else tops it. We were so lucky the weather was on our side, and that we had the forethought to book it ahead. The views were astounding and the photos don't do it justice. It was also exciting to be flying in that little plane which I had never done before.

    4. We both stayed healthy and able-bodied throughout the trip. I was so afraid I was going to get sick before or because of the flights. I was taking lots of precautions. Fortunately, not even a sniffle or cough. I did have minor issues with spring allergies in NZ, and did have two days of bad back. I of course, had my foot issues, but they didn't really keep my down. With exception of not playing disc golf w/ David one day in Queenstown due to my back, I was able to do the things I wanted. I might have tried Zorbing in NZ if wasn't having back issues. It was a little chilly for that anyway. David did well too, and only seemed to have the sunburn issue that bothered him during part of the trip.

    5. First Class experience. I don't think I would have taken the trip at all if I had to do it in coach. With my Restless Leg Syndrome and inability to sleep in planes, it would have been torture. It was worth the wait to save the extra gazillion mileage points to do the long legs first class. I still didn't really sleep, but I was more comfortable, and well fed. Plus the international first class lounges before the flights were amazing. They really helped to get us rested and ready for the long flights.

    6. The Wildlife and Plantlife. I really enjoyed seeing all the different wildlife that we cannot see here. Of course the koalas and kangaroos and kiwi were great, but also just the birds that were flying around in the city looked different. Then, of course, were the fruit bats in Cairns, the Cockatoos in Sydney, the fish and turtles of Great Barrier Reef, the colorful birds and butterflies of the rainforest, and the frolicking lambs of NZ. I also liked the Fern Trees, beautiful flowers, and amazing green countrysides.

    LOWS:
    1. Big surprise, #1 is our full day delay arriving due to flight issues in SFO. I was devastated that we'd have to wait 3 more days to go, but finally it worked out w/ standby and we at least got to get there only one day late. Still was sad to miss a day.

    2. Rotorua motel. Since I planned all the lodging for this trip, I felt a bit responsible for our sucky motel here. It put me in a bit of a funk when we got there because all our other lodgings were going so well so far, and the trip in general was too. Rotorua had some cool things in it, but was a little of a let down for me.

    3. The long trip to Queenstown. We took 3 planes and all day to get there. When I researched the flights, there were zero flights I could find online with fewer stops from Cairns to Queenstown. Then I hear when we are there that there is a direct flight and better ones. We were so exhausted that day because we had to get up at 2 am to get to airport at 3 am for 5 am international flight. Then had 2 layovers. We did make all our flights, but some were close. Customs in Auckland was a long wait too.

    4. The Great Barrier Reef. It was great, but also was hoping to see more spectacular coral colors. It was 90% bleached, with only a few that were colored. I also was disappointed we we had such a large group. There were many times people in the water were kicking each other unknowingly with their fins and bumping into each other.

    5. Not sleeping on the planes in first class. When we flew first class on the way to Germany we did sleep, but this time neither of us really did for some reason. Part of the reason we saved and saved for this was so we could arrive to destination nice and rested. That was a bummer that we couldn't. I wonder if I could have if my seat wasn't broken on the trip to Sydney. We'll never know.

    6. Not having enough time at Featherdale Wildlife Park. This was the place near the Blue Mtns in Australia where you can feed the kangaroos and wallabies, and where I saw the baby koala. I would have liked to really look at the rest of the park and spend time observing some of them, especially the birds. I didn't even get to see all the exhibits they had before we had to go.

    Well, there you have it. Overall, it was an amazing trip and I think not much to truly complain about. Things went great. We didn't really even need anything other than our visa card for purchases there (except if I had cash I might have opted to buy some feed at the wildlife park for the kangaroos, instead I just scraped some up from the ground to feed them).
    David and I talked about if we would use our time differently if we'd plan it again. I think if I had the day back we lost, and I could take a day away from Rotorua, I would have flown to Ayres Rock in Australia. I hear it is amazing. Of course that would have put our total to 12 flights for the trip instead of 10.
    Sad it is all over, but there will be more Sallee adventures to come in the future.
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  • Day0

    One week countdown

    October 4, 2017 in the United States

    Meet Beber (German for Beaver), our trusted travel mascot. His first trip with us was to Germany 9 years ago. He is just as ramped up for the trip as us. Wish he’d help us with the packing. Our goal is to get what we need in these two suitcases and two backpacks.
    Ready-set-pack!

  • Day37

    Dave's Trip Review

    November 10, 2017 in the United States

    The Top of the Top and the Bottom of the Bottom

    What an amazing trip, and one that we will remember fondly. By documenting it via the travel blog, it makes it easier to revisit and reflect. But, before the trip gets too distant, it's nice to look it over and remember the good and the bad.

    The most special part of course is being able to do all these things, both the good and the bad with my best friend, Brenda :-) The trip would not have been nearly as special without her support and love. She's my favorite person and made this vacation the best one ever!

    The clear cut #1 for me was the small plane ride from Milford Sound back to Queenstown.

    We weren't sure if we were even going to be able to return via plane. Our bus driver was quite discouraging about it letting people know that it was raining in Milford Sound and that most likely, they would cancel all the flights and we would get refunded our money plus get the bonus of taking the bus back.

    Thankfully, our weather worked out not only for the boat trip through the sound, but for the plane ride back.

    Plus, we had a super upbeat nice young lady pilot who we shall call "cookie" since when we met her, she was super excited because she was enjoying a really yummy cookie and knew it was going to be a great day!

    "She's the best!" the people at the counter said, and we have no reason not to agree with them :-)

    She got us out safely, and gave us some narrative while we were flying back.

    I took sooooooooo many pictures on that flight. We had been looking at the Southern Alps all day from ground level, but taking the air gave us an entirely new perspective on them. So nice, and at 45 minutes of eye candy, just the right amount of time.

    Certainly beats the 4.5 hour bus ride that would have been waiting for us.

    Later in the trip, we found out just how lucky we were because we talked to a couple that had a similar vacation to us, but for them, the day they wanted to go to Milford Sound, it was totally fogged in with bad weather, so they didn't even go. A shame that they missed out on my #1.

    #2 Sydney Wildlife

    If I ever felt like I wasn't sure I was in a foreign country, all I had to do was go outside. The critters give you an excellent clue that something is different. Mostly birds as we didn't see any "wild" Roos or Koalas. Loved the parrots and other misc critters. For me, all of the fish during our snorkeling were new to me. We saw the majority of them in the aquarium, but to see them out in the wild and without the protective glass keeping a distance is a total change of perspective. I'm in their environment and just a visitor rather than just an outside observer. It was a great way to drive home the point that we're on an adventure and by having everything be so "new" it made it quite fun to soak it all in and enjoy the ride.

    #3 Great Barrier Reef Snorkeling

    Was pretty apprehensive of this going in. Was concerned about possible motion sickness and the fact that I haven't been snorkeling in forever. Might as well call this the first time since it was my first time doing snorkeling in the ocean.

    I'm an ok swimmer, so I at least had that going for me.

    Once I got used to the breathing and learned to relax a bit, it was an amazing experience. The lack of big waves on the ocean certainly helped. Plus having the suit meant that I could easily just float and look around at all the amazing fish.

    Would have liked to have seen the turtle that everyone else got a chance to see, but I'll settle for the shark and the ray.

    I really want to do snorkeling again sometime. I'm sure I can do better with a bit more practice and will make sure the experience doesn't result in sunburn :-)

    #4 Glow Worms

    So glad we opted for a smaller tour. Just 12 people and it made the experience that much better. The surreal view of being in a cave with a "sky full of blue stars" above you. They estimate that there are about 50,000 glow worms in the section that we went. Was amazed that the more your eyes get adjusted to the dark, the more glowing lights you see. Was not sure what to expect when we went, and thus felt like I got more from the experience than I thought I would.

    It's a fun and worth while tour. Extra special bonus was I managed to locate a glow worm T-Shirt in an adult size at the gift shop. Yes it glows, and it totally makes me happy :-)

    Plus it will be a perfect shirt to wear to an amusement park with dark rides :-)

    #5 Coastal Walk

    This was just all about the views. We had a nice sunny day and took a long leisured walk along the coast. Made all the more special with the installation of various "art pieces" that were going in for a special event that weekend. The art integrated well with the landscape and created that many more photo opts. Sure we have the coast here in Oregon, but this was more of a walk with views of a Beach :-)

    #6 New Zealand International Lounge

    A perfect way to end our vacation.

    The lounge was relaxing, had tons of excellent food (including some flakey sausage rolls that reminded me that I was still in a foreign country) and got us ready for our flight home.

    It also gave me that feeling of finality. Like when you go to Disneyland and you know you've just finished riding your last ride of the trip, and you have that moment of sadness that it's over, but you also want that feeling to end on a good note to keep that feeling with you. I've locked in that feeling and while I'll remember all that good things that happened on the trip, I'll also remember being able to say good bye to New Zealand feeling really happy with the trip and the ending.

    Bottom 6

    #1 - Delay a Day and the Mess involved there

    Only good thing I can say here is that we lost "just" a day, and it could have been a lot worse. Of course the impact was felt a bit further into the trip as we had one less day to try and get all the things in at Sydney as we could. I think that's why we really didn't feel like we were truly on vacation until we reached Cairns and were "back on schedule" with the number of days we were to be in a given location

    #2 - Sunburn

    My own fault, but it was a pretty painful lesson. It's a week after the end of the trip and I'm still not 100%. Thankfully it was isolated to just a few parts and not bad enough that I couldn't enjoy the rest of the trip. Would opt for more sunscreen or possibly a longer suit.

    #3 - Airport Shuttle Ticket disaster

    Another one that was my own fault. I thought it would be easy, and it should have been, but instead it became more of a pain than it was worth. In the end we opted for Uber, and that was much better. Wonít make that mistake again, I'll reserve the right to make all sorts of different mistakes :-)

    #4 - Disc Golf Course Frustrations

    I knew it might not be super easy to find the course in Rotorua, but I didn't realize that it was going to be as tough as it turned out to be. Plus, after spending a lot of time trying to find it, it was a terrible course, so we hardly played any holes. It also cut into our time at the Maori location, so that was a bummer too.

    #5 - Ants in the hotel room

    After a lot of winners with our hotels, it was sad that one of our last ones was a bit of a clunker. Our last night there when they moved us into a different room was much better though, so that was good.

    #6 - Swallowing Salt Water

    Much like the lounge was a great way to finish off the vacation; swallowing salt water is probably the worst way to finish off the snorkeling experience at the Great Barrier Reef. No fun at all and probably one of the main reasons I want to get another chance to do better at the snorkeling :-)
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  • Day7

    Home until tomorrow

    October 11, 2017 in the United States

    So, here's the current situation . . .

    Tomorrow we will be going to the airport for a second try. Both Brenda and I will be flying from Eugene to San Fran together (Econo Plus).

    We are leaving Eugene early enough to avoid the delay issue that we had today.

    When we get to SF Brenda has a First Class ticket on the 11pm flight. I am on Standby for a First Class ticket on that same flight. There is a seat available but "on hold" for some reason, so not sure how it's going to go.

    Best Case - We are both on the same flight and in First Class
    Second Best Case? - We are both on the same flight, Brenda in First Class, me . . . on the plane somewhere.
    Worst Case - Brenda takes the flight tomorrow in First Class and I take the next day's flight in First Class as well.

    Even the worst case is still better than the original option of waiting until SATURDAY to fly (which would put us in Sydney on Monday, missing about half of our time in Sydney).

    So, all we can do is hope for the best.

    Wish us luck! ~ David
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Porter City Park

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