Athalon 22″ 15-Pocket Duffel

As you know, we do tend to travel a lot and because we do, packing and luggage takes on a new meaning when you are going to travel for an extended time. The carry-on bags we have been using for a number of years is the subject of this post so we can pass on our thoughts and experiences. This is a picture of our bag;

Athalon1

Notice the outside pockets, they are on both sides and the straps on the top to cinch things down tight. It has a ton of pockets, well ok just 15, but that really works for us as a carry-on, and let me tell you why. It makes everything have a specific place and readily available. Imagine, if you will, waiting for a plane in the Airport and every outlet is taken by passengers charging all the electronic devices, and you set down with them and open an outside zip pocket and pull this little device out;

Yes has room for several to plug into. Now you have a bargaining chip to be able to charge your electronics. Another example could be you notice your battery is about to run out on your phone and you need to grab your spare charging battery to give it more power, just open the outside pocket and get it.

It doesn’t show in the above picture but there is a zipped pocket by the handle and you could use it for any number of things. What I use it for is zip ties, as that is what we use on all our luggage. We used to use TSA approved locks but TSA would constantly lose them, but that is a topic for another story. What we do is just before the luggage is tagged at the Airport I zip tie them from that pocket on our carry-on. Since we started using zip ties we no longer have lost locks and actually, TSA doesn’t seem to want to get into our bags as often. On a side note about TSA approved locks…TSA is the only ones that can open them, so if you are outside the USA, if they want to look in your bags, expect them to cut the locks off or call you to come open them for them, and that isn’t too much fun as they usually do it right when you board. Back to the bag…

 

This is the bag open so you can see the inside;

Athalon3

Some of the things you can see inside are, from top to bottom, a plastic quart bag for the airport that comes out; straps to hold things in place on the bottom, say a change of clothes; a mesh envelope; and 4 pockets on the inside of the top. Notice too that the bag opens completely up.

All in all for a wheeled carry-on bag this is great and we have gotten a ton of use out of it. Want your own?

 

Howard Johnson Wichita Airport

Thank you for your kind consideration – Howard Johnson Wichita Airport – Saul you are a terrible person. We wish you much bad karma!!!

Nice way to treat a single mom of three kids who needs to work on Monday not to mention that there is a considerable drive just to get home
… you are such a ‘swell’ guy

Hope your daughter/sister/mother never is faced with this kind of situation

We are also trying to find the driver/owner of the other car?

More pictures (taken last night when Jo arrived, includes a cinder block on the passenger side of the car – assume it was holding the satellite dish). Saul apparently reported this to his insurance just yesterday July 5 – the incident occurred on June 26 – nice he jumped right on it.

This is a post from facebook from our daughter Johanna. They parked their car there while they were visiting here in Ecuador. Saul has been anything but helpful and quite rude to be honest and will not call me at all?

For those of you that do not know, because I have been hoping against hope that someone would do the right thing. That will not be the case in this situation. We left home on the 25th of June and spent the night at Howard Johnson on Kellogg St in Wichita, KS. Instead of parking in long term parking the hotel offers free parking with a night stay. This is how my car sat 4 days after a wind storm knocked a satellite off of the hotel roof bouncing off one car onto my car. The owner Saul who also owns another hotel in Wichita never called to tell me about this. We found out while in Wichita when we book a room for the return trip. Long story short I finally talked to Saul today he told me “not to call him with this SHIT” he would not tell me the solution to the issue. Since I return tonight and live 2 1/2 hours away. Talked to his insurance agency and he did not turn it in until TODAY. The wind storm was on 6/26/2013..in my opinion NO ONE should give this man any business.

HOWARD JOHNSON WICHITA
6575 W. KELLOGG AVE.
WICHITA, KS 67209 US
Phone: (316) 943-8165
Fax: (316) 945-8018
Email: hojo7261ict@yahoo.com

Western Holiday Motel
8925 W. Kellogg
Wichita, KS 67209
Phone: (316) 722-4241
Jo car - July 2013

NEW – website launched – EcuadorResources.com

After spending too much time trying to track down information – we thought why not network and then build a resource website for us ‘expats’

Having some spare time I started to build an online resource for Ecuador
Let me know – thoughts and input are always welcome
We are looking for recommendations or referrals for services you have used
Also if you offer an email newsletter, classes etc – details on that would be great
This is a work in progress – happy to share the work load with anyone who wants to help
We are hosting the site & doing all the work for free – no advertising, no fees to use
All the best
Patrice & Dave

Website: http://www.ecuadorresources.com

Facebook: Website: https://www.facebook.com/EcuadorResources

Kangaroo Island Australia – Tour

We talked and ask why in the world were tours on Kangaroo Island so bloody expensive and really never got a good explanation. It was really hard to find a tour on the island and most the ship offered were full already. While touring in other parts of Australia we always asked if anyone had a connection for us to take a tour when we arrived at the island, but alas little was found.

DSC_0875

While in Adelaide our guide made several calls and located a possibility that was really expensive and we had to commit to like 12 people, and that we could not do. The guide kept working on it but everything was so expensive and required us to commit more than we could. You see when you are a small group touring you can’t find anyone nor do you have the ability to connect with friends to commit a small fortune. So we ended up arriving at with no tour lined up.

Another issue we had with the expense was that we couldn’t really find out much about the island and what it had to offer. There was Seal Bay, but we have seen seals all over the world; from Antarctica to Alaska and to Greenland and the Canadian Maritimes too. So we thought big deal another place to see more seals. Then there were the beaches. Ok what in the world could be so great about these beaches? Then you could see Kangaroos – oh boy – we have been seeing ‘roos for the past several ports. We even saw them at the zoo in Sydney. And there was the rocks that had the name of “Remarkable Rocks”. Another yawn here as why would we want to drive over 2 hours each way to see rocks? So with that line of thinking is what we thought when hearing the prices of tours. The ship tour was something like $550 per person.

Fleur, our tour guide in Adelaide, showed us pictures of these “remarkable rocks” and we thought WOW they look like they would be great to see. Since we had not lined up a tour we thought we should take an early tender and see what we could do on shore.

So the quest began – 5:15am wake up (yes we are on vacation) and on one of the first tenders off the ship. Sadly when we got the Information booth we are told – no unless you have something booked you will not get to see the ‘rocks’ they are too far away. We reserved ourselves to riding the ‘free shuttles’ to see the two closer small towns. We watched the local ferry unload and load then wandered back to the information booth. Pierre the man we first talked to noticed us and advised us that there might be a chance as a driver had a cancellation.

Still we were not holding our breath as the driver was gone and would be returning. Long story short he was right there was a driver, we pulled two additional people together and headed out at 8:15 for what turned out to be the most fabulous day of our trip!!! Robyn was an amazing guide, the sites as you can see are over the top – we would rank Kangaroo Island on par with Easter Island – just plain beautiful and amazing. (lunch with a bottle of wine wasn’t bad either).

DSC_0829

DSC_0772

DSC_0743

DSC_0633

DSC_0616

DSC_0512 

Easter Island

We were fortunate to spend a fabulous sunny day on this island. You know how some places you have heard about and your expectations build and then you hear more and more and you build such expectations that you don’t think anything could live up to it. Well after hearing about this place and reading about it with all the history I was ready to be let down by our visit.  I can tell you that you can believe all the hype! This is an amazing place and one that we will not soon forget.

They told us that sea swells can be problematic and not many ships can tender into the island. You see there is no dock on the island. So the only way to get ashore is by tendering in. Look in this next picture at the Tender boat coming back to the ship. Where we went ashore was just past that first row of rocks and just before the second row of rocks. One tender (boat) lost its front corner window and another one lost the front door. They had to stop bring people to shore for a while after we were ashore. Even some of the afternoon ship tours were not able to get ashore and had to be canceled. We counted ourselves lucky, for sure.

DSC_0311

 

 

Once ashore we found our guide and headed off for a private tour of Easter Island. Along the way we heard about the history of the island and what it is like to live there. There are a total of around 8,000 people that live on Easter Island, according to the last census. The place has been growing as the previous census recorded 4,000 people.

It had rained for several days before our arrival and this day was a beautiful partly cloudy day. Everything was clear and bright. You will notice the bright fresh green in some of the pictures.

DSC_0358

 

 

DSC_0420

 

Yes for us the island lived up to all the hype. It is a very special place that we are very lucky to have spent some time on.