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

Pan Pacific Mountainside – Whistler BC

As the name implies, you walk out of the back door and there are ski lifts right there. It is in a beautiful setting and it is very well kept too. The staff couldn’t have been nicer either. We stayed in a Studio and had great kitchen facilities.

We really felt at home and enjoyed the friendly atmosphere during our stay. The only thing that seems out of line was parking was on top of the room and was expensive! At most places you end up paying for parking but usually there is a discount, at least for guests. I know it is a minor thing but it is just annoying to me. Why not just add it to the price of the room and let me think it is free. It always rubs me when you find out there is add ins. Don’t even get me started with paying for Internet at Hotels.

Aside from the price for parking we thoroughly enjoyed our stay. We went up on the lifts one day and took what they call “Peak to Peak”. Peak to Peak is the longest unsupported span in the world. The weather was just gorgeous while we were there also.

We look forward to staying there again next time we are in Whistler.

Black Rock Oceanfront Resort – Review

Black Rock Oceanfront Resort

The setting for this place is absolutely stunning. The views are just as good too. It is located on the west side of Vancouver Island in a town named Ucluelet. We stayed in a one bedroom Condo and the view was great there too. After you take everything in though things start going downhill from there. Everyone of the staff that we met seemed very good too but the place just didn’t seem to have its act together like it should. Let me explain our experience and you can be the judge.

Check-in:
We arrived about Noon and were told our place was almost ready. So we figured we would wait so we could check it out before we went into town to get anything we might need. Since it was lunch time we went into the restaurant to have lunch, (the restaurant is covered later). After a long lunch we went to the front desk and asked about our room, again it was almost ready. I should note that we did not receive any information about the resort when we arrived, or any of it’s facilities. We asked about WiFi and sat in the bar waiting for our room. It wasn’t until after we left that we found out that they had a Business Center, that would have been better for us. We arrived at Noon like I said and it was 3:30pm before we were given keys. Every time we checked – and I checked often, it was almost ready. Not a good way to start.

The Room:
The condo was great and had a nice balcony looking out over the water. We brought some movies and tried to use the player in the condo but couldn’t get it to work. We called the front desk and they sent someone down and sure enough it was broken. They would have someone look at it the next day they said. Ok, so much for watching the movie… The next day we got ready to leave and put some items into the safe, but it wouldn’t lock. We called the front desk and they said 20 minutes and someone would be there. An hour later, we called again and were told he was on his way. After a couple more calls and 2 and a half hours later a guy showed up and put new batteries in the safe. While he was there I asked him about the DVD player. He agreed it was broken and said he would take care of it. When we returned He DVD player was replaced and worked just fine. A couple days later we were about ready to go to the front desk and check out when the phone rang and it was someone saying they were going to come over and look at our DVD player. I said that it had been taken care of a couple days prior and we were checking out.

The Restaurant:
Lunch the first day took 45 minutes to get served from the time we ordered. The food was good, not over the top by any means, and was COLD. It seemed that it had been plated and then sat somewhere. Not to impressive and the place wasn’t busy. I had Mussels and Clams at room temperature with some grit. Patrice had Seafood Chowder that was at room temperature with skin on the surface from setting so long.

They had a breakfast item on the menu that I just had to try. It was Eggs Schroeder, now when a place has a dish named after you,(yeah right), you have to try it. So the second day we were there we went to breakfast. I ordered Eggs Schroeder of course and Patrice ordered their signature dish. Yes she ordered “Eggs Black Rock”. My Eggs were great but…the dish Patrice ordered had 5 ingredients total, and one of those was Sausage. There was no Sausage on her plate. We sent the dish back. Meanwhile I ate mine and we still waited for hers to arrive. They did apologize and didn’t charge us for her dish. But it took us exactly twice as long as it should have to complete breakfast. They were now 0 for 2 and we decided we would not eat there again. Besides I enjoy cooking and we have a kitchen in the Condo.

Summary:

To the credit of the staff, both the restaurant and the Maintenance man, it turns out that they went to the General Manager and told her that they thought we weren’t having a stay like we should. She sent us a bottle of Champagne and a personal note that included her contact information.

Before we checked out I sent an email to the resort Manager explaining what we had been through and even made some recommendations to her. Now it took me some time to write this up and explain things properly in an email, and I didn’t do it just because I am such a nice guy, (although I am). We did it to provide feedback, which is hard to get when you run a business, and…In the past, whether it be good or bad feedback, we have always either got a discount on a future stay, or a discount on our bill. It is always good to know you aren’t wasting your time and that what you said didn’t go into a black hole. We were happy to learn that our email was the topic of her Management meeting. It is good to know you didn’t waste your time and that actions were taken as a result of feedback. We also learned that  that there were some changes in personnel at the restaurant that were underway prior to our email.

There are a number of places to stay in that general area and as beautiful as this place is, by no means is it a 5 star experience by any stretch. That is the downside. On the upside, they responded before we officially complained and took action when we went through official channels too.

For our next trip there we will check this place out for another stay.

Legal Immigration – the other side of the story…

I know you are thinking an odd topic for a place about travel and food. But everyone talks about illegals and amnesty, the Arizona bill and so on. But no one talks about this side of the story…until now [insert dramatic music here]
Patrice is a Canadian, well at least until 12/16/10 when she saluted Jose. Ok the Jose reference might have been just blown past a few of you reading this so let me digress. When the national anthem starts says “Jose can you see, by the dawn’s early light, what so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming, whose broad stripes and bright stars, ..”, you know we are in trouble – But back to the story at hand, that being Patrice’s immigration story…

Let’s start by jumping into the “Wayback Machine” with Sherman and Mr. Peabody…and set it to 1998 when Patrice got here to the US. We spent many thousands of dollars getting her “legal” status. More than I care to even think about. Whether it was a wise investment or not is still the subject of huge debate. Especially now that I brought it up again. Now as the “Wayback Machine” quickly passes us to just a few days ago. We see Patrice sitting there huddled by her computer calculating what the costs of becoming a citizen is, of course not taking into account the previous sums that we mentioned. $700 is what it cost to APPLY!!

Now get this… You send in all the stuff and they send you a letter telling you when you come in for an appointment. It is impossible to call them and get an answer about anything, let alone deal with changing the appointment. What you have to do is send them a letter, registered of course so you have proof that you did attempt to contact them. Because if they think you didn’t respond, you go back to square one and start over and pay another $700. Now if your proactive when you send a letter you provide them with the days you are available. Little do you know that they are incapable of putting things together and saving time and effort. This is the government after all. Go through that same loop of receiving a letter and returning a letter with the dates you are available through the end of the year about 3 more times and you get your “biometrics” done. It doesn’t matter that she had them done to get her green card – gosh that was before “Homeland Security” was invented and they of course are protecting America from alien threats so they have to have their very own biometrics on her.

Finally at last something is completed!
But no, wait there is more, she receives a letter saying she needs to go in for her biometrics, (am thinking she just did that), and another letter saying she needs to come in for an interview. Huh, no sorry, in Canadian speak that would be “eh”? Just as she comes out of the fog of bewilderment, two more letters arrive. One cancels the Interview and the other gives her a new interview date. Immediate confusion sets in. Does she need to retake her biometrics or not? What day does she go for her interview…or not? Oh the suspense, frustration, what should she do. There is no time for a letter. The only thing left for our heroin to try is the phone…Can she get answers this time. Oh My God!!! What is going to happen?
Fortunately I can answer those questions  Nope, nope, and yup. I know you want more details than that. She got on the phone and wouldn’t let up until she got her answers – you know how she can be. They couldn’t explain why all the letters and wanting biometrics, but 12/16 was the date for the interview. A time of intense studying sets in. Patrice studies her Civics day and night. If there is a moment she is working on it.

12/16 finally arrives and the appointment was for 7:00am DOWNTOWN. I didn’t think the government had rolled out of bed by 7 let alone be at an office. So to be there on time it was a 4:30am alarm to do that. See it would be rush hour traffic and it is easily a 1 and a quarter hour drive to downtown. But she made it. Parking in the lot of the government building, was $7 with no ins and outs (you will see why I say that in a moment).
Patrice goes in and finally gets her interview, and passes with flying colors; even the part about speaking and reading English if you can believe that too. Now she is free to go until noon for the swearing in ceremony. So she drives back home and we get ready to drive back for the big show. We arrive and pay another $7 for parking and go through security again.

Now we take a seat and wait…

They tell all the people that are there, like me, that are not being sworn in to go downstairs and take a seat. While we all go down stairs and stand like a bunch of cows outside the barn door waiting for milking time, we get to hear what they say to the people being sworn in. They tell them to go downstairs and take a seat too. Now there is this huge crowd filling the stairs and hallway waiting. Even though people are slipping in and out of the auditorium door they aren’t opening it. Wait the door is opened now.

We go in and sit, Patrice and her gang of 71 from 32 countries files in and are seated. The ceremony begins. I should tell you about all the pomp and circumstances, but there wasn’t any, it was all pre-recorded. In fact they started the Star Spangled Banner – with no music playing, we just saw the words for it on the screen. Finally they started the music and we got through all the who ha stuff and Patrice was sworn in and became a US Citizen. But wait there is more to the story. They took her Green Card – without it she can’t get back into the US. This poses a problem, you see we are leaving the country on 12/24 and on the weekend there are activities in Canada with her family that she was thinking about doing. OH NO! If they had told her they would take her Green Card she would have put it off. Oh what can our heroin do now? Now that she is a legal US citizen will she be trapped in her new country with no way of getting out?

Alas, there still is hope. She can go and get a passport and expedite it. Of course that is an extra charge, but maybe that will work. She calls, it is an automated system. She gets a confirmation code for a 8:30am appointment in downtown SEATLLE!!! Maybe this will work; after all it is only another day blown, along with another tank of gas, doing government stuff that you get to pay for. Oh and in this case pay for a government mistake too – oh the joy that this new found freedom has given her.

We make it there on time and I drive around to find parking, we get her stuff in and it is accepted. Now we can come back at 2pm to pick it up. What it is 9:15am now. Ok back home and then do things we have needed to do for the past couple days but couldn’t have because we are doing this streamlined government stuff. We show up precisely at 2pm and I park in the street with the truck running as she goes in and goes through security yet one more time.

Upon arrival she finds out the passport isn’t done she has to wait. Now these are the same people that warn you not to come early to get your passport be on time. After a 20 minute wait she has her US Passport; now only a 1 – 2 hour drive back home through rush hour traffic to go.

In summary, this has only cost us thousands and thousands of dollars, many days of preparation and work; many days of standing in line and waiting; many times paying for mistakes the government has made. But finally she is a US citizen and has a passport too.

Now that we are sitting back trying to rest after the ordeal…Why did we do this again?