Just Another Day in Paradise

I  Made it to Paradise

Stock Photo- Landing at LAX

As the plane began it’s decent into Maui’s Kahului airport the pilot announced Welcome to Paradise! I made it, again. If the plane ride ( 11-12 hours) is hell then yes, Maui is Paradise. I don’t mind the plane ride. I sleep, eat, drink water and subsist on the little bags of pretzels the airlines provide. My body is not fond of the trip but I’ll cope. Even with all of the napping I was tired and achy when we landed. Of course it was raining when I picked up my rental car. It’s always raining when I make that first drive in the dark to my resort. At least I’m more familiar with the drive now that I’ve been here a few times.

All Checked-in in record time

stock photo

I arrived at my resort (Kaanapali Shores) right at 8 pm Hawaiian time.  I didn’t get lost once. My sister can tell you how much trouble we had locating it the first time because it is dark in Hawaii. And if you don’t know where you’re going it’s easy to miss. Thankfully I have a good memory and cruised right in. I was supposed to have a 1 bedroom ocean view but I think they may have been out of those. They gave me a free upgrade to a two bedroom ocean view. I can sleep in a different bed every night.  (Ha Ha)

Dinner Options

I was in my condo by 8:30 pm. Time to think about a real meal. I had upgraded the first half of the flight (Boston to LAX) to first class and that came with a breakfast. (I could get used to those comfy first class seats!) Airline food isn’t 4 star but that breakfast wasn’t bad. Still that was along time ago and in addition to being tired I was hungry. My options were to walk to the little restaurant on the premises and ruin some poor server’s night because the restaurant closes at 9. I’d probably be walking in at 8:45. No I’d let the staff wrap up and go home. Next choice was driving somewhere, probably Lahaina,  to another restaurant. That didn’t appeal to me. I could drive across the street to the TIMES. It’s a 24 hour grocery store. Buy something and bring it back to cook.   I wasn’t really excited about that either. As I was considering just skipping dinner I saw a pizza delivery truck pull up.

Pizza in Hawaii

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Pizza delivery in Hawaii is just like it is at home. I called Pizza Hut. But just like the last time we ordered pizza in Hawaii (on Oahu) it would be easy to get sticker shock. The pizza, a large mushroom and pepperoni was only $12.99. That’s comparable to a pizza in Boston but then I added a 2 liter bottle of diet coke. With delivery charges and taxes it was now at $22.00! Of course I had to tip the driver so it ended up being a $26.00 pizza meal. Not complaining just sharing. I’ll get 3-4 meals out of that pizza anyway.

Rating the Alaska Cruise

How Should I Rate the Cruise?

I’m going to rate the cruise portion of this vacation separate from the land part. I’ll fill you in on the Denali portion separately. I also checked the archives for the model train pictures. I’m not sure if you can see all of the comments but my sister asked if I have pictures of the little train at the Garden Party.

Choo Choo

Miniature train

When we went to the Garden Party the location was not just a little restaurant. It was a greenhouse, garden and glass blowing business. The gift shop was filled with delicate glass flowers and other hand made gifts. Throughout the grounds were lovely glass ornaments and other decorations. One of the most fun was the model train. It actually ran around the gardens. It wasn’t just sitting on display.

Train station in miniature

The Luncheon

glass drageonsI keep referring to the Garden Party. The lunch was actually at Jewell Gardens & Garden City Glassworks. I also looked up our meal. It was tea and salad. The main course was quiche. I’m not a fan of quiche so that was probably why the lunch was “forgettable” to me. I didn’t eat the dessert either  and can’t remember what it was. But I am getting off track. It’s time to rate the cruise.

glass fish

The Rating – 4 Stars

This was a pretty good cruise. Alaska is phenomenal. But I couldn’t give it 5 stars for a few reason.

  1. I got Sea Sick
  2. We went at the wrong time of year-weather
  3. Some of the meals (on the ship) were not up to cruise ship standards
  4. We didn’t see a lot of animals as our travel agent promised

All in all this wasn’t a bad cruise, just not as good as it could be. I was surprised by several of the meals in the dining room. The beef medallions one night were very tough and the American Night, a Thanksgiving dinner with all of the trimmings, was horrible. The lobster night was a huge success and my favorite meal of the cruise. Yes I think a 4 is a fair rating for the cruise portion of the trip.

What’s a Mangy Moose

Mangy Moose LogoBreakfast At The Mangy Moose

Mangy Moose

The Mangy Moose is casual dining at its finest. Grab a booth, mosey up to the counter and place your order. The staff will bring it out when its ready.  I ordered the French toast. The portion was huge!French Toast At the Mangy Moose It didn’t cost an arm and a leg either! Service was quick. I was happy for that because I was late for my Gaperguide appointment.


I’m Late, I’m Late, for a very important date!


I found Gaperguide online when I was planning my trip. It’s kind of a backward GPS. Instead of  you getting directions to something it tells you what you are seeing when  you get there. It’s perfect for Grand Teton and Yellowstone. It’s definitely a step up from those DVD/tape road trips where you have to stick to their route or it doesn’t match. I figured it was worth a try. I was about an hour late getting to the store but the owner was waiting for me with his dog Indy.

Along with the electronic gadget I got a map of the area. It was pretty clear that the GPS I had rented would not be needed.  There are only a few roads in the area so you really can’t get lost. With my new electronic BFF I would always know where I was.  I couldn’t wait to try it out but with the storm increasing I put my exploring on hold. Instead I continued  to the airport  where I returned my GPS.  They were very gracious about it. They probably knew it was stupid to rent it to me anyway.

Storm on the way to the airport

I’ll tell you more about the Gaperguide when I start exploring. I kept the unit for 3 days. By that time I was pretty familiar with Grand Teton National Park and the Lower Loop of Yellowstone. Once I turned it in the car felt empty. I missed my electronic companion with all its tips, stories and details. I would rent it again and highly recommend it to anyone exploring the area.


Airport Cowboy

So This is Wyoming

Day One Wyoming

Wyoming has certainly made a good first impression. I’ve arrived and settled in. Believe it or not that sandwich at Dornan’s was a long time ago. With no restaurant on premises it was time to figure out dinner. Time to test the concierge. I guess my question was easy. They had no hesitation recommending a nearby restaurant, Spurs. Located in Teton Mountain Lodge, next door, it was an easy walk, even for gimpy old me.

Beef, it’s what’s for DinnerSteak

I asked about a dress code and was assured it was “Resort Casual” and that I looked fine. A hostess greeted me immediately. There’s no waiting line in the “off season”. The menu was not extensive but it was varied. It was also on the pricey side, of course this is a high end resort. I don’t remember the day’s special. I only remember it was $51.00. Not quite ready to try elk meat I selected the SRF American Kobe Butcher Steak. I know what KOBE is but I had to ask about SRF. That stands for Snake River Farm, a local cattle ranch. I ordered rare but what I received was a strange looking lump of meat with an onion reduction. I cautiously took a taste. It was “like butta”. It melted. This was the most tender, flavorful steak I had ever eaten. 

Ruffed GrouseWhy Aren’t you Sleeping?

 It was a good thing I was walking after that meal. I startled a bird of some kind. It didn’t want to fly. It just ran ahead of me. I got a pretty good look. It reminded me of a chunky roadrunner with short legs. I made a guess that it was some kind of grouse. I later confirmed this with some of the locals. They said it sounded like a “Ruffed Grouse”. Doing a little internet search resulted in a picture. It sure looks like the same bird. I’m not sure why it was still awake after dark. Maybe it had a “big night out”?



Where do I start with Wyoming?

Wyoming is such an amazing place! At least the Jackson Hole area. I don’t even know where to start. Maybe we should start at the beginning, when I landed in Jackson Hole. The Jackson Hole airport is small but beautifully appointed. There is western art everywhere. I collected my luggage at baggage claim and made a bee line for the rent- a- car desk. Since this trip is on a budget I had reserved an economy car instead of an SUV. I would have been an easy up-sell if the agent had tried. I wasn’t sure a little economy car was appropriate for the mountains. They gave me a Toyota and a GPS device.

First order of business- LUNCH!


The car rental clerk told me if I wanted to have a nice but quick lunch to head to Moose. Its just 5 miles away. I had to take a left out of the airport and look for the tepee. I wasn’t sure what he meant by that but I figured I’d soon find out. The road I was on was well maintained and sure enough there was a sign for Moose. I didn’t think it had been 5 miles and I didn’t see a tepee so I drove on by. Big OOPS. A couple of miles more and I turned around and came back. That’s when I spotted the tepee. You have to actually turn in toward Moose. That’s when you see the sign for Dornan’s.

Restaurant, Groceries and WineTeton Mountains

I think Dornan’s is Moose. Maybe I exaggerate a little. The little group of shops that make up Dornan’s does have a restaurant. It also has a grocery store ( small), fuel pumps, a liquor and wine shop among other things. I availed myself of the restaurant. The main fare is Italian so I indulged in a hot meatball sub. Pretty tasty. Service was casual but nice. The restaurant is small but very busy. And the views are magnificent! If we didn’t have 70-75 mile an hour winds I’d have eaten outside on the deck.

Time to find the Resort

With a decent meal under my belt it was time to locate my resort. The rent-a-car clerk said many of the roads were closed so the GPS wouldn’t help. ( Funny, how he didn’t mind renting me one) I had directions and after he read them he said they should work so off I went. I’m kind of glad for the early flight now. I’ll have daylight to get lost in instead 0f the dark.