Kevin Hellriegel's Blog of Worthless Advice

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Category Archives: Travel

Pajamas in Public…Just Say No!

I recently wrote about my travels to Kauai and how I disliked the airline system.  Upon talking with my FAA friend today, he mentioned that I had totally forgotten to mention how much I hate passengers who wear their pajamas while traveling.  Mind you, it isn’t just airline travel I see this trend happening in.  I also notice it in the grocery stores, at gas stations, and even at my kids’ school (most often parents being the offenders).pajamas in public2.jpg

It floors me to see grown ups wearing Hello Kitty pajamas at 3:20 pm in the afternoon.  For example, I was walking my daughter home with her friends and two adults were putting something in their car wearing their pajama bottoms like khaki slacks.  It is 3:20 in the afternoon and I have to see your Hello Kitty pajamas?  How old are you? Three years old?

Getting back to the air travel pajama problem, I really don’t think that as an adult I need to see your pajamas.  The only acceptable people that are allowed to wear pajamas on an airline flight are children under the age of 5.  If the kids are in Kindergarten, I’ll cut them some slack.  However, first grade and above, you need to put on your “big boy” pants and act respectful.  Heck, the next thing we’ll see is teenagers wearing diapers and pooping their pants on a cross country flight.  How would you like to sit next to that mess on a five hour flight?

So grown up and stop wearing your pajamas around like they are a pair of jeans.  Society made sweatpants so you could wear pajama style clothes in public.  Sweatpants are marginal more acceptable to wear in public.  You really should wear sweatpants when you are working out at the gym or jogging in the park.

Places I don’t want to see you wearing your pajamas:

At my kids’ school

Grocery stores

Gas stations

Post Office

Shopping malls

7-11

Liquor stores

Pizza parlors (really any kind of restaurants)

Again: Grow up, wear some jeans, some khaki slacks, or even a kilt or skirt.  Leave the pajamas at home so I can keep my lunch down.  Just give me one day where I don’t get grossed out by your lack of compassion to my sensitive stomach.pajamas in public

Why “Baby on Board” signs should say “Moron Driving” instead!

It never fails to annoying me when I see those little yellow “Baby on Board” signs in a car’s window because I know the driver is a moron. They are always the worst drivers. Case in point is the driver you see in this photo.

  

license plate AKA0818

  
When we were on the five lane road, this awesome driver decided to tailgate me, then zoom pass me on the right, get stuck behind the car in the right lane, cut back into the left, and get stuck behind that car. After all that, they were now in front of me instead of behind me.  Hats off to you, moron driver!  You are truly a winner!

Of course, they have “Baby on Board” sign hanging on the back window.  Oh yeah, I should be extra careful when you cause me to crash into the back of your car because you think this is a NASCAR racetrack and you are sponsored by Busch beer.
Thanks again Washington State license plate AKA0818 for being a bad driver and endangering my life.  I appreciate your awesome ability to weave in and out of trafffic as you race to your finish line!  Good luck to you and your kids!

A Visit to the Big Seattle Boat Show!

Sometimes I come up with some odd ideas on what I should be doing with my life.  Last summer, I had the strange notion that I should be a yacht salesperson.  I honestly thought it would be a fun and glorious summer job.  Sitting at my desk at the marina, the sun shining outside, the wind gently blowing, and the yachts gleaming outside.  Rich people would just stop by, I’d take them out for a test cruise, and I’d sell a yacht a day.

Luckily, my laziness and my desire to enjoy myself kept me from a life of khaki slacks, boat shoes, and washing seagull crap off some yacht on Lake Union.

Instead of becoming a boat salesman, my son and I went to the Big Seattle Boat Show yesterday.  Now, I haven’t been to a boat show since I was a kid so this was both a blessing and a curse.  A blessing because it is extremely fun to see the variety of yachts and boats available (and this was only the ones they could bring inside on trailers).  A curse because the boats I like are in the price range of $600,000 to $900,000.  Sure, I could get by with a smaller boat but once you look at a $800,000 yacht, the $225,000 is small and not really up to your standards.  The $1.3 Million yacht wasn’t even that attractive.  I would have to pass on it.

I would also like a yacht that isn’t too big where I would need a crew to run it.  I want to be able to handle it with myself and my wife.  I know; I’m a bit picky when it comes to big boats.

I also wouldn’t mind a retired classic Coast Guard cutter or even an older working boat (tug, fishing vessel) that had some space on it.  Retrofit that baby with some modern electronics and you’d a vessel that would have some style to it, yet be fun to be on.

 

However, unless I win the Power Ball Lottery, I won’t be buying a new boat anytime soon.  Besides, who wants to worry about having to find a boat slip, fueling it up, getting through the Ballard Locks?  Am I right?

Crash of the Drone

So….

I’ve been practicing my drone flying skills and decided to fly the drone around Lake Union a bit today. I got some nice footage of some boats, saw a sea plane landing, and then managed to crash my drone.  Actually, the drone belongs to my son and myself. As you can imagine, it was hard to tell my business partner I crashed the drone this morning.

I was flying an old ferry boat and got too close to the barge that is docked next to it. I realized that I was too close and attempted to go up which is where I got into trouble.

Once the crash occurred, I pretty much thought my son was going to kill me when he found out. Why bother trying to find it? I was a dead man.

Nevertheless, I threw the controller and the drone backpack into the back of the car and raced to the crash site.  I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to find it or be able to get to it. This is a “working” lake (meaning there are barges, fishing boats, sea planes landing and taking off) in Seattle and the drone was probably at the bottom of the lake.

I did find the drone laying on a barge and was able to recover it.  Below are some photos and the actual drone video crash footage of the damage.

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Drone video footage of the ferry “Ocean City” in Oro Bay on Anderson Island, WA

Anderson Island, WA – Drone Footage of ferry boat “Ocean City” in Oro Bay

Enjoy this drone footage of the retired ferry boat “Ocean City” now docked in Oro Bay, Anderson Island, WA.  Oro Bay is located in the southeast section of Anderson Island.  The ferry boat “Ocean City” was actually sailed over from the east coast of the United States via the Panama Canal.

Interested in learning more about the ferry? Click:  “Ocean City” Ferry Boat information

Here is another article (from 1998) from the AP News: Floating RV Park?

A 1993 Seattle Times story: Oro Bay Ferry

Flying the drone on Anderson Island, WA

 

Snow…but no snow…

Lately, we have been getting some good heavy snowfalls in the mountain regions of the Puget Sound area. Today we were excited to set off for Paradise (Elevation: 5400 feet), on Mt. Rainier, for a play day in the snow. Do some snowshoeing, perhaps even build a snow cave or even an igloo.

The drive to Paradise isn’t too bad if the road is clear. You enter the Mt. Rainier National Park though the Longmire gate entrance.  However, with the recent snowfall, and then having the temperatures rise back up a bit, plus you add some rain and you have a great situation for avalanches. The park service is pretty good at keeping the road closed if it should be closed (due to dangerous conditions).  The National Park Service (NPS) also requires you to have tire chains even if you have a vehicle with all wheel drive or four wheel drive.

We were just outside of Elbe, when we decided we had better check the National Park Service’s Twitter feed and discovered that the road to Paradise from Longmire was closed. Oh well.  Drive an hour or so to discover you can’t get into Rainier National Park.  But then again, that is the nature of winter weather.

We are hoping to return to Mt. Rainier National Park over the next few weeks if possible. 

 

New Drone Video Footage of Anderson Island, WA

This past weekend, my son and I took a quick trip to Anderson Island to fly the Phantom 3 drone and get some awesome raw footage.  We did three flights and the video below is a short video of those flights.

On a side note, for us to keep the YouTube channel name “Seattle Drones”, we need at least 100 subscribers.  Do us a favor and hit the “subscribe” button when you view the video.  And we need you to “like” this video too!  Heck, you should post it on your Facebook page and email all your friends about this video!

Anderson Island is located in the south Puget Sound area of Washington State and is accessible by ferry boat, boat, or helicopter.  You could also land a seaplane or parachute in if you like.  I’ll stick to the ferry boat ride (I don’t jump out of perfectly good aircraft) and using the drone (or an airplane) for bird’s eye views of Anderson Island.

During the drone video, you’ll see one of the two ferries that Pierce County operates between Steilacoom (mainland) and Anderson Island.  My son Hayden ran the drone from the parking lot near the ferry landing on Anderson Island.  He doesn’t seem to trust me with flying it at this point.

The lake portion of the video is Lake Josephine with views east towards Mt. Rainier.  You can also see Oro Bay during this section of the video and we launched from Ray Park.

The third and final part of the video shows McNeil Island to the north, Eagle Island (a Washington State Park – day use only), some more of the ferry, and a gorgeous sunset with the Olympic Mountains in the distance.  We launched from Olso Point for this flight.

Below are some helpful links if you are interested in a visit to Anderson Island:

Ferry Schedule for Anderson Island Ferry

Anderson Island Information

Join our Seattle Drone Twitter Feed: Seattle Drones

 

Colorado Trip July 2015: Day 1

A few weeks back, I managed to escape my domestic lifestyle of Super Dad.   As you might recall, I’ve banked up about a month worth’s of vacation from being a responsible person.  Over the years, my wife has done a lot of “Girl’s Weekend/Ditch the Family Weekends” with her various friends while I’ve stayed home with the kids.  On contrast, my trips away from her usually involve some kind of Boy Scout outing (like summer camp or a weekend camping trip in the Pacific Northwest rain).   Neither one are relaxing vacations. I would say they are like supervising prison highway cleanup crews on a long 4th of July weekend: Your buddies are out having fun and you have to watch a bunch of inmates.

So every once in a while, I get a Guy’s Trip to refresh and use up that “banked” time.  Don’t get too excited; this happens about once every seven years.  (It is quite rare and you should probably note this in your worthless event calendar).  This time, I invited myself to Colorado on my friend’s business trip (so my lodging was free). Luckily, I stayed with my friend (who unluckily was there for business).  While he and his fellow co-workers were stuck in “important” meetings and site visits (they look at buildings and the security of the buildings), I was visiting the tourist sites around Denver, Colorado Springs, and Boulder.  Don’t worry; I thanked him by charging a lot of nice meals to his room, a bathrobe for his wife (she probably needed a nice gift from him anyway), and a few drinks for the 23 new friends I made at the hotel bar.  All legitimate business expenses if you ask me.

This was my first trip to the Denver area and mid-July was a great time to visit.  Nice, comfortable weather (shorts and t-shirt time)…sunshine and clear blue skies in the morning, turning to thundershowers in the late afternoon and evening.

Day 1: Explored Denver downtown along the Commons Park, 16th Street Mall (basically an outdoor mall with a bunch of chain stores…gee, I could have just stayed home and not seen this crap), the Federal U. S. Mint/U.S. Reserve building (oh, another place where the building is a full of more money I’ll never have), and the Colorado State Capitol and the civic grounds around it (actually it is quite nice pack and landscaped area).  You see, I don’t mind walking, exploring, and people watching.  It’s quite good fun: you walk, check things out, and stay healthy.

16th Street Mall...skip it...

16th Street Mall…skip it…

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After exploring this tiny slice of Denver, I drove out to the Red Rock Amphitheatre (located in Red Rock Park near Golden, CO).  If you have ever been to the Cars ride at Disneyland’s California Adventure Park, this is most likely where the Disney folks got their inspiration from.  It was a beautiful setting.  Great rock formations, parking isn’t bad, and the terrain is fun to hike.  Bad part was the light drizzle of rain that turned into a downpour.  But what is a little rain while you on vacation?  Nothing but a free shower, right?

Driving: While on vacation, I often forget that you aren’t magically able to get from Point A to Point B in a matter of minutes (this isn’t a Harry Potter novel).  What I think is a five minute drive is actually a 45 minute drive.  After my hike, I still had to drive out to Boulder from Red Rocks Park (which turned out to be about 45 minutes away).   Time isn’t on my mind either.  I occasionally might check my watch but I don’t keep track of time.  As long as I’m not falling asleep at the wheel, I’m good to go.

Traffic around the Denver area wasn’t bad at all. Considering how the traffic is in Seattle, everywhere else (besides Honolulu, LA, and New York) is a piece of cake to drive in.

Accommodations: I stayed at the Hotel Boulderado. Well, I rather crashed with my friend in his room paid for by his employer. However, in reality I’m a client at his company so I really paid for my own room. Hmm, in hindsight, I should have upgraded to the deluxe suite. Nice hotel in the heart of downtown Boulder and close to the Pearl Street Mall (another closed off street featuring stores and street artists).

Next post….Day 2!

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http://boulderado.com/

 

 

 

 

Why I hate Driving on the Freeway….

Today, I actually had to work at my studio in Burien and had to drive today. Usually, this time of year I work mostly out of my home office. So on my way back from Burien in the middle of the day, one should expect the freeway traffic to flow easily. In the Seattle area, that is never the case. I made it past the madhouse near the Sea-Tac International Airport. Once on I-405, I get stuck behind a guy in a gold minivan doing 46 mph on the freeway that is clearly marked 60 mph. This is way I hate driving. We have some idiot on the freeway that thinks he is on a nice country drive. It isn’t a nice country drive; it’s January and it is a cool 40 degrees out. I’d like to get on my merry little way home. I don’t need you endangering my life with your slow driving.
Sure, I could whip around this guy in his golden minivan; however, I have to take the next off ramp to get onto the other freeway. It makes no sense to barrel around this guy. Of course, he takes the same exit. I wasn’t in a hurry but I was annoyed. I’m not a freeway Nazi; I just ask that you drive the speed limit. Go at least 5 mph over or at least the speed limit. Is that too much to ask? I’m not asking you to drive at an unsafe speed. The pavement is dry, the sky is a mix of sunshine and clouds, driving conditions are pretty darn good out there…just do the speed limit so the guy behind me isn’t tailgating me.
Thanks for allowing me to offer my own personal piece of Worthless Advice on how to drive on the Freeway!

Everyone loves to drive on the freeway, right?

Everyone loves to drive on the freeway, right?

End of the Year Snowshoe Hike

We have had some nice clear weather here the past few days. My friend Mark and I managed to squeeze in a short snowshoe hike up in the Hyak area of Snoqualmie Pass (Washington). We hiked the Kendall Peak trail today. Not a lot of people enjoying the great snow and sunshine we had today but that is ok with me.

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Beautiful views along the trail

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Fairly easy hike, well travelled trail.

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