Archive for Travel

My Personal Bucket List

(Updated 7/9/20) A few years ago, a started writing up a “bucket list” of things I would like to do while on Earth. It started off with about ten items and I’ve been gradually adding to it. It’s to the point where I’m not sure it’s doable but I’ve got a few things checked off which I wouldn’t have done otherwise. Here we go…

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Fishing in Lake Tahoe

tahoe-tripOk, I know that my About Me page mentions that I’m not much of a writer. Well a lot has changed since that time and I’ve really started to take a liking to it. I still have a ways to go before I publish my first book (haha) but practice makes perfect. My wife actually encouraged me to write this post about my trip to Lake Tahoe. It is in a slightly different format. Here goes…

The phone shook violently from its perch on the picnic table. I adjusted my body and set the steaming cup of coffee down on table before picking up the phone. It was a text from my son. I put in the password to unlock my new smart phone. I was still getting used to all the options but it was a handy little thing. I hit a few buttons to bring up the text.

“Good Morning, it is about 6:00 here, the girls are still sleeping. I just have to load up the truck and I will be ready to go.”

I chuckled slightly as my fingers slid across the screen. “You are getting a late start. Its 4:00 here and I already have the coffee done.” I sent the text and picked up my cup. The warmth helped clear the winter chill from my bones. I smiled and shook my head. At thirty seven degrees the December weather here in Lake Tahoe would have been considered spring back in Wisconsin. My phone buzzed again. I pulled up the most recent text.

“I just got the auger in truck. I just need to grab a few more things and then layer up. How long is it going to take you to get ready?” The text read.

I chuckled again. I looked down, my waders were already on my feet. I stood up and walked to my tent. I unzipped the fly and reached in to grab my fisherman’s life jacket, which I finally decided to buy after reading about in a life vest reviews site I came across last Fall. I checked the pockets that held my various gear and tackle. Everything was in place. I closed the tent fly and headed to my truck. I looked carefully at the various rod and reals before choosing my ugly stick. I was going to be going for big game today. I walked back to the table and took another sip of coffee.

nice-catch“Ready.” I texted. I sat and watched the area around. I took another sip of coffee before sending another text. “The phone told me it is going to get near seventy here. What is the weather like in Tomah this morning?” I walked over to the coffee pot freshened my cup. My phone buzzed several times before it made it back to the table.

“Cold” the first text read. “We are not supposed to break zero today.” The following text stated. “You have an extra spot in that camp site?” The last text asked.

I laughed again. “There is always room. You are going to have bring my granddaughters with you though.” I sent the one text and started sending another. I tucked the phone into one of my the pockets of my new fishing life vest and began my walk to the lake.

“My phone buzzed just as I was approaching the lake. It was picture of the old ice fishing shack with caption “Not going to find this in California.”

I turned on my camera and took a picture of Lake Tahoe. A clear lake wreathed in snowy mountains. “You won’t find anything like this in Wisconsin.” My phone buzzed again.

“Setting up the tip ups now. Remember the rules Grandpa Ed. The person with the smaller fish buys a plane ticket to visit the winner.” The text read.

“I expect my granddaughters to be joining you once I beat you.” I pulled out my lucky spinner and attached it to the end of my fishing line and stepped into the lake. It would still be a few moments before he got started. A preemptive strike. I threw the first cast of the day.

Top 10 Things to Do in Hawaii

Hawaii stands alone as the only state that is composed entirely of islands. The Hawaii contains several climate and terrain types, including tropical, mountain, and flatland. Each one contains diversity that is unique to the island chain.

Explore the Islands

The Hawaiian island chain is filled with many things to discover. As you explore Hawaii, you will come upon well-known beaches, breathtaking views, and experience a very unique environment.

hawaii-beaches1. World famous beaches are the main attraction. Hawaii has an astounding variety of beaches, including white, red, and black sands. The Travel Channel has a good list of beaches in Hawaii but here are my favorites:

Poipu Beach is one of several that have been awarded “America’s Best Beach.”


Hanalei Beach is renowned for it’s alluring sunsets.


Papohaku Beach is one of America’s largest white sand beaches.


Punaluu Beach is a black sand beach composed of volcanic ash and rock.

2. Hiking is a wonderful experience. You will find some of the best views on foot, away from the bustle of other visitors. Be sure to visit Leahi (Diamond Head) to enjoy some of Hawaii’s most breathtaking views.

3. The Beauty of Nature can be found everywhere. From pineapples to colorful shells, Hawaii offers something for everyone. Be sure to include a visit to Hawaii’s volcanoes, the natural forces that raised these islands out of the sea.

Experience the Sea

hawaiiIsland life has grown up around what the sea has to offer. Whether you go by boat, in the water, or beneath the waves, you will bring home wonderful stories.

4. Boating and Day Cruises will allow you to get as close as the original island inhabitants. This is the only way to reach some of the more secluded beaches and sunken vessels.

5. Unsurpassed Surfing is abundant in Hawaii. Beginners and experienced surfers alike will find ample opportunity to hone their sport. Hawaii has some of the largest waves in the world.


Kahaluu Beach Park is excellent for learning to surf.


Waikiki Beach, one of Hawaii’s best-known beaches, is great for beginners.


Waimea Bay is regarded as the birthplace of big wave surfing.

6.  Snorkeling and Scuba Diving are popular. Whether you are searching for the rare pearl, taking a closer look at tropical fish, or exploring a historic shipwreck, a mask and a pair of flippers will give you the best view you can get.

Investigate the Culture

Hawaii has been populated for more than a thousand years, and contains a variety of history, unique cuisine and island culture. Hawaiian culture is both educational and entertaining.

7. Hawaiian culture reaches back into prehistoric times. One example is Kaunolu Village on the island of Lanai. In Honolulu, tour the residence of Hawaii’s last monarch, Washington Place.

hawaii-food8. Hawaiian cuisine is a memorable experience. The islands have several world famous chefs. Hawaiian cuisine is best known for it’s meats and produce raised in the rich soil of volcanic deposits.

9. The island chain’s National Parks contain diverse examples of endangered species, including the majestic humpback whale. For up close fun, the tidal pools of Hulopoe Bay contain a variety of marine species.

10. History is everywhere you look. Prehistoric village ruins, early Asian influence, and colonial expansion are some of the historical treats, along with the wartime artifacts of World War II.

  • Kaunolu Village marks the oldest prehistoric village on the island chain.

  • Pearl Harbor, Oahu, is the place where the United States was officially drawn into World War II.

  • Kona is home to many temples, including the first Christian church on the islands, and Ahuena Heiau, built by King Kamhameha I.

Hawaii really does have something to do for everyone and it’s a very safe place to visit for the most part. Because tourism drives its economy, thievery does exist here. If you must take valuables with you, I highly recommend making sure the hotel you are staying at has a safe in your room. My friend Tim, who runs the site, is an expert in gun safes which are frequently used as safes for other valuables. Since he does a lot of traveling, he has been a good resource on Hawaii. Be sure to read his article on his recommendation of the best gun safe for cars which would prove to be interesting for those who prefer roadtrips to flying.

Cell Phone Tips When Traveling Internationally

You cannot assume that your popular cellphone will work internationally, or that your current plan will cover the costs of using it. If you insist on using your own phone overseas, have your carrier set up an international plan. Even then, you need to wary of costly surcharges and exceptions that affect phones when they leave the country.

Avoid Fees

Even if your cellphone will work outside of the country, your service provider may charge you outrageous fees or surcharges to use it. Even companies that advertise global access may have hidden costs that only become apparent when you receive a bill for usage. Contact your provider and go over the details of what you need to have available when traveling abroad, and get the facts in writing.

Beware of Data Rates

You may have unlimited data usage within the United States, but those rates seldom follow you other countries. Be sure to look at the current rates in your destination, and schedule or restrict your usage accordingly. Be sure to turn of automatic updates before you leave on your trip.

Data rates apply to many categories, including:

  • Downloads
  • Email
  • Phone and App Updates
  • Streaming Media
  • Texting
  • Web Usage

Plan for Power Needs

AC power in the United States is different from the default power available in other countries. Make sure you know what is coming out of the outlets in your destination, and buy the necessary power adapters to fit your cellphone. American standard connectors will probably be useless when you visit foreign lands.


cell-phone-international-travelLike in the US, cell phone reception around the world varies greatly. If staying in a hotel that’s far enough outside a city where reception is weak, a good cell phone booster for travel that’s rated for international frequencies can mean the difference between good reception and no reception. As always, do your research to make sure the unit will work outside the country by visiting various reviews sites such as this one.

Understand Your Plan

Even if you have the broadest domestic plan, it may not work for you abroad. Roaming charges are one example where a domestic plan can turn into a financial nightmare overseas, and you could find yourself paying upward of $1.00 per minute on a plan that is usually free to use.

Verify Your Cellphone

Just as the power and data options are different in overseas locations, the phone you use may not work either. Very few countries still use the cellphone networks that Americans think of as state-of-the-art. Even the SIM card in your phone may be incompatible with services in other countries. To overcome this and most other problems, consider buying or renting a phone once you arrive at your destination. If you do this, be sure to make a written copy of the numbers you may need to dial so you can enter them in the new phone.

Use WiFi When Possible

Instead of relying on your cellphone, it might be more affordable to leverage the power of WiFi. Take along a laptop or netbook, and use Internet cafes or free Wifi. By logging in to free WiFi along the way, you can avoid data charges, network compatibility problems and data plan surcharges.

WiFi can be used for most cellular communication, such as:

  • Internet Surfing
  • Magic Jack to Mimic Landlines
  • Skype or other VOIP Communication
  • Social Networking
  • Video Conferencing