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Messages - jshelton

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Trip Reports / Re: Maui TR 2018
« on: February 21, 2020, 05:39:55 PM »
Im so sorry its been a while.

Day 4 was Hana. I do not remember what we ate from pomegranate when we finally got back but it was good. When i get around to pictures, i will add all the food stuff by name, hopefully.

The pictures do it more justice, tbh.

We woke up early and left around 6/630. If i remember correctly, the Shaka guide begins at around Costco, near the airport. You kind of let it operate as your GPS for the day, having Apple Carplay in our rental was helpful for this, as we could listen to music and it would stop when the guide turned on. The best thing about the app is the helpful suggestions of things to skip. They tell you things like, if you've just stopped at that waterfall and you plan on going to the next one, and there are no safe spots to park your car, you can skip it for the following reasons, if you dont care about seeing XYZ, etc. We just felt like we saw everything and did everything we needed to, all with minimal stress. We dealt with a few rainy moments, but overall was superb weather.

Our first stop, we went to the twin waterfalls, they sell coconuts that they chop off with a machete for you to drink out of. Its a nice way to get a good vibe in early on in the day. This was kinda fun, its super muddy so you'll need to be careful and there are some cool trees and waterfalls to see, but they were not big waterfalls. we did not spend much time at that stop.

I feel bad that my life got busy and now i cannot accurately remember every detail. Shortly after this trip, i was offered a job in los angeles, and we ended up moving at the end of 2018. I will try my best at this point to remember the highlights, it is the least i can do.

The best moments of the day were the hike on the "private property" - it is technically private property but 1 out of every 100,000 people actually get in trouble for going. it was so much fun, tons of waterfalls and pools and gorgeous scenery. I will remember the name when i upload the pics. Another cool thing was going to the area near where George Harrison, of Beatles fame, had a house. there are some amazing lookout spots. A couple other hikes i really enjoyed. theres a water hike which is fun and the hike at the end on haleakala with all the big stops, 7 sacred pools, those weird trees, and others. The black sand beach is a must see.

So here is our story for the end of the day. we got to haleakala towards the end of the day and were debating if we should only do part of the hike due to the sun coming down. We both had pretty much a full charge and thought we'd be ok. We also met a super nice indian family of 4 that we became best friends with (for the hike). they were our picture buddies, we took for them, they took for us. and we kept each other safe and the area well-lit. this really made the experience more fun. It got pitch-black halfway through the hour and half hike, we were a bit scared but felt totally comfortable, and we also met some more people closer to the end. We get out and the parking lot is EMPTY, like there were 100's of cars when we went in and maybe 5 when we got out. Oh, now would be a good time to mention that there is no cell reception and that there wont be for at least 40 minutes of travelling. So we had no clue how to get back. It was like 9:15 PM, we were somewhat concerned. Lucky for us, one of those 5 cars was a local. He drove and lead a caravan of 5 cars through the back roads - he claimed this was the only way he knew how to go back to the main road. It was fun, it was an experience we will never forget. We got to the main road and about 15 minutes after following the signs, our GPS kicked in and we got back to the hotel around 11:15 or so. We called when we were 15 minutes out to ask for our meals to be brought to us. For food during the day, we brought coffee and water, we had those metal bottles we brought with us. some whole fruits, and we premade sandwiches. we were able to easily get kosher snacks on the way.

Hana was the best day of our trip. It is the only thing i will ever tell you is a must-do. I can finally say now i understand why its all about the trip, not the destination.

I will try to get the rest up soon. Sorry got the delay. next up is Friday - Scuba Diving

General Discussion / Re: Car Lease Master Thread
« on: October 05, 2018, 11:12:20 AM »
Looking for someone to take over my lease in New York starting January 1, 2019 - Flexible on dates, either before or after. I believe the lease goes until December 2019. Its a Black on Black 2017 Nissan Pathfinder S (bluetooth, backup). 280/Month. Currently have 24,000 miles left on the lease. Will likely have between 20K-23K in January. There is a $5,000 damage waiver included in the lease.

Please let me know if interested.

Trip Reports / Re: Maui TR 2018
« on: July 19, 2018, 07:53:56 PM »
DAY 3:

Wednesday was a bit of a more relaxed day but still fun. We took a different approach and stepped out of our comfort zone for the day. We wanted to do something fun but different, we adopted a dog for the day. The Maui humane society (the only dog shelter on the island) is an incredible organization. They have a beach buddy program where you get a dog with a bag of supplies and you are responsible for the dog for the day. All of the dogs that they give are super friendly and adoptable. We donít have a dog back home and we both like dogs so we decided to give it a try. We lucked out and got an unbelievable dog with an incredible personality. She was a big 7 year old island mix with lots of love to give. Its very cool, you get a backpack with water and a collapsible water bowl for the dog, treats, a beach towel, and a mandatory leash that looks like a caution tape line but instead says adopt me. We picked up Puna at the Maui humane society (about 20 minutes from Wailea) at 11AM (thatís when they open up) and drove her back to our hotel (which doesnít allow pets) and parked near the beach (the lot next the Andaz) and we had already gotten towels and chairs from the Marriott. We just hung out at the beach, walked Puna up and down the sand, she played in the water for a bit and just sat and chilled with us. It was a nice relaxing break for 2 tiring days and also a big travel day prior to that. We drove Puna back a bit early (they need the dog back by 4) at around 3 and then headed back to our hotel. We really had a great time and it was a nice break from activities but I am not sure that we'd jump to do this again.

We had some grilled cheese and salad (made with our Panini press).

We booked a sunset photoshoot with a professional photographer. We used someone named Angie that we found on Craigslist for a very reasonable price. She was excellent, the white rock beach we shot at was very empty and really nice. As the session ended, the lights got more interesting and the sky was all sorts of colors so she took out her camera and shot some more at no additional charge. She sent us a portfolio of 50 edited pictures and when we decided we wanted to see all the pictures, she mailed us a flash drive with all the pictures for $15. Feel free to reach out for her information.

For Dinner we had pretzel schnitzel with mushroom rice and roasted butternut squash. This dish was fantastic and would definitely order it again. We also had what we thought would be incredible but was a bit much for us, pastrami quinoa stuffed capons with popcorn cauliflower and Brussel sprouts with smoked veal Ė that side sounded to good to be true and it was lol. It was not good. The chicken itself was good but the stuffing inside the capon was not to our taste. The cauliflower was good. Again, overall, we were extremely pleased with the Pomegranate meals and would most definitely order from them again, now we know what we would do differently. Everything is a learning curve.

We went to bed early because we were doing the road to Hana the following day. We didnít really do any planning for this but we downloaded the Shaka guide app which is the best $7 youíll ever spend. You basically download this app, purchase the guide you want and let it download (make sure its downloaded, because youíll go offline during the trip and lose service so it must be downloaded prior to your departure to Hana) and it guides you along the way with input on nearly every stop. Itís the best and it takes the stress out of pre-planning.

I have a hilarious story about the Road to Hana to tell. This was my 6th time in Hawaii, and my 4th in Maui. I grew up in California and we went frequently growing up during winter vacation. We went to Hana as kids and we had the worst time. A friend told my parents that the road to Hana is a must-do and you can't skip it, unfortunately for us they did not elaborate. We literally drove there stopped at the black sand beach, got to Hana and then turned around. That was it. We couldnít figure out what the hype was all about. And my parents had 3 complaining kids in the car and some of us got car sick and it was just a terrible day. My father begged me not to do the road to Hana this time around, he said "don't you remember, it was the worst day" and he had no idea, 15 years later, that there was more to the trip. So the Road to Hana trip is not about the destination, its about the journey along the way. It was likely the best day of our trip.

Trip Reports / Re: Maui TR 2018
« on: July 19, 2018, 07:48:41 PM »
I will share pics shortly, it's just that they take me more time than writing does. I promise I'll post them soon

Trip Reports / Re: Maui TR 2018
« on: June 27, 2018, 12:36:14 PM »
Day 2:

Another early day for us. I canít say how great it was to get up early the first morning (if you can handle it) to get us on a good activity schedule. Most activities take place early in the AM. Ill just say one thing, I wanted nothing more than to go back to sleep on the morning we went to Haleakala but I fought through, had some coffee (bought a box of cold brew at Costco from a brand called kona red, it was great) and powered through.

We went snorkeling on a 3 stop trip, one being the front of Molokini crater, the second being the other side of Molokini crater and the last stop was near an area called little beach which is the spot we saw some turtles.

We booked through our hotel which is an expedia partner and felt we got a decent rate (I think it may actually have been cheaper through the company directly). We didnít want a big boat with so many people, so we went with a smaller company that only has like 30 seats on the boat so it felt more intimate and fun. We used Pacific Whale Foundation. I think it was like 20 minutes from Wailea. You can park in the marina for a couple dollars for around 7 hours. Itís just like NY where you get a ticket printed and stick it in your window. I would allow 5 minute just for this as there could be a line and then you still have to walk back to the check-in location which is in the building across the marina.

We had a great time on this trip. The tour guides were nice and knowledgeable and kept us safe. The advantage of going with a smaller boat as opposed to something like ďthe pride of mauiĒ is that you get there a bit before the bigger boats and it feels less crowded. Molokini Crater was so awesome. Crystal clear water with some really cool wildlife. I bought a campark (essentially a knockoff gopro for $50 on amazon) and it was so cool to be able to take pictures and videos underwater. We stayed for about 50 minutes. Then we went to the other side of the crater where the water is bluer. Some different fish than on the other side and the water is much more jumpy. We were only here for about 30 minutes, they have seen octopus there and we were hoping to find some but they werenít around. Then because the people running the boats go where they feel is best, we cruised around and eventually stopped somewhere near little beach and were there for about an hour. We saw some really cool fish and coral and then 2 turtles. We were able to swim with the turtles and it was an amazing experience.  Again, having an action camera is so cool and makes the trip more memorable and fun.

On the way out we passed Safeway and decided to stock up on some much needed aloe vera and other essentials, like fruits and veggies. They had Bartenura Moscato DíAsti for about $12. I would register as a SafeWay club member as you save a lot, I think itís free.

We went back to the hotel and relaxed by the adult only pool. There is an infinity pool that overlooks the ocean and a nice seating area to relax in. The hotel gives you some free drink vouchers for either a starbucks drink (there is one located on the property) or a Mai Tai which you can order by the pools (they will likely let you switch it for any cocktail). There is free ice water by all the pools. We had the Eggplant Rollitini for dinner and my wife liked it but I didnít care for it too much. We split it because the dairy meals were very heavy and just supplemented with fruits and salads. We bought a ceramic knife and cut up some vegetables into a bag and sprayed pam, added salt, pepper and some lemon juice and pretty much had this with most meals to feel like we were eating fresh food as well.

We mostly ate on our porch or inside our room but friends of ours who stayed at this hotel told me they went to the restaurant in the hotel and had their food brought to them there.

Trip Reports / Re: Maui TR 2018
« on: June 18, 2018, 10:59:42 AM »
Just got back from Maui and we had the best time. I booked our flights on United redeeming 2 RT coach tickets for 45K miles each person (from NY). We landed on Sunday at 2:30PM. We got our bags and headed straight to Budget to pick up our rental car. We booked it through Costco, which seemed to be a great price ($280 for a standard SUV for a week Ė ended up being a 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited). When booking through Costco you can check the prices every day or so and keep on making reservations and then cancelling the more expensive ones. This worked to my benefit because my initial price was 390. If you are using Budget I would strongly suggest signing up to become a Fastbreak member and linking your Costco reservation to your Fastbreak number because this means that you donít have to wait on a ridiculously long line and also your car will be waiting for you starting at the time you put on your reservation. We brought some food from NY Ė POM meals and cheese, because I was told you canít find that in Maui but they had in Costco. We headed to Costco to pick up some fruit, snacks, water (waste of money because hotel gave me free bottled water everyday) and bread. We shipped a flat surfaced Panini maker to make eggs and grilled cheese.

We finally got to the Hotel and we really canít say enough wonderful things about this property. We stayed in the fabulous Marriott Wailea Beach Resort.

I requested a complimentary upgrade and they addressed it at check in, told me sheíll look for the best room to switch to. I checked back 2 days later and the room was a better view behind the adult only infinity pool, but at that point we didnít feel like moving, the room they gave us was perfect and as a bonus the terrace was covered in shrubs so we had some nice privacy to sit outside and relax. But they trimmed them a day after we declined the upgrade lol, you win some and lose some, all good though.

That night we split the Fettucine Alfredo from Pomegranate and were very impressed, a bit oily but very good.

Day 1:
The next morning we got up early and left the hotel at 3:15AM to go to the top of Haleakala at 10,000 feet to watch the sunrise. We got there at the perfect time, still room for parking before the tours get there and still places left to stand by the railing. Youíll need a car pass to go all the way up which you can easily get at for $1.50. You have to do this in advance because otherwise theyíll turn you around. You still also have to pay the $25 park entrance fee which you can only do at the entrance of the park on the morning of. This was a truly remarkable experience offering incredible views of the sunrise and Maui. I highly recommend this and if your flight gets in after noon the previous day, the first morning you have there is likely a good time to do it and get yourself on Maui time. A side note, save your park entrance receipt if you plan on visiting the other side of Haleakala during the trip to Hana and going hiking to the 7 Sacred Pools, the bamboo forest or Pipiwai Trails Ė its good for 2 days after. The attendant honored mine even though it was 3 days but YMMV.

We stopped at Target on the way back and picked up some more essentials.  Got back to the hotel around 8:30 AM, relaxed by the pool and then headed out to Kihei to take our surfing lessons. We booked through the hotel because it offered the best rate - $85 per person for a semi-private 2 hour lesson (just the two of us and an instructor). We used Maui Wave Riders and were happy with them. A guy comes towards the end of your lesson with a camera on the surfboard to take pictures which they sell a CD of the pictures they took for $40.

We went back to the hotel to relax by the pool for a bit, when the sun set, we headed back to our room and had our Pomegranate meals brought to us. Tonight we had the short ribs and the onion dark meat cutlets. They were all excellent but one had an amazing side dish called cabbage noodles which was basically bowtie noodles with deconstructed stuffed cabbages.

I will upload pictures in the appropriate sections in the TR when i have some more time.

Trip Reports / Re: Maui TR 2018
« on: May 15, 2018, 03:41:35 PM »
this is what i meant by attending the marriott luau lol ;)

Trip Reports / Re: Maui TR 2018
« on: May 15, 2018, 11:07:59 AM »
thanks. Im skipping the pineapple tour in the end. Im doing the haleakala sunrise tour on my first morning there. a lot of the hikes and sites you mentioned we plan on visiting on our road to hana. i think we'll just do the Luau at the marriott.

thanks for the tips

Trip Reports / Maui TR 2018
« on: April 30, 2018, 05:35:03 PM »
In the process of ironing out details for my June trip to Maui.

So far:

(No judgement for flying coach  :'( )

Flying United. Redeemed 90K miles for 2 RT tickets from EWR->OGG

Staying at the Wailea Beach Resort (marriott). Redeemed a 7 Night Category 8 cert for 310K Marriot Points which included me getting 77K AA Miles. I chose AA because that's where I have airline miles left and I figured it would be best to put the credit there. There was no availability for point redemption at this hotel. I got the representative to ask the hotel if they'd honor a cert and they did, luckily)

I've been to Maui 3 times (as a kid/teenager). This is what we plan on doing so far - snorkeling at molokini/turtle town, scuba beach dive, road to hana, adopt a dog for a day with the maui humane society, pineapple tour, photo shoot, surfing.

doing pom meals and will order from the chabad there for shabbos.

I'm writing this now so that I will write a TR when I come back. In the meantime, I'm open to suggestions or tips. thanks

Trip Reports / Re: First-ever Europe trip..just the details (no photos :) )
« on: December 06, 2016, 10:11:38 AM »
cool TR! how was the indigo in rome? I'm going in July and want to know how close it is to all the kosher food and the attractions? thanks

Trip Reports / Re: London + Scotland Trip Report
« on: October 20, 2016, 01:19:57 PM »
Nice report & looks like you had a great time.

There is actually a sit down restaurant in Scotland called L'Chaim's which is also in Glasgow. I've not been there but its been around a while and is run by the local Chabad rabbi. 

didn't know about it at the time. My friends in Edgeware connected us to a childhood friend of theirs that grew up in Glasgow and still visits and he told me Mark's Deli was the only option. Good to know for the future as id love to do Scotland again.

Trip Reports / Re: Which TR Should I Write Next?
« on: September 28, 2016, 01:34:56 PM »
if your first trip was to japan in 2005. meaning like your first ever big miles trip, that would be really cool to read from your perspective when you were starting out just like some of us are now. I know its hard to recall what happened 11 years ago but I think that would be the most interesting. some of the best parts of the TR are the planning and ticketing and the earning of the miles/points to make such a trip.

Deals/Deal Requests / Re: Yoyo stroller on sale at Neiman Marcus
« on: September 27, 2016, 02:48:26 PM »
thanks but just so people know this is the older model and newer one is called the yoyo+

Deals/Deal Requests / Re: Canada Goose?
« on: September 22, 2016, 07:51:14 PM »
Heres a shot in the dark, but worth a shot!

Does anyone know where one can buy mens Canada Goose Jackets at a discount? I cant find a decent price anywhere!

Thank you

If its at a discount that seems too good to be true, its probably fake. they are great coats though. best bet is to find someone to use their employee discount for you at Barneys

Just Shmooze / Re: Comments That Leave Me Speechless...
« on: September 15, 2016, 10:55:10 AM »

Anonymous Says:
September 15th, 2016 at 9:27 am

I think itís about time for United glitch EWR to TLV. I say $199 is a good roundtrip airfare. Dan, work your magic!

Destination Guides And Trip Planning / Re: Next Vacation - Ideas
« on: September 13, 2016, 05:59:11 PM »
What is wrong with Germany?

wife doesn't have any interest in going

Destination Guides And Trip Planning / Re: Next Vacation - Ideas
« on: September 13, 2016, 05:06:31 PM »
Seeking help with trip planning:

Looking for friendly advice: I would like to go away the last week of June and first week of July. 8-14 day trip (I'm flexible). Travelling with my wife and a 2 year old and leaving from NYC. Suggestions?

I've been to Israel, London, Scotland, Prague, Paris, Hawaii, Maui, Kauai, Vegas, Miami, LA. Would consider Hawaii and Israel again.

I have (dis)AAdvantage miles, BA Avios, United Miles, SPG, Marriott and IHG.

Wife wont do Germany, France or South/Central America.


cold brew method, I take a 1-1.5 bag of coffee (whole beans only) and then grind it coarsely (similar to what one would use for a French press) and split it into 2 nut milk bags with room and close them up and put both of those in a bigger nut milk bag and close that one too. then I put it in a big Rubbermaid container and pour in about 3 liters of water and leave it on the counter for 12 hours and in the fridge for about 6. I remove the bag and squeeze out the excess liquid and pour the liquid into multiple mason jars and place them in the fridge. I use medium roasted beans. ive tried peets but the best coffee I've found for cold brew is the kicking horse three sisters blend. the jars last about a month for freshness.

Trip Reports / Re: CS91's Bar trip to Asia (ICN, CNX, USM & HKG)
« on: August 31, 2016, 11:23:23 AM »
WOW! Cannot wait to hear more! You are my hero

Destination Guides And Trip Planning / Re: Arizona Master Thread
« on: July 26, 2016, 06:36:10 PM »
There is no way to travel to the Grand Canyon in the winter and expect to be able to daven with a minyan unless you arrange a group in advance.  You can try posting on and see if you get any interest.

Thanks. I'll keep in mind when planning. I may just save the trip idea for next winter.

Maybe come from Vegas and go to the north rim?

I thought the big attraction was the south rim. may just be wiser to save the trip for another (more convenient) time. thanks for suggestion

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