Off to Pittsburgh, and Myrtle Beach

My Mom and Dad are attending the wedding of a friend’s daughter in Pittsburgh PA next month; I might add this is the same friend that encouraged my Mom to come to the US back in the day.

While booking their travel itinerary, I learned a few things:

  • Southwest has an awesome website and Hilton has great customer service.  I say this because I somehow managed to book their plane tickets and hotel the week AFTER the wedding is to occur, and yet was able to resolve my reservation errors promptly with the help of Southwest’s intuitive booking system and a courteous customer rep from Hilton.
  • There is a reason why Southwest’s unusual routing and stopover methods are the punch line for so many cheap shots.  While it was easy to book a direct flight out of Pittsburgh back to LI-MacArthur, getting to Pittsburgh with the routes Southwest asked you to take left me scratching my head:
    • No direct flights at all?
    • And must you insist on a Baltimore-Washington stopover?
  • Trying to maintain three separate frequent flier mile accounts for my Mom, Dad, and I is much more tedious than I thought, especially registering our [government issued] names.

Additionally, my Mom, Dad, and I are planning to go on a golf vacation to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina not too long after the wedding in Pittsburgh.  Initially, I resisted the idea because to be honest, my golf game absolutely sucks and lacks consistency.  It really does not matter how good your equipment is: if you suck and do not practice on a regular basis, not even Taylor Made drivers and Pro V1’s can save your game.  In the end though, I committed myself to try and get good enough to at least attempt to play on some of the more advanced courses down in Myrtle Beach, even if that means losing more than 100 balls from water hazards.

It helped that planning for this trip to Myrtle Beach made me all the more excited to go, although I do wish that Spirit Airlines would stop trying to make Ryanair look like Emirates.

To be fair, their flights are round-trip direct from LaGuardia to Myrtle Beach; the other option was to either take Continental Connection from Newark-Liberty direct [and most likely pay more], or stopover in Atlanta or Charlotte.

So in short, February 2012 is looking to be an active month for all of us, which I hope is a good thing.

Some Quick Wine Notes

1. I learned something from my Dad over dinner tonight: compared to Italian wines, California wines generally tend to be fruitier, less tight/focused, and less intense.

In other words, he would be killin’ it right now if he were in Tuscany and/or Russian River Valley.

2. On that note, if you are looking for a decent, medium-bodied red wine for under $20.00, Columbia Crest Horse Heaven Hills 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon (http://www.columbiacrest.com/wines/release/176/) is something to consider.  A Washington State wine, it has a nice floral nose, earthy flavors, and a surprisingly nice cocoa finish to it, something that becomes more evident as it opens up.  It may be a bit too fruity to some of you looking for a more serious Cabernet, but it still is worth a try, especially if you are on a budget and/or new to wine.