Friday 15 March 2013

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My Luckiest Travel Moments

This Sunday is St. Patrick's Day, and though I know it's going to come as quite a shock to those of you who have seen me Riverdance, I'm not actually Irish. I have however, had quite a bit of the "Luck of the Irish" when it comes to traveling. Apparently you don't have to wear green or drink a lot of Guinness to earn a little share of the pot of gold. Sometimes you just have to be in the right place at the right time. These are five of those memorable moments when the lucky leprechauns seemed to be watching out for me.

Wynn-ing in Las Vegas

The odds of getting a Royal Flush while playing video poker in Vegas are pretty slim. Roughly 40,000 to 1 with proper strategy, but if you play long enough, you'll most likely hit your fair share of them. The odds of actually having the Royal dealt to you however, are remote enough that a lot of avid gamblers will never see it happen. Not only did it happen to me, but it happened on a progressive machine, meaning that in addition to beating the 649,740 to 1 odds, I got a $650 bonus for doing so.

Wynn Casino Video Poker Progressive

Throwing Out My Passport

A couple of years ago I went on the StarMegaDo where a bunch of mileage plan junkies charter a plane and fly around the country. Somewhere between Chicago and Montreal I managed to lose my passport, and while a very generous border guard eventually allowed me entry back into my home country, it definitely didn't look like I was going to be able to make the next days flight to Denver. Fortunately, somebody found my passport before the group took off the next day, and although it led to a lot of scrambling around, I managed to get back on the MegaDo and off to Denver...where I promptly lost my wallet. This is why I don't travel without my wife.

Flyer Talk Star Mega Do

A Private Ride (and Attempted Drowning)

Staying at the Hyatt Waikiki was a wonderful experience, and waking up every morning looking out over the ocean is the perfect way to start a day. In addition to the beautiful scenery however, one of the things we would watch from our balcony were the catamarans heading out onto the water, taking tourists for a ride out by Diamond Head. This looked like a really fun activity to us, but we were a little nervous about joining a tour as most of the boats looked like insanely crowded party cruises heading out, and we were with our (much younger at the time) family. Eventually temptation got the best of us though, and we decided that we would just suck it up and hope that our kids wouldn't see anything that would scar them for life. We made our way over to the beach and by some stroke of good luck, we were the only people to show up for that sailing. We got a private charter of a catamaran for the same price as a regular ride, and it was every bit as much fun as it looked. I will warn you however that catamaran captains feel much more liberty to drive head on into waves when there's only one family aboard. Probably the whole "fewer witnesses" thing if something goes wrong.

Hawaii Oahu Hyatt yellow Diamond Head

The Rio Can't Count to Two

Stopping in Las Vegas for the night, we had a reservation at the Rio Hotel and Casino for a two queen, non-smoking room. While the hotel was kind enough to put us on their top floor, the first room they gave us was a smoking, king bed room. A call down to the front desk to explain that we really needed two beds got us moved a little further down the another smoking, king room. A slightly more perturbed call down this time got us moved down the hall to one of the biggest suites I've ever been in. This room had a full size kitchen (with industrial ice maker), dining room, a massive living room, and a couple of the biggest tubs you've ever seen. Of course it still only had one bed, but we decided to let that slide this time. After all, if we really needed to all five of us could have probably slept on the dining room table.

Rio Hotel Casino players suite room Las Vegas

Watching the Fireworks from the Matterhorn

This was pre-family days, but it's easily one of the luckiest moments I've ever had in Disneyland. One night we went back to the park to watch the fireworks, but the crowds were fairly heavy and the weather was rather iffy. Instead of waiting an hour or so on Main Street to see a fireworks show that may or may not happen, we decided that we'd rather do some rides and watch the fireworks from wherever we happened to be when the time came. Just before the fireworks started, we jumped on the Matterhorn and as fate would have it, we got stuck. Fortunately though, out of all the places we could have stopped, we were just coming up to the tunnel that faces Sleeping Beauty's castle, so we got to sit inside the Matterhorn and watch the fireworks go off outside. I think they close the Matterhorn during fireworks now, but I'll always remember the best vantage point I've ever had. A true stoke of good luck.

Disneyland mountain Anaheim Fantasyland ride

This post is a part of Friday Daydreamin at R We There Yet Mom. If you didn't get here from there, you should really go check them out. There's people there who are even luckier than me. Bet they can't out-Riverdance me though.

Written by Steve Pratt