Browsing Category: Travel

Fishing with Ross Outdoor Adventures
A Review

Fishing in Potholes Reservoir, WA with Ross Outdoor Adventures (Photo: Yiling Wong, May 2018)

I Did My Part for Sustainable Fishing and It Was Delicious!

Consider this great experience gift for your next Father’s Day or other family event!

My parents live in Minnesota, and ever since I can remember, they loved to fish. After ten years in the Pacific Northwest, it finally occurred to me to take my Baba [1] fishing here, given the abundant fish and all. I hadn’t gone fishing on my own in about ten years, and didn’t own a boat or equipment, so we hired a guide.

K and I had heard through the grapevine that bass and walleye were “🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥” in Potholes Reservoir and Moses Lake this time of year! We booked with Shelby Ross of Ross Outdoor Adventures last minute. I was glad he made room for us in his schedule on a sunny Saturday, the morning after my father flew into town. He was very responsive by phone and email, so it was less intimidating calling a stranger for a short notice booking. In my Midwestern childhood, I learned that fishing was all about getting up at the crack of dawn to sit quietly on a boat or dock and wait, possibly never catching any fish. So I steeled myself to be happy even just for a day on the water in a boat, rocking gently to and fro…

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Ingredients / Steps / Experience Rating / Walleye Origins / Cook MethodsA Poll

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3 Pro-tips for Your Road Trip
– Things We’ve Forgotten, NPS Edition

View of the Moab Desert, Utah around 5AM 4-17-2017.

As folks get rolling out to the U.S. National Parks and the rest of the great outdoors for Summer, here are three things to know plus one bonus idea.

1. Watch for the AM radio sign for the latest updates and tune in!

  • This is usually posted as a road sign as you’re driving in toward a national park
  • Sometimes the park’s official website will also note it
  • In one case, this was invaluable to listen to heading into Utah’s Zion National Parks last Spring, as droves of people were coming in and it informed us of scarce parking and the existence of a shuttle ahead of time. At Moab, it gave us early warning of all the internal campsite closures due to road construction so we knew to look outside the park perimeter.

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Jökulsárlón Short Video

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< Previous: Pure Icelandic Waters – Solid State – Jökulsárlón           /            Next: Driving the East Iceland Fjords >

Travel Pro-tip: How to Pack Beer to Fly Home in One Piece

How to pack beer in your check-in luggage home.

“How do you pack beer home when you fly?”

-My old friend Kyle (readers may know him as the one who married an Iowan named Susannah*)

This was the nudge to finally draft this post I’ve had in mind. I hope those of you over 21 find it handy as we head into holiday travel this year. Kris and I like to bring a little craft beer back from travel as a souvenir to enjoy with friends. We’ve logged, him especially, a lot of airline miles with beer in luggage and gotten some routines down to accommodate.
[insert 10/22 photo of luggage, brighten and crop, draw arrow, caption: you can see I went with multiples of optional step 4]

The Beer-Packing Formula Continue Reading

Pro-tip Tuesday:
Unintended Extra Groceries + Tote Hack

Do you ever go grocery shopping and discover that you’re picking up 150% more than you intended to buy, that you are really hungry, and now you’re trying to figure out how to bike or walk it all home?

I recently picked up a new trick for those reusable sacs (usually cloth or polyester of some sort) with sizable handle-loops. It keeps me covered when I am carrying way more than any sane, less-ambitious urban nomad would carry. Continue Reading

Driving the East Iceland Fjords

Driving the East Fjords of Iceland (Photo: Kristoffer Jonson, October 2017).

Previous: Jokulsarlon Short Video

AirBnb in Holmur

On Wednesday morning, a good breakfast spread included with our stay gave us a peek at the restaurant space at the AirBnB in Holmur (photo after the jump). It was easy to imagine it as a lively popular affair in the Summer. This was perhaps the best hosted breakfast bar of our trip! Darn tasty. I took a few extra moments to gaze out the window to the bucolic paradise of ducks and geese chillin’ in the brush, in front of the distant Vatnajökull glacier. I was a little sad to miss communing with the farm goats, as getting out the door and on the road took priority. This was to be one of the longer stretches of our drive around Iceland.

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Holmur AirBnb / Thermal Pool Shenanigans / Hofn / Driving the East FjordsSeyðisfjöurðor

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Pure Icelandic Waters: Solid State – Jökulsárlón

Reynisdrangar, Iceland

Previous: Pure Icelandic Waters – Liquid State

Entertainingly, my travelling companion’s mood lightened with the cold thermal pool debacle, and mine darkened with the rain. Plus wind. I don’t recall what else went on in my mind to dampen things and I don’t care to recall more. May have also been influenced by a morose audiobook.

Reynisdrangar, Iceland
Reynisdrangar, Iceland (Photo: Yiling Wong) Fun fact: also the site of some Game of Thrones scenes.

Reynisdrangar

The distant rock of the towering formations out past the deadly waves on the beach could easily fit the Icelandic legend telling of huge trolls turned to stone at dawn, caught while dragging some ships out (or in?) long ago.

The basalt column formations (although busy with tourists) transported us to the moment of torrential, deadly-hot lava meeting the equally stormy sea, frozen in time forever, in hexagonal rock columns once the sea receded.[10] Continue Reading

Tuesday: Pure Icelandic Waters
Liquid State

Svellelaug hiking path, Food the Wong Way, Oct 2017

Water Water, Everywhere

Woke up amazed to find myself in the dreamland of Iceland, excited to start the day. Kris was acting grumpy-pantsed, unclear why…

We had a chance to catch breakfast from our host Snæbjörn in the flesh. I found our host accommodating but ambivalent about his home. He seemed not to like his area, but maybe because his girlfriend was in Bristol, and he’d been woken at 2AM by a drunk neighbor-friend last night. When asked if Icelanders liked to party (I’d heard they had a reputation for it), he retorted no, and that visitors seemed much more prone to drinking extra. Breakfast was toast, jams, salami, cheese, nutella, butter, coffee, and home-cooked heart-shaped waffles. We sat across from some young honeymooners from Korea. The wife was so delighted when I took a photo for the two of them, lol. Later we were also offered some caviar out of a metal tube like toothpaste. Fancy.

I’d heard of a neighborhood thermal pool in the hills nearby and we headed over. Grumpy K was not happy with the pot-holed dirt road, lest we get stuck – and even less impressed with the van of visitors when it pulled in next to us.

En route by foot to Seljavallalaug, with a hop in my step toward our first thermal pool!
En route by foot to Seljavallalaug, with a hop in my step toward our first thermal pool! If you have ever taken a Lynda tutorial on Adobe products, this scenery may feel familiar..

Previous: Glymur Falls Dayhike

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Monday: Glymur

We rose early to drive the two, three hours from Onundarhorn to hike Glymur Falls (3.8 miles, 1,000 ft elevation gain) in the only day forecasted to be sunny on our trip. It meant doubling back the way we came, but fortunately we were booked for two nights in the South.

I was dragging, but optimistic to see the second (?) highest waterfall in Iceland. Even before we got to the trailhead a smaller, charming waterfall demanded a pit stop. This would be a theme on our trip, so lucky! Sweeping swooping green slopes gave way to a waterway on one side.

I drove for part, getting to learn new roundabout conventions first-hand, including a gauntlet of six consecutive one. Nothing like rapid repetition to help you work things out in your brain.

Roundabouts in Iceland do not work like in London, nor like in DC. Cars in the inner lane can go through and exit.
Roundabouts in Iceland do not work like in London, nor like in DC. Cars in the inner lane can go through and exit. Take a deep breath, and let the passenger hold the oh-sh*t bar without judgement.

On foot: after some flat, low-brush terrain, past tiny sprawling civilizations of mosi over rock, and Vottahellir cave (full of legends! And a plaque!) we got to an icy stream. The decision to cross at a wider but shallower point turned out well. I was very glad to have bothered to pack hiking poles mid-stream. What was icy cold turned to pins and needles of pain then, and my brain got to tell my legs to keep going, and faster(!) while my legs threatened to stop working from thinking they were on fire, and to give up all function. [9]

River crossing near Glymur, Iceland
Frigid river crossing and pained expression as my brain fights all the nerve endings in my legs.

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Sunday: Arrival 2

On Reykjavik Roasters

Reykjavik Roasters was in the university area of town. Early on a Sunday, it had a hushed but not unfriendly atmosphere tinged with a hipster coffee shop vibe familiar to Seattlites. My oat pudding breakfast even had chia seeds served in a mason jar.

Reykjavik Roaster's Chia Seed Pudding (Yiling Wong October 14, 2017)
Reykjavik Roaster’s Chia Seed Pudding (Yiling Wong October 14, 2017)

As we drove out of town, I was at first struck by the prevalence of blocky buildings.

I felt a vague awareness I was supposed to find them ugly, surprised instead to find a quiet calm in the uniformity of seeing so many blocky buildings set side by side. Perhaps they were built by a somewhat boring but practical people.

Reykjavik buildings, October 14, 2018
Reykjavik buildings, October 14, 2018

The sky continued to lighten, and we sped out of the city.
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