Good eats on the island of Maui


Dan "The RCI Guy" - Vacation Travels with RCI TV's Dan "The RCI Guy"Last year, my best friend asked me to join him in Hawaii to celebrate his birthday. He was going to be staying at a beach house in Paia on the north shore of Hawaii. Since it was still a bit chilly where I live in Salt Lake City, the answer was easy... "yes"!

I've been coming to Hawaii since I was 10 years old...at first it was always the island of Oahu, but over the years I've been able to visit almost all the islands – Kauai (where I own a timeshare), Oahu, Maui and even Lanai.

Our flight landed in Kahului and the beach town of Paia is only about 10-15 minutes east along the north shore. We arrived at night, so I really couldn't see anything, but I could sure hear the surf from the beach house we were staying at. There's something magical, almost mesmerizing about the listening to the ocean surf, especially at night. For me, it easily lulls me to sleep. My first morning was beautiful, the ocean was only 50 feet off the back porch and there were shallow tidal pools where the locals loved to go fishing.

When I go on vacation I love to go off the beaten path and Paia is exactly my kind of place – a local surfing town with VERY friendly people and lots of little, funky shops and restaurants. Some of my favorites were the Paia Fish Market - try the mahi mahi burger with onion rings. Cafe Des Amis serves up great crepes with a fun, outdoor patio. No matter what, take the time to check out Mana Foods. It's the local health food/grocery store and it has the coolest items that you won’t find anywhere else. It seems almost everything in the store is organic – really fun. And if you go during the day you should check out their hot and cold deli. We bought a bunch of the buffalo wings...seriously some of the best wings I've ever had! Finally, perhaps the most famous restaurant on the island is just a couple of miles east of Paia. Mamma's Fish House has been right on the beach for about 40 years and the food is amazingly good. The atmosphere is hard to beat and the service was impeccable. I ordered the wild boar and mahi mahi – fantastic! My friends ordered the macadamia nut crusted mahi mahi stuffed with crab - mmmmm good! Your meal starts with fresh baked bread and a complimentary "shot" of the soup of the day. Mamma’s Fish House may be pricey, but it is well worth it!

Another great spot on the island is Wailea. There are three or four great beaches but my favorite was Big Beach – just ask any of the locals how to get there. Look for local food trucks selling everything from shaved ice to shrimp scampi along the way. Big Beach is just that... BIG! It stretches along the west coast for almost half a mile - the sand is soft and the waves are perfect for boogie boarding or body surfing.

Also on the west coast, but further north, is Ka'anapali. There are a lot of beautiful beaches here and my favorite place is Leoda's Kitchen and Pie Shop. It's about five miles before you get to town, look for it on the right, and it is HEAVEN! Yes, their pies are incredibly good, but so are their sandwiches and pot pies...everything is amazing!

I LOVE Maui - hope you do too!! Come back to the RCI Blog this week to read stories and see photos from RCI subscribing members who have also visited Maui. Trust me, these photos will not disappoint!

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Where in the world has Dan “The RCI Guy” been?


Vacation Travels with RCI TV's Dan "The RCI Guy"The past 10 days have been full of fun and adventure! I really love traveling, especially when I am able to go to new destinations. My most current trip included several such stops. First up... London, England! It doesn't really matter how many times you've been there because in a city of more than 8 million people, you can always experience something you haven't before. I love the "proper" Queen’s English, the “tube” (London’s underground transit system), the food and the history that is a part of one of the world’s greatest cities.

 

After London it was off Maidstone, England for some meetings. Maidstone is about 30 miles southeast of London with its city center built around a river and beautiful parks. After a quick trip there, I made my way to Kettering, England – the location of RCI Europe’s headquarters, which is in a beautiful building right next to the motorway. I was able to catch up with some friends and find out about some of the exciting things RCI is rolling out for its subscribing members! The next day I was headed north... this time to Preston, England. I wanted to see my son, Parker, who had just moved to Preston the week before and is planning on staying in the area for the next 2 years. It was great to see Parker and share his excitement for spending some quality time in the UK.

 

The next day I flew from nearby Manchester up to Helsinki, Finland. I was meeting up with one of our film crews to film another episode of New Ways to Play, the travel show we produce for RCI TV (you can watch RCI TV at RCI.com). From Helsinki I took the train up to Saimaa on the eastern coast of Finland. We stayed at a stunning resort called Holiday Club Saimaa. The entire region has a close connection with Lake Saimaa, the largest lake in the country (and that's saying something because Finland has almost 200,000 lakes). Holiday Club Saimaa can hook you up with fishing trips, boat trips, helicopter rides, ATV adventures... and I was able to do it all! It was SO much fun! And the one day I stayed on property was awesome! They have an indoor water park and an adult "Sauna World" - 6 different types of sauna with one goal in mind... to help you r-e-l-a-x. Just one note here... remember: you are in Finland, so swimsuits or towels are rarely (or never) worn inside the sauna.

 

The last day was perhaps the best – we went on a boat out on Lake Saimaa to a small island about 20 minutes out from the resort, where we had salmon with freshly steamed crawfish, shot some archery and finished it all up with a visit to a sauna built from 100 year old lumber. And when you had enough of the heat... you just popped outside and ran a few steps onto the dock and dove straight into the lake. WOW, now that's the way to enjoy Finland! Check it out for yourself on RCI TV and let me know what you think!

 

I've just heard that we are filming our next episode of New Ways to Play in another location I haven't been to before…stay tuned to find out where!

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Looking for history and breathtaking views? Go no further than the Grand Canyon


Vacation Travels with RCI TV's Dan "The RCI Guy"For those of you who read my blogs, you know I've got the greatest job in the world! As the RCI Guy, I get to travel all over the world and visit fantastic RCI affiliated resorts. Yup, my job is great.

 

My most recent travels took me to New York City, Galveston and Austin, Texas, then down to Barbados and finally on to Phoenix, Arizona. Each place I am able to visit is unique and offers different things to do while on vacation...but for me, I've always been partial to the mountains in the West and the Southwestern portion of the United States. I love the raw, rugged and often unspoiled beauty that’s offered among the stunning mountain and fertile valleys fed by small streams and roaring rivers. I love to drive through Utah, Colorado and Wyoming and discover new, hidden areas where my kids and I can go camping or fishing. The world seems to more easily slip away in these serene places. History comes alive and I like to let my imagination take me back several hundred years, when brave explorers were blazing new trails throughout the West… Imagine what the Spanish explorer, García López de Cárdenas must have thought in 1540 as one of the first Europeans to see the Grand Canyon…277 miles long, up to 18 miles wide and more than a mile deep.

 

I like the views from the North Rim the best. When you pull into the parking lot, take the paved trail to the left and just a few yards away you'll find a beautiful, weather-worn bench planted in the earth as firmly as the interesting tree providing shade directly overhead. Take a seat on that bench and the view will take your breath away! No wonder the Pueblo people considered the Grand Canyon a holy site. For me, there is definitely something "spiritual" about it. The endless array of colors splashing across the rocks as the sun reshapes the canyon through long shadows at the beginning and end of every day.

 

It's hard to fathom the magnitude of this monumental scar in the ground until you reach the rim and peer down into the belly of this awe inspiring beast. I haven't taken on the challenge of hiking from rim to rim but have taken an exhilarating mule ride down to the bottom. I've got some very cool pictures from that trip. In fact, if you want to enjoy the Grand Canyon, Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon National Park, consider booking ”Red Rock Ride". This six day adventure is one of the coolest things I have every experienced! You ride with real cowboys as they guide you through the heart of all three of these mesmerizing masterpieces of nature – my favorite was Bryce Canyon! But the Grand Canyon was a close second. If witnessing one of the Seven Wonders of the World is on your bucket list, then make plans to visit the Grand Canyon on your next vacation. It's a sight you won't soon forget... I promise!

 

Come back this week to the RCI Blog, where we’ll be sharing stories and photos from RCI subscribing members who have visited the Grand Canyon. If you have a story or picture of your own, share it here!

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All is good in Carlsbad, CA


Vacation Travels with RCI TV's Dan "The RCI Guy"

I spent part of my youth growing up in California and I remember driving on the freeway and, from time to time, seeing an exit sign here or there that would say: Carlsbad. I always thought the name itself was kind of cool... but who knew the actual city was so great!

 

About 8 years ago my wife and I along with our four kids exchanged through RCI and stayed at a beautiful Grand Pacific Resort in Carlsbad and to this day, my kids say that was one of their favorite trips of all time (and believe me.... we've been on some awesome vacations)!

 

The first thing we liked was the easy accessibility. Carlsbad is built up on both sides of the I-5 Freeway and everything seems to be just minutes away. The resort we stayed at was about 5 minutes from the beach but built atop a small mountain crest with total, unobstructed views of the southern California coast - the sunsets were simply inspiring!

 

The next thing we liked about Carlsbad was all the fun shops and restaurants. We love to explore new shops and enjoy different restaurants when we go on vacation and Carlsbad has plenty of both. Since it's right on the coast, it's swimming with great seafood and tons of shops with a "beach boy" flare. Everything is fun and laid back at the same time and the locals all seem to have those same qualities woven into their DNA.

 

Another great thing about Carlsbad is its proximity to the theme parks. Seaworld is less than 30 minutes south in San Diego and Lego Land is only minutes away... and if you want to drive a little further north, you can still take in Disneyland.

 

Yup, my family and I LOVED Carlsbad. If Southern California is a place you've always wanted to go... or if you've been there before but haven't checked out Carlsbad, put it down as the next place for your next vacation!

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Pagosa Springs, Colorado is Picture Perfect


Vacation Travels with RCI TV's Dan "The RCI

I've been lucky enough to travel to all 50 states in the U.S. - I've lived on both coasts and my work has allowed me to spend plenty of time abroad as well. So when my family decided that we were going to have a reunion in Southwestern Colorado, well... let's just say it wasn't the first place I thought of. Now...I am soooo glad that's where we went. And in the heart of it all was one of the quaintest towns I’d ever visited...Pagosa Springs.

 

Pagosa Springs is nestled amid some of the most beautiful scenery I've seen. The rugged mountains surrounding this city are the backdrop to beautiful rivers and streams that flow in and around this mountain paradise. Pagosa Springs sits at about 7,000 feet above sea level and that means clean air with crisp mountain mornings year round. The air seems cleaner and sweeter up here and you're invigorated for adventure every day!

 

This charming city is your own launch pad to play in the mountains and discover year round fun - from skiing and snowmobiling in the winter to fly-fishing, hiking and mountain biking in the summer, Pagosa Springs has something for everyone. But no matter what you want to do...don't forget your camera! Seriously, it seems like every bend around every trail, or every time you drive around another corner, there's a picture just waiting to be taken. As an amateur photographer, I instantly fell in love with this place! Pagosa Springs is nature at its best combined with the romantic history of the old west - it’s wild and beautiful and rugged and charming all at the same time... basically, it's perfect!

 

If you haven't had a chance to check out Pagosa Springs, put it down on your "must-see" list... and if you're anything like me, you won't leave disappointed!

 

Come back to the blog this week to read stories and see pictures about Pagosa Springs from RCI subscribing members!

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Park City, Utah – A true, four season destination


Dan "The RCI Guy" - Vacation Travels with RCI TV's Dan "The RCI Guy"I've been lucky over the years... I've lived in some of the most beautiful states in the country. When I was young I lived in Northern California, then we moved to Alaska. I've also lived in Colorado and Connecticut and I've had a job that has taken me to all 50 states... numerous times. Having said that, I think I now live in the best state of all...Utah! You can literally go skiing in the morning and play golf that same afternoon. I love it! And while there are cool cities and towns everywhere in Utah, you have to visit Park City!

Park City is the perfect place - there are three ski resorts within just a few miles of each other - The Canyons, Park City Mountain Resort and Deer Valley. Each has won their share of International awards. One of the things I love about Park City is its easy access. There is a 6 lane freeway (I-80) that runs right past it and you can actually fly into Salt Lake City International airport and be at any of these resorts within 45 minutes.

Park City has just the right mix of locals and tourists. If you like to shop there is a huge outlet mall out by the freeway exit as well and another shopping center less than a mile away that has new cinemas, the latest stores and good restaurants, too. But the best part of Park City is "Historic Main Street". Park City was built up during the 19th century as a mining town and many of the earliest original buildings are still a part of Main Street. Main Street has a little bit of everything... really unique shops and stores selling everything from your typical souvenirs to high-end furs. There are great art galleries and lots of really quaint, local restaurants, diners, coffee shops and ice cream stores. The one thing you won't find on Main Street is any kind of a chain store or restaurant - I absolutely love it.

Park City is a true, four season destination. I live about 45 minutes away and we play in Park City year round. I grew up in Alaska so I definitely like to hit the slopes during the winter. But I also love photography and, during the spring, the mountains and meadows burst with color as a result of all the spring flowers. During the summer we've enjoyed everything from hot air balloon rides to great rounds of golf and lots of outdoor concerts. Fall in Park City is amazing as all the leaves change colors and everything is blazing in oranges, reds, yellows and greens. This is the time of year that we typically use some of our Points and exchange through RCI to stay at any of their affiliated resorts - we really like The Miners Club at The Canyons.

If you like amazing natural beauty with the fun and sophistication of a classy resort town proud of its history and heritage, you will LOVE Park City.  And besides...it seems like the air is always clean and crisp and the sun a little brighter up here. If you haven't been to Park City you really should check it out... and if you have been here, well... I know you'll be back!

This week on the RCI Blog, we’ll be sharing stories and photos from RCI subscribing members who have visited Park City. Be sure to come back to read about their adventures!

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Next Stop for Dan: South Florida


Dan "The RCI Guy" - Vacation Travels with RCI TV's Dan "The RCI Guy"The traffic in South Florida can be a little tough but the beaches, shops, restaurants and all the other cool stuff more than make up for it.

We were in Miami and Miami Beach for several days to film another "Destination Reviews" travel show for RCI TV. Our producer lined up some cool, different things to do.

Since I love to eat and used to own a few restaurants, we always like to feature a unique dining experience on every show. Man, did we find one here! Miami Beach is home to Joe's Stone Crab Restaurant. It first opened in 1913 and has been going strong ever since. The signature dish is the title of the place...Stone Crab is harvested in the waters right off shore. For the show, they let me go back and help work in the kitchen. Everyone was awesome and we had a great time.

The next day we went to Little Havana and found out how one of the stores rolls their own cigars - I never knew rolling a cigar was such a fine art!

Finally, we finished exploring south Florida by taking a Duck Tour - that's right, a Duck Tour. This is an amphibious, crazy looking vehicle that takes you to some really cool Miami landmarks and then heads off the road, over the beach and straight into Biscayne Bay. One second you’re driving and the next second you’re floating...it's awesome! You cruise around the bay as they point out some houses of the "rich and famous" that call this part of Florida, "home".

This is what I love about hosting this show - I think I've been to South Florida 8-10 times over the years but I've never had so much fun and enjoyed it more than I did this time.

If you have a South Florida experience you’d like to share, comment below! I’d love to hear about it.

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Dan The RCI Guy Takes on Marbella, Spain


Dan "The RCI Guy" - Vacation Travels with RCI TV's Dan "The RCI Guy"I never get tired of visiting Spain. It is a beautiful country that can differ greatly by region. Recently, I stayed in Marbella on the southern coast while attending a conference where resort developers from around Europe come together to discuss the latest trends - which is why I attended this conference…to talk a bit about RCI TV. As a timeshare owner myself, I have to say that Marbella is where I want to exchange into next.

Marbella is built around a beautiful bay with sandy beaches and soft winds that come off the Mediterranean Sea. The mountains rise sharply as you travel inland and one of the areas you really should check out is the historic city of Ronda. It has an awesome Roman aqueduct and bridge that ushers you into its gates. There's plenty of shopping and eating to be done... or just spend your time exploring! In fact, one of the videos on RCI TV features Ronda - check it out on the Destination Reviews online channel on RCI TV.

Have you ever visited Marbella or another city in Spain? What was your favorite part? Comment below and tell me about it!

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Bye-bye Bangkok, Thailand


Dan "The RCI Guy" - Vacation Travels with RCI TV's Dan "The RCI Guy"Well, we finished filming our "Destination Review" travel shot in Bangkok, Thailand. These shows for RCI TV (log on to RCI.com to watch) take us all over the world but I have never experienced a place quite like Bangkok.

Bangkok has an entirely different, cool, vibe to it. We took a bicycle tour that took us on the back roads and "behind the scenes" of what most tourists see in the city. Then the filming crew and I all had pedicures and manicures at a day spa (I know that doesn't exactly sound "manly" but it is a great way to spoil yourself). The most hilarious part was when the woman started my manicure, she actually was startled when she first took my hands and looked at them. My wife says, that while she loves me, I do have some of the most beat up hands she has ever seen and, apparently, this Thai manicurist would agree. But, after all was said and done, I can honestly say my hands and feet have never looked or FELT better! Total cost? Exactly $13.33 (US) each - I LOVE this place!

We wrapped up filming the show at Rajawongse Clothier. This father and son duo is known to have been making custom tailored suits for U.S. Presidents and Secret Service types for more than 35 years. Their store is a trip with official memorabilia and business cards from all over the world (they even have a writing pen from Air Force One). The father and son are constantly cracking one-liners and the store is hopping. In fact, while we were filming, an Air Force Colonel came into the store to personally thank them for all their support over the years.

Yup, Bangkok is an amazing place and I hope you like the show when we finish editing it.

Do you have an East Asia story to tell? Share it with us here.

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Dan the RCI Guy: Off to Asia!


Dan "The RCI Guy" - Vacation Travels with RCI TV's Dan "The RCI Guy"On my way to Asia — for the first time!

Traveling has been a part of my job description for the past 20 years. And while I have been to dozens of different countries and to every state in the U.S., I have never been anywhere in Asia…until now!

I'm packing my bags and heading off to Bangkok, Thailand and Nha Trang, Vietnam to film a beautiful timeshare resort and to film another episode of our RCI® TV travel show, "New Ways to Play." The travel show will take place in Bangkok and the timeshare resort is on an island off the coast of Nha Trang. Villas overlook the sea and have their own plunge pool right outside your door. They have a renowned spa and feature ancient, traditional Far East massage treatments. Sounds perfect to me!

In Bangkok, we are going to meet up with one of the city’s most famous tailors to have him make my own custom silk suit in just 24 hours (I've been told I clean up fairly well). We're also taking a bicycle tour of the city with a company whose name says it all: "Grasshopper Adventures."

I've always admired the rich history of the many cultures that make up Asia and I cannot wait to experience a part of two of them in the coming weeks. What places have you visited in Asia? Any tips you can give me for my travels? Or timeshare locations you can recommend? Please comment below to let me know!

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Dan “The RCI Guy”: Reporting from Mexico


Dan "The RCI Guy" -  Vacation Travels with RCI TV's Dan "The RCI Guy"Some of my most favorite memories are of the times I spent in Mexico.

As “the RCI Guy” on RCI TV, I get to travel all around the world hosting RCI’s online travel show “New Ways to Play” and showcasing RCI affiliated timeshare resorts. Every time our schedule brings us back to Mexico, I am reminded of my earliest vacations here…which date back to the 1970’s.

My first trip to Mexico was about 35 years ago. After that, I knew I wanted to come back. In fact, in the early 1980s, I was traveling in the coastal city of Mazatlan and bought my first timeshare and became an RCI subscribing member.

What drew me to purchasing my timeshare here in Mexico was that I knew that whether I wanted to golf, take a long walk on the beach, lie in the sun, go scuba diving or deep sea fishing, I could do all of that here and so much more.

One of my most favorite things to do is to go off the beaten path and see how different a town or village is within just a few blocks from the touristy areas and timeshare resorts. Some of the most memorable times for my family and I have been when we simply took a side detour to see more of what this country has to offer. In my opinion – and limited Spanish – Mexico es perfecto!

If you want to check out some of my favorite things to see and do in Mexico, check out the Destination Review Channel on RCI TV. Comment below and let me know what you think!

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Behind the Scenes with Dan "The RCI Guy"


Dan "The RCI Guy" - Vacation Travels with RCI TV’s Dan “The RCI Guy”Hi, I’m Dan, The RCI Guy. Remember me? Basically, I'm the guy who gets to visit the different RCI affiliated resort vacation properties across the globe and make videos about them for RCI TV.

RCI TV has many online channels. Two of my favorites are the Resort Showcase Channel and the Destination Review Channel. I know these are key channels for helping you determine your next resort vacation.

The Resort Showcase Channel features some of the 4,000 resorts that are affiliated with RCI. We give you a complete representation of a resort vacation property, so you can hear the story of the resort and decide if you want to visit.

The other channel is the Destination Review Channel. This includes online travel shows we call “New Ways to Play,” filmed all around the world. In our videos, we don't just show you the obvious things like beaches and pools that you can do on your resort vacation; we also try to suggest activities and things-to-do that are off the beaten path.

For example, when we did a show on an Orlando vacation, instead of theme parks and character sightings, we opted to talk about Discovery Cove where you can swim with dolphins, take an air boat ride in the Florida marshes to go 'gator watching, and enjoy a meal at Sharks Underwater Grill, where the food is cooked "Floribbean" style.

A few months ago, I finished shooting videos in Aruba and South Africa. After that, I was off to Malta. I wish I could say that I’m spending a few days at each vacation resort, playing golf, parasailing, going on a dolphin cruise, or riding in a dune buggy (all things I've done on other shows), but unfortunately I'm only there for a day each time. We research the location, the crew and I show up, spend about 30 minutes filming each activity, and then head back out the same day.

What excites me about this job? The fact that RCI members like me can experience the locations and activities in my videos. I get to show you a lot of the different places you can visit with your RCI subscribing membership!

Do you have an idea for membership-related content you’d like to see on RCI TV? Leave a comment below to let me know and we will see what we can do.
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