Have fun on vacation!
10-4 on the spark plug colors. In some light, it's hard to tell the difference. On the bike I was talking about where the points looked good but were bad, I'd usually get the plug to spark when it was out of the engine, but it just wouldn't fire when I put it back in. I wasted a lot of time trying to figure it out, mainly 'cuz I kept trying to overthink things instead of just getting in and testing parts.
Compression guages are super easy to use, just screw the hose into the spark plug hole, crank the engine over a few times and read the dial. They're not very expensive (Advance Auto has one for about $25) and worth the money, since they tell alot about the health of any engine, whether it's a cycle, car, lawn mower, etc.