Saturday, January 12, 2013

Look Out The Left The Captain Said.....

......the lights down there, that's where we'll land......

Sorry about that, but every time I fly I think of the Nazareth song "This Flight Tonight". Truth be told I was a huge fan in high school and I can remember listening to their 1975 Greatest Hits album over and over and over. It still baffles me how many of their lyrics I remember. Ahhh, back when rock music was king and not the bubblegum pop rock of today. is my recollection of our Adventures in San Francisco all crammed into one post.

As stated in Troubadour's blog post, we were up at 3:00 am last Saturday to drive to Portland to catch our flight to Oakland.  By the time we parked at the airport, took the shuttle to the terminal, went through security and found our gate we had about an hour wait. 

Boarding and the flight were uneventful, which is a good thing.  As we were descending through the clouds I managed to snap a few interesting pics out the window. 

The landing was a little hard, but walking through the terminal was easy since we've been to Oakland before and we didn't check any bags.  

Bobskoot graciously offered to pick us up from the airport and drive us into the city and it wasn't too long before he pulled up in his rental car.

We arrived in San Francisco before noon and since we were too early to check into our hotel we kept our bag in the car and walked over to meet Roger.

Hugs were exchanged and we were excited to spend the day with our new friend. We piled into the car and drove to lunch at the Golden Era Restaurant on O'Farrell street.  Soup was consumed and prezzies were handed out.  Thank you Rogey and Lori, you are far too generous.

We decided on a drive over to Chinatown.  Parking was scarce but Troubadour managed to find a metered spot.

Strolling in and out of the shops commenced.

(Bobskoot and Rogey)

(A cow in a candy store - not quite the same as a bull in a China shop)

(Lanterns, lanterns, and more lanterns)
A few items were purchased.  I managed to find a small owl key chain made from horn for my Mom and an orange smiley face luggage tag.  Huge purchases, I know.

After Chinatown we drove down to Fisherman's Wharf and Pier 39 to wander some more.  This is about when the drizzle started.  We walked for an hour or so and Rogey treated us to salt water taffy.

(Bobskoot photographing a seagull and Alcatraz)

(Oh Rogey - you cheeky devil)

(Not sure why this was in the store but they had more than one)

As the rain came down a little harder we decided to return to the hotel, found parking then went out for a drink at the Vertigo Bar.  I had a "Georgia Peach Tea."  I couldn't tell you the hooch it had it in it, but it was good and my nose felt a little fuzzy after.  They must have used a fuzzy peach.

As we walked we thought we'd best find dinner since Bob needed to take the BART to his accommodations for the night.  We found a great little Thai place where we had good food, good conversation and good company.

We dropped Bob off at the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) and went to find parking near the hotels.  Once that was acquired everyone went to their rooms for a rest with an agreement to meet later for a nightcap.

We managed to find a place called Upcider that we'd noticed earlier.  It is located above Vertigo. We weren't interested in any of their food, but each sampled a different hard cider.

It was getting late and the place got really busy and loud so we headed back.  It was only a 2 block walk so not far at all.  We retired for the night with plans to meet at a little cafe to break our fast.

Sunday morning we were up early.  We met Rogey at 9 am for coffee and headed out of the city by 10 to meet the rest of the gang by 11.  Turns out it wasn't that far of a drive as we made it to Alameda and the restaurant - La Penca Azul by 10:30.  We were the first to arrive so we grabbed a table and chatted and drank some coffee to further wake up.  Soon Bobskoot and Marianne arrived, followed by Guido and Andrea and then Kathy.

I didn't take any pictures at the restaurant so believe me when I said that good times were had at our three hour brunch.  Food and drinks were consumed.  We chatted with old friends and new. Thank you to those that went out of their way to attend the group brunch.

After brunch Bob, Rogey, Troubadour and I went to the USS Hornet Museum in Alameda.  Yes, this is the same WW II aircraft carrier we visited in 2011.  My prior posts from that trip can be found HERE and HERE.

I managed a few pictures, but most were of the patterns I found in the surrounding ship exteriors.


As we were leaving I looked out one of the openings on the hanger deck and saw the sun starting to set.

(Watching the setting sun from aboard the USS Hornet - Alameda, CA)

It was our turn to take transit back into town, so from the Hornet, we drove to the closest BART station  and said our goodbyes to Bob since he was heading home first thing Monday morning.  

The BART is fairly easy to navigate and we made it to the Powell Street station in just a few minutes.  We walked up Powell Street to Sutter Street and to our hotels.  We decided to relax for a few hours then meet up again for a late dinner.  We all know how that went from the posts that have already been put up, which can be read HERE and HERE in case you missed them.

I blame Sunday night's events on Sanraku, the sushi restaurant.  If they hadn't told us to come back in one hour we wouldn't have ended up at the Sugar Cafe for drinks.  AND if Sanraku hadn't been closing so early we wouldn't have ended up next door at the Sutter Pub until they closed.

Needless to say it was a fabulous evening and couldn't have turned out any better if we'd have planned it.  The three of us seemed to all have a lot in common and got along like we'd been friends all our lives.

Monday morning we were up earlier than anticipated.  I seemed to be the only perky one, imagine that. Once again we met at the cafe for coffee and a pick me up.  I found it interesting that as we left the owner inquired if Brad and Roger were brothers.  That says a lot right there.  If you look at this picture shamelessly pilfered from Bobskoot you can almost see the resemblance.

(Brad, Rogey, and Me)
We decided a venture to the Castro district would be interesting.  We'd never been to that part of the city the history is sad, but fascinating.  The Castro is the historic home of the LGBT movement and Harvey Milk.  Harvey Milk opened a camera shop on Castro Street in 1972.  He then became the first openly gay person elected to public office in California when he was elected as San Francisco Supervisor in January 1978. Sadly, he was assassinated 11 months later on November 27, 1978.

We strolled the streets wandering into this shop and that.  We chuckled when we passed Brandy Ho's Hunan Food. What's in a name anyway?

(Brandy Ho's Hunan Food)

We had a coffee and lunch at the Castro Tarts Cafe and Bakery and strolled some more.

(Rainbow flag at the Harvey Milk Plaza)

(Famous Castro Theatre)

(Looking South on Castro Street)
As we walked, a few stores due to their content and/or their names caught our attention.  A few of them were named:  Puff N Stuff, Does Your Mother Know, Hot Cookies, Orphan Andy's, Saucy Dumplings, Sausage Factory.  And the funniest name of the day goes to.......

(Squat & Gobble, Cafe and Crapery)

It is going to seem odd, but that is the last picture I took on the trip.  From the Castro we took a taxi back to Roger's hotel.  'Some' of us were feeling a little peaked so we said our goodbyes and walked down to the Powell Street Station.  We then took the BART to Oakland and the shuttle to the airport.

We attempted to catch an earlier flight but were informed it would cost us $180 per person.  No worries we thought, we can wait 5 hours for our flight at 7:40 pm.

We asked if we could check our one bag because we didn't think some of the gifts we received would make it through security.  Not having ever checked luggage we weren't sure what to expect. We didn't expect to be told we couldn't check a bag more than 4 hours prior to our flight.  We were given our boarding passes and pretty much lurked by baggage claim for an hour counting the minutes.  Once 3:40 arrived we checked the bag through the baggage quick-check (for those with boarding passes) and proceeded through security.  Troubadour was given a nice upper body pat down on his way through.  Apparently they didn't like the way the zipper on his sweater looked.

We split a veggie sub for dinner and found a deserted gate to relax, surf the net on the laptop and iPad and wait for our flight.  One or more iced coffees may have been consumed.

Our flight home was fine and we arrived back at our car by 10 pm and home to Basil by midnight. When I opened our bag to put everything away I found a notice from TSA that our bag had been inspected. Perhaps it looked suspicious or perhaps they saw us lurking for an hour before checking it.  We'll never know.  It did make me chuckle though as some items were wrapped in laundry to protect them during travel and all we had left at the time was dirty laundry.

I want to say a big thank you to all those who managed to take time out of their busy schedules to meet up in San Francisco/Alameda.  It was a pleasure meeting everyone.  And until the next time, we'll see you round the blogs.

- Au Revoir

"You can always tell a real friend:  when you've made a fool of yourself he doesn't feel you've done a permanent job." - Laurence J. Peter


  1. FUN!! I haven't been to California since high school. Nice photos too!

    1. High school wasn't so long ago was it? I bet it seems like just yesterday.

  2. The sunset photos are gorgeous. I've only been on a destroyer and inside a sub, not a carrier. That I would love to do.

    As winter returns here, I feel a little warmer just looking at your photos. Thanks.

    1. Thank you Martha. It was a treat to see the sun for a bit.

      I've been on a destroyer in Seattle and the carrier in Alameda, but never a sub although there is one in San Francisco.

  3. A weekend away with good company and a change in scenery is as good as a rest! Whomever thought of the idea for you all the meet is to be applauded...I've enjoyed the posts and pictures.

    1. Some times a weekend away is just what we need. Glad you have enjoyed the silliness.

  4. Fabulous write up for a busy couple of days. We tried our hardest to convince Rogey he needed to purchase one of those hats from Savannah. No luck. But he did peruse the "smoking" souvenier section (like I see behind him modeling his underwear).

    Great capture of the patterns around the ship.

    I can only imagine some of the conversations that took place in reference to many of those shop names. That must have been a riotous walk around town. Good thing that wasn't the drinking neighborhood the night before. :)

    I've always wondered about the TSA checks when not supervised by you...dirty least they didn't leave any other notes like someone else received when they discovered her "special device".

    Thanks for sharing.

    1. I damn near spit my coffee when I read "special devices", lol wouldn't think people took those on planes. We were thinking the night life in the Castro would be quite a sight. I am sure that part of the city comes alive after dark.

      Funny thing is that our bag didn't look like it had been disturbed on the inside unless they wrapped the goods exactly as we did. Was odd. It wasn't a hand written note but a formal printed form they use as a standard notice.

  5. Your weekend getaway report was so much clearer than others, seems that you didn't embrace the fuzzyness as others did ;-) This much fun couldn't have been planned better. Thanks so much for the share.

    1. No, I didn't embrace as much fuzziness. But the fuzziness I had was tasty. I rarely, if ever drink, so it doesn't take much. That and I am still drinking for taste so it has to taste good or I'm not interested.

  6. i miss you guys already...
    see basil, mom and dad returned! :) if only cinco would believe me in that regard.
    i wish we had more time together! i'm sorry it was sortoff hectic here, but next time i WILL plan / coordinate better. ;)
    big hugs!

    1. It was so good to meet you Marianne. At least we got to talk a little at brunch. Thanks for suggesting the place. The fruit in that buffet really hit the spot.

      Hope you and Cinco are doing well. I bet he is glad to have you all to himself.

  7. Grat write up hun, I think you have captued the vents very very well..

    Miss you guys, it was the ebst thing to, I am extremly grateful you made theffort to come.

    1. Rogey!! I bet you are glad to be home safe and sound.

      Thank you for including us in your little vacation and for all the little kiwi goodies. It was soooo good to meet you and we a;ready look forward to next time. Big hugs.

  8. This is a great write-up of the weekend. At least what you want to disclose.

    I also like the pattens in the ship photos, It looks like you all had a great time. Sanraku is a pretty good sushi place. A year ago, I went there several times but last month it wasn't as convenient to the hotel. But it was always crowded. Years ago, Brandy Ho's was one of my sisters favorite restaurants when she lived there but we usually went to another one closer to Chinatown. The food there is pretty good and nice and spicy. Not too many Hunan restaurants around.

    No videos, eh? Or are those still being held for blackmail material....

    1. I don't think there is much more to it. The only night of partying was Sunday and I've already shared the pictures. I don't think narrative is really necessary. You know to protect the not so innocent.

      We really liked Sanraku - I had a great sweet potato tempura roll and a yummy cold spinach salad appetizer. I would go back again and I think Roger even went back before he left. It would have been interesting to try Brandy Ho's but it was too early for food that heavy - the gents weren't feeling well you know.

      No videos. I only took pictures and this is about all of them. One or two more form the Castro of the street or lamps, a few more on the Hornet, but that is about it. I didn't go photo crazy for once.

  9. What a great looking trip! I recognized the line from Naz immediately. I am a big also, it made me smile.

    1. Ahhh I see we have the same great taste in music!!

      Glad I could make you smile. Of course now I've been singing a few of their songs. Can't get them out of my head.

  10. Trobairitz:

    It was a great weekend, wasn't it ! Looks like the weather improved on Monday morning for your visit to the Castro area. I was like you, sitting at the Oakland airport waiting for my plane, and resting. I liked those unusual store names.

    It was a long day for you two but you made it home safe and sound. We had a great Sunday brunch in Alameda and I appreciated the opportunity to be able to meet Ms M, KTdid, Guido & Andrea. 'Till next time . . .

    Riding the Wet Coast
    My Flickr // My YouTube

    1. Thanks for making it down for the weekend Bob and for picking us up at the airport and making sure we got around town okay.

      It was a long but but we survived. We were a little sleepy driving home but we made it fine. Luckily hubby drove.

  11. As places to hang out the Oakland Airport is so bad. Of course there are better places, but there are much worse. I've spent more time in that airport than any other. Alas, that has been many years ago now and a lifetime ago. I'm glad you made it home safe with wonderful memories...and, I glad you and the others have shared your experiences. Good stuff.

    1. I've only been in a handful of airport, PDX in Portland, OAk in Oakland, LAS in Law Vegas, but I have to say PDX is the cleanest and I like that every vendor in there makes a deal with the Port of Portland that they cannot change any more for their goods at the airport than they would selling it anywhere else. It is nice to pay a normal price for a bottle of water as opposed to $4 for the same bottle at one of the other airports.

      I think it is always great when bloggers have the opportunity to meet. It is like we already know each other from the interweb, but to actually talk face to face is a treat.

  12. Did anyone notice that Brandys Ho's are all you can eat.

    Looks like you guys had a great weekend with Rogey, it was extremely generous of you all to fly down to show him around and all.

    1. Ahh Steve, you would notice that. We did have a good chuckle at the sign. Hubby noticed it, it's all his fault.

      We did have a great weekend and I am glad he gave us the opportunity to hang out with him. He is one in a million, but don't tell him that, it'll go right to his head. :-)

  13. What great trips you all had!! That with the fact that you were able to share with so many....very nice. My last trip to SF was two years ago, daughter flew on to Cleveland but due to a huge snowstorm in the Twin Cities, I used Alaska Air to Portland and spent a good part of the day there waiting for MSP to open again.

    Feels like I got to know you all much better :)

    Everyone's photos have inspired me to go back and review mine; thank you for that.

    1. Two years ago isn't so very long. I hope you had fun in SF too. At least you got stuck at the Portland airport. PDX prides itself on being clean and their goods reasonably priced. Compared to Oakland, it was spotless.

  14. What great memories ... thanks for sharing.

    1. Memories, that is what it is all about. So we can reminisce when everyone goes home and it is too cold to ride.

  15. Wow! A weekend and a half. It sure sounds like one great moment after the other. Haven't been in San Fran in at least 20 years, so a trip out would be just like going for the first time.

    Bobskoot is really the man at times, eh? It's so nice to know folks like he.

    Your photography is always both interesting and vibrant.

    The only thing wrong here is you two live too far away. I think a resettlement might be in order. Come on over!
    Ciao. Mike.

    1. We did manage to cram a lot into two short days.

      Thanks Mike - I enjoy your photographs as well.

      Sometimes we feel isolated out here on the west coast, but at least there are a lot of bloggers out here too. There seems to be a high concentration on the east coast as well. I don't think I could handle your winters. And how odd it would be to have the sun rising over the ocean instead of setting over it. I'd be confuzzled thing day was night. :-)

  16. Really great photos! Don't you just love San Francisco?! I grew up CA (Navy brat) and when dad was stationed at Alameda, we lived in Hayward. We'd go to San Francisco as a special family see a movie, or go out to eat in Chinatown. I got back there frequently on business as an adult. I could spend hours, days in Chinatown alone!

    1. Thank you. San Francisco can be fun but it is also a big city. We don't always do well in big cities. I think going to the city should be a treat just as you said, I don't think I'd want to live in one. And if I did have to I'd hope I could walk everywhere and not need to drive. Chinatown is interesting. So many shops all with the same trinkets nowadays though. The food markets are definitely cool to wander though.