Saturday, July 11, 2009

Glad To Be Home

Due to an American Airlines jet malfunction in Dallas, we returned a day later than scheduled. We left San Jose on time but could not make the Dallas-Chicago connection. AA put us up overnight in Chicago and we landed in Syracuse about 11 am this morning. Something about the jet's windshield heater that would not work and hail storms over Illinois.

We were exhausted. There is something about travel that knocks you out; must be the stress and all the sitting around. We got to the Hyatt at 2200 local time, had a quick bite and collapsed. We were up since 0400.

But we had a good time visiting our daughter in Monterey.

Monterey/Central California is stunning; cold as all get out along the coast, but incredibly beautiful. Most of the time the temperature stayed in the mid-sixties. Funny, as long as you were out of the wind you could get sunburned and stay comfortable. When we left the Navy Lodge to drive to San Jose at 0520 hr it was 49 degrees; when we landed at Dallas it was 99.
I didn't take any photos when we went to our daughter's barracks at the Presidio as she said the guards get antsy about that.
Got some pix from Big Sur, Cannery Row (Monterey) and San Francisco. We traveled about sixty miles down the coast south from Carmel to see the following.

The pictures above and below are from the Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park. The estate of Lathrop and Helen Hooper Brown (the land was purchased as the Saddle Rock Ranch in 1924 and the house was built in 1940) was torn down in 1966 and the land donated to the State of California. The park is named after a close friend of Mrs. Brown, Julia Pfeiffer, the daughter of a Big Sur pioneer family.. The scenery is just incredible. Pictures simply cannot do it justice.


There are no more canneries in Monterey but there was a motorcycle race in the area over the weekend and the place was packed curb to curb with every motorcycle make and model imaginable.

There are all kinds of tourist shops and restaurants. At night the cops closed off the entire area for motorcycles. They even towed cars that the owners had left parked on the street.


What can I say about San Francisco... We froze our asses off.
Cold and windy, beggars and street freaks and street cars. To get here we drove a rental from Monterey to SF - about a 2.5 hour drive up CA Hwy 1. Going north on Hwy 1 was not as spectacular as the southbound trip but there were several areas of interest.

The wind was fierce. I had some trouble keeping the camcorder steady on top of this hill whilst photographing the Golden Gate. Right behind me is the remains of a 12 inch rifle battery that was installed after Pearl Harbor. It protected the entrance to SF Bay during WWII. I really should have taken a picture of it because it looked like it had barracks and fortifications at one time.

One other thing - the tourist sanitary accommodations at the bridge were atrocious; it resembled an Iraqi prison crapper. The only things missing were chains hanging from the ceiling and car battery jumper cables for my nuts. I was tempted to take a picture but it grossed me out.

This is City Hall; very impressive edifice.

Haight Ashbury - Yeah, there be hippies here. The girls wanted to go shopping at all the different places. There are a ton of specialty shops and little restaurants here as well as beggars and street hustlers trying to sell crap, they are all in their twenties. We got my grandson a camouflage jacket at a Army Surplus store on Haight St. We ate at the Pork Store Cafe - I must admit the food was good and the coffee (non-Starbucks) wherever I went was excellent.

This is on the Bay side. Those are florescent-yellow clad tourists taking a Segway ecologically approved tour through SF. It was like watching a flock of geese go by with brooms stuck up their asses. I would sooner die, truly.The Segway geese were behind me as I was taking this picture. There is a wharf down the road.

Alcatraz in the Bay from the back of a street car. We drove up one SF street in our rental Impala and I thought the car was going to flip over backwards. This city would be impossible in the Northeast where it snows for five months of the year. I have never seen hills like this with houses and apartments cheek-to-jowl coming out of the ground at almost a forty-degree angle to the road.

The people we met were very, very nice. Some lady gave my wife three all day street car passes at the ticket kiosk, just like that and they go for $11 a pop. We got lost several times and people went out of their way to help us get to where we needed to go. I just can't imagine taking a trolley to work everyday but these people seemed rather laid back compared to us twitchy northern types.

Everyone in SF that I approached agreed that this is typical summer weather. I was the only fool in SF wearing cargo shorts and no socks. Now I know why they stuck that prison out in the middle of the Bay.

We had a good time and now that I have finally had a decent night's rest (I got sick the day before we left Syracuse on 2 July and was still coughing and hacking today) even the missed flight due to the foul up in Dallas isn't all that bad in retrospect. It was such a joy to see my three daughters together again - you would not believe the silliness and laughing.

I really don't want to see SF again though, once is enough. Tony Bennet should sing that song "I Froze My Ass In San Francisco."


Anonymous said...

Crap, Sig, you were in Chicago? Why didn't ya call me? I wouldn't come get ya or anything, but you could have called. It would have been pretty funny as I rolled over and went back to sleep.

Good to have ya back!

USA_Admiral said...

Other than being completely tired it looks to have been a great trip.

sig94 said...

It was Admiral. Lord we miss her already.

SoCalOilMan said...

Glad you had an overall good trip. I wouldn't go near SF unless I decided to take a bike trip up the 101 through Big Sur, and even then, I'd drive around the city.

sig94 said...

101 SoCal? The wife and I were thinking that if we ever are in CA again that we would rent a motorcycle to do the Hwy 1 route through Big Sur. Have you done that?

SoCalOilMan said...

Yep! Twice on a bike and loved it. Once in a car and hated it. If your driving you don't have time to see anything.

My mistake on the freeway number, the 101 becomes the 1 once you get out of L.A. Last time I made that drive I just got on the 101 and felt like riding...I just ended up outside of San Fran when it was getting dark. Slept in a turnout and rode back down the nest day. Best trip evah!

Anonymous said...

It was my dad who suggested that Alcatraz be turned into a park.


sig94 said...

We stopped so many times on Rt 1 to just gawk. I think we'd do the same thing on a bike but all the winding twists and turns would be a lot more fun.

Wow, your dad Azy? Nice place for a picnic. Ya don't need any ice. We would have liked t go there but from what I hear you have to apply for tickets weeks in advance.