Wednesday, August 29, 2007
After visiting Pinnacles, we stopped in the small town of San Juan Bautista, home of one of the more famous Spanish Missions. (This one was featured in the Hitchcock movie Vertigo...although the movie's legendary bell tower was added by Hitchcock, and not part of the real mission! The bell tower in the photo below is the real one, and not the one in the movie.) One highlight of San Juan Bautista was JJ's Burgers, where I had to try the JJ's famous Mexican hotdog...which is wrapped in bacon and covered with pico de gallo and jalapenos...YUM.
So, let's just begin with today. Portland.
I am pleased to report that my flight here was TOTALLY UNEVENTFUL. Can you imagine? Early to the airport. Easy check-in. On time departure and arrival.
Its quite warm in Portland this evening. Over 90F when we landed. But Jeff reports that its warm in SF this evening as well. (Although this is nothing compared with the 100+ degrees we will see in Las Vegas this weekend!)
Tonight, I'll curl up in Westin's famous "heavenly bed"...we'll see!! I'm still a travel skeptic for a bit while longer :)
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Sunday and Monday were quite cool all day, and the overcast skies were only broken enough to dump showers throughout the day. Still, the rain brought relief to an overly dry summer (glad we could help) and gave us an excuse to stay indoors and play with the kids...boy did they eat it up.
Today (Tuesday), the sun broke through in the afternoon and the temps followed suit. We took advantage, and took a dip in the pool. Fantastic.
Sunday, August 19, 2007
The drive to Muskegon had its own obstacles...misleading rental car signs at O'Hare...the Illinois state champion Slowest Toll Booth Attendant along the Skyway...steady downpours thru most of Michigan...tons of road construction that made our GPS sugggest right when we needed to go left. But again...we survived.
Jeff's parents woke up to welcome us with hugs. The cats are purring. The rains have cooled the air to a perfect sleeping temp.
Suddenly, two seats popped up on a direct flight at 5pm! We were stunned, but you never question fate.
We are still PISSED at United for waiting four hours to cancel our flight...such that most alternatives are gone. That is no way to treat people. But, at least we will (fingers crossed) arrive in Muskegon before breakfast.
One sad observation. I overheard United telling one traveler who was being booked on a flight tomorrow that there were no hotels available. "But if you find one on your own, here is a form to fill out." What?????
Saturday, August 18, 2007
Of couse, now we have to stand in a long customer service line that snakes off to infinity. How is it that Safeway knows how to spot a long line and call a manager over to help with surge support, but United sticks with two lonely smiling faces regardless of the line?
After a full hour in the gate area, with people scrambling to re-book connections, the gate agent FINALLY came on and said they would make a 'decision' at 1pm...an hour from now. No sense trying to re-book to Chicago...the next two flights are over sold. Joy.
Frankly, I'm fine with delays...I just want information. Pretty please?
We're on our way to Michigan this morning, and the day started off quite nicely. Our taxi was early. Check-in was smooth. Security lines were almost non-existent. And I even had time to grab a latte from Peets before our on-time flight.
Unfortunately, an on-time push back from the gate doesn't always translate to an on-time departure. After an hour on the tarmac at SFO, we returned to the gate to investigate a 'noisy air conditioning duct'.
Hopefully this is not a repeat of Denver! Fingers crossed.
One fun item...I read this fantastic quote in Bon Appetit describing drinking a mojito--my current favorite drink--in Cuba.
"The Mojito is almost like an anti-cocktail...an unpretentious way of sprucing up the rum you're going to drink anyway--just because its hot out and you're pleasantly bored and you want to take the edge off."
Hmmmm...I could use some edge removal right about now.
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Thursday, August 09, 2007
Gal: "How are things?"
Guy: "Same ol' shit...different pile." [silence] "Did you hear that I'm transferring to New York?"
Gal: "No way." [silence] "Are they offering you a managerial job?"
Hmmmm, maybe you had to see the two of them to appreciate the irony. Oh well, that's the future of America...definitely executive material :)
Sunday, August 05, 2007
Nah, I don't mind that all the nasty trash has been removed, but check out these after and before shots from my regular photo route. I suppose the good news is that my prints are now unique forever!
Otherwise, this was a pretty low-key weekend. We caught The Simpsons Movie on Friday night. Saturday, we test drove a couple of cars to replace Jeff's aging beast of a vehicle. And Sunday, we drove north to Napa to pick up a wine club shipment.
[Note on the Simpsons Movie. Like most Simpsons adventures, there were moments that made me laugh out loud, lines that we have been quoting since Friday, and long stretches that just made me sit back and smile. I am certain that upon repeated viewing I will discover the hidden gems and those subversive elements that have forever ingrained the Simpsons in my subconscious. And yet, with all the build-up of expectations, you can't help but come away with a wish list of could-have-beens. But to be fair, we don't see many films on the big screen any more, and my aversion to theatres and strangers couldn't help but sedate me a bit. Sooooo, thumbs up...with an eager eye to the DVD, when I can soak it all in on MY terms.]
Wednesday, August 01, 2007
The funny thing is that by the end of these long summer travel days, the airports are almost silent...in stark contract with the palpable tension in the terminal just hours earlier. The remaining delayed travelers seem to have accepted their fate, and people settle down with a book, or a video game, or in one case I spotted in Denver...knitting.
For me, the delay was a fitting bookend to a stressful trip all around. Fortunately, I got to meet fantastic coworkers in Miami, who invited me into their fold like old friends.