S: Girl's Getaway to San Francisco September 2011
FC: Girl's Getaway San Francisco September 2011
2: SFO Internat | It's funny how things turn out. We originally decided to have a girl's weekend when Tani picked up a trip to work with layovers in Lihue, Hawaii and Oakland, California. We figured it would be an inexpensive way to have a great vacation! So that's what we planned for an entire month. And so many people thought it was quite special for a mother and daughter in-law to take a trip together. We are blessed to have that kind of relationship. So, two days before we are supposed to leave, the flights to Hawaii go from seven open seats to being oversold by two! Who plans a Hawaiian vacation and buys tickets two days before hand anyways; honestly. But that's what happens when traveling on standby.
3: ional Airport | So not wanting to let a little thing like no available seats foil our plans for a weekend getaway, we had to come up with an alternative. We settled on San Francisco (since that destination had the most open seats) and we would just go for a couple days and see how it turned out. We made our final travel plans the night before and were going to leave out on the first flight in the morning. Cheryl was so excited for the trip that she woke up at midnight to start getting ready. Tani had got home from a working trip at 8pm the night before and only got an hour nap before heading off to the airport at 4am. Starting a fun filled trip on adrenaline; let the party begin!
4: The plane ride down was perfect! It was a very fast 1 hour and 30 minutes; and we got to sit by each other. With my crew badge, I was able to go through security with liquids, so I brought a little water bottle with vodka in it. So when the flight attendants went through with the beverage service, we were able to turn our spicy tomato (Cheryl) and cranberry (Tani) into a Bloody Mary and cranberry vodka. And yes, we did have two each! We wanted to start our vacation off right, so we got our buzz on at 6am in the morning. Once we landed in SFO, we then had to go to our hotel and get checked in. We didn't have to wait for our shuttle for very long til it showed up. Perfect timing! We would be staying at the Comfort Inn and Suites SFO Airport North. I booked the hotel thinking it was in a different part of town. The farther and farther we went in the opposite direction of where I thought we would be staying, the more I realized why the rate was so inexpensive! But it couldn't be all that bad. After all it was just a place to sleep and the website said it had waterfront property, garden view rooms and a free breakfast!
5: Waterfront View from our room | Our spacious room with a balcony and two king beds | Garden View
6: We got to the hotel so early, we couldn't check into our room quite yet. So we just checked our bags at the front desk and got right back on the shuttle to go to the airport. From the airport, we took the hotel shuttle to go to the Hyatt Regency. The Hyatt is where the crews stay when the crews have a San Francisco layover. The going rate for a night there is $600! We looked around the hotel a bit so I could show Cheryl how I lived in luxury from time to time. Then we waited to take the shuttle into Burlingame; a cute little town with a variety of shops, boutiques and restaurants.
7: We were tired of waiting for the shuttle and decided to walk to Burlingame to get our exercise in. It was a beautiful day and only a 45 minute walk. As soon as we got there we ate at a cute little restaurant with outside seating, called Munch. We shared an appetizer just to say that we ate, but mainly we wanted mimosas. And so started our second buzz before 11am! We browsed all the shops, including a delicious bakery. We also cleaned up at a discount liquor store, Bevmo. The prices are so cheap in California! We ended up having to go to Walgreens to buy two little duffel bags just to carry all of our alcohol back to the hotel!
8: After leaving Burlingame, we went back to our hotel (with our two full duffel bags of booze) to get checked in and settled. We didn't want to waste too much of our day so we planned for our next adventure. We decided to go down to the Fisherman's Wharf and spend the rest of the day there. Before we left we got our third buzz of the day on and had margaritas. We even packed two extra bottles in our purses to bring with us for the train ride downtown. We took the BART train to Fisherman's Wharf. Once we got to the station, we both had a nice glow on. We asked the station lady what stop to get off at and had to have her repeat it like five times. "Berk and Deli" "Barkadolli" "Broken Arrow" and finally we got it! Embarcadero! And from the train we had to take a bus to the wharf. The buses were old school and had the history of that particular bus on the inside. Ours came from Alabama. The Wharf had some great stores, including a left hand store and an all Christmas store and Chocolate Heaven.
11: A GRAND ADVENTURE IS ABOUT TO BEGIN | WINNIE THE POOH | We had such a full first day. We started heading back to the hotel from the Wharf around 7pm so it wasn't so dark for us to be riding on subway trains and all. We did think ahead before getting on the train. We stopped at a convenience store and got a bottle of champagne and some orange juice for our morning drinks. By the time we got back to the hotel we were whooped! I had been awake for over 24 hours at this point with nothing more than an hour nap, and Cheryl was two hours shy of 24 hours being awake. We were so tired in fact, that Cheryl fell asleep in the middle of a conversation we were having. What a day. And yet we did it all over again! We woke up fairly early, though it was a later start than we wanted. We had breakfast in the hotel lobby and made sure we had our "orange juice" packed. You can't start the day off right without mimosas! We each packed our water bottle that we had filled with champagne and orange juice to be discrete; buzz number one for the day! But it's ok, because we were drinking healthy; it has orange juice in it after all! We took the hotel shuttle to the airport once again to connect with the BART station. From there we took the yellow line all the way down to Embarcadero. We saw signs all over the place saying not to drink on the train and that we were being watched on camera. Being paranoid as we were since the champagne had started to kick in; we thought we would be smart and just drink when the red light on the camera wasn't on. Then they couldn't see us. Yeah right. But at least we weren't caught by the drink police. By the time we got off the train, I had to go to the bathroom soooooo bad! And of course there wasn't a bathroom in sight. Everywhere we looked there were signs saying "No Restroom" "No Facilities" and the part of town we were located in was downtown in the business district so no luck there either. Luckily we found a Pete's Coffee just in time before I exploded. We rejuvenated with a cup of coffee and then got on the bus to go to the Wharf. The bus had just pulled up as we were ready to go. Perfect timing yet again.
12: "The Red and White Fleet. A San Francisco tradition since 1892. Founded in 1892 by 17-year old Thomas Crowley, the Red and White Fleet has become a piece of San Francisco history and one of the most popular ways to explore the City by the Bay. Starting with only $80, Crowley entered the competitive boating business, transporting goods and passengers in a time before bridges connected San Francisco to the surrounding bay. Crowley's Launch and Tugboat Company was incorporated shortly before the infamous 1906 earthquake, which shattered San Francisco's thriving economy and liveliness. Nonetheless, Crowley's business grew, continuously carrying people and their belongings from the battered streets of San Francisco. In 1913, Crowley offered up manpower and equipment to aid in the execution of the magnificent Panama Pacific Exposition and | obtained exclusive rights to ferry service and sightseeing expeditions between the pier and the nearby US Battleship Oregon. Up to this point, Crowley's passenger services relied strongly upon tourists' desires to visit the several historic battleships docked in the bay. But with the completion of the Bay Bridge and Golden Gate Bridge, his fleet started to offer tours with breathtaking views of the bridges from the Bay below. In the late 1940's, Crowley repainted the vessels-red and white- and took the present name Red and White Fleet and began frequent sightseeing excursions on the Bay. In 1960, Tom Escher, grandson of the founder and the present owner, (continued next page)
13: (continued from previous page) started working as a sweeper and a mechanic's helper on the vessels. Today, the Red and White Fleet remains as one of San Francisco's oldest family owned businesses, and continues the tradition of offering premiere San Francisco cruises to visitors from around the world. The fleet now operates all of its vessels using biodiesal-a renewable resource that reduces carbon emissions." - A history of the company that we took our cruise on.
14: WE WANDER FOR DISTRACTION, BUT WE TRAVEL FOR FULFILLMENT. | HILAIRE BELLOC | We took the blue route
15: We started our second day with a cruise on San Francisco Bay. It was the perfect morning; not too hot or cold, just a little bit windy, and had mimosas in each hand! (We had to keep our buzz going from the train ride down here!) We walked down to Pier 43 1/2 and boarded our ship. It was so much fun. It was such a beautiful morning and we had perfect views of the city, the San Francisco Bay Bridge, the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Island. The fog in the San Francisco area is so unpredictable and fast moving. As we approached the Golden Gate Bridge we had the most spectacular views. By the time we circled it and left, behind us was nothing but a wall of thick fog. It was quite amazing! The cruise only lasted an hour and then we were back at shore. It was very interesting and full of history. It was an audio cruise so when we boarded everyone got their own set of headphones and a little audio player.
16: Now you see it....
17: ...Now you don't!
19: MAKING MEMORIES
20: ALCA | We circled the amazing island as a part of our tour. It was quite an incredible sight. To know what went on there and see the buildings on this small island in the middle of nowhere, kind of took your breathe away. There was a sign on one side of the island that warned "WARNING! Persons procuring or concealing escape of prisoners are subject to prosecution and imprisonment themselves." It's hard to imagine how those three guys were
21: TRAZ | able to escape this death island so many years ago. We wanted to take a tour on the actual island. To be able to walk the grounds and go inside the prison cells. It's an eerie thought to do something like that but also very interesting. Unfortunately all the tours were sold out and we weren't able to go. Actually we did call one tour and they did have one seat open!. I told them I would have sat on her lap, but they still said no!
22: As we pulled into port at Pier 43 1/2, we pulled alongside a retired Navy submarine. We sent pictures of the boat to Jason telling him we thought of him when we saw the boat that was 'long and hard and full of seamen.' We started walking back towards the bus to take back into downtown and heard this horrible loud shrieking sound. It was getting louder, then we finally saw the source of the ear piercing noise; it was a seagull protecting his lunch buffet. He was chowing down on a chili bread bowl and shooing off other birds and people who got too close. Then I looked across the street and saw the craziest public toilet ever. It folded up into the billboard and blended in perfect. I wanted to go inside to check it out but there was a line. Before we got on the bus, we passed by a restaurant with raw fish and crab staged in the window like art....gross!
23: After a fun filled day at Fisherman's Wharf downtown, unfortunately it had to come to an end. We traveled (on a bus, a subway and a hotel shuttle) back to our hotel to get our bags. We had checked out that morning but were able to keep our bags checked behind the counter while we were out having fun all day. When we walked in, we were met by our stalker yet again! This guy seemed to be everywhere and also paid waaaay too much attention to us and our coming and goings. When we first checked in he apparently noticed us and when we came back that day to actually check into our room, he approached us and asked where we had gone and what we were up to. We thought it very odd but he was just trying to make conversation. Then he waited for the elevator with us, when he was just getting off at the second floor and the stairs were about 20 feet away! The following morning the hairdryer in our room was broken and we called to have someone fix it....guess who knocks on our door! We joked saying that was probably the highlight of his day. I made sure to keep the door to the outside open the whole time he was there! He just seemed to be everywhere we were. Very disturbing. I tried taking pictures of him discretely, like pretending to text while taking a picture or having Cheryl pose when I was trying to get him.
24: A TRIP WE WILL NEVER FORGET | We left our hotel behind and started on our journey home. That morning when I checked flight loads, there were 14 open seats. Figured there was no need to worry or stress about getting home so we took the last flight out. However, when we checked in for our flight, it was oversold by two! We started praying really hard. We checked our bags of alcohol to baggage claim and went to see what we were up against on the non-rev list. The agent told us "the bright side is, there are 30 open seats on the first flight out in the morning." We were preparing to spend the night in the airport. There were two minutes left for the missing passengers to check in and determine our fate....we made it! An exciting end to our exciting vacation!