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Monday, December 22, 2008

My Travel Journey

So I'm sitting her at LAX... bored outta my mind, being that I have 3 hours before my flight even thinks to start boarding, I figure this will be a good time to start my travel blog.  I started a blog (in Word) while I was on my first flight, but I didn't really keep up with it and now, after having such an interesting experience, I figure it's probably better to just type as I remember... Sorry this blog won't have any pictures, they are still on my camera ... look for them on the networking sites (hopefully) soon.

I would like to just stop for a short moment and mention that while I was waiting in the security line here at LAX I saw Jane Kaczmarek ... so that was pretty exciting.  She is the mom on Malcolm in the Middle... I figure she was heading home to Milwaukee to be with family for the holidays.  (no, I don't just know that, click the link)

Anyhow... this is going to get long, but deal with it... read it in pieces if you need to.

Let's back track to Thursday morning.  I'm not really in the mood to give great detail, so this may suck.  I had to wake up at 4am to get to the airport on time... not ideal, but do what you gotta do to escape, right?  When was the last time any of you were driving on 35W South heading towards the crosstown?  The last time for me was apparently quite awhile ago… normally when driving south you need to be in the left lane to exit onto 62 East, so in the left lane I was.  Only to realize that now takes you onto 62 West/35 South.  That pretty much sucked, I’m now driving the opposite direction of the airport.  The first few exits are closed for road work… ugh.  I finally get off and turned around and to the park and ride that I use.  10 minutes later, I’m at the airport.

Flights are on time, I’m all checked in… I debate coffee and decide against it.  If I wanted to try and sleep on the plane, coffee was the last thing I needed.  Once on the plane I found I had a row all to myself.. YAY, right?  Well, there was this drunk dude that was in the aisle seat across from me and the flight attendant says to him “We are not full this morning, if you’d like to move over for more room you are more than welcome to”… great.  This guy kept talking to the people in the row with him… even before we were all on the plane.  He decides to move over to my side.. and is thoughtful enough to ask if I mind.  Mind you, it’s 6am and this guy is LOADED!  I don't want to talk about him.  All you need to know is that he later befriended me; oh joy!  Anyhow, I finally get to Denver.
My layover was short and honestly... at this point I no longer remember it.  
I board my next plane and am headed for San Francisco!  The flight was good, I was able to sleep a little (I think).. and finally land in SF.  As I sit here and type I realize that my memory is wicked bad because I don't even remember the person I sat next to on that flight... and it was only a few days ago.  
Anyhow - the person I was meeting in SF was set to fly in a bit later in the day, so I was on my own for a bit. I had done all my research before I left and knew exactly how to take the BART to the hotel.  I may have struggled a bit trying to get the ticket for the exact price of the trip, but a nice man helped me out :)
Once at the hotel I was able to check in, which was great considering I was there at 11am and check in wasn't until like 3pm.  I go up to the room and unpack, freshen up, and decide I need to eat something.  There was a restaurant (Urban Tavern) hooked to the hotel that came recommend by the front desk so I decided to try it out.  
After that I wanted to make sure and check out Lombard Street , I had been researching things to check out for this time I had alone and Lombard Street was something that struck me.  I shower and set out for a 1.5 mile trek to find a hill... I end up climbing mountains in the process.  You probably know SF is hilly... you just have no idea how hilly until you experience it yourself.  Well, I finally reach the hill I'm looking for and take my pictures (mind you this is my first time using my new camera... so it was pretty exciting), I will post some of those online, I'm sure.  I made sure to take a different route back and ended up getting some pretty dope shots of downtown.  By the time I get back my feet are killing me and I'm bound for the bed to take a quick nap.  My friend has landed and is about an hour away yet.  The timing should work out quite well.  It was around 6:30 at that point so we decided to grab a bite to eat and just have a kind of relaxing night.  Generally I do a better job remembering places I ate, but my brain is exhausted after the past 36 hours.  
Friday ended up being a beautiful day outside, so we decided to take a walk around the city and see some new places.  He told me that I had to try this coffee place and called it the worlds best coffee... that's a high mark to live up to.  Philz Coffee is the name of the place, and let me tell ya... it was damn good.  Crap, I missed mentioning that I saw AT&T Park, which is where the Giants play.  After going to Philz we decided to walk along the water and I was able to get some amazing shots of the Bay Bridge (which is a bridge I had seen before but was never able to get a good shot of it; I'm excited to see how those came out).  We walked more and stopped for lunch at a place right down on the water.  At that point we were ready for a beer, so we had a couple and then went shopping.  LOL... kind of random but the night before at dinner some dude pulled a box of shoes out of his bag and noticed me looking at him, so he asked if I wanted to see them.  Of course I did... as a previous shoe sales lady, I was curious. Apparently Barney's was having a 2 day sale... 70% off most things.. the shoes were not attractive at all.  We wanted to stop in Barney's though and see what this sale was all about... who wouldn't love to say they own something from Barney's?  Turns out a 70% off sale at Barney's still makes items priced well over $200.00!  There was a tie on sale for $240.00... we laughed and left.  He wanted to pick up something to complete my birthday/Christmas gift, and I wanted to go shop ipods (oh yeah... another thing I failed to mention... my iPod no longer works!  I went to turn it on Wednesday night to pack it for the trip... and NOTHING!)  I ended up at Old Navy buying a shirt for $6.00 (take that Barney's!).  
Anyhow, that night we ended up taking a cab to a place in North Beach - The House - They had some very interesting food there!  I enjoyed it very much!
Moving right along....
Saturday was the day for wine country.  We drove up to Sonoma, checked in to our hotel and made our way out to taste some wine!  We started at a Castle, Ledson Winery; absolutely beautiful.  I dont remember any names of the others we went to, but we hit up several and I was feeling the buzz!  I have some, what I think will be, great photos from up there.  Look for 'em... 
That night we decide not to go out for dinner because neither one of us really want to; we bought a bottle of wine from Ledson and figured a pizza would go well with it.  LOL, $40 bucks on a bottle of wine to wash down za... who knew!?
As we are in our room eating our pizza and drinking our wine, we are flipping through channels trying to find something worth watching.  The weather channel is saying things that does not make us happy.  I have to fly through Seattle and Seattle is frozen.  
Here is where my trip gets real interesting... Sunday morning we are both set to fly out, so we get up and drive from Sonoma to SFO, I am able to check in and get through security just fine... he was flying out of a different airport, so he left.  Once inside the gate area I'm asking around trying to figure out if I'll be able to get home, what the flight status' are.. all the important questions.  Meanwhile he is calling airlines for himself and for me.  Turns out my flight from Seattle to MSP was canceled and later my flight from SFO to Seattle would be canceled.  His flights are canceled as well.  So... not really knowing what my options are and knowing EVERYONE in the airport is trying to get around this mess... I start to cry.  I tend to do that when I am frustrated... it's very common.  He drives back up from the San Jose airport to get me and in the mean time I am online checking out hotel prices, looking for something cheap, because getting out that day doesn't look promising.  He comes to get me and we end up at a hotel in Santa Clara, because it was the cheapest.   He is finally able to talk to someone and get me confirmed on a flight from SFO to LAX then from LAX to MSP... putting me in MSP at 848pm on Monday. This is a town of business professionals, so on a Sunday, there isn't much to do... plus it's raining.  
Being a Vikings fan, and us playing ATL and being a huge game... I really didn't want to miss it.  SO we found a sports bar in some hotel and asked them to turn up the volume... we were in it for the long haul!  Vikings lost... which made a shitty day even worse.  The rest of the day is pretty much spent in the hotel room, trying to reach airlines to explore our options.  I ran out to grab us a bite and we ended up falling asleep pretty early.. it was an exhausting day.
Today is here and here I am sitting at LAX waiting for my second flight of the day to board.  The 49 minute flight from SFO to LAX was cake, and I am avoiding the weather in the Pacific Northwest by flying south first.... I was hoping to be able to go standby on an earlier flight to MSP, but all the flights are oversold and going standby is now $50!!!  Here I sit... as mentioned above though, I got to see a celebrity... as if that was the highlight of my day.  My friend is still stuck in the bay area and isn't really sure when he will get home.  They keep canceling flights all over the coast (Seattle, Portland, etc.) and people have been waiting days to make it home.  It really is a fucked up situation, I'm lucky to be on any flight at all.... and knowing my luck, I will probably end up stranded in LA overnight (which would suck donkey balls!).
The one good thing about today... I talked to an insurance agent about my accident last week and they are taking full responsibility.  Someone is going to call me tomorrow to tell me the next steps in getting my car fixed.  There were only a few brief moments where I found myself thinking about my car over the weekend... and after having travel issues all day yesterday I have come to realize that the events of the past week of my life have not been ideal.  I was glad to get away and parts of me are glad I went... I have mixed feelings on the entire trip for emotional reasons, but I think overall I had a good time.  Sometimes it's hard to focus on the good when there is so much bad.  24 hours of travel worries and unknowns surely trumped any fun I had the rest of the days... at least yesterday it trumped it.  Today, I am able to look back and at least focus somewhat on things I did and fun I had.  I'm just glad I'll be home for the holidays... unlike so many stranded at airports on the west coast.  
Again, be looking for some pictures soon... with the holiday this week I'm not sure when I'll get to them though.  
Oh, and I didn't proof read this, so hopefully you can make some sense of it.


Dawn said...

Typing all that probably burned a little time for you while you were waiting. Sounds like a real rollercoaster ride of a weekend. I'll bet you're going to be glad to get home and sleep in your own bed.

Dana Leigh said...

Oh no! You've really had a bad streak lately, huh? Whenever you encounter the bad, remember it's not as bas as the alternative, which is not being alive. My boyfriend reminds me of that. On to the good stuff! I'm excited to see your pictures. I went to San Fran in November 2006 and went to Lombard St. It was raining but it was still cool. I remember walking up and down those hilly streets. Exhausting! Hopefully you'll be back in freezing cold MN tonight!

Steve said...

"When it rains, it pours."

I told you that last night in regards to your weekend, and I don't know if it's karma or what, but damn is that statement true.

Last night as I got home to prepare my car to meet up with this buyer, I had some problems.

I get home, and with all the snow we've had over the last two weeks, my car is buried in my parents driveway. At least 6 inches on top the car, and all the shoveled snow from the driveway piled up halfway up the drivers side of the car. So I start to dig it out, mind you it's zero degrees outside and I'm not dressed for it (my fault I know), I clean off and remove all the snow piled up in front of the door and on the door so I can open it. I have a feeling it'll be frozen shut, but I try anyways; yep frozen. So I try to do somethings to break the frozen seal that is the entire perimeter of the door like kicking the door, checking the door, pounding on the glass where the rubber seals are, etc. I try to pull on the door again, it budges and can hear the icy seal loosing it's grip, so I pull harder. The door is starting to bulge out, but the ice still won't let go of the window. I hear more of the ice giving way so I continue to pull on the handle, when all of the sudden BANG! I fly back half way across my driveway, and almost fall flat on my ass. I look at my door, look at my hand, door, hand, door, hand. Shit. I'm thinking to myself, "What the hell, really? Of all the f'n times, it happens now? It's too f'n cold for this shit!" I sigh, and with the remains of my door handle in my hand, I decide to take a short break and head inside to warm up.

After having a laugh with my parents I head back out to do what I should have done from the beginning, climb in through the hatch and open the door from the inside. Soooo I grab my brush/scraper and start brushing off the rest of the car. I clean off the top of the car and the hatch, get out my key and open it. The sound of crackling, breaking ice follows the opening of the hatch as well as the sound of the hatch pull down motor working, "Well at least the battery isn't dead." I stare at the open hatch/trunk for a second, "God I hate this car." I climb in and make my way to the drivers seat, grab the door handle and proceed to give my door a good shoulder check. Nothing, Fuck! Again, a shoulder check, Nothing, $%@#$@#$!! One more, and finally the ice gives way and my door swings open. "Ha, Fucker! Take that!" I cuss a bit more, sigh, and collect myself. I take out my keys, slide it into the ignitition and turn it. "Shit." Turn it again, "Ah God damnit!" Nothing but clicking, car is too frozen and the battery too dead. I rest my forehead on my steering wheel, sigh again and die a little on the inside. I get out of the car close the door (but not all the way) to start brushing off the rest of the car. Before I could start I find myself instantly annoyed with the car buzzer buzzing because my key is in the ignition, so I reach in, pull the key out just a bit so the buzzer stops, "Ah silence" and continue.

I start clearing off the snow from the windshield and hood, I almost have the hood clear and am reaching for the last bit of snow on the passenger side of the car when SNAP, "NOOO!" There goes my brush/scraper, broken. Pissed I throw the scraper end into Jeffs yard. I go inside, grab the charger, and extension cables and make my way back out to my car. Get everything hooked up, put the charger on the "Jump Start" setting and walk around to the drivers door to get in the car. "Oh fuck, WTF, NOO!" I come around to find my drivers door closed. I'm feeling around my door in a panic looking for something to grab on to, but no, it's completely f'n closed. And because I HAVE NO DOOR HANDLE, I can't open it. I accidentally closed the door all the way after I pulled the key out a bit to stop the buzzing. I look inside helplessly to see my keys still hanging from the ignition. I put all the keys for the car on one key ring because I'm selling it, so now all the keys are stuck inside. I go around to the passenger side to pull on that door handle, I'm making no progress so I stop before I pull that handle off. I closed the hatch after I got the drivers door open, and I can't open that without a key, and my keys are in the car. I essentially locked my keys in the car until the car thaws off enough for the passenger door to open.

Dejected, I take the charger off, put it away and go inside. Once inside I had three things fall out of the cupboard on me, one hit this giant glass popcorn kernal jar, almost knocking it to the floor and breaking it. My mom makes me sit down orders me not to touch anything and then immediately herself knocks two things off the counter and on the floor. After a good laugh, some tomato soup on my shirt, I head home.


Lovi said...

It definitely sucks to be stuck somewhere when all you want is to come back home. Glad you made it back safe and sound, but man that sounds like a streak of bad run ins. But it's really cool that you're able to focus on the positive and still know that you had a good time overall.

Btw, I totally took the wrong 62 when I was heading to the airport last month too. I stuck to taking Haiwatha the next time around because I just knew I'd miss the exit again. They should really post bigger signs if they're going to make such a change!


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