The weekend following the 4th of July was incredible! Friday morning two close friends and I got up before the break of dawn, packed up the car and hit the road for a long planned, three day ‘man-escape.’ Now don’t confuse ‘man-escaping’ with ‘manscaping’ which has become quite popular these days and is defined as male grooming below the belt. There is no body grooming, shaving or waxing involved in a ‘man-escape’ at least there wasn’t on ours! Ours was simply a good old fashion men’s getaway weekend sans wives, but instead of getting away to play golf, fish, hunt or hike, we drove up to San Francisco to watch the S F Giants take on the LA Dodgers, something that has been on my friend’s bucket list for years. Being a die hard Giant fan all he wanted was a chance to wear his Giant gear to a game without fear of reprisal from Dodger fans. We all know that could never happen in Los Angeles so we took him up there so he could enjoy a game and be with his peeps.
This trip was the first time that I’ve gone on a men’s getaway involving an over-nighter since my mid twenties. I think the last time was a spur of the moment Las Vegas turn around in which we were gone about 36 hours. Not really much of a ‘man-escape.’ This time around we left Friday and returned home Monday afternoon. Three nights and four days is a more than adequate ‘man-escape,’ and San Francisco is a beautiful place to escape to. The last time I was in SF was probably about 9 years ago. We were staying in wine country up in Calistoga with friends and made a day trip to the city. We were only there for a matter of hours and stayed in the vicinity of Fisherman’s Wharf the entire time, but we had a wonderful time. We liked it enough that we talked about returning one day but it just hasn’t happened as of yet. Instead there I was in SF with two friends instead of my wife. Oh well…. go figure…
Our drive up north was pleasant enough, we talked, reminisced and laughed like nobodies business. We listened to classic 60’s music and it seemed like nearly every song awoke some treasured memory of days gone by. Oh it was a great ride. By noon we arrived at our hotel. We actually stayed in Silicon Valley which is about 38 miles from the ballpark in SF but about the same as driving to LA from San Dimas. Besides staying in the city is expensive and needless to say the three of us were on a budget.
After checking in we drove into downtown SF to the Transamerica Pyramid Building where a friend’s son, Jason, is the building manager. He met us there and, gave us a personal tour of the building. Although there is no public access to the building he gave us an extensive look around the tallest skyscraper in SF including stops on the 27th floor viewing area, the 48th floor with even more incredible views of the surrounding city and bay and finally the roof just 220 feet from the peak of the pyramid where there is yet another viewing area. However none of us went all the way to the very top. From the roof looking up there are about 20 sections of stairway winding its way to the peak. I went up two of the sections but that is as far as I got. Although I think it was a wise decision at the time not to ascend any further, I kinda wish I had. I can only imagine how much more spectacular the view would have been from 220 feet higher. Oh well, maybe I’ll get another opportunity someday. I certainly hope so.
After our tour we thanked Jason said our goodbyes then moved from the Transamerica Building to the Fisherman’s Wharf which was jammed packed with regular summer tourists and others who were there for the America’s Cup. It took us quite a while to find a parking spot but after we did we made our way to the wharf and had a great red snapper dinner then walked around for awhile before heading back to the hotel where we finished the night watching the Giants- Dodgers game on TV and cruising a few brews quite a relaxing way to end day one.
Day two got off to a spectacular start and stayed that way until we were about 15 miles out of SF. As we approached the SF airport traffic became extremely heavy and we slowed to a crawl. At that point we had no idea that less than an hour earlier an airliner had crashed. We hadn’t seen the smoke and weren’t listening to the radio so we had no way of knowing and could only speculate on what was tying up traffic. Once past the airport traffic began moving smoothly again.
We drove on to a train station 5 miles outside of the city that we had planned on taking in, parked, purchased out tickets and waited for our train. It arrived on time and the three of us boarded. We were off to the ballpark! Our elation lasted about two minutes when we realized that our game tickets were back in the glove compartment of my car! Then things turned to shit. We exited at the next stop and were forced to take a cab back to get the tickets. Hey shit happens, but unfortunately for us it happened more than once. It was on our cab ride that we learned about the plane crash. It was tragic.
With tickets firmly in hand we made our way back down to the train station and waited about half an hour for the next train. About ten minutes before the train was scheduled to arrive the digital display above us flashed informing us that our train was running a minute behind schedule. We kind of waved it off as no big deal and continued to wait. A few minutes later the sign flashed two minutes late, then three minutes, four minutes, then five minutes. By that time we were getting a bit worried. Thank God we had decided to get to the ballpark two hours early so even with the delays we would be there before the game. Then the sign flashed six minutes and we all became very quiet. You could feel the tension as we sat there waiting. Then suddenly the train appeared down the track and it wasn’t that late at all. Thank God!
No worries, we arrived at the ballpark in plenty of time, about an hour before game time. One Giant fan, one Dodger fan and me, Switzerland, the neutral fan. And I managed to stay neutral until midway through the game when I broke down and bought myself a Giants cap. When in Rome! While at the park we ran into some friends from La Verne who were in SF celebrating their anniversary. Their son and daughter-in-law who live in the bay area had given them tickets for the game. How funny, you drive 400 miles and run into someone from home. Suffice it to say that the time spent at the park from pre-game to the last out went off without a hitch, a great time was had by all. My friend, the Giant fan, was extremely happy, he was in Giant heaven! The game was exciting and the Giants managed to pull off a win! Who could ask for anything more? I can’t imagine how disappointed he would have been if they’d lost after going all the way up there to see them. He would have been bummed the rest of the trip. Yes, There is a God and at least on Saturday night he was a Giant fan.
End Part One