Early Flight, Great Food, Late Game

Trip Start Apr 02, 2011
Trip End Sep 29, 2011

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Where I stayed
Holiday Inn Express - SFO

Flag of United States  , CA
Thursday, August 25, 2011

Up early to catch a 6:10 am flight to Chicago on AA. Not much prettier than watching the sun rise over the Illinois prairie. Gonna be a pretty day in Central Illinois.

Boarded the plane and headed to Chicago. You don't realize how many windmills there are out there between Bloomington and Chicago; not just the ones to the East of Bloomington, but the ones to the Northwest, the ones near Pontiac, etc.

Pilot took a great route. We flew right over downtown Chicago. I looked down to see the Sears Tower, Trump Tower, The Hancock Building. Great skyline! Then he headed north along Lake Shore Drive and hung a left back toward O'Hare and got a great view of Wrigley Field. It looks a little lonely at 6:30 am.

Quite a layover in Chicago. Couple of hours. Trying to determine if I should get a Chicago Dog and/or some of that great Garrett's Popcorn...not coming back through ORD or I'd pick some up for my former colleague, Casey Halsey...sorry Casey, maybe next time! At least I had time to start this blog. After some thought (about two seconds) I decided to get both. Let's see, a Chicago style hot dog and a Garrett's Chicago Mix (half cheese corn, half caramel corn) for dessert...yea, that works!!!

Was hoping to attend tonight's game in San Francisco with an old Springfield High School buddy, Jack Vetter. However, he emailed me last night that he had to be in court in Sacramento today, so couldn't make it to SFO.
Too bad. Jack and I were good buddies in high school. He went to the U of I undergrad and Syracuse Law School. He's now an attorney in Sacramento. Our families were pretty close in my Springfield years.

Flight was full, but good. On time. Four hours later, and I'm in SFO again. Headed to the same hotel I stayed in last week...Holiday Inn Express - North. They welcomed me like I was a long lost relative. Changed into blue jeans...chilly here in the City by the Bay. Which, but the way is one of my favorite karaoke songs...I Left My Heart in San Francisco...give me a little Tony Bennett anytime! Also printed out my Alaska Airlines boarding pass for tomorrow morning's early (7:00 am) flight to Seattle.

Then I headed for downtown San Francisco. A restaurant called Tadich in the financial district. What a great restaurant. Read the history...begun in 1849 during the California gold rush. Moved and changed hands several times before three Croation immigrant brothers bought it for good around the turn of the 20th Century. It has lots of booths on one side which are actually secluded. I learned later they used to have curtains on the front of the booths so they could serve booze (privately) during prohibition. But the most distinctive thing about the place is the extremely long counter, running the entire length of the restaurant with patrons sitting on stools (not chairs) at the counter. It was later pointed out to me that you could (and I did) hang up your briefcase behind you and you could watch it via mirrors in front of you...how clever is that?

I saw this place on one of the food shows...what a great (if not a little pricey) place...but probably not by San Francisco standards. Couldn't decide what to order. I asked for help and got it from a delightful young lady sitting to my right by the name of Katherine McCall. She is fourth generation coming to this restaurant. She told me all the historical facts about this restaurant, but besides that, she helped me decide what to order. A great appetizer crab cake, a delicious hearts of romaine salad and a creamed spinach that was out of this world. Katherine said it was her favorite...and when it came she asked if she could have a teaspoon...I offered as much as she would like...and she took three...and I soon found out why. It was truly to die for! Funny thing is, I felt very much at home...Sandy and I are always sharing meals and dishes! Katherine and I had a great conversation. She suggested three movies. I suggested a couple books. We discussed the Kennedy assassination, the Lincoln assassination, and I'm sure if we had a couple more hours, we could have found a cure for cancer or a plan for world peace! These are just some of the wonderful people you meet when you travel!!!

Off to the ballpark. Everyone told me it was beautiful. And they were right. It's called AT&T Park. Great dimensions. Great view of the bay. They have a giant Coke bottle and baseball glove in left field. And if you hit a home run out of the park down the right field line, you hit it into a part of the bay called McCovey Cove, named after Giant great, Willie McCovey. And they keep track of how many have been hit there, calling them "Splash hits." (57 so far.) Other greats like Mr. Giant himself, the say hay kid, Willie Mays, Juan Marachal, Orlando Cepeda, and even former Cubs Manager Dusty Baker played in a Giants uniform. It's an historic franchise. They used to play in Candlestick Park, but everyone says this park is a great improvement. They have a great area in right center called "Tripples Alley." You hit one there, it's probably going to be a triple. I walked around the park, and they have quotes of many former players. For example, former Red Sox star Ted Williams said, They invented the All Star Game for Willie Mays." Or this one by Ted Klewsewski (remember Dustin Hoffman rattling off his stats in Rainman when they were looking through his baseball cards?) Here's is quote about hitting: "How hard is hitting? You ever walk into a pitch black room of furniture that you've never been in before and try not to walk through it without bumping into anything? Well, it's harder than that!"

I got may picture taken with the World Series trophy...$20.

On to the game. Houston is in last place 30 games out of first. The Giants, in second place, a few games behind the Diamondbacks. So, it should be an easy win for SF. Right! Final score Houston 3 - Giants 1. That's why they play the game!!!

I sat about 20 rows up behind the Giants dugout. Great location. Glad I wore blue jeans and a heavy jacket. I knew it was when I saw the ticket-taker take my ticket...with gloves on! People were dressed up for football weather. It gets chilly out by the bay.

Found a cut little 4-5 year girl as I walked out and asked if she caught a ball tonight. She looked at me like, "Mommy told me not to talk to strangers and you're as strange as it gets!" But when I offered her the ball, she gladly accepted it and Mom and Dad were very pleased...I was too.

Hotel and to bedlam! I would get at 6 hours of sleep tonight before my 5:00 am wakeup call. It was a wonderful day in the "City by the Bay." Tomorrow Seattle and my cousin JR's.

I have lots of pictures which I'll download when I get back home.

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