2000: You've got MAIL
2001: Honk, If You're an Idiot
2002: The Unappreciated Wit
2003: She Who Hesitates is Sometimes Saved
2004: Sounds Artsy Fartsy to Me
2005: Killing the Dog
2006: I Know the Secret
2007: Free at Last
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6 June 2008
I got some good advice from an Amtrak clerk today: never check your baggage. Always carry it on the train yourself.
Our friends Jim and Ann were arriving for a day's tour of San Francisco. They are from Virginia and their ultimate destination is their son's ordination in San Carlos, but first they took a cruise up the inland passage to Alaska, spent some time in Seattle, and took the overnight train out of Seattle, and were scheduled to arrive in Davis at 7 a.m.
Afraid I might oversleep, I decided to sleep in the recliner and set the timer on the stove to wake me up. But I was hyper aware of Needing To Get Up, so I was awake at 4. I managed to stay under the puppies until 5, but by 5 I was wide awake, so I just got up and checked the Amtrak website to learn that the train was going to be an hour late.
I got down to the station shortly before 8 and sat there waiting for the train to arrive.
The train pulled in, Jim and Ann got off, and Jim said they had stored luggage they had to collect.
But the luggage wasn't there. We sat for a long time in the station while they tried to find out what happened to it. Ultimately, the Davis Amtrak staff didn't know. They took Jim's cell phone number and said they'd call him with a report.
With nothing else to do, the three of us drove out to nearby Winters for breakfast at the Putah Creek cafe. I'd only eaten there once before, when Cindy and I biked the 15+ miles to Winters -- the high point of my brief biking career -- and I remembered it was kind of a quaint diner sort of place. We had a great breakfast and talked a lot of politics, interesting because (a) Jim is a passionate historian with a wealth knowledge, and (b) they both voted for Bush. But it was a civil discussion with lots of agreement and quite satisfying.
Next we headed off for San Francisco. I decided that it was such a clear day we'd go in from Marin County, so we could go across the Golden Gate bridge. The view as you come out the Rainbow tunnel on a clear day never fails to take my breath away. Didn't quite have the same effect on the visitors, but I think they enjoyed it anyway.
We stopped in Lincoln Park at one of my favorite photo spots..
We drove out to the ocean beach, then through Golden Gate Park, up to Twin Peaks, out through the Presidio with a quick stop at the Palace of Fine arts, which, I was surprised to find out, was apparently having some repairs made to it.
We stopped at my favorite restaurant to take out-of-towners, Green's Restaurant in Ft. Mason. Green's has the very best view, because it overlooks the Golden Gate Bridge and on a day like today it was spectacular. This is a vegetarian restaurant, run under the auspices of the San Francisco Zen Center and was a pioneer in establishing vegetarian cuisine in the United States. I'm not a vegetarian, but I've never had a bad meal at Green's, and my curry today did not break that record!
Through much of the meal, Jim was on the phone with Amtrak, which had found his luggage in San Jose, with the hotel where they were staying, and with the taxi driver who was delivering the luggage to the hotel. It was a big mix-up. Someone told Jim the hotel would sign for the luggage, but when the taxi got there someone else said they wouldn't sign and we were at least an hour away (because of rush hour traffic), so there was nothing we could do about it. Ultimately, they had to check in without their luggage and will -- somehow -- get the luggage tomorrow.
Getting to the hotel was also a comedy of errors. Jim had the address, but no directions. He called the hotel, which gave him the wrong directions. It appeared that whoever he talked to only knew how to give directions for cars going north on 101 and we were going south. She wanted us to get off the freeway and turn around and then get off on a street which had no sign on the freeway (and to turn around would have been taking us away from the hotel, not toward it!). As it turned out, I ignored those directions and we managed to find the hotel anyway.
By the time I dropped them off it was the height of rush hour, which meant I was going to have to go back through all that traffic to get home. Ahhh...but I'm not a home-girl for nothing. I did hit some rush hour traffic, but very little because I went the most out-of-the-way way that you could and managed to miss most of it.
The dogs were VERY happy to see me when I got home. It was really nice seeing Ann and Jim here in California again. The last time we were together in San Francisco was much more memorable, though...!
PHOTO OF THE DAY
Ann and Jim at the Putah Creek Cafe
MILES TO NOWHERE: 48 miles