Friday, June 02, 2006

Getting to San Francisco.

I flew out of Atlanta Airport at the ungodly hour of 6:30 am. Bad planning! Take the 9:30 flight. I could not take MARTA since MARTA does not run until 6 am. The cost of parking made that a $60+ mistake. Baggage security and examinations didn't start until 30 minutes after airlines ticket counters opened and made a mess of things. Luckily I was near the front of the line.

It was $50 to fly my bike out to California, which was very reasonable. Frontier Airlines is great, reasonable and has nice, intelligent, earnest and sometimes very funny staff. Somewhere along the line, however, my new luggage came unzipped. Everything was there, but my luggage hit the carousel in San Francisco with a pair of Speedos hanging out. Some people thought that were very funny! I would have as well, except I had to claim them, the luggage and thus the Speedos. Wearing them at a swim workout is one thing, saying you wear them in an airport does not seem as cool. The bike arrived in perfect shape.

I have a love hate relationship with flying. I love to fly, but am scared of heights. Thus I always ask for a window seat to stare out. I flew to Denver, and then hopped a flight to San Francisco. Flying over the Rockies was very cool. Both flights were nice, but the flight attendants on the second leg of the trip were hilarious. "We have coffee, water, juice and Coke products for you to drink. Again, we have Coke products. We do not have Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, Cherry Pepsi, Lemon Pepsi or Diet Lemon Pepsi. We have Coke products. [In a deep whisper, that was rather sexy] We have no Pepsi products."

Later I asked that same attendant, "Do you have Pepsi?"

She answered, "I have Coke."

"How about Diet Pepsi?"

"Diet Coke."

"Cherry Pepsi or Lemon Pepsi? How about Diet Lemon Pepsi?"

She finally figured out I was pulling her leg, and unlike Delta flight attendants, she did not hit me with anything.

They have an in-flight map on the little TVs on the back of the seat in front of you, which would be very annoying except I wanted to know where we were flying. It also gave our speed and altitude. When we approached airports I would watch the speed and altitude drop. When the speed dropped to 300 mph and the altitude to 15,000 feet, I would think, well we are safer now if we crash- actually no, we would still all die. At one point I looked out the window and saw this huge round rock below the plane. It looked familiar to me. Suddenly it dawned on me that we had just flown over Half Dome, the monument made famous by Ansel Adams. That seemed very cool to me.

I arrived at the Comfort Inn On The Bay at noon, and the great people here had a room available for me. The shuttle I used to get here charged me $20 extra to carry my bike case. It was $50 to ship the damn thing across the country but $20 to drive it to the hotel from the airport. Even worse was that the shuttle had square wheels and bounced us all the way into town. I was in the room early, however, and was able to hit the marina area for the afternoon. There was guy stacking and balancing rocks that was very unusual. I had a great bowl of chowder, but it made my mouth swell and go numb. I am allergic to some seafood, but can usually eat shellfish. I think this was crab chowder. Perhaps it was the French roll it was served in?

I have been reading Neil Peart's book Ghost Rider while traveling. I am a big Rush fan (as a lady on the flight told me her son and husband were). What this guy went through, losing his only daughter in a car crash and then his wife 9 months later to cancer, or, as he says, a broken heart, is unimaginable. The book is about his travels on his motorcycle to try and stay moving and away from the darkness. During his travels he is told his dog has to be put down and then his close friend, who was supposed to meet him and ride part of trip, is busted for drug smuggling. When it rains... I am halfway through it now. I recommend it to everybody.

I am headed out to the Great Highway for a bike ride down Ocean Beach this morning. I am going to try and watch a sunset there one evening. I will be playing tourist for the next 5 days, as that interests me more than sitting around resting so I can have a semi-good race. I want to experience the race, but am not too concerned with my time. That may be a way of saying that I am not in good shape, but I really do want to see so much of this city.

I will post pics on my Flickr account, but remember these are all taken with a compact Olympus Stylus Verve digital. I had thoughts of buying a new Olympus digital SLR for the trip, but decided not too. Cartier-Bresson shot everything with a Leica rangefinder, so I should be able to get some good shots with the little camera that fits in the back of my jersey pocket.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The Balancing Guy is Bill Dan [ ] You can also see His work at Flickr : Bill Dan Balancing Rocks