Monday Morning, we got up and headed out to take the "F" line bus to Pier 39. We waited for a while on our side of the road (heading north), then saw the bus coming from the other way, and ran over to get on it. We didn't have correct change, so we had to make change with someone on the bus. Two people were very helpful. So we are riding the bus, and the driver calls out "Castro Street, Last Stop" I walked up and asked him "We are trying to get to Peir 39", He replies, "Well, you got on the bus going the wrong way, just stay on, and We will head back that way soon". So we sat for a while, while the driver got off and changed the signs, and we looked around. The "F" line is a tracked electric bus. It runs on rails in the street, so there isn't a steering wheel. So finally we started heading back the other way.
After our short sight-seeing trip to the south, we headed back north and got to pier 39. We went to the Aquarium, where Ricky dragged us through the "tube" habitats twice before I just couldn't take it anymore. Wes enjoyed it too. The way it is set up is that there are huge tubes that run through the tank, so basically you walk through the tank with fish all around you (except for below). It was really neat, but also gave me a headache. After the aquarium, we headed down and ate at the Hard Rock Cafe, then we walked along the pier and took pictures of Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge. Then we came to the Sea Lions. Ricky absolutely loved them. For most of the rest of the day, he sounded just like them. After the Sea Lions, we headed down the street to Fisherman's Wharf. We bought a Sourdough bread turtle from Boutin's Bread. (More on this later). An Asian woman ran up while Ricky was looking at this purchase and just had to take a picture of our "absolutely beautiful child". We said sure and laughed, wondering if we would see our son on some flickr page later.
Then we walked over to the Ghirardelli Chocolate plaza and had ice cream and chocolate. Then we walked back to the bus, but a different way, through a neighborhood to see the houses. On the bus trip back to the hotel, a funny thing happened. A guy got on and said that he needed a dollar for the bus. A man finally gave it to him, and he walked farther back into the bus "All I need is a dollar" Everyone on the bus laughed at him, and he got off at the next stop.*
Back at the hotel, we were all pretty tired, so we decided to rent a movie with iTunes on my computer. After selecting the movie, it said that it was going to take 19 hours to download. So we decided to just order PPV and saw Alvin and the Chipmunks. Very cute movie. Ricky didn't pay much attention to it the first time, so Rachel rewinded it and started watching it again while I went to get food at the Burger King across the street, but Ricky decided to turn off the TV. After a quick call to the front desk, Rachel was able to get it running again. After eating, I worked on some fraternity stuff on the painfully slow internet access. Ricky was dancing around to the songs in the movie :). After that we packed for the travel day the next day.
Tuesday morning, we got up, finished packing, and ate the sourdough turtle from the day before. We headed down to check out, and jumped on the Bart to the airport. We got our tickets, and found that while we were together on our first flight, they had moved us all around, and none of us were together for the flight from Cleveland to Dayton. After getting through security, (Again, very nice agents.) we ate a real breakfast of muffins and drinks at the airport. I went to talk to the gate about getting our tickets fixed for the second flight, but they stated that we had to wait till we were in Cleveland. I was able to download stuff much faster at the airport, and finished downloading our rental movie, plus the free stuff from iTunes (they have new free music and video downloads every Tuesday). We were able to load onto the airplane right after First class because Continental has a family boarding time. That was nice, especially because we were towards the back of the plane. About an hour after getting underway, Ricky was being crabby, so I tried to get him to take a nap. About 30 minutes later, we actually got a full meal on the plane. Salad, Pizza, and a twix. We got food for Ricky, but he was asleep. Ricky started coughing and woke up, and then got sick all over himself and his seat. After getting that cleaned up, Wes grabbed Rachel's Diet Caffeine free Coke and dumped it in my lap. Thankfully the flight was quite empty, so Rachel and Wes were able to move to a different row, while I cleaned stuff up. Ricky got sick again so I changed him into his PJ's, and because we only had about another 2 hours left of the flight, I decided to not change pants. Well, 2 hours and 45 minutes later, 45 minutes after the last notice from the captain that we were 15 minutes from Cleveland, and about 35 minutes before our next flight was supposed to take off from Cleveland, I asked a flight attendant what was going on. About 5 minutes later, the Capitan came on, and said that we were in a holding pattern while they cleaned off the runways at Cleveland. 45 minutes later we landed. As we were sitting at the gate, waiting to get off the plane, I watched our flight pull away from the other gate. So much for getting home tonight.
We got off the plane and headed towards the customer service area to try to find a flight home. The next flight they had was the next morning at 8:45. Hey, we all get to sit together. Fine, oh and we get a voucher for a hotel, ok, that's good. Oh, it's only a 50% off coupon. Ok, fine. We called and got booked at a holiday inn about 15 miles from the airport. After waiting for the shuttle (really just a van), we found out that it was full, and I took my family back inside the airport. I have never seen such selfish disregard. If I was traveling and saw a family with very small children (at 9 PM at night) not being able to head to the hotel, I would have waited for the next shuttle so they could get one. But nonetheless, about 20 minutes later, another van came and took us to the hotel. It was snowing really bad, and the roads after being plowed still had about 2" of snow on them. We waited in line and got our room. We all headed to it, walked in, and found that the bed wasn't made, there were used cups on the dresser, and money on the nightstand as a tip. We headed back to the lobby, and said that we needed another room. I also mentioned that I wanted a 6:30 shuttle so that we could get back to the airport with tons of time. They apologized for the room and were about to offer us free breakfast, but it didn't start till 6:30 anyways, so we would miss it. After getting our second set of keys, we headed up to the room, and were relaxing when Rachel pulled back the covers and found the bed was full of hair. Now I was upset. I left Rachel and the kids in the room, and headed back down to the lobby, and demanded another room, and stated that we have never had such bad service. The manager waited on me this time, and was a jerk. "Sir, you are already here at half rate because you are a "distressed-traveler", I can't give you more of a discount. Here are two free tickets for breakfast". I replied that I can't use them, I wanted to be on the shuttle at 6:30. "Oh, if you come down, they should be able to give you breakfast early" Yeah, right. "Here, I will put you in one of our remodeled suites, it is quite a bit more expensive, but you don't have to pay for that" Gee, thanks. I took the keys and headed upstairs to check out the new room. It was a nice room, and clean, so I went and got Rachel and the boys, and we settled down for the night.
To make things even worse, I tried to start my Mac up, but it wouldn't start. I was getting a circle with a slash through it instead of it booting. I could boot into Windows ok, but not Mac os. So after about an hour of searching online in windows, I gave up and went to bed.
The next morning, we got up, I tried the computer one more time, and it still wouldn't start. We got a packed up, and headed down at about 6:25 to catch our shuttle. "He left at 6 for the first trip, and hasn't gotten back yet." Well, it is about 15 miles, so he should be here soon. 6:45, rolls around, and he isn't back. The snow outside looks horrible. 6:55 no shuttle. There are two shuttles sitting outside with no drivers. Finally one of the people behind the counter goes and cleans off one of the shuttles so that the 6:30 and 7:00 people can head to the airport. We all load in, and as we are leaving, the other shuttle shows up. We just kept going. The roads were bad, but there was no traffic heading towards the airport. But coming back from the airport, the traffic was backed up for as far as we can see. No wonder the guy couldn't get back. We got there, and I followed Rachel into security. Somehow we were in the first class line, so we ducked under the line dividers to get in line behind the "normal" people ;). We go to turn the first corner, and a TSA agent looks at me, removes the barrier and says, "Follow me please". Shoot, we are in trouble for getting under the barrier. "No sir, we have a "Family" security line, it should be easier for you". We didn't have to take anything out of our bags, and we breezed through security. Again, very nice agents, who were helpful. We went to our gate and sat down, and Ricky and I headed back to get donuts for breakfast. When Ricky and I got back, I noticed that our gate listed a different flight. I quickly checked, and our flight had been moved from the night before. We had to to go from C29 to Gate D2. And Rachel was convinced that we were late, so we sprinted there ;). After getting to our new gate, we waited for 15 minutes, then started boarding. Our suitcases were too big for this little plane, so we had to gate check them. This plane was also rather empty. We took our seats, and they made Rachel move, because there was only one oxygen mask in the place she was sitting, so she ended up behind Ricky and I. I was worried that Ricky was going to get airsick, as he was acting cranky again, so I got an airsick bag ready. Ricky fell asleep as we were being deiced. Those are the neatest trucks that I have seen. We finally took off, and I kept an eye on Ricky the whole time. Once we landed, I woke Ricky up. He was fine, and didn't get sick. :).
We headed to the car, and headed home. We picked up lunch on the way home, and I went to work after lunch. And that is the story of our San Francisco trip :).
* This is similar to something that happened to me once in Chicago. I was downtown for a two day training class, and BP had put me up in a hotel downtown (Hotel 71 I think, it was very modern, and pretty nice). I was walking around near the "L" (elevated subway train in Chicago) just seeing the sights when a man in a three piece business suit, leather briefcase, and impeccably groomed asked me for a nickel to get on the "L". He had a handful of change, and it seemed like he was just short of heading home. I gave him a nickel. About 20 minutes later I was walking back through there heading back to my hotel, and the same guy stopped me and said the same story. I said "Hey, you asked me that 20 minutes ago, I thought you were for real" He just smiled and walked away.