Author Topic: Going Back to Cali: dpk4588ís Return to The Golden State SD-LA-SF  (Read 652 times)

Offline dpk4588

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Intro/Planning

The idea for this trip began, as many of my trips do, in the Next Vacation - Ideas thread.  I asked for suggestions, and after weeding out the cities Iíd already done, I got a suggestions of San Diego/San Francisco and both. If figured those were both good for a few days and I could spend Shabbat in Los Angeles in between.

Once I decided on my destination(s) it was time to figure out how to get there. I (thought I) had an interesting idea, of possibly flying VX using Alaska miles since Alaska allows you a free stopover. I thought Iíd be able to fly VX (not lie-flat) JFK-LAX, then a few days later, fly LAX-SFO on the same ticket for 25k. I know the VX first/business isnít the best product in the world, but since I was flying on a late night flight but not a red-eye, Iíd be able to get a little sleep and then sleep when I got out west. The problem with my plan was that apparently you can only use an Alaska stopover domestically on AS metal, so while AS and VX are theoretically in the process of becoming one airline, this didnít seem to help.

Since my Jetblue mileage run last year, Iíve thought about flying Mint, and figured this was a great chance to do it. I knew, in general availability on transcon flights in business is hard to come by, and surprise surprise, UA and AA had nothing in their lie-flat business for saver availability. DL doesnít have an award chart so Iím not sure what saver availability would be, but I the cheapest I saw JFK-LAX was 115k, yeah...no thanks. I figured Mint would be my best outbound option. While not cheap at 73.2k, it was the specific redemption I had in mind when I earned the miles so I was ok parting with it. The flight SFO-JFK would have been cheaper but I didnít have enough miles to fly Mint R/T and I didnít have any other options so Mint it was.

When I started looking for the inbound flights out of SFO, my big three options were slim yet again, at least on direct flights. I was able to find a DL flight via BOS for 31,250 FB (which Iím assuming means it had ďsaver availabilityĒ). That flight was Delta One, but it was on the 757, so unfortunately there was no direct aisle access from every seat. My other DL option was shelling out 65k for Delta One on the 767 which is (AFAIK) the only Transcon business where each seat has direct aisle access. I had flown Delta One on the 767 JFK-FCO on my way to Israel a few years ago, and it was nice, but I didnít really wanna spend that much, especially since Iíd be spending over 70k on my Mint flight. I had decided on the SFO-BOS-JFK for ~31k FB.

I thought it might be a good idea to get the Barclays Jetblue Business card for the 10% rebate (plus the 30k signup bonus and 5k anniversary points) to cut down on the Mint cost. I applied for the card which turned out to cause some problems. I didnít get instantly approved, which caused me to delay booking my flights. I applied on a Thursday night, and after being given the runaround by Barclays recon and having to send in some documentation about my Business, I was told it takes 7-10 days to review the docs. That was Monday morning. There was no way I was gonna wait 7-10 days to book my flights so I decided to just book the flights and lose out on the 10% rebate. I checked Jetblue and FB to make sure the flights I wanted were still available, but uh-oh, the DL flight was no longer available. I was pissed as hell since I couldnít think of another option to come home. For a while I toyed with the idea of flying in economy JFK-LAX (I know the horror!) and using my Jetblue miles to fly the red-eye SFO-JFK, but in the end, I didnít want to sit in economy for ~6 hours especially since after landing at LAX Iíd be driving halfway to San Diego and with the time difference my body would think its 3am.

It looked like my trip was dead. Monday night, I get an email from Barclays that I was approved for the card. That was pretty helpful now. Iíd never been so annoyed at having been approved for a credit card.  Now knowing that Iíd be saving 7.2k on Mint flight I was willing to pay a little more for my other flight, if I could find one. I was thinking of even (and to some this might be worse than sitting in economy on a transcon) spending 50k on UA standard, which was on the 757 and didnít have direct aisle access. When thinking maybe Iíll spend 50k I thought, why donít I look to see what AA charges in business and maybe Iíd use my TYP and get 1.6 CPP. I looked and saw that the red-eye SFO-JFK was $808 which would cost ~50k TYP, but it would also be considered a revenue flight so Iíd earn miles. I decided that was the way to go and was ready to book. I looked back at Jetblue to see if the flight to LAX was still available and much to my surprise the price actually dropped from 73.2k to 57.7k (plus Iíd be getting the 10% rebate from Barclays for a  net of 51.9k). I booked the Mint and the AA on the A321. I later booked on the LAX-SFO segment on DL for 5.5k, which turned out to be pretty good value since flights were around ~$110.

After my flights were complete, it was time to start working on hotels. I had a Marriott Cat 1-5 night that was expiring 8/24/17 so I wanted to use that, I also had a Hyatt Cat 1-4 night (not that it was expiring any time soon but I figured I might as well use it), and a Hilton weekend cert that was expiring 11/1/2017.

So hereís what I booked: I decided a good place to stop between LA & SD was Mission Viejo so I used my Marriott cert to book the Fairfield Inn Mission Viejo. I generally have trouble find city hotels that are cat 5 or lower so I was fine with using my cert on a cat 4 here. For San Diego I booked the Hyatt Regency Mission Bay Spa and Marina for two nights, one with the anniversary night and one for 15k Hyatt points. I was planning on spending Shabbat in LA with a friend, but for a reason he couldnít explain he could have me for meals but not to sleep so I ended up booking the Beverly Hills Marriott for 40k/night. In SF I used my Hilton weekend night for the Hilton San Francisco Financial District for Sunday night and booked the Sheraton Fisherman's Wharf for the 12k SPG for the other night.

Summary:

Flights:
B6 1123 JFK-LAX - 57.7k B6 (plus 10% rebate) - Cash Cost $758.2 - Value 1.45 CPP
DL 2756 LAX-SFO - 5.5k DL - Cash Cost $110.20 - Value 1.9 CPP
AA 276 SFO-JFK - 50,162 TYP - Cash Cost $802.60 - Value 1.6 CPP

Hotels:
Fairfield Inn Mission Viejo - Marriott Cert - Cash Cost $215.32
Hyatt Regency Mission Bay Spa and Marina - 1 Hyatt Cert +15k Hyatt - Cash Cost $599.17 Value - 2CPP
Beverly Hills Marriott - 80k - Cash Cost - $768.21 - Value .96 CPP
Hilton San Francisco Financial District - Hilton Weekend Cert - Cash Cost $313.25
Sheraton Fisherman's Wharf - 12k SPG - Cash Cost $375.46 Value  - 3.13

After all accommodations and travel were booked it was time to figure out what I was gonna do in SD & SF for three days each. I headed to the San Diego Master Thread and saw the wiki was full of suggestions. Balboa Park is listed, but what is unclear about that is that Balboa Park is not just a park, itís a park which includes a number of museums and the San Diego Zoo (not to be confused with the San Diego Zoo Safari Park which is north of the city). My only real problem with planning my SD portion of the trip was that many of the attractions are only open 10a-4p/5p. When youíre limited to 6/7 hours and certain things like the Petco Park tour are at specific times, it can be tough to fit in all youíd like to do.
Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.
-Albert Einstein

Offline dpk4588

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Re: Going Back to Cali: dpk4588ís Return to The Golden State SD-LA-SF
« Reply #1 on: August 22, 2017, 01:16:34 PM »
Tuesday - August 8, 2017
Finally after all my planning, the time for my trip finally arrived. I was excited until 1:30 when i got an email from Jetblue that my flight was delayed 2:20 from 8pm to 10:20pm. Since I was supposed to be driving from LAX to Mission Viejo having a 2:20 delay would mean that I was driving an hour, somewhere I didnít know, in the middle of the night. While annoying, it shouldnít have been too much of a problem. I thought about trying to make the 4:50p flight out of JFK, but I didnít bother calling Jetblue to try and change it for two reasons. Firstly, I didnít think Iíd be able to make the 4:50p, and secondly, because while there were Mint seats available, they were only the buddy seats, and I didnít wanna miss out of my Mint suite.

I had originally planned on going to the airport straight from work, but with the 2+ hour delay, that was no longer necessary, which was annoying because it means I had to take my bags on the subway twice for no reason. And of course while on the train home, I got another email that my flight was pushed another 35 minutes.

I eventually got to the airport, and after flying through security (thank god for TSA-Precheck), I headed for the Airspace lounge. While I had heard it was nothing to write home about, I figured it would be better than sitting at the gate for a few hours. Well, everything Iíd heard was spot on, the place was tiny, their WiFi was terrible, I ended up using the free WiFi Jetblue has throughout the terminal. The one perk of the lounge is that if you enter using an AMEX plat card (as I did) you get a free $10 drink card. I got my free drink and sat down at one of the few seats available, which was a stool on the upper level. While in the lounge (actually shortly before I planned on heading to the gate) I got another notification that the flight was delayed another 20 mins. Thatís 3:15 in delays (so far).

I finally left for the gate, getting there about 2 minutes before boarding was supposed to start, and I noticed that they somehow expected to be able to finish boarding by 10:59p despite the fact that they hadnít started by 10:25p. Then they pushed it another 13 minutes (weíre now up to 3:28 in delays). Finally they started boarding us, or so we thought. They let us through at the gate but then once we got to the plane, we were told we had to wait since they werenít actually ready to board. Come on JetBlue, get your stuff together. After about 5 minutes standing at the door to the plane they actually let us on the plane.

I got to my seat (2F) one of the Mint Suites and was not disappointed. Shortly after settling in, I was greeted by my flight attendant Marv. He was very friendly, asked if Iíd flown Mint before and after telling him it was my first time, he showed me all the features of the seat and how to use the controls. He then offered me the Mint signature drink which was some mint flavored drink available with or without vodka. I opted for with. After boarding was completed and we pushed back from the gate we were informed that we were 16th in line for take off. By the time we finally took off it was 12:15a a total of 4 hours and 16 minutes of delays. That was the end of my JetBlue issues.


JetBlue Mint Signature Drink

I was informed before we took off that my KSML was on board and would be served about 30 minutes after takeoff, which was fine with me. I started watching a movie and before I knew it my food was ready. I appreciated that the three main dishes come in actual dishes instead of just tin containers. I started off with the Pan-seared Moroccan salmon With spicy lentil stew & saffron rice. Iím not generally a fan of fish, particularly salmon, but I figured it was worth a shot, and it wasnít bad. I then moved on to the Braised beef With summer vegetables & roasted red potatoes which was delicious. The beef was melting in my mouth. I then ended with the Seasoned chicken With herbed orzo, sugar snap peas & pineapple green peppercorn sauce which was also good, but not as good as the beef. Iíd rate the courses beef, chicken, salmon.


JetBlue Mint ‐ KSML ‐ Braised Beef


JetBlue Mint ‐ KSML ‐ Seasoned Chicken


JetBlue Mint ‐ KSML ‐ Pan‐Seared Moroccan Salmon


I had originally planned on only sleep about 2 hours on the plane, but since we were delayed 4 hours I thought Iíd be better off if I got more sleep since Iíd be driving to Mission Viejo and Iíd rather not be falling asleep during my drive so right after dinner I turned my seat into bed mode and took a nap. I slept pretty well, for about 3.5 hours. My only complaint about the seat in bed mode was that I found it to be a little narrow. Iím not a large person but I found it to be a little tight.


JetBlue Mint Suite Door


JetBlue Mint Bed Mode


JetBlue Mint Seat Mode


I woke up about 20 minutes before landing, I got back into seat mode and woke up. We landed and taxied for a while to our gate. When we finally got off the plane, it was what seemed like a crazy long walk to baggage claim, but thankfully the trip didnít take as long for the bags, since they were there when I got there. I headed out for the rental car shuttle.

The ride was relatively short, and I took the escalator up to the National section (Alamo is on the ground floor). Iím Emerald Club Executive from the Sapphire Reserve so I technically had the option of choosing from any car in the regular emerald aisle or the executive aisle. The problem was that there were a total of 3 cars in the regular and 5 in the executive. The 5 in the executive were all SUVs and I didnít want/need one so I ended up picking a Chevy Cruze, which was fine for what I needed but I was very disappointed by the selection available. Anyway...I got in the car, and headed to Mission Viejo for the night. The drive wasnít too bad, took me about an hour which is roughly what I expected. I checked into my room and was in bed within 10 minutes. Unfortunately I couldnít fall asleep because I slept 3.5 hours on the plane. It took me a while but I eventually did fall asleep.


Fairfield Inn & Suites Mission Viejo Orange County
Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.
-Albert Einstein

Offline dpk4588

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Re: Going Back to Cali: dpk4588ís Return to The Golden State SD-LA-SF
« Reply #2 on: August 22, 2017, 01:17:55 PM »
Wednesday - August 9, 2017
I woke up around 8 went down for breakfast, had some cereal and was on my way shortly. I think in retrospect I should have gone to the Museum of Making Music first, but I chose to first head to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. The reason I chose to go there first is that they open at 9a and the Museum of Making Music doesnít open until 10a. Because it took me longer than expected and I got out a little latter than I planned (and got a bit lost) I didnít get there until almost 10a anyway. But it whatís done is done.

The Safari Park was awesome. The GoCard comes with the 1-day pass which includes a ride on the African Tram and all the shows (another reason I should have gone later was that the cheetah run is at 3:30p and thatís supposedly awesome). Iím not saying the order in which I went around the Safari Park is the best route or plan, itís just what I did. I started with the gorilla forest, which was cool, I got to see several different gorillas of different ages and sizes and I even got to see a few little fights which were exciting. 


Safari Park ‐ Flamingos


Safari Park ‐ Gorilla

After the gorillas, I moved on to the Lemur walk, Iím not sure why the Lemur walk has a separate enclosure but it does, and you walk through a gate to their area. I saw two of them just hanging out on a ledge. Seeing animals being lazy was a common theme on this trip.


Safari Park ‐ Lemurs

After the Lemur walk, I headed over to the Africa Tram, which runs around some of the field exhibits, giving you a chance to see the animals from a closer perspective. I saw lots of different animals on the Africa Tram, Cheetahs, Giraffes, Rhinos, Flamingos, Antelopes, Zebras, and others. The Africa Tram gave me the most varied experience in terms of the different animals I saw in a short period of time. It was really enjoyable (except for the kid across from me who kept kicking me).


Safari Park ‐ Cheetah


Safari Park ‐ Rhinos


Safari Park ‐ Zebras


Safari Park ‐ Giraffes

Once I finished the Africa Tram, I moved on to the Lion Camp. I saw one (massive) male lion and two lionesses. They apparently sleep a lot, and while the male was awake and moving around a little, one of the lionesses was sleeping and the other was moving around a little. Itís really amazing how big those things really are.


Safari Park ‐ Lioness


Safari Park ‐ Lion

Once I was done admiring the lions I walked along the African Plains and got to see a lot of the animals I saw on the Africa Tram from another perspective, and some of them much closer than I got on the Tram.


Safari Park ‐ Uganda Kob

Next on my trip through Africa was Elephant Valley. If I thought the lions were big, I was blown away by the size of the elephants. These things were just huge. Sadly they didnít really get that close but I was still able to get a pretty good look at them. Talking to the park associate, I also learned some interesting things about the elephants, firstly, they go through a number of sets of teeth (I donít remember how many), when theyíve run their teeth down, the teeth growing beneath them push them out. Also you can tell the difference between African and Indian elephants from their ears. The ears of African elephants kinda look like the continent of Africa and the ears of Indian elephants kinda look like India. Pretty cool.


Safari Park ‐ Elephant


Safari Park ‐ Elephants

My last stop in the Safari Park was the Tiger trail. Unfortunately I got roped into some pitch about supporting the park which I had trouble getting away from, but eventually did. They have two Sumatran tigers, one male and one female. The male was walking around like it was nothing, but the female kept hiding, sheíd come close to us, then quickly turn around and hide.


Safari Park ‐ Sumatran Tiger


Safari Park ‐ Sumatran Tigress


Overall the Safari Park was awesome. I really enjoyed it. I donít know the last time I went to a zoo before this trip, but I really enjoyed it. I ended up spending about 3.5 hours there.

After the Safari Park I headed to the Museum of Making Music. It took me longer to get there than I expected (a theme of this vacation) and I finally got there around 2:30p.  The museum is in the National Association of Music Merchants building, which explained why much of the museum focused on the rise and fall of instrument purchases. I saw the NAMM logo on the building not knowing what it was, and once I saw what the acronym stood for the museum made more sense. It was an interesting museum which focused on progression of musical instruments, their sales, and their popularity. It was a nice little museum, I spent an hour there. They had an exhibit (I believe it was temporary), about the future of music creation, through new technologies. That was pretty interesting (not that the rest of it was uninteresting, I just found that particularly interesting).


Museum of Making Music ‐ Mason & Hamlin Organ


Museum of Making Music ‐ Story & Clarke Portable Organ


Museum of Making Music ‐ Carola "Inner Player" Piano


Museum of Making Music ‐ Deagan Vibraphone


Museum of Making Music ‐ Fender Strat


Museum of Making Music ‐ Yamaha DX‐7 Digital Synthesizer

I left around 3:30p, and since I hadnít eaten anything other than the small breakfast I had at the hotel, I decided it would be a good idea to stop at the JCC in La Jolla for some food. I didnít know whether to call it lunch or dinner, but considering it took me about an hour to get there instead of the ~35 minutes it should have, it was closer to dinner than lunch. If Iíd known it would have taken that long I would have skipped lunch and headed straight to downtown San Diego for my Harbor Cruise & Sea Lion Adventure. Instead, by the time I was done with ďlunchĒ it was already almost 5p and there was no way I was gonna make it to Downtown SD for the 5:30p cruise.   

After ďlunchĒ I headed (again in heavy traffic) to the Hyatt Regency Mission Bay Spa And Marina. I checked-in, and was ďupgradedĒ (without it being mentioned, I didnít notice until I went up to the room) to a Tower King from a Lanai King. I kinda wanted the room with the Lanai (which Iím not exactly sure what that is, I kinda wanted to find out), so itís a little annoying that they ďupgradedĒ me without mentioning it or asking if I wanted it. Although if this was the ďupgradedĒ room, Iím not sure if I would have been happy with the lower class of room. I got up to the room and itís kinda like a suite with a living room which had couches, a desk and a TV, and a bedroom which has a bed and TV, but there wasnít a wall to separate them, it was like a curtain. Weird.  I could tell the hotel was dated before I even stepped inside the room, it was the first Hyatt Regency Iíd ever stayed in that didnít use RFID key cards. I also noticed that a bunch of the furniture was old and cracked in some places. The two things that really bothered me about the room were that there were stains on the carpet, and there was old food and garbage from the previous guest in the fridge. Iíve never been in the room when itís being cleaned after a guest checks out, but I would have hoped that theyíd clean out the fridge. It was pretty gross. It wasnít like it was moldy or anything, but it did smell a little (but that just might have been the original smell of the food, I donít know what it was).


Hyatt Regency Mission Bay Spa & Resort ‐ Living Room


Hyatt Regency Mission Bay Spa & Resort ‐ Bedroom


Hyatt Regency Mission Bay Spa & Resort ‐ View from the Room

Shortly after I got to my room, I saw I had a PM on DDF and it said the following:
Quote
Hey I saw on the Forum you will be at Hyatt regency Mission Bay today/tomorrow. I just checked in and am staying until Monday. What are you doing for Kosher Food?
I mentioned that I was planning on going to Moishe's Grill at Beth Jacob Congregation San Diego and he then asked if I minded giving him and his wife a ride. As a New Yorker and a general skeptic, I was a little apprehensive, but then I noticed that Iíd seen him asking questions in the San Diego Master Thread and he wasnít a guy with only one or two posts so I figured I wasnít likely to get kidnapped and killed. It turned out he was also a New Yorker and a nice guy. It was actually the first time Iíd met a DDFer in real life. We went to Moishe's Grill and I got a burger which was solid, nothing special, just a solid normal burger.
Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.
-Albert Einstein

Offline dpk4588

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Re: Going Back to Cali: dpk4588ís Return to The Golden State SD-LA-SF
« Reply #3 on: August 22, 2017, 01:18:34 PM »
Thursday - August 10, 2017
This would be my only full day in SD and it was mainly focused on Balboa Park. But before I headed to the park I did the tour of a different park, Petco Park, home of the San Diego Padres. The tour was at 10:30am so I got to sleep in a little, and I got to the park around 10:15am. The tour begins at the Western Metal Supply Building, which is a historic building which Petco Park was built around. As with pretty much every stadium Iíve toured, Petco has itís unique characteristics, like the Western Metal Supply Building and the Park at the Park, which is a park which is open to the public not during games and available to fans with tickets during games. Overall I enjoyed the tour and it lasted about 75 minutes.

Petco Park


Petco Park ‐ Flag of Baseballs


Petco Park ‐ Earthquake Proofing


Petco Park ‐ View from the Press Box


Petco Park ‐ Western Metal Supply Building


Petco Park ‐ Portrait of Tony Gwynn in Lexus Home Plate Club


Petco Park ‐ Visitors Clubhouse


After the Petco Park tour I ate my sandwich I had bought the day before at the JCC cafe, and headed to Balboa Park. I would be spending the rest of my day at Balboa Park but bouncing around from place to place, thankfully, parking is free throughout the park. I began at the San Diego Air & Space Museum. The museum is set up in a circle by time period from ďEarly FlightĒ to the ďModern AgeĒ with a section in the middle with some oversized aircrafts which wouldnít fit in the other areas. They also have a 4D theater which has a few short (~5 minutes each) films which were cute, but nothing too exciting. I spent about 2 hours at the museum and enjoyed seeing the the evolution of both military and commercial flight.


San Diego Air & Space Museum ‐ SR‐71


San Diego Air & Space Museum ‐ Apollo 9 Capsule


San Diego Air & Space Museum ‐ Bell AH‐1E Cobra Helicopter


San Diego Air & Space Museum ‐ Boeing P‐26A Peashooter


San Diego Air & Space Museum ‐ Grumman F6F‐3 Hellcat


San Diego Air & Space Museum ‐ Blue Angels F/A 18A Hornet

Next up was the San Diego Automotive Museum which is literally right next to the Air & Space Museum, so I didnít have to move my car. The museum is relatively small but it has a lot of different cars. At the time there was an exhibit called Japanese Steel, all about Japanese cars. They had a large selection of classic cars and motorcycles which I enjoyed seeing. I spent about 45 minutes there and then moved on to the next museum.


San Diego Automotive Museum ‐ Signs


San Diego Automotive Museum ‐ 1975 Isuzu 117 Coupe


San Diego Automotive Museum ‐ 1969 Toyota 2000GT


San Diego Automotive Museum ‐ 1974 Lamborghini Countach 50005


San Diego Automotive Museum ‐ 1981 Delorean DMC‐12


San Diego Automotive Museum ‐ 1947 Indian Chief


San Diego Automotive Museum ‐ Indian 1942 Army Model 841


San Diego Automotive Museum ‐ 1981 Harley Davidson Heritage Edition FLH80


San Diego Automotive Museum ‐ 1962 Harley Davidson Model A "Peashooter"


San Diego Automotive Museum ‐ 1987 750 Ducati Paso


San Diego Automotive Museum ‐ 1950 Vincent Rapide Series "C"

The next museum was San Diego Model Railroad Museum. I had to drive there from the Automotive museum, but it was right next to the science center which was up after the Model Railroad Museum, so that worked out well. They claim to be the the largest model railroad museum (I donít remember if they claimed in the country or the world) but thereís on in NJ which also claims to be the largest in the world, so I donít know who is right. It was a cute museum, which I appreciated since I used to build model trains with my dad as a kid. I spent about 45 minutes there and then took the short walk to the science museum.


San Diego Model Railroad Museum


San Diego Model Railroad Museum


San Diego Model Railroad Museum


San Diego Model Railroad Museum


San Diego Model Railroad Museum


San Diego Model Railroad Museum


San Diego Model Railroad Museum


San Diego Model Railroad Museum

After the model railroad museum I walked to the Fleet Science Center to catch the 4p IMAX showing of National Parks Adventure, which was an interesting look at the US National Parks from the viewpoint of climbers. The movie lasted about 45 minutes and then I was done. I didnít plan on actually visiting the science center other than the IMAX, although walking through to the IMAX theater I saw an exhibit on classic arcade games which looked cool, but was overrun with kids, and I wasnít about to go back fight with all those kids just to play the arcade games.

After the IMAX I drove to the San Diego Zoo. While I had been to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park which is about 35 minutes north of the city, the actual zoo is much smaller (I think about 18 times smaller).  I think there was a lot of overlap between the two, but the options that the Safari Park offers in terms of being able to go out into the habitats (the safari aspect) makes it special. The regular zoo also has panda bears and koalas which the Safari park doesnít. If the aspect of going out into the habitats of the animals doesnít particularly interest you, then the regular zoo should be good enough for you. Since there were many animals that I saw at the Safari Park which were also available at the regular zoo, I didnít mind missing them at the regular zoo. I wanted to make sure I saw the animals which werenít available at the Safari Park.


San Diego Zoo ‐ Southern Hairy‐Nosed Wombat


San Diego Zoo ‐ Andean Bear


San Diego Zoo ‐ Schach


San Diego Zoo ‐ Panda Bear ‐ Bai Yun ‐ Mama


San Diego Zoo ‐ Panda Bear ‐ Xiao Liwu ‐ Baby


San Diego Zoo ‐ Koala


San Diego Zoo ‐ Giraffe


San Diego Zoo ‐ Greater One‐Horned Rhinoceros


San Diego Zoo ‐ Zebra


San Diego Zoo ‐ Reed Kangaroo


San Diego Zoo ‐ Cheetah


San Diego Zoo ‐ Zebra


San Diego Zoo ‐ African Elephant


San Diego Zoo ‐ Southern Gerenuk


San Diego Zoo ‐ Cuvier's Gazelle


San Diego Zoo ‐ Polar Bear


San Diego Zoo ‐ Llama


San Diego Zoo ‐ Lion

The one day pass includes a ~35 minute bus tour around the park, which I found to be a waste of time. I would have been better off spending that time walking around seeing the animals closer up than from the bus path. The one day pass also includes a ride on the SkyFari which is an aerial tram which goes from one end of the park to the other. It was nice as a way of getting from one end to the other but I didnít feel that it offered much in terms of views since most of the animal habitats had trees which blocked you from seeing the animals. If I had to do it over, I would have skipped the Safari Park and spent more time at the regular zoo. I spent about 3.5 hours there, and stayed until after dark (which made it harder to find my car).

After the zoo I rushed back to Moishe's Grill which on Thursday nights does pizza and fish and chips. Iím not normally a fish guy, but since itís tradition for me to have pizza on Friday I chose to go with the fish and chips. I was a little disappointed with the amount of fish provided (two relatively small piece of tilapia, but other than the portion the fish itself wasnít too bad. I grabbed it to go since I just wanted to get back to the hotel eat quickly and crash. Obviously when I wasnít in a real rush to get anywhere is when I didnít hit any traffic so I made it back to the hotel in about 15 minutes, ate my dinner and called it a night.
Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.
-Albert Einstein

Offline dpk4588

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Re: Going Back to Cali: dpk4588ís Return to The Golden State SD-LA-SF
« Reply #4 on: August 22, 2017, 01:18:59 PM »
Friday - August 11, 2017
For my final day in SD I was planning on going to the USS Midway Museum. According to the website they donít open until 10a but I got there at ~945am, and was able to get on right away, so Iím not sure what time they really open. This would be my first of several ships which I would be touring on this trip. The Midway an aircraft carrier turned museum, basically has three levels, two of which (the flight deck and the hangar deck) have aircrafts on display and the 2nd deck displays life on the USS Midway, showing where the sailors slept, ate, bathed, prepared for their missions and relaxed. On the flight deck there were a few talks from docents about how planes took off (using the catapult) and landed (using the traps). Aside from seeing the old planes and learning how planes could take off and land in such a short space, I also enjoyed the lower deck and seeing how the sailors lived.  I spent about 3.5 hours there and that was it for SD for me.


USS Midway Museum ‐ Welcome Mat


USS Midway Museum ‐ SBD Dauntless


USS Midway Museum ‐ Sleeping Quarters


USS Midway Museum ‐ Anchor Chains


USS Midway Museum ‐ Repair Department


USS Midway Museum ‐ VFA ‐ 151 Ready Room


USS Midway Museum ‐ Brigg


USS Midway Museum ‐ F4U‐4 Corsair


USS Midway Museum ‐ A‐4 Skyhawk


USS Midway Museum ‐ F9F Panther


USS Midway Museum ‐ F14 Tomcat


USS Midway Museum ‐ H‐60 Seahawk


USS Midway Museum ‐ Naval Retirement Ceremony


USS Midway Museum ‐ Catapult (Take‐Off Equipment)


USS Midway Museum ‐ F‐8 Crusader


USS Midway Museum ‐ Trap (Landing Equipment)


USS Midway Museum ‐ F9F‐8P Cougar

Realizing how late it was and that there was no way I was making it back to LA in time to get lunch I stopped to get gas and pick up some snacks for the road. It looked like lunch for today was going to be oreos and twizzlers.

It took me about 3.5 hours to get to LA and once I got there the next issue I had to deal with was parking. I was staying at the Beverly Hills Marriott which charges $39+ tax for parking per night, no thanks. The problem was that in Beverly Hills proper (about a block from the hotel) there is no parking without a permit, and much of Beverlywood (the other side of Pico) has the same restrictions but only on certain streets. I spent about 20 minutes driving around before I was able to find a spot about 6 blocks from the hotel, but it beat paying ~$85 including tax for parking. I was eating by a friend for dinner and lunch and then went to see another friend in BH on Shabbat afternoon which worked out well because it stopped me from going back to the hotel and sleeping all afternoon which would have prevented me from sleeping Saturday night which is never good when youíve got a flight Sunday morning.


Beverly Hills Marriott


Beverly Hills Marriott

Saturday - August 12, 2017
I went to Schnitzly for dinner Saturday night which was close but kinda slow, but the food was good so it was worth the wait.
Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.
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Offline dpk4588

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Re: Going Back to Cali: dpk4588ís Return to The Golden State SD-LA-SF
« Reply #5 on: August 22, 2017, 01:19:51 PM »
Sunday - August 13, 2017
I had a 9am flight out of LAX and I had to fill up and return the car to National so I left the hotel around 630a. It took about 15 minutes to get to the gas station near LAX (then another 2 minutes to National) I dropped of the car, and was at check-in by 7:15. I had to pay to check my bag since I no longer have the Delta CC and the bag-check line was a little crazy, but once I got past that it was smooth sailing through security and to the SkyClub. Someone had approached me about joining CLEAR, but I donít think it would have actually saved me any time. I relaxed at the SkyClub for a while and then it was time for boarding. The flight was short about 55 minutes gate to almost gate. Since they block out 1:45 for the flight which is actually only 55 minutes we got in early and had to wait about 15 minutes for a gate at SFO. I know they block out the extra time so they can still be considered on-time when they have small delays, but itís ridiculous for us to have to wait for a gate for that. On top of waiting for the gate, once we got out I had to wait almost 30 minutes for my bag, and mine was one of the first ones out on the carousel.

After finally getting my bag, I headed up to departures to catch a cab into the city. When Iím not in a rush I generally prefer to use UberPOOL and LyftLine since theyíre cheaper and I can use my pre-tax transit card. Uber was substantially more expensive than Lyft and despite Lyft not allowing me to use my pre-tax transit card in SF, I took a Lyft into the city. I was matched up with a couple who was being dropped off relatively close. I checked into the Hilton San Francisco Financial District and was ďupgradedĒ to a room with a view. Iím not sure what the view was supposed to be of, but it was nothing to write home about. The company I purchase my Alcatraz/Hop-On Hop-Off combo ticket through had dropped off a package with my tickets and some other stuff (a booklet and DVD about Alcatraz) so I got those when I checked in.


Hilton San Francisco Financial District


Hilton San Francisco Financial District

I dropped off my stuff in my room and was off to AT&T Park for my second stadium tour of the trip. It was ~12p and the tour was 12:30pm so I figured a LyftLine would be fine. I was wrong. It took almost 15 minutes for the car to pick me up, then we got matched with another rider (who got dropped off before me) and with all the traffic I finally got dropped off at AT&T Park at 12:34, I ran to the dugout store asking if there was any chance I could still make the 12:30p tour, and was informed that due to a concert happening that night, there were no tours that day.  They have a list on the tour website of blackout dates and I donít remember seeing 8/13 there but now that I look again it is there. Maybe it was there when I originally looked and I missed it or maybe they updated it recently and just figured to cover themselves theyíd add it. I noticed at the dugout store where you purchase your tickets thereís a calendar of tours and 8/13 was covered with paper, implying it wasnít originally blacked out.

This messed up my plans and frustrated I headed back to the hotel, having just wasted 45 minutes and ~$15 in cab fare. I decided to flip around my Sunday and Monday plans (with the exception of Alcatraz which was a scheduled ticket), so I picked up the Hop-On Hop-Off bus in front of the hotel and went for a ride. I didnít plan on hopping off, but really just planned on using it as a tour of the city. For the first few stops it was great, I had an awesome tour guide, but once we got to the end and I had to switch buses and the second bus didnít have a live guide, only recordings. Which was disappointing.


Hop‐On Hop‐Off ‐ Cafe Zoetrope ‐ Location Where Godfather Films Where Written


Hop‐On Hop‐Off ‐ Original Bank of America (Originally Bank of Italy)


Hop‐On Hop‐Off ‐ My First Views of Alcatraz


Hop‐On Hop‐Off ‐ The Embarcadero


Hop‐On Hop‐Off ‐ Del Monte Cannery


Hop‐On Hop‐Off ‐ Powell & Hyde Cable Car


Hop‐On Hop‐Off ‐ Golden Gate Bridge


Hop‐On Hop‐Off ‐ Haight‐Ashbury


Hop‐On Hop‐Off ‐ Dragon Gate

I did more than the entire loop since I wanted to end up at Pier 39, and ended up spending about 4 hours on the bus (which included the 20 minutes it took to switch busses at the end of the route). After the bus tour I headed to Pier 39 to see the sea lions. Everyone says to see them, but I didnít find it that exciting, they just sit there and occasionally make sounds.


Pier 39 Sea Lions

Once I was done doing my time looking at the sea lions it was time to head over to the Alcatraz tour, which is where things got confusing. All the email from the company I bought my tickets from said was bring photo ID to check-in, which I assumed meant checking in at their location. So I went to their booth at Pier 41, only to find it closed. I tried calling, no answer. It was already 5:35pm and the ferry boards at 5:55pm, so I started to really freak out. I ran from Pier 41 to Alcatraz Landing at Pier 33, and went to the will call window, and she asked for my ID and a confirmation number. I said I booked through a third party and didnít have a confirmation number, all I had was this receipt (which was in the package they left at the hotel). She said that was enough, and asked if theyíd told me to bring that. I said, no all they said it bring photo ID, they didnít even say where. Thankfully it worked out that the receipt was enough. I was starting to get really worried. I got on the ferry, excited to both get some good views of the Golden Gate Bridge and of course to see The Rock. Much to my disappointment, it was way too foggy to see the Golden Gate Bridge, so I didnít get good pictures from there.


Alcatraz Cruise Ferry


Alcatraz Island


Alcatraz Indian Graffiti

After about 20 minutes, we arrived at The Rock, and were given a brief introduction before making trek up to the prison. There is an audio tour which I thought was done in a very smart way. They give out headsets to people from different stations and each station has a different route around the prison so you donít have the entire ferryís worth of people going to the same places in the prison at the same time. Not that there werenít logjams at some points, but overall it moved pretty well. As for the tour itself it was interesting. Although to be honest it may have been a little overhyped. Donít get me wrong, it was good, and I think everyone going to SF should go, at least all adults who understand the concepts, but I was left feeling underwhelmed.


Alcatraz Sign


Alcatraz Showers


Alcatraz Cell


Alcatraz Broadway


Alcatraz SHU


Battle of Alcatraz, Bar Spreaders


Alcatraz Lighthouse


Alcatraz Warden's House


Alcatraz Watertower


Alcatraz Indian Artwork

After the audio tour, I walked around the grounds a little and then stayed around for a Ranger talk about the escape attempts from the prison. I found it interesting the different ploys people used to try and escape.

After the escape talk it was time to head down to the ferry to head back to SF. The ferry ride was uneventful, and I then took an Uber back to the hotel. Since it was after 10, Sabra Grill was already closed so my only option for dinner was the leftover snacks I had purchased for my drive from SD to LA. Yay mint Oreos and Twizzlers for dinner!
Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.
-Albert Einstein

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Re: Going Back to Cali: dpk4588ís Return to The Golden State SD-LA-SF
« Reply #6 on: August 22, 2017, 01:20:37 PM »
Monday - August 14, 2017
Monday turned out to end up with my plans for Sunday (due to the AT&T Park tour fiasco), so my day began a little later with a 10:30am tour of AT&T Park. I had tried calling to confirm that they were in fact offering tours, but unfortunately there was no response, so I decided to try and get there early just to make sure. I got there around 10:15am and thankfully there was a 10:30am tour. I did my shopping in the dugout store while waiting for the tour. The tour began with our guide giving us what felt like the worldís longest history lesson, but eventually we moved on to the actual tour. AT&T Park is known for what they call splash hits, or home runs that end up in the bay behind the stadium. The other thing I found special about AT&T Park was the Tony Bennett suite, while he isnít from SF, he is well liked there, probably because of his song I Left My Heart in San Francisco.  One more way the Lady GaGa concert screwed up my tour was that, she used the visitorís clubhouse as her staging area, and most of it was still closed off when we went for the tour. Other than that, I enjoyed the tour, which took about 1:45.


AT&T Park ‐ Willie Mays Sign


AT&T Park ‐ Field


AT&T Park ‐ Scoreboard


AT&T Park ‐ Bobbleheads


AT&T Park ‐ World Series Champion Trophies


AT&T Park ‐ Willie Mays Statue

After the AT&T Park tour I (mistakenly) took an uber back to the Hilton, I meant to take it to the San Francisco Cable Car Museum, but I accidentally put in the hotel, and then had to walk uphill to the museum :( . I got to the museum, which was small but interesting. It was cool to see the cables running from one of the lines, and to learn about how the cable car system works. I spent about half an hour at the museum, and then headed to Sabra Grill for lunch.


San Francisco Cable Car Museum ‐ Clay St Hill RR Co Cable Car


San Francisco Cable Car Museum ‐ Cable Card Operations


San Francisco Cable Car Museum ‐ The Truck

Iíd heard many people complain about the prices at Sabra Grill, and while they were a little high, I didnít find them to be insanely high.  The service was a little slow, but the food wasnít bad and when thatís the only game in town, you gotta take what you can get. I got a schnitzel in a pita, and it tasted fine. It wasnít anything special, but it wasnít bad, and thatís all Iím really looking for. I didnít go there looking for food as good as youíd find in the top tier restaurants in New York, Chicago, or LA. It was food that wasnít bad in a place that doesnít have anything else. It was all I could have asked for.

After lunch, I went back to the Hilton to pick up my stuff and move over to the Sheraton Fisherman's Wharf, where Iíd be spending my second and final night in SF. When I went to check-in I was told that my room wasnít ready yet but theyíd try and find me another one. Something I donít understand about hotels is why I have a specific room set aside for me before I check-in. I hadnít made any special requests, all I did was reserve a standard King room. Anyway, after a minute or two of searching, they were able to find me another room. I went to the room, dropped off my stuff and headed out. Before I left, I noticed that the door to my room didnít close all the way, and that in order to lock it I had to slam into it to make it close enough for the lock to work. (I complained about later and at the time of writing this TR is ďin the processĒ of being resolved).


Sheraton Fisherman's Wharf


Sheraton Fisherman's Wharf - PITA Door

I walked over to Pier 45 to see the two WWII ships. Originally Iíd only seen things about the USS Pampanito and I had added that to my GoCard, but since there was another ship there, the SS Jeremiah O'Brien, I figured Iíd visit that too. I started with the SS Jeremiah O'Brien. The tour was self-guided and cost $20. I got on the ship and found it to be lacking. There were a few small exhibits on the lower deck, and some that were not yet completed. I also walked around the ship, and two things struck me as odd. First, the living quarters looked like they were used recently, which was weird because this was a ship used in WWII, it was used to carry troops to Normandy. The other thing that was odd, was that there were several parts of the ship which were closed off and appeared to be under construction. It looked to me as if the museum was opened before they finished making it. I spent about half an hour there, and while I wouldnít say I wasted my time, I wouldnít recommend it to others.


Pier 45 Ships


SS Jeremiah O'Brien


SS Jeremiah O'Brien ‐ Engine Room

Following the SS Jeremiah O'Brien I took the short walk down the pier to the USS Pampanito. I saw on the website that there was an audio tour available so I had downloaded it onto my phone, only to find out that they actually provide the audio tour on iPod shuffles. The only other submarine Iíve been on that I can actually remember was U-505 a German U-Boat on display at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. It was interesting to compare the similarities and differences between an American sub and a German sub. I spent about 45 minutes on the sub which I enjoyed touring. For those of you keeping track, that makes 3 ships this trip (and I wasnít done yet).


USS Pampanito


USS Pampanito ‐ Torpedo Bay


USS Pampanito ‐ Sumbarine Bunks in Torpedo Room


USS Pampanito ‐ Maneuvering Room


USS Pampanito ‐ Control Room

I had two options for what to do Monday night, I could either go to Oakland for an Aís game vs Royals, or I could rent a bike and bike across the Golden Gate Bridge. For some reason I decided it would be cooler to bike the Golden Gate Bridge. Boy did I regret that decision. There are a number of companies that rent bikes in the area, and they all charge (from what I saw) $8-$9/hour. There was a rental company called Blazing Saddles, right by my hotel so I decided to go with them, since they were close. They told me how to get to the bike path and told me that it goes straight to the bridge. I hadnít ridden a bike in over 2 years since I was in Vancouver and rode around Stanley Park, but I figured I had no problem then, so Iíd have no problem now. What I didnít realize is that Stanley Park was pretty much all flat, and San Francisco is pretty much the opposite. I also got a little lost since I followed a sign that said detour and had a bike next to it, and I ended up biking into the Presidio. I eventually found my way back to to the right path and finally made it to the bridge. Iím ashamed to admit it, but there were points on the way to the bridge where I had to walk the bike up the hills. I figured it would be better to save my energy to actually bike the whole way across the bridge and back. But when I got to the bridge, I was able to bike all the way both ways. It gets crazy windy on that bridge, especially when youíre going around the (Iím not sure what call them) the tall parts of the bridge that the hold the suspension cables. I felt both good and terrible when I made it back. When I got back to the bike shop, they make it like youíre finishing a race, which was both kinda cute and dumb. I didnít expect it to take 2.5 hours but it did.


Golden Gate Bridge ‐ From Bike Path


Golden Gate Bridge

After I made it back to Blazing Saddles I took an Uber to Sabra Grill to pick up dinner. This time I got shwarama. Just like the shnitzel I got for lunch, it was ok, but nothing special. After my grueling bike ride, I just wanted food, so I was happy to be able to get anything. I noticed they were much more busy than they were for lunch, and Iím not sure if it was dinner vs lunch or that I went there for lunch around 1:30p. I grabbed my food, and headed back to the hotel.

I got back to the hotel, and my second issue with the hotel arose. I tried watching Netflix while eating dinner, but it wouldnít load. I tried some other websites and they wouldnít load. The WiFi was basically dead. It finally loaded some sites like Facebook, but it took forever and wouldnít load the pages fully. (Another issue Iíve complained about and am awaiting a response).
Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.
-Albert Einstein

Offline dpk4588

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Re: Going Back to Cali: dpk4588ís Return to The Golden State SD-LA-SF
« Reply #7 on: August 22, 2017, 01:21:10 PM »
Tuesday - August 15, 2017
For my final day in SF I figured Iíd start by walking around the Fishermanís Wharf area. I noticed that while everyone says to visit Fishermanís Wharf, all it really has is shops and restaurants. So while I walked around, I didnít find much to do. I headed over to Ghirardelli Square. I was told that when you walk into the Ghirardelli stores they offer you free chocolate, but sadly that wasnít the case, at least not for the three stores I went into. One of the stores has a factory which was interesting to see how the chocolate is made.


Boudin Sourdough Factory ‐ Fisherman's Wharf


Ghirardelli Square


Ghirardelli Square ‐ Chocolate Factory

I went from Ghirardelli Square to the Powell-Hyde Cable Car Turntable to get on the on the Powell-Hyde cable car. It was cool to see the cable car turnaround, but it was annoying that I had to wait almost half an hour to actually get on a cable car. When I finally got on a cable car I picked a spot that had me hanging on to the cable car, which is encouraged, which is the opposite of whatís done on the trains in NY. In NY they say you shouldnít be hanging onto the outside of the trains.


Powell & Hyde Cable Car

I took the cable car to Lombard street to see the ďcrooked street.Ē I found it difficult to get a good picture of the crookedness of the street because of the bushes and flowers around the road, but it was cool to see. I walked down and got to see the cars crawling down Lombard street. Iím sure as a driver, if I lived around there and had to drive there regularly Iíd go insane.


Lombard St Traffic Sign


Lombard St


Lombard St

From the bottom of Lombard street, I took an Uber to the Exploratorium.  As with every science museum Iíve been to in the last few years (probably longer) the place was overrun by crazy little kids. The museum has 6 sections, Human Phenomena, Tinkering, Seeing & Listening, Living Systems, Outdoor Exhibits, & Observing Landscapes. Aside from the kids, I found the museum interesting, they had an exhibit made entirely of cardboard, from which they made cities which was cool. There were other exhibits which were part of the seeing and listening section, displayed audio and visual trickery, which were cool. Iíd say the human phenomena and seeing and listening were the more interesting parts of the museum to me. I spent about 2 hours there and then it was off to the next.


Exploratorium ‐ Carboard Village


Exploratorium ‐ Carboard Village


Exploratorium ‐ Toothpick Art

Following the Exploratorium, I took an Uber to Alameda to the USS Hornet Museum. This would be my final ship and my final stop in SF. I got to the Hornet which took about 45 minutes, and when I got there I realized this was not gonna be the same as the USS Midway. The place was empty, There were maybe 4 other people on the ship at the same time as me. There were supposed to be docent led tours but the docent was nowhere to be found. I was given a map, and told that other than the docent led tours the ship was self guided. I was not told that there was an audio tour which would have probably enhanced the experience, oh well.  I worked my way down from the flight deck. I went up to the flight deck and there were very few planes up there, and they didnít really have any information about them. This is where I felt the audio tour would have been helpful. I moved down to the hangar deck, which had many more planes/helicopters than the flight deck, and it had some NASA stuff too since the Hornet was used to recover the crews from Apollo 11 & 12.

The lower deck was where the sailors spent most of their time. I enjoyed seeing how/where the crew spent their time. It was interesting that they had a special focus on the Marines who lived on board and basically acted as the police for the ship. There was also an exhibit on the Doolittle Raid, which was the US response to the surprise Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The USS Hornet was the carrier where the planes were launched from.

Overall I thought the USS Hornet was ok but it did have aspects where it came up short, especially compared to the USS Midway. It would have been better if they had told me about the audio tour or there was actually a docent led tour available. I donít think itís something that needs to be seen, but I donít think itís something that should be completely disregarded. If youíre into ships like that and you have the time (I spent 2:15 there) to head out to Alameda (itís about 45 minutes each way), it could be worth it.


USS Hornet ‐ HUP‐1 Retriever


USS Hornet ‐ NASA Mobile Quarantine Facility ‐ Apollo 14


USS Hornet ‐ TA‐4J Skyhawk


USS Hornet ‐ Executive Officer's Quarters


USS Hornet ‐ Marine Lounge


USS Hornet ‐ Sick Bay Floor


USS Hornet ‐ Torpedo Shop


USS Hornet ‐ CPO (Chief Petty Officers) Pantry & Mess


USS Hornet ‐ Chapel


USS Hornet ‐ Sick Bay

One downside of the USS Hornet is how remote it is. I had to wait about 15 minutes for my Uber to arrive and then it took about another 45 minutes to get to downtown SF. I headed to Sabra Grill one more time to pick up dinner. I went with the schnitzel again and it was fine. I ate it at the AA lounge at SFO. After picking up dinner I went back to the Sheraton, to pick up my stuff and head to the airport. I knew it was early but I had nothing better to do so I figured Iíd go to the airport and hang out in the lounge. I took an UberPOOL (since I was in no rush and it was again substantially cheaper), and it ended up being the same driver that took me from the USS Hornet to Sabra Grill. As many times as Iíve taken Uber, this had never happened to me before. The annoying thing was that there were two other fares (3 passengers) in the car already, thankfully it was a minivan so there was room, but I do think Uber should limit POOL rides should be limited to 2 fares at a time.

It took a while to make it to SFO (almost an hour) but again since I was in no rush I didnít really mind. I checked my bag, made it through security, and made my way to the AA lounge. Normally Iíd have access to an AA lounge when flying AA using my Citi Prestige, but that benefit when away as of July 23rd, but since I was flying business on a transcon flight I was given access. The lounge was pretty big, I at first sat at a seat with a table so I could eat my dinner, then moved to a more comfortable chair which had an outlet so I could plug in my laptop. I spent about two hours in the lounge and then headed to the gate for boarding. I was then called to the gate and told that my footrest was broken, and since business class was sold out they couldnít move me. I asked if I could be moved to first class (which I was pretty sure had seats since I was offered an upgrade at check-in) but was told no. I was worried because I wasnít sure how a broken footrest would affect the lie-flat ability of my seat, but then even before I sat back down I was called back to the gate and told that I could be moved to 10F, the window seat in the last row of business, so I took it.

I boarded there were some crappy looking headphones, and an amenity kit which had the basics. My seat-mate arrived shortly after me, and we both settled in. I was offered a pre-departure drink of water or juice, I took juice. There is no meal on this flight since apparently AA doesnít offer meals on flights after 10pm, what bull. We pulled back from the gate on time but sat on the runway for about 30 minutes before we took off (I actually fell asleep and woke up before we took off). Shortly after take-off I put my seat in bed mode and was asleep a few minutes later. I woke up with about 25 minutes left until we arrived in NY. As far as the comfort of the flight, it was ok. It wasnít tight or anything like that, the only issue I had (which was something I knew going in) was the lack of direct aisle access. It turned out not to be an issue because I didnít get up the entire flight, but still in general Iíd rather have the direct aisle access.

We landed a few minutes late, which wasnít a big deal, and then had to walk what felt like forever to baggage claim and then had to wait 20 minutes for my bag. Maybe I was spoiled by having my bag there when I got to baggage claim at LAX but having to wait 30 minutes at SFO and 20 minutes at JFK was disappointing.

That was my trip. While it had its ups and downs (and I donít just mean the hills of San Francisco), but overall I think it turned out ok and I enjoyed myself.  I hope you enjoyed reading my TR and find it useful when planning any trips to these areas that you might take. Thanks for reading.
Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.
-Albert Einstein

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Re: Going Back to Cali: dpk4588ís Return to The Golden State SD-LA-SF
« Reply #8 on: August 29, 2017, 06:07:34 PM »
Nice TR!

Offline dpk4588

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Re: Going Back to Cali: dpk4588ís Return to The Golden State SD-LA-SF
« Reply #9 on: August 29, 2017, 08:00:35 PM »
Nice TR!
Thanks. Its nice that after 150+ reads, someone finally appreciated it.
Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.
-Albert Einstein

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Re: Going Back to Cali: dpk4588ís Return to The Golden State SD-LA-SF
« Reply #10 on: August 29, 2017, 08:34:51 PM »
Thanks. Its nice that after 150+ reads, someone finally appreciated it.
For some odd reason this is the first time it showed up on my "unread posts". Really nice TR & thanks for taking the time.

Offline dpk4588

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Re: Going Back to Cali: dpk4588ís Return to The Golden State SD-LA-SF
« Reply #11 on: August 29, 2017, 08:42:48 PM »
For some odd reason this is the first time it showed up on my "unread posts". Really nice TR & thanks for taking the time.
Thanks. I appreciate you taking the time to read it.

I often find my "unread posts" flakey. Sometimes I'll leave work with like 7 pages of "unread posts" and get home and only have 2.
Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.
-Albert Einstein

Offline ar

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Re: Going Back to Cali: dpk4588ís Return to The Golden State SD-LA-SF
« Reply #12 on: August 30, 2017, 11:56:44 PM »
Nice. Thanks for all the info!