Eight Hundred and Fifty Five Miles.
Forty Six Hours.
Our goal was clear. AT&T Park, San Francisco, California. Boston Red Sox versus San Francisco Giants. Monday, August 19. Sandra and I had talked about driving up to see a game for some time, but had just never done it. You know how life gets in the way, right? Well it had to be done. It just had to be.
“Enjoy Each Day.”
That was kind of our mantra for the trip. And the thought lingers. We’ve been through a lot the past two years. Even more the past few months. We had decided that even though we weren’t in a position to make it a really nice vacation trip, we’d run up and see a game anyway. It was going to be a lot of driving in a short period of time, but it would be worth it to check another ballpark off of our list.
It started with planning. We found a game and a day that worked for us and got the wheels in motion. For our Angel’s tickets here in SoCal, we use a company called 714Tickets. They have awesome prices on tickets for every venue from Los Angeles to San Diego…It turns out they sell SF Giants tickets as well. We purchased our seats, picked up our tickets and were set. Using an outside (but reputable) resource for tickets is often cheaper than using the box office of the event venue. I highly recommend finding that type of resource when planning YOUR micro-adventures.
Because you ARE going on micro-adventures…Right?
Anyway, that’s how we do it. And if you’re in SoCal and need tickets, I highly recommend 714Tickets. They don’t even pay me to say that.
So we had our tickets. Now we needed a hotel. Luckily, San Francisco is a big city, with lots of hotels AND (my favorite part) everything is right downtown. It’s pretty much a walking city. We found a hotel close to all the action for a quick trip that would allow us to park the car and not worry about it until we were ready to go home. The price was a little more expensive than what I usually look for on a micro-adventure. I found a cheaper hotel (in a nice, clean, safe area) but it was away from the city, and when I considered parking fees and gas if I were to be driving the entire time back and forth the price was a wash.
We were set. We left early Sunday morning, in part to beat any traffic and in part to get to our destination (7 hours and 450 miles later) in time to spend most of the day hanging out and sightseeing. We drove the 101 Freeway north to the Bay. It’s a little longer than taking the main artery that runs through SoCal up to the Bay Area and beyond (I-5), but it’s also much prettier. Since we weren’t really pressed for time, I thought we’d take the scenic route. We had packed a lunch and other goodies so that we only needed to stop when we needed to. And when we needed to, we did. Got it? And that’s when we made our announcement we were on an adventure. Well, sort of an announcement…
Anyway, we made the city right on time, got checked into our hotel, freshened up a bit and then hit the streets. Sunday could not have been more perfect a day. San Francisco is known for its unpredictable weather. Even in the summertime the day can be warm and sunny and five minutes later be cold and overcast. That’s pretty much life in the Bay. We were lucky to have clear skies, no wind and lots of sun. It was like summer time! Ha ha ha!
We walked the boardwalk along the Embarcadero, we went to lunch, we walked to Chinatown, we took lots of pictures like we were tourists. I sang out of tune and embarrassed Sandra…
Okay, in fairness she wasn’t JUST laughing at me. Let’s just say the shirtless man that was roller skating past us was wearing tight shorts. VERY. TIGHT. SHORTS. I didn’t get a picture, because, well…I didn’t want one. Needless to say, we were in San Francisco. If it ain’t weird, it don’t belong.
We soaked in the rest of the day before heading back to the room to clean up and relax for bit. We got all dressed up and walked to dinner Sunday night, enjoying seafood appetizers, salads and wonderful conversation. After dinner we took another stroll along the Embarcadero waterfront.
Game day started nice and easy, the way a relaxing vacation should start if you’re on a relaxing vacation. The game wasn’t going to start until 7:00pm, so we had a whole day to roam the city. Knowing we would be leaving after the game, though, we were in no rush to get moving too early.
Once we got moving it was back to the streets walking. We got yelled at by a hobo. It’s pretty much routine for me. Make note, I’ve been yelled at by a hobo in every big city I’ve ever been to. Seriously. This week was not the first time I’ve been yelled at in San Francisco. In every metropolis, I’ll get yelled at by a homeless person. Without fail. Well…sometimes they’ll compliment me. But that’s another story.
We were going to go to Alcatraz, but they were sold out. We were going to walk to the World Famous Lombard Street, but I directed us left when we should have gone right, and well…San Francisco has a lot of hills and when you’re walking those hills and you make a wrong turn you just kinda…don’t turn back. We’ve both seen Lombard Street before; we weren’t actually “missing” the opportunity. Our feet thanked us for not turning back. And besides, it’s not an adventure until something goes wrong, right?
Our wrong turn did give us a chance to see the World Cup boats sailing in the Bay, so it wasn’t a total loss. You can’t really see the boat in this picture, but it’s there. Trust me.
We made our way back down to New Montgomery Street, near the heart of the city, and to a tiny little sandwich stand called The Sentinel. Sandra and I had been watching a program on Food Network the week before and they were visiting San Francisco. Of course, we sat up in our seats and listened intently, knowing we’d soon be there. They highlighted The Sentinel, mostly for its Spicy Crab Salad Sandwich, a delicacy of which they regularly sell out. Needless to say, once we saw it on TV we had to see it in person. So we did.
When I say tiny, I mean tiny. The Sentinel sits on the corner of a building, and when we approached the line to order was about 30 people deep. We got in line anyway, because, well…That’s why we were there. The line moved fast, and there was a girl walking along the line taking orders. When we got to the actual stand itself, we walked in the door and with one step we were at the counter. They already had our order and the cashier rang us out. We got our drinks (only two offered, Lemonade or Strawberryade) and with one more step we were back out on the street on the other side of the corner.
The stand only offers about ten items, all gourmet sandwiches, so everything is ready quickly. We waited about two minutes. The up-side is they’re fast. The down-side is they’re just a stand wedged into the corner of a skyscraper, so you have to walk somewhere else to find a seat to eat.
We found our spot not too far. San Francisco does have a lot of little nook parks with benches and artwork. They make for cool places to stop and enjoy the bustle of the metropolitan atmosphere.
Sandra ordered the Spicy Crab Salad Sandwich. I ordered the hot Roast Beef with Russian dressing and Swiss cheese. MMMmmm…..I’d describe it further, but it would just make your mouth water. You’ll have to go and experience it for yourself. The Sentinel.
Oh, yeah…And we were in town for a game. We walked to the ballpark in the late afternoon, getting there about 4:00pm. The gates would open two hours before game time, so our early arrival allowed us to walk around the outside and get a feel for the stadium, which basically adheres to the one rule of real estate. Location. Location. Location.
The ballpark sits right on the Bay, with the waterfront on one side and the city on the other. It’s picturesque. The stadium was built with red brick, giving it an Old World San Francisco feel, but with a clean and family friendly atmosphere. Take a casual stroll around the park and you’ll find statues of Willie Mays, Juan Marichal and more. We found ourselves along the boardwalk beyond right field and got a chance to see a little of the Giants batting practice through the free viewing area notched out of the right field wall.
Once inside we met up with friends and found our seats. The wind had kicked up throughout the day, so the night was a little chilly but still comfortable. We enjoyed an amazing tribute to the city of Boston and all of the victims of the marathon bombing, along with a rousing few choruses of “Sweet Caroline”. A continent away and the crowd was Boston Strong.
And strong they were. Boston kind of whalloped the Giants. It wasn’t pretty, but we had fun anyway. I’m a Cubs fan, so I’m kind of empathetic to the season the Giants are having this year. I did, sort of, root for the Giants by wearing an orange shirt. It was a Formula : Sport shirt, but it was still orange. I figured, when in Rome…
AT&T Park? Check.
Six hours later Sandra and I were falling into bed back at home, thoroughly satisfied with another successful micro-adventure. We were tired (still are, a little), but the memories will last a lifetime. And the point is, really, if you don’t just do it then you may not ever do it. We’d talked about seeing a game in SFO for a few years and it had never happened. We’d had the time and the money before, but we let life get in the way. We didn’t really have the time or money this time around, but felt the experience was worth the trip. It was. Because the mantra still rings true…
“Enjoy Each Day.”