Tuesday, October 09, 2007

North Coast Travelogue: 10/7-10/8

Got back from San Francisco again last night. First time I think I've had to drive down there since at least early summer, the wifey's brothers and sisters having been picking up my slack.

This time it was kind of iffy for us if we'd be staying one or two nights. Wife had an appointment at 1:30 in the afternoon on Monday. Normally, if we can get out of there before 3pm, I'll go ahead and try to head home. If not, I stay another night. Problem is, you never know how long you'll be there regardless of when your appointment is.

I ended up making a reservation for just Sunday night. We stayed at the Native Daughters of the Golden West Home (NGDW), corner of Baker and Fulton, San Francisco this time. Our usual place, Cathedral Hill Hotel, we were told didn't have any rooms available.
In one way this made what might be a tricky schedule easier.

The folks at NDGW are pretty easy going about check out times so it made scheduling a bit more flexible. The big disadvantage to NDGW was very limited parking available.

We left a bit later than we expected on Sunday, having to double back to the wifey's parents house to pick up some things the wife forgot. Then I had to stop by Taco Bell on Broadway and get myself a big glass of iced tea for the road. That was a mistake, I soon decided, because the iced tea just didn't hit the spot with me that day like it usually does. Maybe cause it's not summer?

Saw three wild turkey on the side of the road near Legget.

As we were just north of Laytonville, something hit the windshield. Sounded like a rock and I expected to have the windshield crack. The wife saw it hit and said it was a bug. Must of been some bug to make that kind of noise. Luckily, no cracked window.

Went pretty smooth until we got to around the Ignacio Parkway turnoff a bit south of Novato(?). First time I remember traffic getting backed up for so long that time of the day. I believe it was around 3:30ish.
After about maybe a half hour of stop and go, the pace picked up again and I figured that must be it and it would be smooth sailing in to The City. This was not to be.

As we approached the hill heading up to the tunnel before the Golden Gate Bridge, things started slowing down again. Finally, slowing down to a crawl, off and on. That's never happened there before. Finally, we see a neon sign stating parking for the air show is full.
So that's it. We stumbled into the last part of the air show that was part of what we found of later was San Francisco's Fleet Week. Bummer.

But I figured once we got to the Bridge, it should clear up. The clutter seemed to be from the parking for the air show, to the west at Golden Gate Park.
I was partly right, but the clutter never ended. We ended up crossing the Golden Gate Bridge not going faster than 35mph, if that. I know we went down to 15.

I figured maybe it would clear up once we passed Toll Plaza. Nope.
Bumper to bumper traffic was headed both ways; Both down 19th Ave and the way we went, towards Lombard Street. I've never seen it so congested and it's never taken us so long to get through San Francisco. It actually would take sometimes two cycles of red and green lights to make it through an intersection.

We finally made it to McCallister. That was a real blessing after dealing with Lombard and Van Ness.

I realized later, after looking at the map, that I probably should have taken Gough Street, as that went to where we were going and I noticed it wasn't anywhere near as congested.
Reason I didn't was because I'd never been on Gough and didn't know what it might be like. Looking at the map later, it looked like it would have been a good choice.

But, we made it and closed in on the NDGW Home. Now my next worry: Parking.

There's only two dedicated parking spots for NDGW and they're right in front of the two car garage. All it would take was for two other people with cars to be staying there and I'll have to go elsewhere for parking.

As we drove up I saw what I thought was a couple cars in the parking spaces. I kept driving and the wife asks what I'm doing. I told her the parking spaces were full. She indicated they weren't. I drove around the block to show her and found she was right. I was looking at the cars in front of the front entrance of NDGW, not the garages. Both those spaces were open.
Cool. We made it.

Had some internet problems at NDGW which I describe separately in a post below.

Monday, we headed for UCSF Medical Center at around 11:45. Although we had a 1:30 appointment we still had to do bloodwork earlier and, potentially, a big problem: find parking. The usual times we get to USCF the parking garage isn't a problem. During mid- day, though, it can sometimes be a challenge, if not impossible, to find parking. Middle of the day like this wasn't a good time for a worrier like me.

So we left a bit early and I was surprised how close NDGW was to UCSF. We'd stayed there twice before but I'd never noticed the closeness as compared to Cathedral Hill Hotel. It took less than ten minutes.

Next pleasant surprise was there was plenty of parking space on the D level of the parking garage where we prefer to park. Things were just falling together.

Got a couple sandwiches at Subway, including a couple of iced teas. I actually bought the larger one and they gave me the smaller cup. I guess it was included with the meal. I took the big one with me to the clinic and put the smaller one on my truck's cup holder to drink on our way home.

We managed to get out of the clinic a little after 2:30 and out of the parking garage before 3pm. A little later than I'd like but I'd made up my mind I was determined not to spend another night in The City.

I started drinking the iced tea I'd left in the truck as headed down Irving to 19th Avenue. By the time I'd turned on 19th, I thought I had a problem. I started getting what seemed to be stomach cramps. Iced tea sometimes does that to me depending on what I've been eating. Was I going to shit my pants???

NOT HERE! We're flying down 19th Avenue and there's NO place to stop. I didn't say anything to the wife and just tried to control the pain from the cramps. Gradually, as we drove along, the cramps went away, especially after I passed some gas. Whew. Scary.

I suggested we consolidate some stops to make it home quicker and rather than just use the drive through at the Willits Taco Bell for dinner and make a separate bathroom stop at one of the rest stops north of Willits, we do both at Taco Bell, buy gas and then no more stops until Eureka.

Didn't work too well. Connie couldn't get into the girl's rest room. The door was locked for at least ten minutes before I finally had her use the men's room and stood guard outside. No one ever came out of the girl's room by the time we left.

Then the usual hang up at the merge as you go through Willits, with the usual suspects staying on the right until that last moment so they can go to the head of the line. I blocked one car from merging but the time wasn't right to block the one that ended up in front of me. People were being too nice.

It would be great to have all the early mergers go bumper to bumper and keep those trying to nose into the front of the line out, but it's easier said than done. Maybe some day.

After gassing at Safeway, no more stops and things went pretty quick. I don't like driving at night but was somewhat relieved when the sun went down as the low sun beating me on the side of my face through the window was taking its toll. Seemed like the ride went faster after the sun went down, as well.

Good news is we won't have to go down there again, unless unforeseen developments arise, for three more months. Bad news is, we still have to go back.


At 12:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fred, it is a pretty sad statement on your existence if hitting bad traffic in San Francisco is worth writing about. Perhaps you could take up knitting, or model making... something productive.

At 12:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Would have been a better story if you had shit your pants Fred

At 6:58 PM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

Yep. Might have been better for you if I did shit my pants.

At 7:02 PM, Blogger Rose said...

Prayers and best wishes for you and Connie, Fred.

At 11:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fred, I recommend you read "On Writing Well" by William Zinsser. You won't be sorry.

At 5:36 AM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

Have it. Read it.

At 6:26 AM, Blogger Carol said...

Good thoughts and prayers to you and Connie, Fred!

At 10:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Fred, I recommend you read "On Writing Well" by William Zinsser. You won't be sorry.

11:18 PM

Fred said...
Have it. Read it.

5:36 AM

Your reply proves the truth of your assertion.

At 8:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fred shits his pants so much already that its ceased being out of the ordinary.

Fred, do you get guvmint sistance ta buy yo dipahs tu?

At 10:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


How sad is it that you were FORCED to read it?
And then waste more time bitching about the content?

Go away and start your own blog.


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