My day started off with hints of ickiness, but ended on a good note. We’ll dispense with the ickiness first. Sean dropped me off at the Phoenix airport with time to spare. Check-in was a breeze and I got through security easily. It was weird, though. I’m used to either departing through Terminal 3 or 4. Today, I departed through Terminal 2 and the security system is different. Strange. Anyway, I got to my gate and sat down, ready to wait a few more minutes before they would begin boarding the plane. The captain of our flight gets on a couple minutes later to inform us that the San Francisco air traffic control won’t let us depart Phoenix because they can’t land us in San Fran as a result of weather conditions. Great. An hour and a half later, we’re boarded and are finally given approval to take-off. The flight was uneventful. Typical flight. Landed in San Fran, got to wait awhile for my luggage and then take a train to the rental car center. Second icky part of the day, the more than an hour wait that I had to get my rental car. Thrifty, apparently, is a popular car rental company. I finally got my car (thankfully, no hassles there) and off to downtown San Francisco I went in my little red Dodge Neon.
Because of airport delays (plane and car rental), I wasn’t able to see everything that I wanted to see in San Fran, but I’ve still got a little time to make it up on Sunday, before my flight leaves. I headed straight for lunch when I got into town. I had seen a place on FoodTV that was said to have outstanding hot focaccia sandwiches. It was in the heart of North Beach. The place is called Mario’s Bohemian Cigars and Cafe. I don’t know about cigars, but the food was outstanding. I sat up at the bar and ordered the fresh mozarella and basil sandwich. It’s a panini made with focaccia bread, fresh mozarella, basil, pesto and fresh tomatoes. Yum. That kept me going as I peaked into various stores in North Beach and snapped many pictures along the way.
I then toodled down into Chinatown. There were a couple shops that I had noted before flying out here that I wanted to hunt down. Unfortunately, both shops were a bust, but I ran across an outstanding tea shop where I purchased a couple new teas from and a fantastic Chinese bakery that sells incredibly tasty Chinese doughnuts and mooncakes (among other things). The Chinese doughnut was my snack to tide me over until dinner.
Unfortunately, this is where my adventures in San Fran stop for the day. Fortunately, this is where my adventure down the Pacific Coast Highway begins. There are basically three options to get from San Fran to Palo Alto (where I’m staying for the wedding). I can take Hwy. 101 that will get me to Palo Alto directly. I can take I-280 that will get me close to Palo Alto and then I just have to cut across on another highway. The third option is to take the Pacific Coast Highway (Hwy. 1) that runs down the other side of the peninsula, and then cut across on one of the several windy roads to connects the two sides of the peninsula. This might be a good time to mention to those who are unaware that the peninsula has mountains down the middle. Moving on. I took option 3. If you know me at all, you know that I love windy roads and pushing the limits of my car down them. Highway 1 is absolutely breathtaking. To your right, there are rocky beaches leading into the Pacific Ocean and surfers catching whatever wave they can. To your left are lush, green mountains covered in evergreens and clouds. I went about 20 miles down Highway 1 before finally choosing a road to cut across the peninsula on. It was the most out of the way cut-across road, but it was also the windiest and most fun looking one. It had my name written all over it. For future reference, State Highway 82 is a blast to drive. It curved constantly, first to the left, then to the right. That was one of the best hours in a car that I have every spent. Granted, I would much rather have preferred being seated in my Miata rather than the Neon, but the Neon held its own and got me safely through.
Several hours later, I’m now curled up in my hotel room, happily sated with seared tuna in my stomach. I love being near the coast. Tomorrow morning is manicure and pedicure time, followed by a bridesmaid’s lunch and then bachelorette party. Let the festivities begin.
Current photo count: 68