Recapping My Trip Out West to San Francisco and Seattle – Part 1

It was a very fun and engaging trip, albeit a tiring one. But when you’re trying to see as much as we did in the span of five days (it was seven total but not gonna count two flying days) you have to sacrifice sleep.

Let’s begin with the first travel day, Thursday July 17

Our flight left at 2:55 pm and we had no trouble getting to the airport, thanks to my mom who drove and dropped us off. Once inside the airport, everything moved surprisingly smoothly as well. Even security, we didn’t have to take our shoes off or strip half-naked(kidding, sorta). The security offiicals also didn’t treat me like I was some moron for not exactly knowing every step of the process.

After coming out of security not agitated for the first time ever, we made our way to the gate where I was able to sit back relax and order overpriced McDonald’s. I was on vacation, I kept telling myself after dropping 8 bucks. This came one day after I unexpectedly spent $16 on Chinese at the State College Wegman’s ,after initially looking for a simple slice of pizza for about 2 bucks. But back to the McDonald’s, I decided on a chicken ranch wrap, if you care (you don’t).

After getting on the plane, I ended up stuck in a damn middle seat. Oh well, it ended up working out, after I got talking to the guy sitting to my right. Probably about my age, he was headed to Phoenix for a weekend of golf. Anyway, got to talking with the guy and he ended up giving me some tips, not that I’ll ever truly get to use them, but i appreciate it nonetheless.

After the five-hour flight to Phoenix, there was a bit of a layover for the connecting flight to San Francisco. The terminal we were in was BRUTALLY crowded and I couldn’t wait to get the heck out of there. Split some softshell tacos at some burrito place, but they were no  Chipolte let me tell you. Plus it was too crowded, to actually find a place to sit.

Saw this in the airport though, was the first picture I took on the trip. Who knows maybe I’ll be returning to Arizona in February, if a certain Philadelphia professional football team that is called the Eagles has a good year.

az super bowl

The flight to San Francisco was a little over an hour landed shortly after 9 pm PDT and by the time we picked up our bags, and made it to the rental car service, it was even later.

Originally, we were given a Hybrid Ford Fusion. One problem, it was incredible tight with very limited trunk space, probably due to the battery built inside the car. After I got in the car and was squished next to my brother, I knew there was no way in hell we I was gonna ride in that thing all the way to Seattle a drive a little over 12 hours. Fortunately, my uncle was able to switch to a more spacious Dodge SUV.

I was starving by the time we had gotten to Comfort Inn and just wanted a quick snack or something, since the last full meal I ate was the McDonald’s at the Philly airport.

Walking down the street, in search of something to eat, a fat asian guy obnoxiously yelled out of his car window at us, HEY GUYS WE’RE GONNA GO GET SOME PUSSY!”

Welcome to San Francisco.

We all prepared for the San Francisco weather, but none of us was dressed properly at the time. I was wearing a stretched out Phillies t-shirt to make it even more obvious we were tourists.

Eventually after realizing there was no fast food joints around this part of the city, and other places were closed after 11, we settled for a convenience store and just grabbed chips salsa and queso dip.

I didn’t care by that point, I just wanted to sleep. Traveling days are the worst.

Friday July 18

As I alluded to in the beginning, we were at it early Friday morning, hitting the streets of San Francisco, while the town still woke up and the fog rolled in off the bay.

Cool and crisp, it had a much better fell then the previous night, when I was cold, cranky and hungry.

We first headed towards Fisherman’s Wharf, which was only about a ten minute walk from the hotel.

Even though it was really chilly out, people swam in the cove the adjoined one of the park areas, shoreline

Most of the park exhibits and park rangers were still setting up shop–this was about 9-9:30 a.m. mind you. So with nothing firm on our docket until the A’s game in Oakland at 7, we decided to grab tour tickets to explore the city.

The tour bus was a red double-decker, and our tour guide was kind, yet strangely terrifying man at the same time. At first he seemed like the typical tour guide, kind friendly, tried to hard to be funny. But it was also hard to hear him because it was drizzling and he had a sock over his microphone.

This may have come into play when he frequently YELLED at some tourists who stood up to move while the bus was still moving. Another factor may have been that the tourists (many of whom were European) simply didn’t understand his order to sit down while the buys was moving.

He also took the time to yell something random at a homeless guy and throw a quarter at him, but only to have it hit the guy right in his head. (I didn’t actually see this but my Dad did).

Peculiar tour guide aside, the tour was worth it, as I saw much more of the city then when I visited San Francisco back in 2006.

It was still early, meaning it was cloudy and cool still, but I couldn’t help but notice how many great restaurants there were and how many offered outdoor seating. On a warm, sunny afternoon there’s probably too many to choose from. It also seemed like much more than Philadelphia.

One of these places was a joint called Mama’s and there was a huge line, while most other places remained sparse. Apparently, the food is so good, people will wait up to three to four hours.

We got off right across the street from Mama’s and started walking towards Coit Tower, something I definitely didn’t get to see in 2006. To get the tower it required walking up this street, which is just one of many steep hikes in the city.

steep street

As you can see, the incline was no joke, and in fact, cars are required to park on a 90-degree angle.

While we didn’t go up to the top of the tour because it cost $7 it was still cool to see and we got some good views of the Bay Area, including the Bay Bridge and Golden Gate Bridge.

coit tower

After checking out the tower, we made our way back to the bus and headed for lunch at Pier 39 along Fisherman’s Wharf. By this time, the sun was out and it was jam packed with tourists. While there isn’t a ton of rides on the pier, in fact the only one is a carousel, there’s plenty of stores, restaurants and open areas for performers.

Before we ate, we walked around a pit, to see some of the stores and the Sea Lions, who napped comfortably in the sun aboard some floating docks.

sea lions

WE eventually grabbed food at the Pier Market Seafood Restaurant, and reacuainted myself with their delicious New England Clam Chowder, generously proportioned inside a sourdough bread bowl. It also came with the ceasar salad. Here’s the photographic evidence.

clam chowder

After lunch, so we made our way back along to Wharf, seeing some of the shops, and fish stans along the way. But with a couple of hours left until the A’s game, we decided to simply go back to the hotel to rest for an hour.

We left for Oakland, around 4:45, knowing it’s only a twenty minute drive without traffic.  The problem? There was traffic. Lots of it. Getting out of San Francisco took us a half hour alone, because traffic was snarled trying to get onto the Bay Bridge. We didn’t end up getting to O.Co Coliseum until around 6, after a confusing GPS-lead drive through downtown Oakland, which was pretty depressing.

I recently saw that Oakland was voted the Second Unfriendliest City in the country. I was only there briefly, so I can’t say that it’s a fair nomination, but it certainly wasn’t the most glamorous.

Anyway, we arrived in the parking lot and it was a great nice for baseball and you could tell the fans were fired up for this one, hosting first place Baltimore. The tailgaters were out in full force, with loud music blaring and A’s flags flying.

It was reminiscent of a footbal tailgate scene, simialr to Kansas City, Milwaukee and Philly when the Phillies were the best ticket in town. Not coincidentally, those parks also have abundant parking spaces.

There wasn’t a ton to see around the stadium, other then the neighboring Oracle Arena, home to the NBA’s Warriors, so we went inside the stadium.

It was “Bark at the Park” night and there was no shortage of man’s best friend. The owners and their pets walked around the outfield warning track before eventually being seated in the outfield.

After walking around and talking pictures, we made our way to our seats in the second deck, just to the right of home plate and they were fantastic.

Oakland Seats

The second level was very low to the field;It’s probably the equivalent of sitting in the club section at CBP. With a sizable crowd, but not a jam-packed sell out, we didn’t be scrunched next to other people all night either, leaving plenty of room to relax and stretch out. While the lower level concourses had long lines and was crowded, there was an easy to access second level concourse. At first I didn’t think we couldn’t get in, because it was a restaurant area, but as it turns out, it’s open to anyone. There wasn’t as big of a food selection, but it wasn’t as crowded, meaning shorter bathroom lines which worked for me.

I’m not going to recap much of the game itself, but I will talk about the A’s fans and they were fantastic. Again, having a good team helps, but they were really into it from the first pitch on. The right field has a bunch of hard-core fanatics waving flags, chanting and dancing rhythmically to certain player’s walkup songs, notable Coco Crisp’s.  Considering the same stadium is home to the Black Hole, I wasn’t surprised.

They booed the hell out of Manny Machado all night long, as a result of this fracas back in June.  Here’s them greeting Machado in his first at bat:

The back and forth was great all night, Machado later homered in the 7th to give the O’s a two-run lead and he seemed to have the last laugh.

That deflated the crowd, but sure enough, the A’s made their way back, making quick work of the Orioles Zach Britton in the 9th after Josh Donaldson hit a three-run walk-off homer to give the A’s a wild 5-4 win.

Everyone, obviously, went nuts. More media to show!

Overall, I really enjoyed the game, the fans were great, we enjoyed great seats and saw two 1st place teams play a tightly-contested game.  Day two, save for the traffic getting the game, was a huge success.



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