I was up early on the morning of the 20th I had to be at STL
for my 7:15 flight to Houston (IAH
). This morning I was flying on Continental (CO), Chautauqua (RP) actually. I figured I would fly on CO
while it was still a SkyTeam member, so I could earn miles. CO
mainline no longer serves STL
so there are only RJs. I arrived at STL
around 6:10am and was able to check in very quickly because there was nobody else in line. The A gate TSA
checkpoint was not all that busy either. I can never figure that place out. I have been there early in the morning and it is busy and other days it isn't. I headed over to gate A12.
A12 has been a lot of airline's gates over the last ten years. It was AA
for years before the bought TW
. Then HP
had it, then US, then NW
, now CO
is using it. There were not very many people around at the gate so I figured the ERJ-145 was not going to be full. The pilots arrived 45 minutes or so before the flight, but the FA
arrived at the scheduled departure time. We were told later that the scheduled FA
called in sick. We boarded very fast and pulled out of the gate about twenty minutes late. There was no waiting for take off so that was a good thing. I had not flown on a ERJ-145 before. This particular plane was N267SK, built in 2000. I am not a huge fan of flying on RJs, but I did like the single seat asile. A window and an aisle all in one, youcan't go wrong. I did find the toilet a bit small. I am only 5'10 and I was still too tall.
The service was good and I was happy to be served a great tasting muffin. Food, other than a bagged snack, on an RJ
is a real treat. The flight down to IAH
was very smooth and we made up some time because we arrived at the gate in IAH
right on time.
I found the regional jet terminal at IAH
to be very pitiful. It looked like a pole barn, with A/C. For the amount of RJs in and out of most airports in the US these days you would think IAH
would have something better. I thought everything in Texas was supposed to be bigger.
I took the "train" over to the C gates for my CO
mainline flight to SFO
. I checked out the George Bush statue there, I thought it was cool. The C gate area was much nicer than the RJ
gates, but it is still no DTW
At 10:45 we boarded the plane to SFO
. It was CO
737-900 N27421, built in 2008. The plane was very nice and very clean. It was outfitted with DirectTV PTVs in the seatbacks, but we were told they were non functional, due to a broken antenna. I didn't care because I brought my DVD player anyway. The seats were nice, but not a lot of legroom was to be seen. Oh, well you can't have everything in Y class. We were served a hot lunch, hot dogs with salad. It wasn't the best, but hot food in domestic Y is a rarity these days. I like this airline. I had not flown on CO
for years and I forgot how nice they were. I was hoping I would bump into EWRCabinCrew, but there were no men FAs on this flight.
I arrived at SFO
around 1pm and was picked up by Superfly. He was an hour late due to a bad wreck on the highway. He called and told me he was only 3 miles from SFO
, but traffic was stopped and he couldn't make it to an exit. He picked me up in his mom's old car (96 Toyota Camry) for a down to the LA
area. His 77 Lincoln was getting some work down to it by KevinL1011 and it was also being painted. I should have flown into LAX
, but I am always up for a car ride. Drving the Grapevine (I-5) was kind of cool. I have never driven on that road before. I enjoyed seeing the different kinds of farms that we don't have in the heartland. The mountains were very nice to drive though. We arrived in Rancho Cucamonga around 9pm and headed over to KevinL1011's house. There we had some Pizza and beer and BSed for a while. Superfly and I decided to stay over at the Holiday Inn in Ontario, near ONT
. It was priced very well priced for a full service Holiday Inn.
The Next day Superfly and I went over to KevinL1011's shop to put the trim parts back on the Lincoln after it was repainted. KevinL1011's shop is called Rancho Auto Care and is an AC
Delco shop. It is a top shelf service shop and they do good work there. Kevin was also doing a bit of fine tuning on the Lincoln for its trip back to San Francisco. Superfly and I hit some junk yards and then went back and hung out with Kevin.
When we got the car done we took Superfly's mom's car back to her house and brought the Lincoln over to the Holiday Inn.
That night we cruised around and went to a Brewpub with Kevin and his wife Mary. It was a place called BJ
's, they had good pizza and several good beers. Not bad for a chain brewpub.
The next day Superfly and I drove the Lincoln back to San Francisco. We took Highway 1, which is best known as the Pacific Coast Highway. It was very beautiful to drive along the water, plus the weather was cool and sunny. When it got dark we took the 101 the rest of the way.
Once we were back in SF
we drove the Lincoln around for a while, jamming to some great 8-tracks. I have been to San Francisco twice before and have already seen the tourist stuff. It is always a hoot to drive a huge car around San Francisco. I don't think it is as challenging as a drive in the Mount Washington neighborhood, in Pittsburgh, but it is close.
All that driving around made us thristy so I needed an Anchor Steam Beer. We went to a bar called the Toronado. They had a lot of good beers and the place was kind of a dump, which is what I look for in a bar. They had a good collection of brewery memoribilia so it was my kind of place.
Later on in the evening we hit up a great Steak place in Daly City. The place is called Val's and it opened in 1945. I have had some great food in SF
, but this place was tops, I would recomend it to anyone who likes steaks and seafood.
After dinner we went over to the Mission District to see a man named Russ Forester. Russ is well known in 8-track collecting circles. He published an 8-track magazine in the 1990s. I used to read it, so it was nice to meet Russ. While we were there we got to see his famous Telex 12 8-track tape changer, only one a handful known to exist. It was a choice sounding machine.
That night we went to a bar called Retox and had a few beers and talked about 8-tracks. The basement of the bar had seats and panels from a DC-10, we were told it once was a movie prop. Superfly, Russ and I had a good time.
Like all trips, this one came to an end too fast. Superfly drove me to SFO
for what was to be an Delta MD
-90 trip to Salt Lake City (SLC
). When I checked in I found that the SLC
flight was delayed by 45 minutes, which would have given me a 15 minute connection time. I aksed the agent if I could reroute as to avoid the tight connection. He said that was fine and rebooked me, though Atlanta (ATL
). That was fine by me because now I had a full fare Y ticket so I would get a 50% mileage bonus on my account. I headed through the TSA
checkpoint which had a very short line, as compared to my other trips to SFO
. Once through I ate lunch at Perry's, which was very good for airport food.
The flight was leaving at 12:45, but boarding was a bit delayed, however they really got things moving and boarded the plane quickly.
The flight to ATL
was aboard Delta 757-200, N699DL, built in 1999. This DL
752 was very nice. I had an exit row seat, so no recline, but the leg room was good. This particular plane at PTVs and Wi-Fi. This was the first time I had Wi-Fi on a plane and I thought it was cool. It was nice to check out a.net while flying.
We arrived at ATL
at 8:35, but taxied around for a long time. We were supposed to go to an A gate, but ended up in E.
By the time we finally got in I had to rush over to C to get my plane to STL
. The flight back to STL
was on a CRJ-900, operated by Pinnacle. It was dark and I didn't get a N number. I don't mind CRJ-900s too much and I was in an exit row so it was ok. The plane was not even close to being full, the seat next to me was empty. My previous DL
flight to ATL
had been full.
I got back to at 10:10pm and I only had to wait a few minutes to pick up my bags. Dad met me at the curb and took me back to my parent's house. Soon, summer vacation will be over and I'll had back to Detroit on August 31st.