I got back from San Francisco yesterday afternoon, and I've since been arranging my thoughts on the trip. I have a mess of pictures for you, but I still need to process and upload the pictures from the wedding over a month ago first. And I need to get ready for a big maintenance window this weekend. And I need to do all my Christmas shopping. And I need to do laundry.
But regarding the trip, I think it will suffice to say that I had a fantastic time, and to gloss over the whole thing with a brief summary, as a full description would just take too long to write, and too much of your patience to read. So:
I still love San Francisco. It's a model for cities everywhere. There is a seemingly inexhaustible supply of things to do, for people of every temperament. Josh and Callie, for whom I officially made the trip, live in the Tenderloin among countless dive bars, strip clubs, porn shops, dirty corner markets, homeless people, hookers, quantities of garbage and excrement on the sidewalks and streets, and not surprisingly, the city's only reasonably-priced housing. Every day began, ended, and sometimes prominently featured walks in and around the Tenderloin.
I got to visit Toronado as I'd hoped, and found a few more real gems in SF beer culture, topped off with a visit to a fantastic beer bar that's also a great dive, called Zeitgeist, down in the Mission District. At these and other places, I happily imbued plenty of beer from Anchor, Sierra Nevada, North Coast, and Rogue. But on top of these breweries whose offerings can be readily found in Kansas City, I also drank some beers from Marin, Lompoc, Lost Coast, Russian River, Bear Republic, Lagunitas, Magnolia, Stone, Speakeasy, Karl Strauss, Gordon Biersch, Sin City, SF Brewing, and others I can't remember. There were certainly more places from which I could have consumed some beer, but I had more than my fill, and went home happy.
We spent Saturday afternoon and evening on an impromptu trip up to Muir Woods and Stinson Beach, the ride back from which Josh could not tolerate, and subsequently heaved the contents of his stomach all over the side of the road. This caused him to go catatonic because of low blood sugar. It was a fun, yet harrowing experience. We rented a car for this short trip and managed in the overnight not to get it stolen, vandalized, or broken into, all without having to pay for parking. Win-win.
I got to eat my favorite West Coast burgers, with a surprise trip to my second favorite. "But John, where would you have found a Fatburger? Aren't their California locations only in the Southern portion?"
Indeed they are. But due to the weather and cold that began as I was leaving Kansas City on Thursday, I was unable to return to Kansas City as promptly as one would hope. My return nonstop flight from Oakland left at 1:40pm on Monday, getting me home by about 7pm or so. Unfortunately, Kansas City's weather conditions actually deteriorated after I left, and by Monday, the authorities saw fit to close the airport. I told the ticket agent in Oakland to send me to St. Louis instead, where I could just rent a car and brave the three-hour drive to KC. They quickly complied, and set me up on a flight that would be leaving within an hour for Lambert, via Las Vegas.
I landed in Vegas and found out from the ticket agent that St. Louis was a hair away from closing, themselves. I volunteered to give up my seat, and keep track of the weather from a hotel, rather than sit around unshowered at the airport waiting on their word. The rest of the long story short: I spent the next two nights in Vegas, visiting and enjoying Sin City for the first time. I'm looking forward to getting the pictures to you.
UPDATE 4:57pm: I have completed the wedding pictures.