Adventures Family

San Francisco treat

sanfranHaving just returned from a four-day trip to the west coast, I can tell you this for a fact: I have no idea what time it is.

My wife and I went west for a wedding, and took the opportunity to make it a getaway for just the two of us. The kids were safely locked in their rooms, and their water bowls were filled. Or they were with grandparents. Can’t recall.

We were going to the wedding of a college friend of ours, which meant a bunch of folks in their 40s got together to revert to being college kids. If you are an investor in Motrin and Gatorade, your portfolio is probably looking up this week.

We had a wonderful time catching up with old friends, meeting new ones, and, most importantly, being there to see the beginning of a new marriage. So, without further ado, a few highlights from the trip:

  • Our flight out was fairly uneventful, which is exactly how a flight should be. As we boarded the plane in Atlanta for San Francisco, I overheard the man behind me say he had just been hired as a pilot for a different airline. I told him I was glad to have a backup on the plane. He told me he had never flown this type of plane. I assured him he would be a far better option than me. “I guess so. Pointy side goes first…” Pilot humor, I guess.
  • It is amazing that this country was ever settled beyond the Mississippi River. Kansas, Colorado, Nevada, Utah and the eastern part of California look like wastelands from the air. Pretty sure my Conestoga wagon would have given up much sooner.
  • While in San Francisco, we went super-tourist. Fisherman’s Wharf, Golden Gate Bridge, chowder in a sourdough bread bowl, riding the streetcars, etc. I absolutely loved the City, but the top three takeaways: (1) Streetcars have the right-of-way, and if I ever drive in San Francisco, I will make sure not to get in front of one, as I saw a brakeman get out and yell at a driver to get off the tracks. Bad for the driver, entertaining for us. (2) In-N-Out Burger is everything everyone promised me it would be. Well done, west coast. Well done. (3) Seals and sea lions are loud, smelly, and generally awesome, especially when they start trying to knock each other off the docks. I could have sat and watched that mass of marine mammals at Pier 39 all day, but I had to go and find my wife, who I kinda lost. (I found her.)
  • I saw a neon green Lamborghini out there. Hanging from the mirror was a Berkeley student parking decal. When I was in college, I drove a 1984 Toyota Corolla. So pretty much the same thing.
  • The Pacific Ocean is cold. And the sun is backwards out there. The sun is supposed to rise from the ocean, not set into. What kind of weird sorcery is that?
  • California was not nearly the bizarro world I was expecting, although I did hear overhear someone say, “I made a vegan, dairy-free birthday cake, and it was fantastic.” So I guess that was kinda California.
  • On the flight home, I was reminded that people really just care about themselves. Our plane was delayed leaving San Francisco, which meant we would be landing with about 10 minutes to make our connecting flight in Atlanta. As we landed, the flight attendant took to the intercom asking folks to please let those with immediate connecting flights leave first. We were in the back of the plane and were hoping to sprint off the plane and do our best to catch our connection. On a huge, full plane, a grand total of three people had stayed in their seats. Yeah, all of you had immediate connections. Sure. One of the three still sitting was on her phone, and said, “We’ve got nowhere to be for a while, so we’re just going to sit here.” She was wearing an Alabama Crimson Tide shirt. Roll Tide, ma’am.

So we’re back home now, tired and a smidge delirious. But we’re a complete family again, and I’m glad to be home and ready to get back into the routine. It was a great trip with some great friends. Hopefully, we can do it again soon. But first, I need to figure out what time it is so I can see if it’s time to chase another Motrin with a Gatorade.

Mike Gibbons was born and raised in Aiken, S.C. A graduate of the University of Alabama, he now lives in Charleston. You can e-mail him at or follow him on Twitter @StandardMike.


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