More Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

So, yeah, I’ve been traveling. A LOT. And completely not blogging about it. Because by the end of the day and end of the week, I’m just exhausted. And also, there is so much in my business life that I seem to be using up all my words before I have a chance to write.
Anyway . . . excuses, excuses.

So, this past week I was in Northern California – from San Francisco as far north as Arcata. (About which more in a sec.)

In San Francisco we took a few days before the start of the week to celebrate my 37th birthday. (I’ll go ahead and admit that I am ambivalent about this birthday. Normally I remind everyone I know for about a month before my day, and then celebrate throughout September. This year, I just don’t want to think too much about it. And also, surprisingly, I feel more comfortable in my own skin than I ever thought possible. It’s a wonderful feeling, actually. So long as I don’t dwell on that late-thirties thing.) Anyway, we stayed at the always lovely Hotel Monaco at Union Square, where the staff are the epitome of genuine hospitality, from the hostess to the housecleaning staff, and everyone in between. Stay here if you ever get the chance. And bring your pets, who are always welcome.

We did a lot of the things we always do when we visit SF, but this time we walked it all – averaging about 5 miles per day and seeing more of the city than one does by car. We walked from Union Square to Chinatown, down to North Beach, and on to Fisherman’s Wharf. Another day, we took the car to Golden Gate Park, walked the park, strolled through Haight-Asbury, visited the Conservatory of Flowers, and later hit Ocean Beach. (Note: it is unbelievably easy to get lost in Golden Gate Park. I advise a map.) What we didn’t do was load up on souvenirs and stuff. Because we always come back to this fair city and because we just didn’t want the bother of lugging it all back through airport security.

Now, I will confess we spent a portion of Labor Day in Napa Valley, hitting a couple wineries. If I had thought ahead, I would have planned more time to visit a few of the Baptist Wine Club preferred vineyards, but instead we just stopped by a few of our long-standing favorites for a couple bottles of things we keep running out of and that we can’t get back home. Like Sattui Madeira, which is the perfect after-dinner beverage, in my humble opinion.

Tuesday brought meetings in Arcata, CA, home of Humoldt State University, and which I learned is world famous for it’s growth, consumption, and distribution of certain controlled herbs and weeds. Apparently, 1 in 7 citizens of the county grow their own – at least according to the bartender. That probably explains the popularity of a university a couple hundred miles from any major city and lacking decent shopping & dining. It seems the citizenry has other priorities.

It was in Arcata that a dreadlocked couple loaded with luggage entered the elevator and remarked, “we’ve been driving all day. And you smell good.” Odd. And later that evening, a panhandler explained that the snails were out and would I “please take care not to crush them. They’re just trying to cross the street.” The only possible response: “thanks for the warning. I’ll be on the lookout.”

Also, there were more dreadlocks in Arcata than I have ever seen at any given time ever, even considering that NY Subway trip and the fact that I live in another, popular college town. There’s just no comparison. Arcata wins for dreadlocks.

The rest of the week found me in Redding to visit Simpson University and then on to Berkeley for a trip to the university there. I sorta made a big loop of Northern California, which meant for a lot of driving (about 900 miles in total) and led to a bit of back pain. Still, it was a great weekend for celebrating and a great week for business.

And I’ll try to be a more consistent correspondent going forward, even if I’m traveling. Well, especially if I’m traveling. Oh, the things I see and the people I meet along the way!

2 thoughts on “More Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

  1. I contest your puzzling assertion that we in Arcata lack proper dining. Perhaps the brevity of your visit didn't allow exposure to the dozens of restaurants in our college town. These range from carts and kitchen-trucks to all manner of shops, delicatessens, upscale restaurants and bakeries.

  2. Duly noted. A trip of less than 18 hours certainly does not give one the opportunity to explore much of anything a town has to offer.I will confess to enjoying the pizza at a local dive near the town square. And wished I had another evening to dine at Plaza Grill, where the aforementioned bartender served wonderful drinks and interesting conversation.

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