My recent trip to San Francisco was just fabulous. In the midst of political news and economic woes, it was nice to get away from the routine and daily grind of the office. I feel very blessed to have a job I love and work with people I love. It makes work, even with the stresses, loads of fun.
I'll try to recap the trip with the highlights without boring my faithful readers with every gory detail. My flight out to the West Coast was smooth and without delays. Delta is a great airline. Their customer service seems to have improved over the years. There is something special about a little pampering when you are traveling. Speaking of "Smooth," on my flight from Atlanta to San Francisco, I sat next to Carlos Santana's cousin. That's the closest brush to fame I had the whole trip. He lives in Santa Cruz and is a mountaineering guide that takes folks on bear hunts. I asked him if he was involved in music at all and he said, "I have a guitar, but it's still in the case." Guess not.
We stayed at the Sir Frances Drake Hotel, a historic hotel that opened its doors in 1928. It is located right next to Union Square in the heart of the city. The hotel definitely looks like it's been around for 80 years, but they've done a good job keeping it in working order, complete with the costumed doorman. The highlight of the hotel for me? Free Aveda products in the bathroom.
A lot of our trip was spent in meetings at the hotel where we could hear the "ding ding" of the trolley cars every few minutes from the street below. Once our day was complete, most of us either spent the night on the town (not me) or in our hotel room catching up on the work we needed to do (that was me). But, my trip was far from devoid of fun...
On Wednesday, we ended our meeting early to head to Fisherman's Wharf and a cruise on the bay. As we headed to Pier 39, Captian Erik walked up to greet us with a McDonald's bag in one hand and looking like surfer dude Matthew McConaughy. Not really what we expected. But he and the first mate, Heffee (pronounded "Heff-ay") made our trip memorable. It was a beautiful day as we sailed our 41-foot Privateer down the bay, past Alcatraz, past Angel Island, Sausalito, Belevedere, and on to Tiburon where we docked for dinner at Sam's. (Check out the "Sam Cam.") The cruise back was during sunset and the picture above was shot by one of our team members as we cruised past the Golden Gate Bridge. You can see more pictures here. A lot of the sales folks on the cruise do this sort of thing all the time, or live in Northern California. But for me and my team, we all commented multiple times, "Do you realize we are sailing in the San Francisco Bay?" The privilege of doing that made us grateful and thankful. We definitely didn't take this for granted. If you ever want to cruise the Bay, check out Captain Erik's company; they take good care of you.
The final night I was there, we were on our own, and I had a craving to see the ocean. Although the city is hopping 24/7, my love of California is the ocean views. One of my co-worker's Mom came for the trip so they could stay the weekend and the three of us girls had a wonderful dinner at Cliff House Bistro. It was foggy when we got there, so a bit tough to see the ocean, but by the end of dinner, the fog had lifted and I got my ocean fix. Add in a great dinner with two sweet people and a nice debriefing of the week over scrumptious seafood and I was one happy southern belle stuck in this very foriegn land.
There are more stories...my OCD tendencies causing me to buy a cell phone charger at the Atlanta airport and almost missing my plane...dinner near the Bay Bridge at Pier 1 at The Slanted Door...my humble thankfulness for some great compliments from a respected co-worker...our joke of who we'd save first if the sailboat sank...our jubilant response at the Cincinnati airport to see a Chick-Fil-A and a McDonalds! I'm still a Kentucky girl at heart.
One of my employees experienced his first sales meeting during this boondoggle. I failed to tell him in advance that we all greet each other with hugs and affections much like a family. To a lot of people that may be a surprise, but to us, it's just another day on the job. Yep, I dig my job....totally.