Sunday, March 21, 2010

San Francisco

This morning at 340am I woke up, dressed and headed for Harrisburg International Airport for a 541am flight to Philadelphia. From there I took a 735am direct flight to San Francisco. I live a lot closer to Harrisburg International--32 miles--than Philadelphia International--88miles--and you might wonder if I am paying a premium to fly from the airport with no wait in the security line instead of driving to Philadelphia. But the opposite is true. I tried booking the same US Air flight from Philadelphia and it was $100 more from Philadelphia. And I didn't have to drive in Philadelphia.

Anyway, after six hours of reading and sleeping (I don't watch movies on planes either in case you were wondering) we landed in San Francisco at 1030am local time. By 11am I had my bags and was on the way to the city on the BART train. Taxis are $40, from SFO. Shuttles are $20. BART is $8 and I was in the lobby of my hotel in 40 minutes. Cities like Atlanta, Boston, Philadelphia, and Chicago among others that have train service are much nicer to fly to than the cities that just offer cabs and vans. At least for me.

By 1pm I had registered for the conference I am here to attend and was on the way to Blazing Saddles bike shop to rent a Marin Stelvio carbon road bike. I did not have enough time to ride back to the hotel and drop my backpack and still make the three events I had scheduled for Sunday evening, so I went straight from the shop, across the Golden Gate Bridge and up Mount Tamalpais. It is steeper than I remember (and I am older) so I only got to the first crest before the turn for east peak before I had to turn back. The road is a series of switchbacks with occasional straight sections and grades from 4 to 8 percent. Most of the way down I was riding between 30 and 40 mph tapping the brakes less after each set of switchbacks.

I should be back on the mountain between the morning and evening meetings tomorrow. Too much to do on Tuesday.

SPQR and America

Senatus Populusque Romanus The Senate and People of Rome Some of the soldiers I served with in Iraq talked about getting an SPQR tat...