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California, I Hardly Knew Ye

Back in Georgia and playing a little catch-up, here.

Saturday night, I finished packing and hit the hay. To no avail, I was dead tired Sunday morning. I had planned to meet Jackie around 9am. Ended up being more like 10am, but I think we had time to be lazy. Jackie got to be navigator as I thrust the AAA directions on her. They are better in some ways than tripquest, but all of them have their own special brand of confusion. I think I’m better off when I take the time to re-write their directions in my idea of easy to understand.

At any rate, it was an uneventful drive down and we found our hotel. We checked in but didn’t have time to unload before heading to the Old Fisherman’s Wharf. The boat company I had made reservations with was, in most respects, cool. Now, their directions to their place on the docks over the phone could have been better, but the boat was nice and the captain was very knowledgeable and took us straight away to some humpback whales.

It was really amazing. At first, I thought we’d see nothing. It was my grand canyon on the other side of the plane experience all over again as everything to be seen was far away and on the other side of the boat… GRRRRR! I finally ended up with a couple of other people standing up on the seats at the front of the boat to see over the gaggle of people on the railings. This was when we had our first close encounter, one of the whales surfaced with in 10 feet of the boat and sprayed water at the crowd. VERY COOL!

This would go on for at least half an hour, as a pod of three humpback’s circled around and around our boat. They’d surface, flap their tails around, do the blowhole thing, etc. It was really indescribable. They were playing with our boat, much as they’d appeared to be with the sea lions they’d been following before that. The captain said that this happens sometime as they are curious, but it’s only happenned one other time this year! I haven’t had time to go through all the photos yet, but I’m hoping that I got a few good ones! Even if I didn’t, I don’t think I’ll ever forget it.

The boat trip was close to three hours and turned out to be on special for $25 on Sunday. Woohoo!! Well, well worth it. We also saw tons of seals, some dolphins and a brief glimpse of an albatross. We came back to the docks, a little more sunburned and maybe even a bit windburned, but happy. We made our way back to the hotel and unloaded and got ready for dinner.

Our sales rep took us to a place called Roy’s in Pebble Beach. The food, though not my usual fare, was very good. I was glad they had something other than seafood on the menu, but it was all unusual food. I ended up going with some sort of Hawaiian fusion deal that was steak with some sort of sauce. While not something I’d ever get myself, it was good. We then finished the scenic drive around the area while I kicked myself for not bringing my camera to dinner. Damn me!

Monday was mostly about meeting with the customer we went out to see in the first place. The meeting went pretty well! In fact, it ended several hours early. So, since we were taking the red eye back to Atlanta and couldn’t get an earlier one, we killed time in downtown San Jose. One of the project managers who came to the meeting lived there and so, showed us around, picked a place for dinner, etc. Still had time to kill so spent some in a trendy shopping center before at LAST, getting back on the plane bound for Atlanta.

I lucked up, and the seat beside me was empty! The tragically funny part, however, is the recognition the seat was going to be empty. I was sitting on the aisle side and a woman was sitting on the window side of our row of three seats. As the doors of the plane closed, I realized I really was going to have room. We had spoken briefly when she took her seat, so I commented, “hey, looks like we’re going to get lucky!” Okay, almost immediately, as the stricken look crossed her face, I realized exactly how this comment sounded. So, I started scrambling to explain mysef as she looked rather desperately at her children across the aisle. Finally, as the realization that I simply meant we’d have some elbow room hit, she put her headphones on and buried her face in a book… I’ll put this experience in the thank god I’ll never see this woman again category.

I was so exhausted that I did sleep most of the flight back. It wasn’t quality sleep. It was that type where you go maybe twenty minutes and wake up to adjust the new pressure point on your back or legs and then drift off again. So, when the flight landed, it was off the the races. Didn’t want to get stuck in too much traffic and succeeded! Home and to bed I went. I slept almost all day. This, of course, just means tomorrow morning will be that much rougher when I have to get up at a normal Eastern time and go to work.

I’m still most sold on my trips outside of the US, but Northern California is genuinely beautiful and the weather compared to the sweat box here is just wonderful. If you love the great out of doors or just lazily watching the waves crash on the beach, you have to spend some time there.

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