What is it about freeways in California? They always seem like they are under construction. The 101 is not under construction, but it certainly felt like it. Is this the result of seismic activity? Or maintenance inactivity?
Anyway, it took under 40 minutes, which is amazing. All of my previous trips to San Fran have been during heavy traffic or on foot. There are decent signs now that take you straight to the North Beach area. I never noticed that before. It took ten minutes to find a place to park, and I was able to drive up one of those impossible steep hills in the process. All par for the course. Parked near a park with some scary characters loitering in the dark.
Walked over to Corso Christofo Colombo and headed straight to Trattoria Volare Cafe. The service was awful, as usual. It was twenty minutes before I got any attention. Of course, I don't go for the service, I go for the food, and that was terrific. Minestrone with carrots, squash, eggplant, and mushrooms. Pollo Parmigiana with scalloped potatoes and grilled vegetables. Their savory marinara is exquisite. I read the SF Weekly to keep myself from feeling lonely.
Sat at by an open window and got to smell all the wonderful San Fran smells that would probably be offensive or noxious in any other setting, but are refreshing to me because they tell me I am in a real city. A city where the restaurants are open until 11pm or later, even on a Monday.
Back down the 101 to Santa Clara, in bed by midnight, but forgot to take my sleeping pill, so I got no sleep. Up at 7am, to corporate headquarters, nice training class, bearable. Headed into downtown San Jose, which is very inviting and peaceful. I tried to get in the Cafecito, where Fatigo has played in the past, but it was closed (it was 3 in the afternoon). Got a chocolate shake at Ben & Jerry's and headed to return the rental car. I forgot to refill the tank and got charged nearly $40 for a quarter tank of gas (it's all expensed to the company, but that hurts nonetheless). In the airport reading some new books for three hours, three hours on the plane, and a ride home in a car without air conditioning. I was beat, but I'll live.
Folks, the dinner was worth the trip. All else is irrelevant.