As the Polka turns
Saturday, December 25:
12:00 PM – The forecast says that heavy snow will be falling in Massachusetts starting late tomorrow night, and our flight is scheduled to leave at 7:00 a.m. Monday. There would be no chance of getting out of Boston with that flight, so I call Continental Airlines to rebook it. They schedule a flight from Boston to Newark Sunday at 5:15 p.m. with a flight at 8:00 p.m. from Newark to San Francisco. This seems like a much better option.
4:30 PM – Over Christmas dessert, I tell my uncle my plans for the next week. With a sense of pride, he insists I’m not going anywhere for a few days despite my insistence things would work out. He invites me over to shovel his driveway the next day. I politely decline.
Sunday, December 26:
9:00 AM – I call Steve and tell him to get to my house as soon as possible- According to the local news, Armageddon is approaching.
11:15 AM – Steve leaves Vernon, Conn. for Franklin, Mass.
1:45 PM – Steve arrives in Franklin. A 1:15-trip ends up taking twice as long due to post-Christmas traffic. The snow is just piling up and estimates now expect for snowfall of over 20 inches in Franklin. The best we can do is watch the Patriots game and pray that everything works out for our trip that had been planned since July.
2:35 PM – My brother tells us our flight from Boston to Newark has been canceled. No surprise there considering how much snow has already fallen outside and how much more is in the forecast. I try calling Continental Airlines but I can’t get through on the phone after “exceptionally high call volumes” clog the phone lines. I cannot rebook the first leg of our flight online, but I buy more time to fly down to Newark, by moving back our connecting flight to San Francisco for Tuesday at 7:00 a.m.
3:00 PM – My uncle calls to tell me he was right about not getting to California. My blood boils.
3:30 PM - I receive a call from Bob Semple, a WHUS alumnus from 1964 and 1965 who is now located on the west coast. I have been in touch with him for a few weeks leading up to this trip so we can meet up for the Pacific game. He is very eager for the opportunity, assuming we can make it to the west coast.
4:00 PM – We start arranging backup plans to get us out to California since the news is making it sound like we won’t be able to fly down to New Jersey before Tuesday morning. Train, car, bus and a sleigh drawn by a pack of Siberian huskies are our options- in no particular order.
6:30 PM – Mom makes a dinner of ribs, roasted potatoes and salad. A+ as always. Steve and I worked up quite an appetite after several hours of Mario and Bowling for Wii.
8:10 PM – We have yet to leave the dinner table as my mom brings out platters of cookies leftover from our two-day Christmas feast. My mom offers tea and coffee. I hate hot beverages. I cannot stress enough how much I hate hot beverages. Yet after a long day of watching football and playing Wii, a cup of tea sounds good.
8:45 PM – After sitting at the dinner table for over two hours with them, Steve has gotten to know my family almost too well at this point. I think they might like him more than me. Fortunately, no embarrassing stories have come out that could compromise my authority as unquestioned leader of WHUS-Sports.
8:50 PM – The Little Ceasar’s Bowl is just about the only thing on TV. From the get-go the game is a disaster. The two teams playing are Toledo and Florida International who don’t even deserve bowl games, the announcers are two guys I had never even heard of, and the game starts with the Ukrainian Carroll being played over their intro to the game. I’ve never had lower expectations for something in my life.
9:00 PM – My dad and brother head outside to shovel for the fourth time today. If you’ve noticed, nowhere in this blog had it said that I’ve gone out to shovel the driveway. Normally I’m the first one off the couch to go shovel, but how can I be a good host if I leave Steve inside while I’m outside shoveling? Thanks Steve.
11:00 PM – Continental Airlines is still dealing with too high of a call volume to take our call. I bet they just unplugged the phone lines and sent everyone home.
11:30 PM – Go figure, the Little Ceasar’s Bowl ended up being the best bowl game so far this year. Florida International wins on a walk-off field goal after an impressive last-minute drive that included a hooks-and-ladder play on fourth-down. A big day awaits tomorrow. Bedtime.
Monday, December 27:
8:00 AM – The plan as of last night was to head into Boston this morning to talk with a Continental Airlines representative in person. We scrap that plan, and decide to turn our attention to getting to Newark any way we can. Tickets for the trains from Providence to Newark are sold out, and Orbitz doesn’t do a good job of coordinating sleigh dogs on short notice, so we call the local Hertz to get a one-way rental to New Jersey.
8:15 AM – We reserve a rental and It looks like the plan is to make it a two-part trip to Newark. We are going to head to Steve’s house in Vernon to get drive through the night to make our flight in Newark.
9:00 AM – My mom is already taking Tums just thinking about us driving down to Newark in the middle of the night.
10:00 AM - Lots of Wii and lots of television today while Steve and I do more research to prepare for the two women’s basketball games and the football bowl game we will be covering on our trip. Steve and I had an unexpected 11-hour layover at Philadelphia airport in September while flying out to Michigan for the UConn-Michigan football game, so I guess this is a little better than that. Also, watching my dad do swordfighting on Wii has been the highlight of these past two days.
4:00 PM – Steve and I head over to the nearest Hertz with my dad to get our rental car for Newark. I envisioned some sort of 8-cylinder Mustang. The Chevy Malibu they give us was a close second-place in my book.
5:00 PM – We sit down for an early dinner to make sure we can get on the road to Steve’s house in Vernon in time to watch the UConn men’s basketball game. My mom made sauce yesterday while we were snowed in, so ravioli, meatballs, sausage, salad and garlic bread is tonight’s meal. Another A+ effort.
5:30 PM – Pacific’s women’s basketball Sports Information Director, Kevin Wilkinson calls me on my cell phone. After discussing the likelihood of us getting to the west-coast for the next day’s game, the phone call ends.
5:37 PM - Steve remarks how nice it was of Kevin to check to make sure our travel was going well. Kevin told me he was checking–in because we were taking up “prime, courtside real estate” so I don’t think he was calling out of genuine concern.
5:38 PM – Steve jokingly says he figured it was Bob Semple who called.
5:39 PM – Bob Semple calls.
6:00 PM – Steve and I sit down for another dessert of Christmas cookies before hitting the road. Again I have tea, and I’m not sure why.
6:45 PM – Armed with tea and two Red Bulls in the cup holders, the journey to Newark begins. Steve controls the radio: Third Eye Blind mix CD.
8:20 PM – We arrive in Vernon at the Morris household and are just feet away from getting in the driveway before the car starts spinning its wheels in the poorly-plowed street. Tip-off for the UConn men’s basketball game versus No. 6 Pittsburgh is in 10-minutes and plans to abandon the car in the middle of the street outside the house are put into place.
8:26 PM - Quick-thinking and expert driving by me gets the car into the driveway with just seconds to spare and gets us on the couch in time for the opening tip.
8:30 PM – The UConn men’s basketball game begins. Optimism abound.
8:44 PM – Pittsburgh leads 8-2. Reality sets in.
9:10 PM – Trailing by 9 at halftime Mrs. Morris senses disappointment in both of us and breaks out specialty chocolates. In a misidentified attempt at a raspberry-filled confection, I grab a caramel-chili powder piece on which the verdict is still out. I’ve heard life is like a box of chocolates and as far as I’m concerned, a caramel/chili powder combination could not be worse foreshadowing for the journey ahead.
10:40 PM – The UConn game ends with a 15-point loss and Steve and I take our respective posts in the Morris household. I man the basement on the couch, and Steve retires to his room. As I lay on the couch, I wonder how comfortable the beds are in our hotel room that is reserved for us in California right now.
Tuesday, December 28:
12:15 AM – Most of my hour-and-a-half nap time was spent tossing and turning while re-hashing the men’s basketball game in my head. Though he assures he fell asleep right away, I assume this is the same for Steve but that he’s ashamed to admit it. Steve and I wake up from our naps with a renewed sense of purpose and thirst for life.
12:40 AM – With a coffee and tea in-hand (3 cups of tea in 30 hours officially makes me a “tea guy”, right?), we get back on the road to complete our trek to Newark. Steve selects an unlabeled CD to begin the ride. It’s an unmarked version of Adam’s November Mix CD. Excellent choice.
12:41 AM – I burn my tongue on the tea before even backing out of the driveway. If I get us to Newark on-time, I’m willing to mention this performance in the same breath as Curt Schilling’s bloody sock game.
2:00 AM - Adam’s November Mix CD has a good run, but ultimately runs out of fresh beats. We agree on Blink-182’s Greatest Hits.
2:05 AM – Our plan all along is to take the Tappan Zee Bridge to avoid going through New York City.
2:10 AM – As our car rolls through the Bronx toward the George Washington Bridge, we realize that somewhere along the line we missed a turn. TomTom reassures us that we are still heading in the right direction.
2:13 AM – Concern in the rental car grows as we appear to have made our way off the highway and onto the streets of New York City. TomTom remains calm- the one constant in a week filled with uncertainty.
2:48 AM – I haven’t read any vacation guides for New Jersey, but the Vince Lombardi Rest Area has to rank somewhere between Atlantic City and The Shore on the long list of Jersey hot-spots. While Steve appeared pleased with his chicken tendercrisp, the Burger King easily served the best 8-piece chicken nuggets I’ve ever had after 2:00 a.m. If early- morning Burger King doesn’t scream “New Jersey!”, then I don’t know what does.
3:30 AM – The rental-car is returned to Hertz and we take the Hertz monorail to Terminal C.
3:58 AM – We arrive in the terminal to what looks like a fallout shelter. Hundreds, if not thousands, of people are scattered on the floor of the entire airport outside of the security check- point. We get into line to check our baggage and a airline attendant wanders over to the line we pick to announce that only four Continental Airlines flights will be leaving Newark that morning. Four. Our flight to San Francisco is one of them. Winning the lottery couldn’t feel better at this moment.
4:40 AM – We successfully make it through security to Gate 88. 2-hours and 20-minutes remain until takeoff. At this point something has to go wrong. I know it. I know it.
6:15 AM – The plane from Portland arrives to take us to California. I think the flight crew that got off the plane knew what the Beatles felt like whenever they traveled.
6:28 AM – The person working customer service announces that the plane is overbooked and that five passengers need to volunteer to take a different flight. The compensation for volunteering: $500 travel voucher to anywhere in the United States and a seat on the next flight to San Francisco, Friday, December 31st. It’s the 28th. The laughter from everyone waiting in the terminal was one of the creepiest things I have ever heard. It was like one of those cartoons where one of the characters gets so hungry they picture their friend as a giant drumstick. Everyone at Gate 88 was looking around sizing up the five other drumsticks on this flight.
7:40 AM – I’m on the plane, and the plane is in the air. Somehow, I still don’t believe it. I think I saw them stuffing those five extra passengers in the overhead bins to fit everyone on, but I don’t care. Each seat has satellite TV, and for our troubles they are giving it to all of us for free rather than making us pay. Boy Meets World is on ABC Family. Can life get any better?
10:50 AM (Note: These times will all be in PST from here on out) – We land and wait for our luggage which we are convinced was sent to some obscure Midwest city based on how smoothly everything else went this morning. On a 6-hour flight, I would estimate I slept for 2:30 of it. Surprisingly our luggage is waiting for us and we go get our rental car- a 2011 Mercury Marquis with 82 miles on it. We ask if he meant 82,000 miles on it. No, no, no- 82.
12:35 PM – It is a 25-minute drive from the airport and we arrive at the Sheraton Palo Alto to check-in to our room. We have little time to relax as we are meeting Bob for lunch before driving him to the women’s basketball game vs. University of Pacific.
12:50 PM - Neither of us can remember our last shower, so we feel like that’s the best option to kill time. I’m pretty sure I fell asleep four or five times while Steve was taking a 10-minute shower. This cannot be a good thing for tonight’s game.
2:00 PM – Bob stops by the hotel and we drive to a nearby shopping center for a bite to eat. There is a pizza place that serves artisan pizza, so the three of us split a half-pepperoni/half-sausage pizza and get on our way.
2:45 PM – We hit the road to Stockton which is where Pacific is located. It is going to be about a two-hour drive in perfect conditions and no traffic.
4:30 PM – Naturally, I get us to the Spanos Center in under two hours.
4:50 PM – We are set-up courtside with our equipment ready to go more than two hours before tip-off. Steve and I finish our
6:51 PM – We start our brief pre-games show and prepare for opening tip. This game shouldn’t be close. At all. Pacific is 3-9 on the season. UConn is coming off back-to-back 31-point wins over the 10th and 19th-ranked teams in the country.
7:17 PM – It’s 13-10 UConn. What?
7:49 PM – It’s 49-19 UConn at halftime. Much better.
8:22 PM – As Steve does play-by-play I step aside and hand my headset off to Bob for a 20-minute on-air interview. He talks about WHUS as it existed in 1964 and 1965 when he was a DJ. says he had a great time
9:11 PM – UConn wins. Final Score: 85-42. The winning streak is at 90 games. Steve and I are basically asleep, but we stick around for the press conferences because Bob wants to see Geno and the players speak. After doing long broadcasts and just wanting to pack up our equipment and head home, going to these press conferences is a privilege that we at WHUS so often take for granted, but it is a pretty cool experience to be in the same room asking questions to UConn athletes and coaches. We grab a few slices of cold pizza leftover from the media workroom and settle in for a bit.
10:04 PM – We are in the car driving back to Palo Alto. Steve is driving, Bob is shotgun and I’m riding in the back. I drove from Palo Alto to Stockton in perfect conditions as the sun was setting on a beautiful California day. Tonight there are winds whipping across the unprotected freeway as buckets of rain pour down on us. I’m terrible at estimating, but from what I can gather from the back seat of the rental car visibility in front of the car was in the neighborhood of 6-to-9-inches. Due to the poor conditions I vow to stay awake to help Steve navigate home.
10:04:30 PM – I fall asleep.
Wednesday December 29, 2010:
12:15 AM – We get back to the hotel, say our goodbyes to Bob and immediately fall asleep (back asleep in my case). The grand totals: Steve- 3 hours of sleep in the last 43 hours (Adam- 3 hours in the last 41 hours before passing out in the back seat of the car).
9:00 AM – Wake-up call. Because we need to have the rental car returned to the airport by 11:00 a.m. we have to get up earlier than we’d like, but it’s probably a good thing because today is the day we planned on sightseeing in San Francisco. I can barely open my eyes right now though. I mean it. It actually hurts to open my eyes. I’m not someone who likes to sleep in, but I’m not someone who functions on three hours of sleep over two days either.
10:00 AM – We are showered and agree that we will grab something for breakfast in the city rather than grab something at the hotel. We may be exhausted and undernourished, but dammit we are going to try and get the most out of our day in San Fran.
10:45 AM – The car gets dropped off and we take the train into San Francisco. The weather is supposed to be 50-degrees and cloud in the city today so we are outfitted in sweatshirts, jeans and a windbreaker. The weather was not quite the California weather everyone was jealous of when they heard I was heading out west over winter break, but it wasn’t exactly 20 inches of snow either.
11:45 AM – We get off the train and now need to start figuring our way around the city. We start off by walking 8 blocks in the wrong direction. Perfect. 100% my fault. You now know I hate hot beverages. If there is a second thing you should know about me, it’s about my sense of direction. It’s not that I have a poor sense of direction, it’s just that I might not have one at all. I wouldn’t make it past the first episode of The Amazing Race. I’m the guy leading his team away from the other 9 teams who all make their flight. Poor Steve.
12:15 PM – We ultimately realize our error and start heading in the opposite direction. We do look at a map and see that Fisherman’s Wharf and Golden Gate Park are on opposite sides of the city so the best option at this point is to buy a public transportation day-pass.
12:25 PM - We buy the pass and hop on a trolley to take us to the wharf.
12:32 PM – Inside, our trolley goes pitch black and comes to a complete stop. It becomes detached from the overhead electrical source and now we are blocking a T-intersection. From the way people are reacting, this doesn’t happen often.
12:34 PM – Someone is brave enough to throw the wires to reconnect them and get our trolley back underway. I don’t like plugging back in lamps in case they’re already “on” when I plug them back in. Whoever plugged in that trolley has my utmost respect.
12:50 PM – We get to the piers and approach the Alcatraz Tour Guide booth on Pier 31 and see that there are two more tours going out today. We ask for tickets for either the 1:20 or 1:55. The teller asks us if the 1:20 tour on Sunday is good. Oh. Now, not to make excuses, but we were warned by WHUS Business Manager Barb Becker that we needed to get tickets in advance for Alcatraz tours. There were tickets available online when I checked on Christmas, but seeing how we didn’t know if we’d even be making it out to California with the horrible weather forecasted I decided to not pull the trigger on them. Big mistake. Our attention turns to grabbing lunch.
1:15 PM – Lunch. We have lunch at a seafood restaurant, The Eagle Café, on the second floor of the boardwalk overlooking the harbor.
1:30 PM – The cup of lobster bisque Steve and I order is out of this world. Perhaps in part because our first bite of the day comes nearly 16 hours after our last meal, but I think it more has to do with the world-class seafood Fisherman’s Wharf is known for.
1:31 PM – Steve and I discuss how there is something oddly primitive about this road trip. We don’t know when our next meal is coming. We don’t know when our next shower is coming. We don’t know when we are going to sleep next. It’s like water torture with sightseeing and sporting events mixed in. What’s most concerning is my body doesn’t even care anymore. I’m not even that hungry. I’ve learned in biology courses that when put in awful conditions, the human body goes into “conservation mode”. Maybe that’s what’s happening now. I rarely go more than a few hours without food and yet I’ve sustained myself in the last 48 hours off five slices of pizza and 10 chicken nuggets.
1:40 PM – Our main meal comes; I have fried clam strips and Steve has a burger. Having grown up spending summers on Cape Cod, I hate to admit this but the clam strips were probably some of the best I’ve ever had. Again, I’ll attribute that to the foodless conditions Steve and I have been experiencing for the past few days, but they were outstanding.
2:10 PM – We pay for our meal and walk around to explore the rest of the shops that Fisherman’s Wharf has to offer.
2:40 PM – With our Alcatraz dreams dashed, we make our way across the city toward Golden Gate Park.
4:45 PM – I don’t know how long it takes for a competent person to get from Fisherman’s Wharf to Golden Gate Park using a combination of walking and busses/trolleys, but it took us two hours. I’ll pretend that’s only an hour longer than it should have taken.
5:05 PM - We got to see the Golden Gate Bridge as the sun was setting and it was truly spectacular. There is no doubt why San Francisco is a city that is so highly regarded. As we walked all over the city throughout the day today, we could see how clean it was and how it has so much culture steeped in every building.
6:15 PM – We grab a bus to head back across the city to the train station that will bring us back to our hotel. If you want to talk about culture, being able to ride through Chinatown as we made our way back the city was truly special. I was disappointed that our day didn’t include an early dinner in Chinatown, but once it was nightfall Steve and I and our collectively thinning patience wanted to get back to our hotel. All things considered, it would have been impossible to cram all of San Francisco into one day in the city. Steve and I were more than pleased with all we were able to accomplish in the time we were given.
7:25 PM – Our train gets into the Palo Alto station which is right behind our hotel, and we head to the nearby shopping center before going to our room. We know that if we set foot in our room, we will not leave for the rest of the night.
7:35 PM – We have a choice between Mexican and a burger joint. Jack Steakburger’s is the final verdict so we go in to order our burgers to-go.
7:40 PM – There is a CVS a few stores down so I go to pick up a Powerade and some Gummi Life Savers while we wait for our burgers to be made. I need a sugar rush to even keep me awake through dinner.
7:50 PM – I come back to have Steve tell me while I was gone I missed an absolute fiasco. He was on the phone with his mom and all of a sudden an older gentleman comes up behind him choking on a piece of burger. Steve doesn’t know what to do so he puts the phone down and starts attempting the Heimlich on this guy who I’d estimate to be 6’6”, 235 pounds. I’d describe Steve as being neither 6’6” nor 235 pounds. Steve has average height and weight for a 21-year old- which is to say he’s closer to 5’6”, 135 than he is 6’6” 235. Conveniently a doctor is one of the 7 people (workers included) in Jack’s Steakburgers at the time, so he saves the man. All of this while I was debating the merits of fruit punch Powerade versus mountain blast Powerade- go figure.
7:55 PM – We grab our burgers and leave. As we leave, I hear the gentleman telling his younger granddaughter, “Grandma will not find out about this.” Typical Grampa. Steve calls his mom back and apologizes for hanging up to try and save a choking man.
8:00 PM – We arrive back at the hotel to eat our burgers. Steve reminds me to chew very carefully before swallowing.
8:25 PM – I ordered a Tripleburger with bacon which came with pepper jack, Monterey jack and cheddar cheese. It was very, very good. I’m sure the fact that it was past 8:00 p.m. and it was my second meal of the day had a lot to do with how good it tasted, but I don’t care. After seeing a man nearly choke to death on a burger, Steve seemed to not enjoy his as much. Go figure.
8:45 PM – We shower and watch the end of the Arizona-Oklahoma State bowl game before going to bed.
10:35 PM - Bedtime.
Thursday, December 30, 2010:
10:00 AM – Wake-up call. I’ve been up since 8:30, but after my hour-and-a-half nap on the ride home from the Pacific game, Steve and I are now even. There is an overpriced restaurant attached to the lobby of the hotel. We both get the breakfast buffet for $16.99 and our waiter tells us it’s an “excellent deal”. Granted, the food was pretty good and I did have two omelets and a Belgian waffle in addition to all of the fresh fruit, bacon and homefries they served, but a $17 breakfast is anything but an “excellent deal”.
10:50 AM - We come back upstairs to pack our luggage and tidy up the room. We are sleeping in the airport because we have a 6:00 a.m. flight down to Phoenix and need to check-out of our room by noon.
12:15 PM – We check out of our room and check our luggage in the hotel while already dressed in our suits for the game that evening. Bob works in Palo Alto so he meets us in the lobby of the hotel where he picks us up for lunch on the town.
12:30 PM – Bob treats us to lunch at a wonderful Italian restaurant in downtown Palo Alto. Steve orders the meat tortellini and I have the pesto linguine. The pasta is made from fresh dough and the restaurant itself has a quaint feel to it. It probably seats no more than 60 people and according to Bob they do not take reservations. It was nearly empty when we started lunch, but by the time we left it was packed.
1:00 PM – We thank Bob profusely for taking us out to lunch and we have him drop us off at the campus bookstore to begin our self-guided tour of the Stanford campus. I had been to campus once in 2007 when announcing a women’s soccer NCAA tournament game as a freshman, so I take the lead in showing Steve around.
1:40 PM – Wandering around campus even for a second time, the sights are just as remarkable. I have been to Notre Dame on a number of occasions, but this campus trumps South Bend in every respect. As Steve puts it, walking around the campus is like walking around an Italian village. There are statues scattered throughout the quads which, if they’re not filled with green grass it’s because they are marble plazas surrounded on four sides by renaissance architecture. As if the arches and columns of the buildings are not enough, a number of the older buildings in the embryo of the campus are faced with gold leaf and renaissance art.
2:05 PM – It is the most spectacular day outside - 60 degrees and sunny. Coming from 20 inches of snow and walking around San Francisco in temperatures that barely touched into the 50s yesterday makes today’s weather feel downright exotic. Between the weather and aesthetics of campus, clearly, we are not in Storrs any more. Though I think it’s a good thing. We are out here experiencing the “bad weather” that Palo Alto has to offer. I can’t imagine getting any work done on a day like this, never mind on a day that is actually “nice” according to the locals. Who wants to do their homework stretched out under the shade of a palm tree anyway?
2:50 PM – We finish our tour near the athletic facilities. The hotel is about a 20 minute walk from where we currently are on campus so we begin to head back to pick up the radio equipment we checked in the lobby.
3:40 PM – After walking back from the hotel we arrive at the arena and set up our equipment flawlessly. The phone line is working less than flawlessly and it now becomes a race against the clock to get the technical issues sorted out
5:40 PM – Finally, the phone line works and we are ready to go into our broadcast. Needless to say, there were some anxious moments as Steve and I scrambled around the bowels of Maples Pavilion trying to find the right people to help us out. After a visit from a few Stanford staff members in our booth up in the “crow’s nest” of the arena, the issue ultimately resolved itself. I may have just sweated through my suit, but at least we are good to go.
6:09 PM – It’s tip-off time. There have been fewer road games I have announced before where the energy of our broadcast has fed off the crowd more. In 2009 I broadcasted a men’s basketball College Gamenight game with Eli Pearlstein and Brett Gorman at Notre Dame, and that was the one other game that has a similar atmosphere to it. The emotions running through the crowd are the same emotions running through Steve and I as we start our broadcast. The excitement from the Cardinal fans is downright palpable.
6:18 PM – 17-4 Stanford. Maples Pavilion is about as loud as any arena I’ve heard for a women’s basketball game- the women’s games vs. Baylor and Florida State this season at the XL Center included.
7:12 PM – Thanks to an 11-2 run to end the half, Connecticut trails by just 4, 34-30. Steve and I get ready for the second half, with him on the call for play-by-play. We are fully anticipating a UConn comeback. They played a dreadful 20 minutes and are still within four at the half to one of the most talented teams in the country.
8:20 PM – That comeback never happened. The game ends. UConn’s 90-game winning streak ends. Maples Pavilion explodes in celebration- pure joy and jubilation from the fans, coaches and players. Steve and I are disappointed in the loss, but it couldn’t have happened against a more talented team than Stanford. We agree that we do not want UConn to face the Cardinal again this season- they are entirely capable to beating UConn twice this season.
9:35 PM – We arrive back at the hotel after grabbing dinner on the walk back. The upscale restaurant you ask? CVS. What’s on the menu you ask? Steve goes with BBQ kettle cooked chips as well as Nacho Cheesier Doritos, and I have a bag of BBQ Fritos, a bag of Funyuns and a water (you have to eat healthy you know). We split a bag of Orange Milano cookies for dessert.
10:00 PM – Our bags are waiting for us and a cab picks us up at the hotel and takes us to the San Francisco airport.
10:30 PM – After getting dropped off we go to check our one non-carryon bag for the flight. They tell us that they cannot check-in luggage until six hours before a flight, which means we cannot check our luggage in until Looks like we’re going
11:30 PM – A nearby gentleman starts to chat us up since we are the only people trying to get some sleep in the booths of the 24-hour Subway shop. He is a Cal-Berkeley linguistics professor whose flight to Lima, Peru was delayed 24-hours. He is trying to get down there to examine a tablet that is 3,800 years old that contains Sumarian written on it. Sumarian is a language that existed in ancient Middle East, and the implications of the discovery is that it suggests these early people had the means and the interest to explore the world beyond walking-distance. It was a really interesting conversation and not at all what Steve and I were expecting to encounter as we set up camp in San Francisco International Airport.
Friday, December 31, 2010:
12:30 AM – Our conversation with the professor ends and I wander down a side hallway to curl up for what looks like it is shaping up to be a solid three-and-a-half hour sleep. I tell Steve I’m walking away to go fall asleep but he stays to try and get some sleep in the booth outside Subway. The hallway is about a 3 minute walk from where Steve is and before I lie down I have visions of us getting separated and either/both of us missing our flight to Phoenix. Oh well. I pass out.
1:30 AM – A flight attendant prods me with the end of his cane to wake me up since I’m blocking the door to the flight attendant lounge. Fortunately, Steve has found me and is sleeping comfortably at the opposite end of the side hallway.
4:00 AM – After a mostly in-and-out night of sleep, I wake up and kick Steve to head down to the United desk to check our bags.
4:40 AM – We make it through security. Our flight boards in a little under an hour so Steve and I grab breakfast. Another cup of tea for me- I couldn’t be more of a “tea guy” now.
5:40 AM – The flight boards about 10 minutes behind schedule. That’s ok, because there are 15 people on this flight which is on a plane that seats 138 people. The 5 or so people who are sitting in first class wind up having significantly less room than the ten of us who are sprawled throughout the rest of the entire cabin.
6:00 AM – Steve and I sit in the emergency exit row and have to be woken up by the flight attendant to give her confirmation that we would be able and willing to help in the event of an emergency. The fact that we both had to be woken up before the plane even taxied away from the gate should have been a good indicator that we were neither able nor willing to help. She didn’t seem to care. Steve and I both passed out again.
8:30 AM (Note: These times will all be in MST from here on out) – We touch-down in Phoenix after a quick 1:25 flight where I was only woken up by the thud of us hitting the runway at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport.