Friday, July 9, 2021

Seeing San Francisco From the Other Side

Our options for Major League Baseball here in Northern California are limited to two choices...the absolutely miserable Oakland Coliseum - home of the A's - or Oracle Park, where the Giants play in San Francisco.

We took a day trip to see our Angels play the A's a few months ago that I may write up for another time. This trip, we extended to three nights so we could also spend a day in San Francisco besides going to the game.

One thing that's inevitably changed over the years is that the hotel prices in San Francisco are breathtaking...rates of $300, $300, $500 a night or more take my breath away. Heck, a night in a hostel with a shared bathroom is $150.  

We look at the east bay and the area around the airport for a little price relief and settle on the east bay city of Castro Valley at the Comfort Inn.

For around $150 per night...still more than I'd like to pay but way less than in city by the bay...we'll get a fairly quiet room with two queen size beds, a low tub with shower chair, full breakfast, kitchen, cable TV, about a mile from the nearest BART public transit station.

There are plenty of decent restaurants and stores within walking distance, too.

A night in the hotel, an ok but not spectacular breakfast, and it's time to go to the game. We drive over to the BART station. It is packed. Forget a handicapped spot, there is no parking available whatsoever. After driving around the lot a few times, around the surrounding blocks...and finding wife says "lets just drive over."

I shiver at the thought. San Francisco is not a driver-friendly city. Traffic getting there is usually a nightmare, not to mention the heavy price of the toll bridges to cross the bay. Still, it's getting late and we have to get moving.

We drive.

It takes us 45 minutes just to creep up to the toll plaza of the Bay Bridge. We pay our six dollar toll and spend another half hour getting to the start of the bridge. Finally the jam starts to move and we make it over the nearly five mile long bridge.

Traffic again slows when we exit on the other side and crawl our way towards the stadium. We finally find a parking spot a block away and have to pay $40 for the privilege of leaving our van there.

A helpful usher spots us coming to the park and ushers us through security and into the side door where the elevator is. It's a quick zip up to the club level, where we have some good seats near the left field foul pole.

It's a good game and San Francisco has the best food of any major league stadium but it's expensive. Beers run between $12 and $20 but the stand near us has a "mystery beer" for $7. I go ahead and pop for one and it turns out to be Anchor Steam beer, which is a very good local brew.

We're enjoying the game but Letty is not. Maybe the stress of getting here or a bad night of sleep get to her and she's feeling nauseous and painful so we leave at the sixth inning.

Too bad because this is one of our favorite ballparks but driving here is really awful and should be avoided at all costs...we decide next time (for tomorrow), we'll walk the mile to the BART station instead.

It took us an hour and a half to drive the 23 miles to the stadium and it takes us another hour and half to get back.

We spend the rest of the afternoon resting until it's dinner time where we go to a nice, Japanese place a few doors down from the hotel.

It's time to put this day to bed, relax, get a good night's sleep and we'll try again tomorrow where we'll spend the day back in San Francisco...without driving, this time.

Darryl Musick
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