I know, I were hoping for an Emmie update....well, this isn't it.  For Emmie updates, check out our new FB page - Just a Bunch of Characters

Guest blogger here.... Hi, I'm Mark. The dad type around here. I got the opportunity to visit the San Francisco area on business early in February. The work side of the trip was pretty uneventful - your typical conference with presentations and then some hands on demonstrations & discussion. The really interesting parts included the travel experiences, good food, and interesting sights to see.

Travel:  This is the first time I have flown in which, of the four flights, only one person carried on a conversation with me.  I spoke to two of the other people and barely got an acknowledgement. Admittedly, one of the flights departed at nearly midnight local time, so I can somewhat understand everyone's lack of interest in chitchat. Otherwise the flights were pretty boring. There was some awesome scenery on the way West, though, since we were crossing the continental divide at sunset. See?  Those white-capped mountains in the distance are the Rockies (specifically, the Continental Divide).

Food: After 6 hours in the air and only a sandwich and a smoothie all afternoon and evening, I needed a local, late night filler. So I stopped at In & Out Burger on the way to my hotel in Livermore. They make their fries fresh in the store and your burger on demand. Yum.

Based on a previous trip to the area, and at the recommendation of a colleague, we ventured about 45 minutes from our hotel to a place called Market Broiler. When we arrived at the appointed location as indicated by Google, I was quite concerned because this was not the location that I remembered from the last visit. But after some conversation with the hostess, we determined that we were at the correct restaurant and that they had, indeed, moved from their previous location within the last few years. We then enjoyed a delicious meal and I purchased some of the special sauce to bring home. The sauce is a sweet and spicy Thai sauce which is really good with a lot of different foods.

The other special treat was a visit to a place in Berkeley called Skates in the Bay. Can you guess why it's called that?

That's right - it's actually in San Francisco Bay. They have great seafood and an amazing view of the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Island. I had salmon.

Sights:  When I found out I was going to the San Francisco area I started scouting out potential places to see. One that immediately jumped out at me was the USS Hornet museum. This ship is the replacement for the ship of the same name which was sunk at the Battle of Midway. It served the remainder of the Second World War and into the 1960's with many upgrades and modifications. The most memorable event of the war for this vessel was during the Marianas Turkey Shoot - US airplanes were returning late in the evening to their aircraft carriers and were getting lost, so the Admiral aboard the Hornet gave the order to turn on the ship's lights so the planes could find their way. This increased the risk of attack by submarine but saved many American pilots' lives. It is probably most well known for its last two missions which were the recovery missions for Apollo 11 and 12.  Lots of history and just an amazing thought to be aboard such an historic vessel.

The various configurations of the ship over her years of service.  She started with a straight, wooden deck.  Later, additions were made so that the deck was angled and metal plated.

This is the spot where President Nixon stood and waved to the Apollo 11 astronauts as they exited the helicopter which had retrieved them after splashdown in the Pacific.

The modified travel trailer which was home to the astronauts for several weeks after their return to Earth.  Officially, the "Mobile Quarantine Facility" - actually, a modified RV.

We did venture into downtown San Francisco one evening via the BART and saw the tall buildings and made our way to Fisherman's Wharf via Chinatown to see the sights. We got in a ride on the trolley that uses an underground cable system for propulsion.

This is a shot of the Bay Bridge as we crossed it from the Oakland side heading back in toward San Francisco.  I was heading toward the airport for the red-eye flight home.

That pretty much sums up the trip. A quiet plane ride home to a family eagerly awaiting me (and my souvenirs) and it was back to the real world!

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