New Years 2007
2923-E Olney-Sandy Spring Road
Olney, Maryland 20832
|Hyatt Regency Arrival||Emerald Bowl 2nd Quarter||December 30 - Hyatt Regency - Embarcadero Center - Ferry Building|
|San Francisco Bay Cruise||Emerald Bowl 3rd Quarter|
|Emerald Bowl Pregame||Emerald Bowl 4th Quarter|
|Emerald Bowl 1st Quarter||December 29 - Ghirardelli Square, Fisherman's Wharf, Pier 39|
December 27, 2008
Since Ralph Friedgen took over as coach of the University of Maryland Terrapins football program the team has made a tremendous turn around from never going to bowl games to consistently going to a bowl game almost every year. My dad, Irvin Faunce, played for the Terrapins in the between 1957 - 1961 and really hadn't been to many games since graduating. We have taken advantage of Coach Friedgen's success by following the team to their bowl games over the past few years. We started with a beating by Florida in the Orange Bowl in Miami in 2001 followed by 3 consecutive wins. The 2002 Peach Bowl victory over Tennessee in Atlanta, 2003 Gator Bowl victory over West Virginia in Jacksonville and the 2006 Champs Sports Bowl victory over Purdue in Orlando.
As the season was winding down this
year it looked like Maryland was destined for 1 of 3 bowls, the Continental Tire
Bowl in Charlotte, Humanitarian Bowl in Boise and Emerald Bowl in San Francisco.
I really was rooting against Charlotte, would have enjoyed Boise as I've heard
that even though it's a cold weather bowl the town really does a great job
for their visitors (and seeing a game on Boise State's blue football field) and
was pulling for a bid to San Francisco's Emerald Bowl. San Francisco is
one of our families favorite places to visit. Although we hadn't been
there since mom had her leg amputated and I was sure it was going to be
difficult with a wheelchair it was still our choice over Charlotte.
Luckily we got our wish and we were headed west to California for the Emerald
Bowl and New Year's Eve by the San Francisco Bay.
Our good friend that I grew up next door to Steve Sweeney is a season ticket holder for the Terrapins and has gotten us great tickets for the past bowl games and he came through again this season. He got club seats for the game at AT&T Park, home of the San Francisco Giants for $75 a piece. Unfortunately for Steve he was scheduled to come to the game also as he has for all of the past games but United Airlines cancelled his late flight the night before the game and he couldn't be guaranteed of getting to San Francisco in time for the game if he left on game day. He really had a terrible night waiting for the flight to be cancelled, not getting his luggage back then having to drive all the way from Washington Dulles in Virginia back to his home in Clarksville, MD which is only minutes from BWI. I was just happy that he had used frequent flyer miles and I hadn't booked his flight for him.
We arrived on Thursday December 27 in the late afternoon and got a cab to our hotel the Hyatt Regency San Francisco. This is our third stay at this hotel. This also worked out good because it was the official hotel of The University of Maryland football team and was close to the stadium. We only saw a few players while we were there but they probably had an early curfew the night before the game. The hotel was decorated beautifully for Christmas. The Hyatt was one of the first hotels that had the entire inside of the hotel set up as an atrium. All of the rooms look down the inside of a triangular shaped atrium which had streams of Christmas lights hanging from the balconies of many of the top floors.
We checked in then dropped off our luggage before going down to get dinner. Dad was disappointed that the rotating restaurant that is at the top of the hotel was closed now. After a long day of traveling across country we ate in the lobby then went back up to bed.
Another friend of mine, Andrew Duncan, was going to be in
town for the game. Andrew is in the Marines stationed in Hawaii right now.
He's done his first rotation in Iraq and will be going back for his second
rotation at the end of the summer of 2008. We couldn't be prouder to have
Andrew as a friend. I got to know him through my good friend and his uncle
Glenn Duncan. Andrew is probably about 20 years younger than us and I
think it cracks his mom up that we really enjoy hanging out with him.
Anyways he wanted to change his flight back to Hawaii for a later date than we
had scheduled and I suggested that he make the stop in San Francisco to see the
game. He hadn't been to San Francisco so he was up for it even if he was
only there for about 24 hours.
December 28, 2008
He arrived early Friday morning and was supposed to have reservations for the Hyatt. Once again not doing travel arrangements through me cost a friend. His dad now works for the University of Maryland after being our County Executive for quite awhile had arranged for a room at the Hyatt through the school. When he got there they didn't have a room for him. Since he only had a limited time in San Francisco he dropped his luggage at our room and I took him down to Fisherman's Wharf while they worked on getting him a room. Mom and dad were really up to just chill out and stayed at the hotel.
A great thing about the Hyatt is there is a cable car stop at the entrance, a street car stop behind the hotel and a ferry terminal at the San Francisco Ferry Terminal across the street from the street car stop. The street car took us from the hotel to Fisherman's Wharf. We got off and Andrew got a coffee at the world famous Buena Vista. He told me it was one of the best cups of coffee he ever had. He got an Irish Coffee but gave me the tiny bottle of Irish Whiskey which is now part of my souvenir collection. We wandered around Fisherman's Wharf for awhile before deciding to take a cruise of San Francisco Bay.
Before we left we had time to grab a six pack of beer for the cruise. Of course we got beer that needed a bottle opener, Pacifico. My fault, I saw Pacifico and told Andrew it's really good and he was looking for something he hadn't drank before. Luckily for us there were three Aussie's on the cruise who mastered opening beer bottles without an opener by using the bottle cap from one bottle to open the bottle cap from a second bottle. Of course that works fine until you are down to one beer. I did figure a way to open them on the railing of the boat though.
It was a typical San Francisco December morning for the cruise and neither of us was dressed for it. It was overcast, foggy and cold. I have a little more natural thermal protection than Andrew does but he is a young tough Marine. I'd say we were equally as cold. The cruise takes you from Fisherman's Wharf around Alcatraz Island, under the Golden Gate bridge then back to Fisherman's Wharf. Even if it was cold it is still a cruise you've got to do. The bad weather just adds to your San Francisco experience. The Golden Gate Bridge is even more impressive when you are beneath it as opposed to just looking at it from afar.
Our cruise ended and it was time to get something to eat. San Francisco's Fisherman's Wharf is one of the best places in the world to get a quick, delicious seafood meal. I got a plate of calamari and my favorite San Francisco quick meal. A bowl of seafood chowder poured into a Sourdough Bread Bowl. It is the perfect meal. The chowder works its way into the bowl and when you are finished with the chowder itself you have a bread soaked bowl of chowder to eat.
We made our way back to the hotel after eating because they had found a room for Andrew at another hotel and he wanted to go check in. We made plans to meet at the game. I went back to the room and mom and dad had eaten and were just relaxing in the room. I relaxed myself for awhile before heading to AT&T park for the game.
Andrew ran into more problems on top of the not having a hotel reservation, he lost his game ticket sometime during the day. He got the number of someone from the University of Maryland though from his dad and managed to get another one.
We set mom up with room service before heading to the game. We were going to just catch a cab but when we got to the cab area there was a limo waiting to go to the game. For $5 each we went to the game with Maryland Safety Christian Varner's mom and political analyst Bob Novak with his wife. I told Christian Varner's mom how much I enjoyed watching him play over the years. She seemed like a really nice lady and was incredibly proud that he stayed in college 4 years and received his degree.
Ironically our friend Steve Sweeney who was supposed to be at the game sits near Bob Novak at Comcast Center for the basketball games. He says he's a huge Maryland fan. I told him dad played for Maryland and they reminisced about Maryland football of the 50's and 60's during the ride.
It was a short ride to the game and needless to say it was definitely an Oregon State crowd with the game being on the west coast. Our seats were great though. We sat on about the 40 yard line in the club section. I had been to a game in AT & T Park once before to see a Giants game back when it was called Pacific Bell Park. It is one of the few ballparks I would say is on par with Camden Yards in Baltimore. I might even give it an edge. It definitely is a baseball park though. Due to the small size of the field both the Maryland and Oregon State benches were on the same sideline. I think this hurt Maryland in the second half as the game was mostly played near the end zone away from there side of the field and when shuttling in defensive lineman they had 40-60 yard runs to get in the game.
We have met friends on 2 cruises from Oregon and I had a good time the few weeks prior to the game exchanging emails about the game with them. All in good fun but mostly I played on the fantastic Maryland catch phrase "FEAR THE TURTLE". I mean you can definitely Fear a Turtle but how do you fear a Beaver? Anyways this eventually came back to bite me in the butt as Maryland after a strong start faded in the second half and lost 21-14. As I said earlier the defense just wore down. Oregon State actually had a 92 yard drive that lasted the last 7 to 8 minutes to end the game near the Maryland goal line.
Our record at the bowl games we've been to is now 3-2 since Coach Friedgen returned the team to respectability seven years ago. Even though they lost it's just been fun to take dad to the bowl games. Hopefully we get to go again next year. Just don't send us to Charlotte....that might break our string of attending their bowl games.
Andrew called during the game and found us in the middle of the 1st quarter. The only problem with the stadium is getting anywhere after the game is over. After waiting to find a cab or failing to get on a street car we started walking back to the hotel. I'll hand it to dad, bad knees and all he made it all the way back to the Hyatt. It wiped him out though.
Andrew and I headed out for something to eat and a beer. We got a cab to near Chinatown and had Chinese food at a fairly bland Chinese Restaurant. The cab driver could barely speak English and was having problems with Chinatown, so I'm sure we weren't close to Chinatown only the closest Chinese Restaurant he could find.
We went around the corner to The Stinking Rose for a beer. This is a strange bar/restaurant as it is garlic themed. We only had 1 beer before leaving. Andrew had a really long day as he left Maryland near 6:00 AM which meant being at the airport at least by 5:00 AM. It was now near midnight in San Francisco which is 3:00 AM Maryland time. So he had been up for almost 24 straight hours. That was alright with me. The restaurant was interesting and had some neat memorabilia, especially autographed photos, but the garlic smell was getting to me. This restaurant had the largest garlic strand in the world hanging from the ceiling running from room to room. We got a cab and gave him the 2 hotels we needed. I got lucky and was dropped of first. I said goodbye to Andrew who headed off to his hotel and then back to Hawaii in the morning.
December 29, 2008
Saturday, December 29 was a real lazy day for us. Dad needed a break after all of his walking the previous night. We basically hung out at the hotel then headed down to Fisherman's Wharf for lunch at McCormick & Schmick's. We took a cab to Ghirardelli Square where McCormick & Schmick's is located. This is where we ran into our first problems with mom's wheelchair.
There was no access to the restaurant from the main square of Ghirardelli Square and the electronic people mover that took you up a level to the elevator was broken at the first floor access area. I ended up pushing her wheelchair up the car ramp to get to the restaurant. They also had a bunch of morons working security and the wheelchair elevator and access ramp. I'm not sure the wheelchair mover was broken, I just don't think the security people knew how to work it. Something that should have taken a couple of minutes took us probably an hour.
It was worth it though. I love McCormick & Schmick's. We ate enough at lunch to last the day. The calamari was outstanding. We did have a real slow waiter also but we were in no hurry and had no plans for the day. Once we left McCormick & Schmick's we walked down the Fisherman's Wharf are walking through art stores. Unfortunately we really have no space to put anything elso on our walls so it was definitely window shopping.
I definitely got a workout pushing mom around. I don't know which is harder. Pushing up a hill is a pain but going down a hill you are working harder I think because you are pulling back on the wheelchair that has gravity working in its favor. We walked from Ghirardelli Square down to Pier 39. We stopped and got some ice cream at the Ben & Jerry's at Pier 41. We got a cab back to the Hyatt and didn't do anything else the rest of the night. Mom and dad needed the rest and I feel bad leaving them. Pushing mom around also does takes a lot of me.
December 30, 2008