Royalty Tours USA

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Royalty returns to the West Coast!

Saturday morning August 10th after barely getting any sleep thanks to a long Yankee game that Friday night, it was time to hit the road again. This time the King & I along with our good friend Frank Anichiarico aka Duck went to LaGuardia airport to fly out to San Francisco. We had a layover in Chicago O'Hare first. We were planning to arrive in the City by the Bay at 11:15AM Pacific time if were on time. Unfortunately we got delayed in Chicago due to a runway being shut down in San Francisco according to the air traffic control. As a result, an hour delay turned into a two and a half hour one. With that being said, we finally landed safely in the Bay area at 1:45PM that afternoon. We were supposed to go to the Giant game at 1:05PM upon arrival. After we got our bags that we checked in, we took a tram ride that seemed endless to the car rental center where I was renting a car from Dollar rent a car. Luckily I had a reservation through my Dollar Express account which saved me at least another hour. The lines for all the car rentals were jam packed. I didn't need to waste any more of our precious time. Finally I got the car, a Ford Fusion. It worked out well from that point on. Unfortunately by the time we got to the AT&T Park, the game was in the 7th inning. We had to meet up with fellow ballpark chaser and friend of mine, Tike Narry who had our tickets for the game. We wound up meeting him by the right field gate so we went inside to watch the last few innings of the game that the Giants won, 3-2. I was hoping to meet up with a few other ballpark chasers, Dave Block aka the Gratitude Guy & Matthew Weil aka Megabus Matt who were also at the game. Unfortunately that didn't work out either.

I told Tike back in April when he came to Citi Field to see the Mets for his last current ballpark with his wife Dawn and their son Patrick that I was going to make every effort to come back to the West Coast in August. True to my word, I found a way to make it happen. In the middle of May, I booked myself on an American Airlines flight using my frequent flier miles. Since I don't change and/or cancel my flights, I knew I was going. The King finally made up his mind in June that he wanted to go so he had me book him on the same flights. In July, he talked Frank into joining us. So I proceeded to get him on the flights as well. I do whatever it takes to get things done. Once I had the flights finalized, I booked the car and the hotels.

I contacted Tike with our game plan. He out of the goodness of his heart told me that he was going to join us over the weekend when we were there. He went way overboard as he extended himself by putting us up for two nights at his newly remodeled home that was destroyed by a fire last August when he was ironically on the East Coast. We met briefly at Yankee Stadium a few days before his trip was cut short. Once we got situated, everything went nice & smooth the rest of the way.

After the Giant game, I wound up driving to Tike's place aka Casa De Narry as he calls it in San Leandro which is just past the Oakland Coliseum where the A's call home for the time being. We dropped off our bags there & we took a quick tour of his place. Once we got done, Tike decided to drove us all to Stockton which is a little over an hour away. We went to see a minor league baseball game as the Stockton Ports, the Oakland A's affiliate of the California League were playing host to the Modesto Nuts, the Colorado Rockies farm team at Banner Island Ballpark. Quite amazingly, Tike had never been there. I was surprised since he's such a big baseball fan and he's lived out there almost his whole life. Back in August 1993, the King & I saw a baseball game at the old ballpark there in Stockton. So this was our first visit too. Tike brought his son Patrick with him. It worked out really well because he's such a good kid. We all enjoyed his company.

Prince at Banner Island Ballpark
As for the game we saw, it was a good one. The Nuts tied it at five in the top of the eighth inning. The Ports answered back with the eventually game winning run in the bottom half as they went on to beat the Nuts, 6-5.

After the game, Tike stopped off at an In N Out Burger in Tracy which is about 20 miles north of Stockton on the way back to his home. He wound going through the drive thru so I made sure I got a double-double and a vanilla shake. It was outrageous. Glad he was kind enough to stop off there.

We finally got back to Casa de Narry just before midnight. We were all so tired from the long day we had. As for the sleeping arrangements, I wound up sleeping in Patrick's bed because he wanted me to. I did and I got a much needed good night sleep. When I woke up I was fresh as a daisy. I'm not kidding. I felt really good. I was out for the count for the first time in a long time.

Stay tuned for the next installment of the journey as I will recap each day of the trip in a different post. It was truly a blast. Wait and you'll see how it unfolded.

Thank you for reading and following along.

Yours truly,

Gary Herman

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