In retrospect, it wasn't real bright to plan my flights out so that I arrived at almost midnight Pacific time. Getting into an unfamiliar rental car to drive from the San Francisco airport down to San Jose at what felt like almost 4 am was... not ideal. Luckily, I often stay up late, so while I was definitely tired, I managed. It was a mercifully short drive; not too bad traffic on the 101 after midnight!
So, tired and hungry, I arrived at the San Jose DoubleTree Hotel a bit after 1 am. The lady at the registration desk, who the IC committee had told me was really nice, treated me very well. I asked if they had room upgrades available for HHonors members (DoubleTree is a Hilton brand), and sure enough, they do. She told me, though, that the upgraded rooms are near the nightclub, which gets really noisy on weekend nights, so she thought I'd be better off staying put -- after all, the room I was already in was a nice one. But, she encoded my room card key for access to the executive level, and told me I could go up there for the complimentary continental breakfasts every morning, and the complimentary cocktail hours every evening! Then she handed me... a warm cookie!
Apparently every DoubleTree does this, but it was a wonderful surprise for me, and was exactly what I needed. Didn't really need to order any food, though room service was still available; the cookie was enough to go to sleep on.
My room was in fact huge -- probably about twice as big as the hotel rooms at the Marriott Hunt Valley, which I'd guess is the single hotel I've stayed at most times. (The Tewksbury Holiday Inn is probably in second place.) Had a good view of the pool, which meant a few good photos snapped from the balcony of friends enjoying the relaxing water.
Great weather all weekend -- a couple of overcast mornings evaporated to sunshine pretty quickly, and it was in the 70s and low 80s, rather than the expected uncomfortable humid 90s.
Got a call on the room phone Friday night from Rusty Lloyd, who'd heard from Mike Smith that I was in town. "Let's get together!" So he came over to the hotel Saturday morning and we had breakfast. He used to be in USS Accord when he was in Ithaca, and also knew some of the Minnesota and California Fleet folks, so was happy to see a bunch of people.
Seeing Jon Lane, who lives in Los Angeles, was also a nice surprise! Should have known he'd come up from SoCal with the rest of the USS Angeles gang, but it was a treat to see him at something other than a Watkins Glen Weekend. Among other advantages, when I'm not focusing on keeping WGW going smoothly, I have more time to actually chat with people! So got to hang out with Jon a few times.
Visiting Rick and Helen and their kids was also great. The boys were off doing their own stuff, but they don't really know me anyway. I first hung out with Christopher in 1991, when he was a little kid, and Nathaniel was born after that. (I think Helen was pregnant that visit.) They last saw me a year and a half ago, but had forgotten. :-) I'm sure next time they see me they'll still think it's the first time. Anyway, Rick's an old friend from my early Usenet days... mostly through comp.sys.mac, where we were both active participants. Spent several hours with them on Sunday afternoon and evening, including good Japanese food at Azuma, which is apparently a popular place among Apple folks (it's right near campus).
Got up at 5:15 Monday to drive Les and Dee and Zach (plus Joost) to the airport. Left the hotel at about 5:45 and was back in bed at about 7! One of Rick and Helen's comments was that the economic downturn had made the freeways more bearable. Fewer people working means fewer people commuting, so easier traffic. :-( Good thing we left early, though, as it was starting to look congested on the northbound lanes as I was driving back down after dropping them all off.
Later in the morning, I called US Airways to see if they had earlier flights I could take, instead of the 10:15 pm departure, via Charlotte and Philadelphia (ugh). They had a flight leaving in two hours, going via Pittsburgh. Did I want it? You bet! Scrambled to finish packing and say goodbye to a few folks, and hit the road. The plane was packed (and then some), so I was lucky to have booked an aisle seat by phone before leaving the hotel.
Maybe more later...