Monday, December 03, 2007

Van Halen Road Trip - Follow-up

Well, the Van Halen Road Trip is over, and I must say I highly recommend such an activity - if you are so fortunate to have such supportive spouses as we have, that is. :)

All in all it was a great trip. We left about 5:30 a.m. for Sacramento. This picture on the left shows us stopped at a freeway on-ramp about one hour into the trip. Luckily we had great weather all the way out and back. Weather in Sacramento and San Francisco was absolutely gorgeous - I don't remember a more beautiful day in San Francisco than November 27, 2007, and I've been there a number of times. Even Donner Pass was snow-free and relatively warm; we were told while there that there is generally about 6 inches of snow on the ground by that time of year.

We visited Alcatraz on the morning of November 27, 2007. Our reservations for tickets were not honored, but fortunately for us we were able to get tickets to the 9:30 a.m. ferry anyway. This is probably due to the fact we were traveling there off-season. If you ever go to Alcatraz, you'll probably still want to try to make reservations, but be sure the reservations are actually honored. Pier 33 is the pier we left from; maybe you can call them directly.

Anyway, Alcatraz is awesome as you might expect. Visiting Alcatraz in the winter is recommended as there are parts of the island that you are only allowed to tour during the winter months; they are closed during the other parts of the year due to the large numbers of birds there. And don't miss the self-guided audio tour - when they say it is award-winning, they mean it. Amazing.

Van Halen performed at the Arco Arena in Sacramento that night, Tuesday November 27, 2007. This was nothing short of the absolute best concert I have ever been to. I was born a few years too late I believe, so I never really saw the big deal about David Lee Roth vs. Sammy Hagar as the Van Halen frontman. Well, everyone, now I get it. Not taking anything away from Alex or Eddie, who are fantastic musicians, but David Lee Roth is a performer. He made the difference between this show and my previous Van Halen concert encounter about ten years ago, which was simply great and not downright unreal like this year's show.

We were talking on the way back, how fulfilling it must be for Eddie to be up there performing with his own son (who did just fine thank-you). More tour dates have been added, so if you have not seen the show yet, you still have a chance.

We came home on Nov. 28, stopping at Donner Memorial State Park. The sacrifices our ancestors made to populate and settle the United States were beyond comprehension, and it made me very grateful to take this time to think of these people and others who suffered so much, and how great my life is today as a result. All in all, it was an awesome trip.

Greg, myself, and the Dall*ns at Donner Memorial State Park.