April 18th - April 22nd, 2002
As Tracy and I boarded the plane, we had high hopes for a relaxing, yet exciting trip to Santa Rosa, California. It was Thursday April 18th, 2002. We had an uneventful plane ride. As we walked off of the plane into the terminal, we both had a feeling of "coming home". San Francisco has a special place in each of our hearts. We both feel very comfortable there, like "being home". SFO had changed the way that they do car rentals. We had to board a bus and go to a central car rental location. It's not good if you have a lot of luggage. We got the car with no problem. I upgraded us to a full size car, so we could have a cd player.
We headed off to Santa Rosa; we were excited about seeing San Francisco again. We ran into a little bit of traffic on the way into the city. We made our way to the Golden Gate Bridge. We played Journey as we drove across the bridge. We stopped on the other side at the Vista Point, to take in the breath taking view of the city by the bay. We then proceeded up towards Santa Rosa and ran into terrible traffic. What should have taken us no more then an hour, ended up taking us two hours. As we pasted Novato, we waved to Jonathan and Family. As we pulled into the Flamingo Resort and Hotel, we felt a wave of relief. WE'RE HERE!!!! Our room was on the second floor with a balcony, but there was no elevator. We had to drag the luggage up two flights of stairs; we definitely got our work out. The hotel was older, but very nice and quiet. We had dinner at the hotel.
Friday, April 19th, we woke up before the alarm went off, which is usual for us. We ate breakfast at the hotel. We had time before my 12:00 meeting with Jonathan. We needed to finish getting a few things for the baby basket, for Neal and Amber. So, we headed over to an outdoor shopping mall just down the street from the hotel. They had a bunch of cute little shops in there. Tracy introduced me to Chico's, a skinny people store, that's also for bigger people.
Then back at the hotel, we put the basket together and headed over to the venue. Once we got to the venue, we found someone to take us back to the production room. I talked with JT, the tour manager. He informed us that the rehearsal had gotten pushed back to 4:30pm. We ran into Caryn and Michelle, who work on journeymusic.com. They introduced us to Steve and Liam, who came all the way from England for the show. While talking with them Deen and his wife Julie came walking out. We all got hugs and kisses from Deen, and hugs from Julie. I gave Caryn my article for the summer Journey newsletter. It's a piece on my history with Jonathan.
I called Jon from the car to reschedule our meeting. We scheduled it for 4:00pm. Tracy and I decided to head for the wineries. We went up to Clos Du Bois; this is Tracy's favorite wine. We tasted a few different kinds of wines. Tracy bought some to have shipped home and we bought some other items as well. We were getting hungry and the staff at the winery told us of a couple different places. We had lunch at a little place in Geyserville. After lunch we went to the Geyser Peak Winery. Tracy did some more tasting; I didn't since I was driving. It was now time to head back down to the venue.
When we got there, Suzanne, Sandy, Rosalie, Rosalyn, Cyndy and a few other fans were there outside. We stood and talked for a little while, then Tracy and I had to head in. I didn't know if Jon was there or not yet, but I didn't want to miss him. We walked right in the back door. Neal was the first person we ran into. We gave him the basket for Amber and the baby. He told us that it was going to be a girl, and they were going to have her on April 29th. Amber was not having an easy pregnancy. Neal said that he hadn't seen Jon yet. JT told us that Jon was running late, I asked him if we could hang out till Jon got there. He said, "No problem."
This gave us a chance to talk with Steve, Ross, Deen and Julie, a little bit more. Jon got there about 5pm. The first thing he did was hand me our tickets for the show. We chatted ever so briefly, and he asked if we could stick around till after rehearsal, then we could have our meeting. What was I going to say, "No, we'll come back after rehearsal." NOT!! Michelle showed us how to get to the front of the venue. I checked out where our seats were for the show. The venue holds about 1500, a 1000 on the floor and 500 in the balcony. The stage is about two feet up and not very deep. Our seats were in the front row, RIGHT in FRONT on Jon. He was about 15 feet in front of our seats. For the rehearsal, we sat about fourth row center. Rehearsal lasted about 2 hours, then Jon called to us. We went into the "interview room". It's a little room that Caryn and Michelle had been using for all their interviews with the band.
I had him sign a few things for me. We talked about how well the store had gone on the site. And I showed him the design for his new site. We talked for about 15 - 20 minutes, then we left. Caryn still had to do her interview with Jon yet. Tracy and I headed over to the Hilton Hotel. There was a fan gathering going on. A lot of the out of town fans were staying there. Suzanne, an old friend and I had a really good talk about things. I was able to put screen names with faces. With emails and forums, you only see the screenname, now we were able to see faces. It was really great to meet everyone. We left there about 8:45pm, we were starved. We went back to the mall, there was this cafe we wanted to try. Tracy had the fish and I had the beef. It was REALLY GOOD!! The place is called, The Feast. We then collapsed into bed.
Saturday, April 20th, again we woke before the alarm. We got up and went straight down to get some breakfast. We both had 9:30am spa appointments. Tracy was getting an herbal detoxic wrap and I was having a purifying bath. I had never been to a spa before so I was kind of nervous. I didn't know what to expect. We walked over to the spa. After we got into our robes and spa shoes, we were taken to the "Quiet Room", where we relaxed till it was our time to be pampered. Tracy got called first, my lady was running late, so they called someone in to take her place. I got back about 10:10am. I picked out my scent, a lemony fragrance. I then got up on the table, naked as a jaybird, with towels across my private areas.
She exfoliated me with two hand brushes, which kind of hurt at first, but then my skin was all tingly afterwards. Then she took the water sprayer and wetted me down. The lemon soap with scrubbing salts was next, this felt good. Then a good rinse. She then left the room while I dried off and put my robe back on. I was then led to the warming table room. I took the robe off and climbed under an electric type blanket that was warm. She came back in, a CD of ocean wave music was playing. She then massaged my neck, shoulders, arms and feet. The whole process was about 50 minutes. It all felt so good that I didn't want to leave. I just wish I could afford to do something like that every week.
Tracy had already gone back to the room and had her shower in by the time I got there. I then showered and dressed. We wanted to hit Chico's in the little mall again, where we were at on Friday. I ended up trying on this really cute outfit, and it fit, so I just had to buy it. It was the perfect outfit for the show that night. We then headed up to Korbel Winery. I thought that we would take the scenic route. We ended up on this EXTERMLY CURVEY road, hwy 116. We were both getting carsick by the time we finely got to Korbel. We went into their deli and just sat for awhile. After we got our stomachs untwisted, we went into the tasting room. These wineries are really helpful in helping you find out what your personal tastes are. At most of the wineries you can taste up to 4 different types of wines. I discovered that I really like the dryer, champagnes, and not the sweeter ones. I even bought myself a bottle.
We asked in the wine store if there was a straighter road to get back to highway 101. They said turn left out of the drive and it will take you straight back to 101. This road was MUCH better, and it ended up being the road that the venue was on. It was time to head back to the hotel, in order to get ready for the fan get together before the show, we were all meeting at a little pub called; Aleworks. I wanted to see how far the pub was from the hotel. So we drove to downtown Santa Rosa and found it. It was only about 10 minutes from the hotel.
Pictured is Kelly, Rhonda, Tracy W, Stuart and Tracy S (in front)Tracy and I got ready and then headed back downtown to th pub. It was just after 5:00pm when we got there. We had the entire upper loft area. The place was packed. The Aleworks pictures are from the May Journey Newsletter. I spotted Kelly Orr, from Oregon, as soon as I got up there. I called out to her, she wasn't quite sure who I was at first then she figured it out. Stuart (Ohio), Emily (Stuart's wife) and Lizzy (New York) all came over to say Hi. Michelle, Cat, Miles and CJ (all journeymusic.com workers) were there. I went and found Robin (blond6ft) to say HI. She put the whole thing together, she did a great job. This was another great opportunity to put faces with screennames. Tracy and I found some open spaces at a table, with Steve and Liam and we were joined by Kelly and Lizzy. Cat was raffling off an autographed Journey hockey jersey, which Angie won. Allen Craft (journey roadie) was kind enough to make an appearance. We all sat and talked, I had brought along a lot of my pictures. I kept a close eye on the photo albums. About 7:00pm, we all headed towards the venue.
Pictured is Rhonda, Kelly and LizzyTracy and I made a quick stop back at the hotel and then took the back road up to the venue. Once in the venue, I spotted Suzanne and gang. We went over to talk to her. We said "Hi" to a few more people then headed in to our seats. We spotted Liz Cain when she came in. We went over to talk briefly and thank her for the seats. She said that, we were either going to love her or hate her. We could NEVER hate her. She didn't know if the front seats would be too loud for us. (Not with ear plugs) At one point Liz was trying to get Weston, but he said "I'm all access. I'm outta here!" And off he went, on to the stage, it was so cute. Tracy and I said "Hi" to Madison, and asked how the birthday party was. (Liza and Weston's birthday party was that weekend) She told us that it wasn't till tomorrow and that it was going to be a bowling party. She was all excited because she was going to get to baby-sit a baby at the party. We returned to our seats. Saying Hi's and Hello's to people we knew. It was like a big family reunion. We spotted Amber when she came in, and so did everyone else. She got swamped with fans and well wishers. Only a handful of us knew she was pregnant, before that night. Now it was time for the show to start. It was basically the same set as we had seen the night before. We had Neal's little girl Lizzy, sitting in the row behind us, she had what seemed like a babysitter keeping an eye on her. At different points in the night, we'd see Weston up on stage, drinking a can of coke, leaning on the equipment and tapping his foot to the beat of the music. What a doll, I could watch him all night, just like his father. Weston is either going to be a road tech or a musician. He has so much energy, he played little league earlier in the day and he still had the energy to run around the venue. Madison and Lizzy spotted each other at one point, and Lizzy came out of the row and they gave each other a great big hug, AH!!! It was just as much fun watching what was going on in the venue as it was watching Jonathan on stage.
By the end of the show, we were all on our feet and at the base of the stage. There was this little girl who had some really tall people in front of her. I brought her up front and put her in front of Tracy, I knew Tracy wouldn't mind. The little girl then got to shake Steve's hand, she was in heaven. Steve was high-fiving people's hands around me. I just leaned back so other people can have the opportunity to touch Steve. I get hugs from the man, I don't need to high-five him, and deny someone else of that opportunity. But, he looked at me, then gets a smirky grin on his face and puts his hand up, he wants to high-five me. I grinned and put my hand up. He slapped it and then he moved to the other side of the stage. After the final song, they cleared everyone out that did not have an aftershow pass on.
We got pretty close to the front of the line. After we got in, we broke off to the side where Cat, Michelle, Stuart, Emily, Shane (contest wiiner) and his wife were all sitting. The rest of the line went and stood in line to meet the guys. We stayed there the whole time. We didn't have anything for them to sign and Neal left after signing autographs and pictures with the Brightstar winners. Amber wasn't feeling well and needed to get home. With the baby being so closely due, no one minded. It's always so much fun watching people meet the band. Some of their looks afterwards are just priceless. A group of people were going to meet in Hilton's bar, again. They asked Tracy and I if we'd join them. I said, "we'd see, but most likely not." We had to be up early to get down to Alcatraz's boat by 11:30am. I did get to say goodbye to Jon as he was running out to leave. Tracy and I then headed back to the car and the hotel.
Sunday, April 21st. We got up and dressed, ate breakfast at the hotel and said a tearful goodbye to Santa Rosa. We were not ready to leave, but knew we had too. As we crossed that Golden Gate Bridge for the last time, we knew our trip would soon be over, but we had one more adventure to go; The Wharf. We got front row parking, with a view of Alcatraz. We thought our boat was boarding, so we got in line. We found out that we were too early, our boarding was the next boat. So, we got back in line. We did see a couple of people with Journey t-shirts on, but we did not recognize who they were.
The boat ride across the bay to Alcatraz is always breath taking. And the walk up to the cellblock is out of breath taking. We had to stop half way up and catch our breath. And we wondered, Why our we doing this? We made it all the way up, and picked up our audio players for the tour. Afterwards, we looked around a little bit and then headed back to catch the next boat back. Once back, we headed to Pier 39, we were hungry. We slowly made our way down one side of the pier, stopping of course to look at the sea lions. We stopped at, I believe, Dante's to eat. And of course we ordered too much food and ate too much. We then shopped for souvenirs and took some pictures.
We of course had to go to Ghiradelli Square for some ice cream. As we passed the car, we dropped off our bags of goodies. Of course we had to walk up a couple of hills. We stopped off in Hyde Park, my feet were killing me. I put them up to see if I could get some of the swelling out of them. After a while we continued onward toward ice cream. While waiting in line, there were these four HUGH dogs there. I don't know what type they were, but they were the biggest dogs, I'd ever seen. After our ice cream, we agreed that it was time to head to the hotel. We were staying down by the airport. We said some more tearful good-byes to Alcatraz, Pier 39 and the whole wharf area. Also to the Hard Rock Cafe as we past it on Van Ness headed for the highway.
After we got to the hotel, we unpacked and then repacked for flying. Neither Tracy nor I wanted to leave the next day. We talked about staying another day, but we just couldn't afford the airline change fee and another night in a hotel. We ordered a bit of room service and watched TV, ALIAS was on.
Monday, April 22nd. We had a blast, but this was the bummer part of the trip, time to go home. We returned the car, went to the airport, got on our plane and came home. Tracy dropped me off (literally) and then she went home.