In 1987 I was 19 and a bit of a groupie. Bon Jovi was my favorite band at the time and I had joined the fan club so I could get good seats for the concerts. The fan club put together a trip to Hawaii that included airfare from San Francisco, 7 nights accomodations in Waikiki, a party cruise, tickets to two of the band's shows and a backstage pass for one of them. I was working part time in a grocery store at the time and living at home. Fortunately, my father was not living at home because he would never have let me go. My mother thought it was a little crazy, but said if I earned the money myself, it was okay with her. I know I was of age, but my parents were of the notion that as long as I lived at home I had to do what they said.
I saved my pennies and managed to earn the 750 dollars by the deadline. Then I had to figure out how to get to San Francisco. I couldn't afford a plane ticket, so I took the Greyhound Bus. They had a special of 59 dollars each way to anywhere with as many stops as you wanted. I wasn't interested in stopping, but the price was right. I spent 2 days on a bus. No showers. No bed to sleep in. No clean underwear.
The fan club had paired me with a roommate for the trip. We had talked on the phone and decided that we would also share a room in San Francisco the night before our plane left for Hawaii. I took a taxi to the airport, then called for the hotel's free shuttle service. When I got to the room I told her, "I'm sorry. I've been on a bus for 2 days. I need a shower. I'll talk to you in 30 minutes."
After the shower, I was ready to explore San Francisco. We again took advantage of the hotel's airport shuttle service, then caught a bus from there that was supposed to drop us off near the Hard Rock Cafe. We didn't see it. We walked into the Meridian hotel (I think) to ask directions. The concierge gave us directions and a map then told us we should take a taxi because it was really too far to walk. We had the doorman call us a cab. Very friendly service for 2 people who weren't even guests.
We got to the Hard Rock Cafe ten minutes after they stopped letting minors in. We were extremely disappointed, but arguing with the doorman did no good. We walked around for a while people watching instead. As we passed a restaurant, my roommate said, "Is that Dennis Quaid?" It sure was. He was sitting at a table with a blonde looking very cozy. I know now that it was Meg Ryan. They looked very into each other and were oblivious to us staring at them through the window. Neither of us was willing to interrupt their date.
Before we knew it, we were back at The Meridian and our bus stop. It wasn't too far to walk, after all. We caught the last bus back to the airport. On the shuttle back to the hotel, we met 2 more fan club members headed to Hawaii. One of the women had a 15-year-old daughter that she left at home. I don't remember why the daughter didn't get to come, just that she was not happy about it. All four of us had a pizza party back at the hotel. We didn't get to bed until 4 am, but I was too excited to sleep anyway.
Part 2 next week...
Travel Tip: You may be too old for fan clubs (WHAT?! No WAY!!!), but joining a group is a great way to travel and make new friends. Also, don't take the Greyhound Bus. Hitch hiking is more comfortable and may be safer.