Copyright 2012 by John T. Reed

35th MBA reunion

On October 9, 2012, I flew to Boston to attend my 35th reunion at Harvard Business School. Landed in Boston at rush hour so I ate in the airport Legal Seafood. Good stuff that we cannot get in California, although my class is a bit miffed that Legal Seafood, which was a working man’s, cheap seafood restaurant when we were students at Harvard, is now an expensive, linen-napkin operation. The No Name restaurant, which was and remains a working man’s seafood restaurant, is still around. As with the old Legal Seafood, you sit at an indoor picnic table and get paper napkins at the No Name.

I went a day early in the hopes of attending a first-year and a second-year MBA class. The only way to do that is to be taken by a student or professor.

Became a student again

Mission accomplished: On Wednesday 10/10/12 the daughter of the woman who sat next to me during my first year at Harvard took me to her first-year finance class. They introduced me as a member of the Class of ’77. I added that I had sat next to the mother of the student who had just introduced me. The professor made some comment that suggested a romantic relationship. No, I was married to my only and current wife then. The woman who sat next to me was at that time engaged to her current husband, the father of the daughter. He is a Harvard MBA-JD like Mitt Romney and knows Romney. They live in the San Francisco Bay Area where we live and we visit them frequently.


I was shocked that the professor lectured for about 45 minutes before switching to the case method. We don’t do no stinking lectures at Harvard Business School. When we were there, every class for two years was strictly case method and began with the professor walking into the room and saying, “Bob, start us off” or words to that effect.

The lecture is actually a good thing. When we were there, they would “lecture” via “case notes.” You would get a case, as always, but attached would be 10 or 20 pages of case notes—essentially text book material that was needed to understand some part of the case. One day, early in the first year, it was an explanation of the time value of money! Jesus! I already knew it, but only because I had taken a six-day Realtor® CCIM course in it. I shuddered at the situations of the French literature majors and such trying to learn six days of stuff from 12 pages or whatever it was during an evening when it was only one of three cases to prepare for the next day.

Nowadays, they make incoming students who have not studied or worked in finance come to an August pre-school for poets. Makes sense. Plus they get to know many of their classmates before the first actual day of classes. Like most, I knew nobody in my class before I arrived, or so I thought. During the first day I learned that a guy I had been in the same battalion with in the Army was in my class. He later made national headlines as a greenmailer.

My host for the first-year class did not go to the pre-school. After graduating from Yale, she worked in investment banking. Her mother, a Wellesley grad, worked in investment banking after Harvard.

Legal Seafood

That evening, I had dinner at another Legal Seafood with a friend and his wife. I first met him through my wife who worked with his father at FDIC. At the time, he was an MBA student at Harvard. Later, inspired by my example, he started investing in real estate and is one of my readers who made more money in real estate than I did. His wife is a lawyer.

The Hahvahd Club of Bahston

I stayed at the Harvard Club of Boston. (If you clicked on that link, you saw a photo of the room in which our Saturday night dinner was held.) You may think, of course you stayed in the Harvard Club. You’re a Harvard grad.

No. It costs a lot of money to be a member of the Harvard Club of Boston. Plus, it does not make much sense for those of us who do not live there or go there often. I only go twice every five years for the reunions of my Class of ’77 and my wife’s class of ’78. During my first year at Harvard, my wife applied and was accepted into the class behind me. There are many Harvard MBA married couples, like my classroom host’s parents, but my wife and I may be the only ones who married each other before either of us went there.

Europe, too

I am not a member of the Harvard Club. So how could I stay there? By being a member of the Marine Memorial Club of San Francisco. That costs $100 a year and requires only an honorable discharge from any U.S. military service. (I was in the Army.)

I got the idea to stay there from a section (85 first-year students who stay in the same classroom all day every day the first year) mate who was from New Zealand. He also helped me get my Australian and New Zealand bank accounts earlier this year. When I talked to him on Skype several months ago, I mentioned that I was staying at the Harvard Club, an idea I got from his doing it ten years ago. I told him about the Marine Club and he said he had also used a reciprocal club (in Auckland, New Zealand) to be able to stay at the Harvard Club. When I took my youngest son to London and Paris in 2008, we stayed at the Victory Services Club near Hyde Park speakers corner in London and the Cercle National des Armees in Paris. My impression is these are both military officers clubs. These were Marine Memorial reciprocal clubs as well.

And Canada

When I went to Vancouver, Canada a year ago to open my bank account there, the banker asked me where I was staying. When I said The Vancouver Club, he was greatly impressed. Once again, a Marine Memorial reciprocal club.

When I returned from my 2012 Harvard reunion, I did so on Amtrak taking the Lakeshore Limited from Boston to Chicago and the California Zephyr from Chicago to Emeryville, CA, a town next to Oakland and Berkeley and within about 20 miles of my home. I thought it would be imprudent to try to connect from the Lakeshore which is scheduled to arrive at 9:45 AM to the Zephyr which is scheduled to depart at 2:00 PM on the same day. So I scheduled my departure from Chicago for the following day. When I made the reservation, the Amtrak clerk told me they would not have booked a same-day connection for the same reason I did not. Too much chance of the Lakeshore being so late I would miss the Zephyr.

And Chicago

So where did I stay in Chicago? At the Buckingham Athletic Club which is the penthouse of 40-story 440 South La Salle Street in the heart of the Loop about three blocks from Union Station where the trains arrive and depart. Last time my wife and I went to Chicago, I scheduled our first-night dinner at the highly-rated Everest Restaurant. When I got off the elevator to go to my penthouse hotel room, I noted that I needed to turn right. Had I turned left, I would have been in the Everest Restaurant again.

Marines Memorial is the best-kept secret in San Francisco. I knew about it. I had spoken there to the SF real estate investors club many times and taken a course there on play writing. But I never thought about joining. I was not a marine and even if I was I have no interest in sitting around talking to people because they were in the same branch of service as I was.

Then my wife retired in 2006 and wanted her retirement party there. When she inquired, they said only members could reserve rooms there. She asked the membership criteria and got me to join. You have to provide your DD-214, discharge papers which show whether you got an honorable discharge. Reading the monthly magazine, I came across the reciprocal clubs deal. You can see the list of worldwide Marine Memorial reciprocal clubs at

Clubs sort of necessary in big cities

Big cities are not welcoming places. I once wandered around for an hour or so in Manhattan in the rain looking for a place to sit down. I ended up having to buy a meal in a restaurant even though I was not hungry. Same deal in San Francisco, until I joined the Marine Club. Like almost all of the reciprocal clubs, they are extremely well-located. The Marine Club is in the San Francisco theater district two blocks from Union Square (very high tone shopping) and the cable car line. The Marine Club has a library with big overstuffed leather chairs and a roaring fire place. (A photo of that room is at the reciprocal clubs page.) So whenever I am in the city and have some time to kill between activities, I go to “my club” and sit in the Marine library and read or just relax. They also are a hotel of which I have never availed myself. And they have a rooftop restaurant and bar, one of the last in a city that used to have a bunch of them.

In addition to having great locations, the reciprocal clubs are typically rather reasonable on nightly room fees. Because they are older—except for the Buckingham Athletic Club in Chicago—they generally do not have amenities like pools and hot tubs and workout rooms tend to be small.

Basic lecture

I was also a bit surprised at the nature of the lecture in that finance class. For 45 minutes, he went on proving the point that the average of two stocks performance is less volatile than one; that four was less volatile than two, and so on until he had a 100 stocks’ prices graphed on the screen along with their average which was almost a straight line among what he called the spaghetti of the individual stock price movements. That seemed crushingly obvious and basic to me but maybe it would not have 37 years ago when I sat in that very same classroom—Aldrich 9—and studied finance.

Reunion within a reunion

After the class, my host came down to where I was talking to the professor with a young man. To my astonishment, it was a West Point Class of 2007 guy I met for dinner at, you guessed it, the Marine Memorial club, two years ago. When I had dinner with him, he was an Army captain stationed in San Francisco in the engineer district. We knew each other because one of his West Point classmates had befriended me via email as a result of my web articles on West Point and the military. I also met him again at the annual West Point alumni Founders Day celebration in Oakland. Founders Day has a tradition of making the oldest and youngest graduates present make a speech. I never did when I was young because I simply did not go to such events because of the speech tradition. He was the youngest grad at that dinner and had to make the speech.

I had no idea he had gotten out of the Army let alone gotten into HBS and was sitting in my old section room with the daughter of my old section mate. Amazing! After the class, my host was busy but the West Point ’07 guy joined me for lunch in the student dining hall.

West Point and the ‘West Point of American Business’ are pretty tight

A Harvard MBA is the most common graduate degree among West Pointers, followed by a Harvard MPA (JFK School of Government) and a Harvard Law degree. I am one of 23 guys in my West Point class with a Harvard MBA. The ’07 guy told me there were 23 West Pointers in the Harvard MBA program now counting him. When I was there, I was a columnist on the school paper and wrote one column about how similar the “West Point of American Business” and the original West Point were. One of my section mates when I was there was also West Point. I had some classmates from other service academies but no section mates.

‘Everybody knows your name’

That is one of the great things about Harvard. It’s like Cheers, which was modeled after a bar in Boston that is now a tourist attraction. Everybody knows your name.

For breakfast Wednesday morning, I went to the student dining hall before my class attendance. I hardly sat down before a Harvard Classmate came up, introduced himself and joined me. Same thing happened again with two different classmates the next two days even though on those days we were supposed to eat in the outdoor tent for alumni—breakfasts we had paid for with our $400 reunion fee. Screw that! It was raining and in the 30s. I had enough of eating outdoors in 30-degree weather in the Army. I’ll pay a second time and have enough sense to get in out of the rain and cold.

Second-year class

On Thursday, I went to a second-year class taken there by the daughter of one of my West Point classmates who also lives in the San Francisco area. I did not know him at West Point but we and our wives became friends in the late 1970s when we met at a San Francisco Founders Day dinner. When their daughter was considering whether to go to Harvard Business School, she and her parents and my wife and I attended the movie Atlas Shrugged Part I together then had supper afterwards. My wife and I strongly recommended HBS. She loves it as we did.

That class was straight case method like I remembered. She told me the lecture I saw the previous day was quite rare and generally only in first-year finance which had a number of technical subjects that needed to be understood. She joined me for lunch in the student dining hall.

Sharp young men and women

I was impressed by the MBA students. They seemed like my class in person and like they were better than us on paper. It is harder to get in there now than in the late 1970s although in was pretty hard then, too. They showed a little naivete in the second-year case discussion. They spoke of growth in a tiny bakery business as a smooth 5% line. The prof agreed with me that real world growth of a small business in more like a stairway built by a drunken carpenter.

They also treated the idea of the bakery adding a retail cafe restaurant to its operations only in terms of dollars of additional net income. I would have pointed out that retail food service is an almost uniquely pain-in-the-ass business. Very difficult and time-consuming. Indeed, the couple about whom the case was written attended the class also and spoke at the end—a common occurrence at Harvard. And they said they had started the cafe but seemed to regret it and had not made a profit on it in any of the five years since they started it.

The MBAs were surprisingly good at recognizing that such a small business is not just about money. It was also the identity of the couple and what they liked to do.

For the want of a shoe…

After lunch, we had some classes set up by my classmates on the subject of life after 60. At 66 I am about four years older than my average MBA classmate. So I left after one session of the three scheduled. Also, to save luggage weight, I only took my good shoes and after doing lots of walking, discovered they were too small and had a bleeding blister.

Partly to relive my starving grad school student days, I took the T (subway) everywhere. But that required walking from Harvard Square to the Business School. Nostalgic and good exercise, but about a mile walk.

The first couple of times I visited Boston and Cambridge as a tourist, I was dazzled by the word “Harvard” in tiles on the walls at the Harvard T stop. I thought it would be really great if I could someday go there and be a part of that, not just a tourist. Then, on February 19, 1975, I received my acceptance letter to HBS. Ever since that date, the Harvard campus and T stop have felt like home. And there was no diminution in that after 37 years.

West Point, in contrast, no longer has the power to awe me that it did in my teens. I know too much. When I watch a parade, I think of the 20 classmates who marched in parades with me then did not come home from Vietnam. I see the Cadet Chapel as the place we were required to go to church because Academy officials had been embarrassed when the Chapel opened to great fanfare but few cadets. We were required to go to church in spite of that being blatantly unconstitutional—as since recognized by the courts. I see statutes of graduates from before World War I, but none from Vietnam. Harvard is what it appears to be. West Point talks a better game than it plays. I could go on and did at my book-length article “Should you go to, or stay at, West Point?

I have a second connection with Harvard since 2000. My son was invited to come there for an official visit to be recruited as a football player. They changed their minds, but he did get recruited by Columbia, Dartmouth, and Yale and went to Columbia. Twice, I saw him play at Harvard. The football field is adjacent to HBS and across the Charles River from the Cambridge part of Harvard which is pretty much everything but the Business School. Indeed, the field is named Soldiers Field and the address of Harvard Business School is Soldiers Field Boston, MA. My wife and I were among the first tenants in a student housing building they built there called Soldiers Field Park. My father in law was trained at Harvard Business School during World War II as a Navy officer to learn logistics and had to do morning calisthenics in the field house next to the stadium.

I had to go over to Harvard Square and buy a new pair of shoes just to survive the rest of the trip.

That evening, Thursday, the official reunion stuff started. I went to a class reception at the Westin Copley, one subway stop from the Harvard Club. Then I had to hustle over to the venerable and esteemed Locke Obers restaurant to have dinner with the parents of the girl who took me to the first year class and another New Zealand classmate and his wife. Great fun. The New Zealand guy was extremely interested in my hyperinflation writings. Not sure why. He lives in Australia where I am putting my money. We skipped dessert to go watch the vice-presidential debate but missed most of it. No great loss.

Not all about greed

At breakfast the next morning, I was joined by a white, 60-something classmate who bought his adopted approximately six-year old daughter—an Ethiopian. She spoke perfect American English so I surmise he and his wife adopted her as an infant. If a hater of Harvard MBAs had accompanied me to the reunion, he would have had to admit pretty soon that there was virtually no evidence of the stereotype. He would have found them to be bright and energetic and eclectic with many mainly focused on charities at this point in their lives. Gordon Gekko would not adopt an Ethiopian girl.

True, my classmates and I spoke fluent finance at times during the reunion, but we spoke as much about memories from our student days and about our kids and politics and all the stuff everyone else talks about. I assume that some of my classmates there were breathtakingly wealthy—people who had been in investment banking or consulting or venture capital since graduation—like Mitt Romney. But they felt no need to talk about it and they knew we could read between the lines of what they had been doing to recognize such things.

‘Nothing left to prove’

At the Saturday night gala dinner, a group of classmates sang a couple of parody songs they had made up reflected the perspective of 60ish Harvard MBAs. One of them contained the lyric “nothing left to prove.” Indeed, at the 5th and 10th reunions, we were still quite competitive and everyone was doing “GREAT!” But at the 15th and 20th, words like divorce, cancer, death, ups and downs, the good and the bad started to seep into the conversations and the reunion update book we were asked to contribute to. At the 35th, f’get about it. We all know the score. We know what you did in general if not specifics. One of my classmates is Rick Wagoner who got fired by Obama as GM head. Bobby Haft, founder of the late Crown Books is another. A lot of them get their names in the paper, including me, and have for years. We also know what’s important and it ain’t money.

One of my section mates is CEO of Lilly Pulitzer, a woman’s clothing company he acquired with a partner when it had become dormant. He built it back up and sold it and is still running it per agreement with the new owner, who is also the owner of Tommy Bahama. He said nothing about money, but it was clear he found building the company and running it very satisfying. We talked as much about his son’s experience as an army airborne ranger combat vet. (I am also one of those.) Pulitzer does not make men’s clothing, but he wore a pink, then white, then yellow blazer on successive nights apparently befitting the CEO of the brightly colored, festive Lilly Pulitzer women’s clothing line.

Surprisingly, a great many of my section mates have died. Maybe ten. In contrast, none of my West Point company mates have died, and we are about four years older on average than my Harvard classmates and we almost all went to the Vietnam war.

I have been to a lot of reunions and I must say that those involving people in their 60s are the most fun, mainly because of the nothing left to prove angle.

Classes for alumni

On Friday and Saturday during the day, HBS puts on many many classes for the alumni (all the five-year classes) that are alive and show up. The real HBS professors teach them. Indeed, at least two of my old profs from 35 years ago were among the reunion class teachers. West Point does no such thing. I think they’re nuts not to.

I attended a class on tax policy. The 30-year old prof had lots of degrees and was quite impressive, but he made reference to a a study like the one that produced Hauser’s Law but when I mentioned Hauser’s Law, he said, “Who’s Hauser?” My regular readers would not even screw that up and this guy is a tax policy professor at Harvard!

I also attended another on Google and Facebook. What a revelation! Did you know that Google manipulates stuff to send searches that would have taken a searcher to your web site—like typing in Dell Computer—through any Google ad words you are paying for so they can collect money from a click you would have gotten without the Google ad word!? And that was just one of many such things the prof showed us.


With regard to Facebook, do you know what the main use of that is? Men looking up the profiles of women they do not know. Second most? Women looking up profiles of other women. Something like 75% of use of Facebook is nothing but people looking at the profiles of other people. Social networking and all that are nearly insignificant slivers of the remaining 25%. The professor joked it was mainly a “stalking” site. What you accomplish mainly by being on it is getting stalked.

When I asked him about my theory that Facebook had no viable business model, he said they did because of network effect. “But what about switching costs? There are none.”

To translate that from MBA talk to plain English. He said so many people use it that makes it valuable. I said that because there is no cost at all to changing to LinkedIn or another social network, the high number of users is all but meaningless. Neither of us persuaded the other, but I expected him to come up with a better answer than network effect. That applies to PCs and Windows and the Qwerty keyboard and such, not to easy-to-learn, easy to use, free apps like Facebook ad Twitter.

Hyperinflation danger

When I spoke about hyperinflation danger, I generally found an interested and surprised but able-to-understand audience among my fellow MBA classmates. But the professors I spoke to about it—finance and tax policy—seemed both amazingly uninformed on the subject and resistant to it. Hyperinflation is probably going to be the dominant financial event of the 21st century and certainly in the lives of a bunch of MBAs, yet they seem to be getting taught nothing about it.

In the finance class, they were talking about bonds as a safe investment as if hyperinflation had not yet been discovered!! From my small sample, it appeared that HBS is teaching students nothing about the hyperinflation danger and how to deal with it. I’ll bet when it hits they have a bunch of courses about it. You would think a state-of-the-art business school would be a bit more anticipatory and prepare its students for it rather than scramble after the fact to figure out what they should have been teaching. I was a little depressed about that.

A reader said he just got the same, only worse, from a finance professor at another MBA prgoram. She said the rest of the world would not let us hyperinflate as evidenced by their buying our bonds. Yeah, well last year, they bought 25% of them and the Federal Reserve bought 75%. And that is a far cry below the percentage the foreigners used to buy. And probably more than they are going to buy next year.


Boston Tea Party Museum

Our MBA section had its party Friday night at the Boston Tea Party Museum. At one point, a colonial-garb-wearing town crier led us out to the replica of the Boston Tea Party sailing ship. He gave a stirring speech as if he were firing up the original tea party to throw the tea in the harbor. When he yelled, “We must end tyranny!” I got a big laugh by adding “on November 6th.” Don’t ask me why but some Harvard MBAs are liberals. Even they laughed.

Saturday night was the “gala.” The dress code was business casual which means a dark suit and tie. We did not wear tuxes as the Harvard MBA stereotype might depict. I think we did last time and they apparently had complaints. Six of one and a half dozen of the other to me. I own a suit and I own a tux. I can bring whichever you want. Conveniently for me, that was held in the Harvard Club of Boston, downstairs from my hotel room.

I had trouble sleeping there. Usually do in hotels. Different pillows and I did not get the temperature low enough. Since the windows opened and it was cold outside, that’s my fault.

There was a brunch the next morning—Sunday. I normally go to it, but I skipped it to take Amtrak back home. I like the idea of the train although the actual experience is less wonderful in the event. My Lakeshore Limited left from Boston South Station at 11:55AM. Because I had a sleeper car, I got to wait in the Acela Club: free papers, juice, coffee, danish, cleaner rest rooms. I was mildly impressed.


I could not sleep at all on the Limited. My car was behind the baggage car which was behind the two locomotives, which blasted their horn all night long. Also, the train is moving—not what my normal bed does—so it takes some getting used to. And the room was too hot. I skipped the communal shower on the train because it was arriving at 9:45AM. It was close to on-time to my surprise.

After six nights of lousy sleep, I was ready for the Chicago hotel bed and shower/tub and I got a great night’s sleep. Went to the Signature Room atop the John Hancock building for a steak dinner with a view. Both Chicago Union Station and the Jackson subway stop were within easy walking distance from the Buckingham Athletic club. Hancock is not far from the Chicago Street subway station.

I also greatly enjoyed the fabulous Lake Michigan and uptown city views from my penthouse suite. The only problem is you need about a three-hour course to learn how to deal with the high security at the 440 South LaSalle Street building, a.k.a. One Financial Plaza. If you clicked on the link, you saw a photo of the whole buliding. The row of windows along the top (40th) floor are the windows of the Buckingham Athletic Club hotel rooms. That building shares the block with the Chicago Board Options Exchange which is across the narrow Van Buren Street from the Chicago Board of Trade, both world famous “Wall Street” symbols of the power of capitalism and America. So I suppose that neighborhood is a likely terror target. Once, trying to get to the health club portion of the hotel, I ended up in a totally unfinished third floor area and finally got out of a street level stairway exit.

After buying a couple of small Garrett caramel corns for the train ride and mailing home some dirty laundry, I headed over to the train station for my 2PM Monday departure on the California Zephyr.

My sleeper car status got me into the Metropolitan Club at Union Station. That felt pretty much like the waiting room at Ellis Island in 1925. They also had some free stuff but…

Dining car

One of the best things about riding Amtrak is the dining car. I was traveling alone so I always ate with three strangers at the four-man tables. About 75% of them were very interesting. An elegant 83-year old black woman who I expect was a high school graduate talking about her five children who were all professionals with advanced degrees. An 40ish black woman who was a song writer and had one song become part of or the theme song of a movie and who had lived and performed in Germany and many other places. There was one New Zealander, two Australian couples from Melbourne—one worked for the World Bank around the world the other couple both worked for Westpac Australia, my Australian bank. Another was a mechanical engineer. One American seemed to be getting annoyed with me because he made several sweeping incorrect statement about subjects where I am an expert. I said he was incorrect quoting the wording the Constitution and pertinent U.S. Supreme Court decisions (it was about eminent domain). Later he suddenly asked, “Did you go to West Point? And write books about football coaching?” I had not mentioned either, but I guess he heard a particular analytical approach that he recognized. Turned out he was one of my football book readers.

One woman asked why I had gone to Boston. When I told her about the reunion, she said she had worked at Harvard Business School in the early 1950s. We discovered we both knew the financial aid woman we MBAs called Cash Flo.

During the school year is Amtrak’s “geriatric period” as the ticket clerk told me.(I strongly recommend that you not travel on Amtrak during school vacations. There is nothing to do on a train so the kids go nuts using the entire train as a play ground.) So a lot of the passengers at supper told of the many accomplishments of their grown children. Kind of uplifting. Lots of people out there doing well. The one thing I would say about your dining companions on Amtrak is that you cannot tell a book by its cover. You do not know who the others are at your table until you ask them. And you will generally be impressed by the answers.

Lose money even when filled

Many were talking about Amtrak going out of business. All but me thought it would be a travesty. Also, all but me could not figure out how Amtrak could be in danger when the train was sold out. “Because the U.S. government loses money even when it’s sold out. The union contracts are too generous and probably even a non-union passenger train would not make a profit. Planes and cars are much more efficient and provide a better value in general.” One of the reasons I took the train was I figure it will not last much longer. It is the equivalent of some tiny post office in the middle of nowhere.

Europe supposedly has much better trains than the U.S. I would say the London-Paris train through the Chunnel is better than Amtrak. The sleeper from Paris to Rome is worse than Amtrak. A person on Amtrak last week said VIA, the Canadian railroad, is better than Amtrak.

Will Rogers said,

Buy real estate. They aren’t making any more of it.

I’m guessing Will never paid attention when traveling across the U.S. by car or train. If he had, he would have noticed they made a hell of a lot of it the first time. There are a lot of cornfields between Chicago and Colorado. And there is a lot of nothing between Denver and Sacramento. We have the 3rd largest population in the world, but there are many times on the California Zephyr where the only visible signs of human life on earth are the rails on which you ride.

I got a little more sleep on the Zephyr. First night was too hot. But the second night—going through Utah—it was colder outside and therefore cooler inside the train.

I missed the second presidential debate because I was on the train and Amtrak lacks the money to have TV. Canada’s Via, in contrast, does have wifi and such.

Slept for 12 hours

Finally got home after nine days. I went to bed early—around 8:30 PM. Usually, that does not work for me and I don’t fall asleep until midnight or so. But this time, I slept like a baby from about 8:30 PM until about 9AM the next day. Ah, the advantage of your own bed and pillow and climate control system. And the cumulative sleep deficit of nine days with only one good night of sleep. Excellent, adventurous trip, but there’s no place like home.

Somewhere in my 9-day trip I caught a cold. If you are not a Californian, you may think that is not noteworthy. It seems to me that I catch a cold once every two or three years in California; once or twice a year when I lived in the Northeast in the first half of my life.

Yet another reason why my wife and I call all our trips east California-appreciation trips.

John T. Reed