SFO777 The First Class Travel Blog

The First Class Travel Blog

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Back to Cleveland

Back to Cleveland
For Game 6 of the NBA Finals
June 2016

After 12 memorable years in Cleveland in the 80s and 90s, we still consider Cleveland our adopted home town. And we remain diehard Cavs, Browns and Indians fans. It's been 52 years since any major Cleveland sports team won a championship. So I keep hoping to savor one just once before I die. And here we go again. I had only intended to come back if the Cavs were up 3-2. But after beating the Warriors in Oakland, I decided to come back to "Believeland" experience Game 6, to see if they could force Game 7.

Our LA son had to work late last night, so we took the latest redeye... AA's 1:20a LAX-ORD flight. I left our Southern OC home at 10:15p and with no traffic on the 405, got to LAX less than an hour later. Since I had plenty of time and we were returning tomorrow morning on United, I parked in the T7 garage and walked to T4.

PreCheck lite tonight as I arrived just after regular PreCheck and Priority lanes shut down. And headed for the Admirals Club which is being renovated with lots of temporary walls and a temporary check-in/service counter.
 

... with work starting at around 11pm. Wow, sounds like dentists office. OK, after 11pm is not a good time to be here. 

Our LA son arrived around 12:20p... with proper Cleveland attire.  

At around T-40, we headed for Gate 47A. Wow, construction crews everywhere tonight.

And at our gate, looks like the cleaning crews haven't hit this gate yet tonight.

LAX-ORD
AA 395
737-800 new IFE seats
1:20a-7:30a
June 16, 2016
Refreshments

Oh joy, another emotional support dog... although this one was as tired as the rest of us and didn't make a noise the entire flight.

Excellent service tonight from our LAX-based crew, as we both knocked back a few G&Ts, did a number on the snack basket and watched a movie... all while I tried to find reasonably priced good seats for the game.

I placed bids on FlashSeats on 9 pairs of seats with a 9am EST expiration time, and slept lousy airplane sleep for about 90 minutes. Woke up on descent to discover that one of our bids was accepted and we have two 3rd row seats (actually 6th row including the floor seats) between the scorers table and the Warriors bench. Now I just need one more seat.

Morning pics of the cabin.

A beautiful morning in Chicago.

With an on time arrival into H4, we headed to the H/K Admirals Club.

 

And then the long walk to the L concourse and Gate L6A.

ORD-CLE
AA 3573
Crappy US metal CR7
9:10a-11:30a
June 16, 2016
Refreshments

Great crew and service but what a load of garbage this old US plane is with nowhere near the bulkhead legroom of the pmAA CR7.

I picked up our 3rd seat when a seller dropped his asking price to a reasonable (for a Game 6) price. 

Our descent into Cleveland, on a typical Cleveland weather day... overcast and muggy. Now I remember why we moved. 

And a great Cleveland souvenir shop located just before the C concourse.

Down to baggage claim. Not the classiest welcome.     I sure hope this is a construction casualty and about to be replaced. Yikes.

 

I choose the Hyatt because it was close to the action and the price was right... with the correct corporate discount code.  Interesting location in the historic old Arcade, one of the first indoor shopping centers in the country when it opened in 1890.   Beautiful interior but pretty depressing as the place was virtually empty any time we were there.  But the hotel was a big meh, old and dated, even the renovated rooms, with two separate banks of elevators at opposite ends of the building.  Our Platinum upgraded rooms weren't available when we checked in around 12:30pm.  We took anything so we could get a little sleep and wait for the 2nd room.

After a 45 minute nap, I headed for the empty bar plugged my laptop and did some work.  Across the street from the Arcade and the hotel bar.

Finally, at around 3pm, my room was ready.  I waited for this??  LOL.

At least there was a view, of E. 4th Street.

The roof of Arcade from the 7th floor of the hotel.

After a few drinks at the bar with a Cleveland friend, the 4 of us headed over to E. 4th Street with a few thousand other fans...

Dinner at Pickwick & Frolic, starting with the Cleveland sausage platter. 

One of only a handful of Warriors fans brave enough to make the trip. LOL.

The reality of buying 3 tickets for an NBA Finals game is that you are likely to buy a 2 and a 1, especially for good seats.
So I wound up with 2 seats in Section 125 between the scorer's table and the Warriors bench and 1 row Section 107 ticket across from the Cavs bench.
We agree to switch seats after each quarter so we would all get the same experience. OK, not a bad view. 

The crowd roars as the Cavs are about to take to the court.

Time for the player noisy intros.

The Cavs started strong and were up 31-11 at the end of the first. Their defense held Golden State to their lowest quarter scoring total in the playoffs. At the end of the quarter, I switched seats with SFO777Jr and I move to the other side of the arena. Looking back towards my single seat, four rows behind Beyoncé and Jay Z.

Trying to distract one of the Warriors attempting a free throw.  

And back on the other side for the 4th quarter as the game got close and then the Cavs pulled away.

Cavs Win!  Cavs Win!

My favorite pic of the night!

Outside after the game well after midnight, traffic and thousands of people on E. 4th.

What a great game and an amazing experience to be back home for the big game and the surrounding hoopla. 

While the boys stayed out and closed the bars down, I'm older and sometimes a little wiser.
I headed back to hotel to get some sleep before my 4:30a wakeup call less than 4 hours later.  

After a short night, I was in the lobby at 5:25a waiting for SFO777LAJr... and waiting and waiting.  Not answer texts or phone calls.  Or the house phone call.  So I went up his room and banged ont he door.  A minute later, he stumbled to the door and opened asking "what, what?".  LOL.  Uh, like we are supposed to leave for the airport like NOW.   Fifteen minutes later, a groggy not very wide awake son appears and we hopped into our Uber Black and headed out for the 15 minute drive to the airport.   Thankfully, PreCheck let us bypass the long regular TSA lines.

... with enough time for breakfast: one normal, the other a light hangover toast and coffee breakfast.

Cleveland-Los Angeles
UA 
737-800
7:10a-9:09a (sked)
7:05a-8:45a (actual)
June 17, 2016

First Class has been sold out for a week, so we're in Economy.  Fortunately, my new 1K status got us Exit Row seats with an open middle.

Sonny boy will learn, some day.

Everyone gets a tasty Stroopwafel with their drink.   As a 1K, I'm entitled to any BOB item.  Since I'd eaten breakfast, I opted for a Snack Box which I ate later in the flight. 

Yes son, that's what a hangover looks like.  LOL.

We landed nearly 25 minutes early.  I headed down the 405 for home, SFO777LAXJr up the 405 and over to Malibu to work.  LOL, good luck on that today.

Didn't get a lot of work done yesterday morning, as I tracked the Cavs back to Cleveland after their party stop in Las Vegas. 
 

And the arrival and welcome at the IX-Center, live coverage from ESPN...