Dean Clough

February 26, 2024

Portico Darwin: A Secret at SFO + Depart Hoboken


1 Minute Read

Happy Monday, and happy break from the orgy of self-revelation that is my London Calling series.

Today's post is about a trick at San Francisco International Airport.  I used it just yesterday on my way to Tupper Lake (via Hoboken last night) and it continues to impress.  Here it is:

The Short-Term Parking Garage is to be embraced, not shunned.

That might also be true at your own airport, if there is covered short-term parking attached to its terminals, and the first 15 minutes there are free.

The concept is simple:  You never subject yourself to the madness of the Departures and Arrivals clusterfuck lanes.  Instead, drive directly into the short-term parking garage, just for a moment (and free) if dropping off, or a bit longer if picking up (probably still free).  The actual traveler will barely notice the difference, but the driver most certainly will.

Because in the garage, there's no chaos.  No jockeying for position near a curb - somewhere.  No freak-outs trying to get bags out of the car while you know there are many waiting behind you to do the same.  It is the antithesis of the normal and stressful airport drop-off or pick-up, yet adds no or very little time for anyone.

It's true.  I first discovered this with the arrival in SF of the renowned artist and my cousin, Charles Clough, for his showing at Funston House, in early 2022.  Since then, I have further refined and yes, documented, my methods and I believe I have it nailed.

First, a map for context.  The colored areas on the map represent areas of the parking garage, which correspond to terminals, their respective gates, and thus airlines.

And here, in all of its complex glory, are blow-by-blow directions.  Sure, it's convoluted, but also exactly accurate, at least as of yesterday, 25 February 2024.

Access the garage via Ramp 2 at the Hourly Parking Entrance.  Pullover or park in Section A/B or B (Terminal 1 Airlines), D or E(Terminal 2 Airlines), or F (Terminal 3 Airlines), on level 4, at the elevator bank.  Go up to/from the airport via level 5 of the garage to level 3, the Mezzanine in the airport.  Gates are on level 2, baggage is on level 1.

They have some areas fenced off, but I have found I can drive to any section.

Trust me, the walk is hardly farther than if you were dropped off at the curb.  One goes up a floor, via an elevator or stairs.  The 5th floor of the garage is connected to the airport proper via an enclosed sky bridge - which provides a nice view of the awful Departure and Arrival areas you've successfully avoided.  You end up on the Mezzanine, one level above gate level and security, two above baggage claim.  It is not a long walk and is easy even with bags.  And, voilà, you're at TSA Pre-Check.  

Pick-ups can be even more fun because if you time it correctly, you can park your car, meet whomever at baggage, and walk together back to the car. 

All free, or for a pick-up, perhaps $5 or less, which is worth it to avoid the stress.

Or maybe that's just me.


A part of a distinct minority (apparently of one), Lara Mohair is thoroughly enjoying London Calling.  And she also provides some third-party validation of my Virgin Atlantic adoration. 

Such a great read.  Steve Whittam’s comment to you is classic. 

Best quote I remember was (Genstar employee) Craig Hughes after flying Virgin Atlantic Upper Class to London, upon arrival stating that it’s already been the best trip of his life. 

That might not be word for word but yeah, you’re not exaggerating.

Thank you, Lara.  And to my thousands of few dozen readers:  maybe don't just hit delete this Friday.

Thank you for reading this newsletter.  


This is a first time play on KLUF, not just for the album but also for the band.  I've always been respectful yet somehow lukewarm to Red Hot Chili Peppers.  But here they are, with One Hot Minute, because "Aeroplane" is just too perfect for today. 

About Dean Clough