I will freely admit, I chose to take the easy way out today, and because of a weird miscommunication between us and air traffic control, it got even easier. My goal was to get some practice doing procedure turns, which for some reason stress me out. Procedure turns are part of an instrument approach to an airport, and generally provide a route to get yourself pointed in the direction of the airport and runway, assuming that you've come at it from a random side. They're not hard, I just need some practice.
So I had the option of going to Concord, but John had warned me that the approach there was a little challenging. So I chose instead to go to Stockton and Hayward, and to do the procedure turn into the ILS 29R at Stockton. As it turned out, there was some sort of NOTAM for some craziness (shooting? stunt flying? who knows) to the southwest, and since we didn't have the NOTAM information, we ended up requesting vectors to final. It was fine, though; I flew the ILS like a champ, executed the missed and the hold at ORANG intersection very skillfully, set up for HWD, and got it all done pretty quickly.
One interesting thing was that we took off from PAO on 13, but it wasn't terribly different -- just a left turn to 060 instead of a right.
At the end of the lesson, John handed me the phase check packet -- I'm getting close!