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Cross Country Drive


Trip Photos

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Joshua Tree National Park 
Sunday, March 5, 2006, 09:31 PM
We woke up around 6:30, breakfast at 7, and we attempted to get on the road by 7:30... After fixing some small techincal difficulties with my in-car electronics (GPS not working), we hit the road...

We drove through downtown LA on rt 10, skipping any stops in hollywood due to the morning delays.. but we still got a drive-by picture of the city:



on the way out of LA on I-10 eastbound, there is a huge windfarm... This was Dad's electricity fix for the day...



We then headed straight for Joshua Tree National Park...



In case you don't know what a Joshua tree looks like, here is an example:



We first headed up to Keys point, which offered some great views from over 5000 feet in elevation:



We then went back down and walked around a bit in the desert/joshua tree forest... it's really hard to determine if it is a forest or a desert, i think it is both...



We then went to a small Oasis in the desert, it was really amazing... One small spring produced all these huge trees... I took 2 pictures to show the contrast between oasis and desert, all i did to take these pics was turn 180 degrees:

Desert:



Oasis:


We are staying tonight in Casa Grande, AZ... tomorrow we are headed towards El Paso, probably stopping by White Sands on the way...

All pics are available here:

http://www.drivexc.com/pics

and the vehicle tracking was enabled, so check that out too (link at the top of this page)





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On the way home... 
Saturday, March 4, 2006, 09:30 PM

After a nice pizza dinner last night at Kapp's pizza in mountain view, we woke up early this morning to hit the road. Pete needed a ride to the airport, so he joined us for continental breakfast at Dad's hotel. After dropping him off at the airport, we headed south towards Monterey.. we took a ride down Cannery Row, and had fun taking some pictures at an ocean overlook, here is a picture we took:



After leaving Monterey, we headed south on route 1, seeing all of the beautiful sights along the way... here is a picture of Dad and I just north of Big Sur:



We continued south on rt 1, and encountered a roadside pulloff which was full of people looking at nothing.. or so we thought... we found a California Condor perched just over the edge of the road:



We then headed further south and stopped at a random roadside stop, there were a bunch of people there whale watching of all things. Apparently this time of year is great for whale watching since the whales are migrating... we saw a whole bunch of whale spouts, here is one picture that sort of came out...



About 40 miles south of the whale watching, we came across some Elephant Seals on the beach... these things are huge! -- to put it in perspective, the largest seals were probably a couple of tons in weight...





Then dad was apparently having withdrawl from work, as he snapped these photos as we drove by, i hope they made him feel more at home!



We continued on to a down called Solvang, which is a Danish themed town... it brought me right back to feeling like i was in Denmark... here is a picture of the town:



We found a place called Ostrich Land, where we saw some really ugly Ostritches



We got to Ventura at about 5pm, checked into the hotel and headed out for some dinner... On the way we stopped on the beach to take a few pictures:



We then went to the downtown area, and atea at Andria's Seafood... fish and chips... After dinner we walked around the dock area for a bit, it was really cool looking at night with all the reflections



Tomorrow we head to Phoenix (well just south of Phoenix)... Look for more updates tomorrow!




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Headed Home... 
Friday, March 3, 2006, 03:42 PM
This is my last day here at ebay! -- Dad is coming supposed to arrive in about 40 minutes or so, tomorrow we head out... Here are our stops along the way:

Ventura, CA
Phoenix, AZ
El Paso, TX
Fort Worth, TX
St Louis, MO
Pittsburg, PA
Home

Look for updates on the drive soon!

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Another weekend, some more travel... 
Wednesday, February 15, 2006, 11:22 PM
Saturday i headed to Half Moon Bay and the pacific coast with Matt and Rhyland... we ended up driving on some back roads to get there... we took a 9 mile road to nowhere... here is a picture of this creek-side road:



We took a few pictures of the pacific coast:




We took a small road that probably wasn't a road directly to the edge of a cliff... i was actually a bit worried about the cliff giving way.. here is a shot of us coming back on to route 1 from the cliff:



We then went to San Francisco for a chinese new year dinner... We want to a place called the Cathay House, right on California Ave downtown... great atmopshere at the place! Here is a picture of a lot of the WPI students at the restaraunt:



We then went outside to Market Street to watch the Chinese New Year parade... Lots of people jumping around with dragons and tons of firecrackers.... here is a picture of the parade:



On the way home i took a quick picture of the Bridge the I-80 starts on... I think it is the Oakland Bay Bridge...




Sunday Matt, Rhyland and i woke up really early and headed for Lake Tahoe... We took I-80 all the way up through Donner Pass.. Here are a few pictures of us from Donner Pass:






We stopped for gas in Truckee... at the packed small-town gas station we met a nice fellow who was "filling up his sled"... a real rounder, i bet he had about 5 teeth total... this man was definitely a few fries short of a happy meal!

I snapped this pic at the gas stations:



Lake tahoe was awesome-- a huge lake in the middle of the mountains.... We stopped over into Nevada and gambled a dollar at a casino-- and lost... hopefully not a preview of this coming weekend in Vegas...

Here are a few pics of us at Lake Tahoe:






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Weekend Traveler.... 
Wednesday, February 8, 2006, 09:30 PM
This past weekend was a long one. Because of the long hours we had been working the past few weeks, Adrian (our boss) gave us the a few days off. Thursday was spent relaxing and catching up on some rest...

Oliver (my boss' son) and I left early morning on Friday for Yosemite. We left Mountain View around 6:30am, and headed towards Yosemite. We stopped for Breakfast in Oakdale at a nice diner... that huge breakfast was one of the better $3.99 i've spent in my life...

Arriving in Yosemite on route 120, we were greeted to this view:





We drove the loop road in Yosemite, and had a nice lunch from the deli in the valley. Yosemite was amazing in the summer, but it was far to crowded. On this Friday afternoon in February, it was more or less deserted. The walk to Bridal Veil Falls was amazing without hoards of people hanging around... Here is a picture of it:

(Bridal Veil Falls pic)

Here is another picture from the valley:




On the way out, we headed up to Badger Pass, at over 7000 feet in February, Snow is expected. To my pleasure, it was over 60 degrees and sunny... with lots of snow on the ground:



It was a bit sad to be leaving the valley with this view in the side mirror:




EDIT: Here is a small quicktime panorama i took of the valley area:

http://www.drivexc.com/yosemite_pano_large.mov

Heading back west towards San Jose, we had to pass through the central valley... we were about 25' above sea level, traveling straight... here is a picture of it:



After arriving Friday night at about 10pm back at the apartments, i headed out to the hot tub for a bit of relaxing... At about 2am i finally got to bed.. that hot tub is way too nice!

Saturday Morning i slept in for a bit, then found a group to head down to Big Sur on Rt 1. The west coast of California is amazing... even more so than i had remembered from our family trip out here a number of years ago... Here is a sample of what we saw:




On the way back up from big Sur, we took this random dirt road called Coast Rd.... which went away from the coast but yielded some spectaclar views... The road was pretty rough... about 25 kmiles of dirt, rocks and switchbacks... an awesome change from the pavement jungle around San Jose-- here are a few pics from the road:



We then headed north to Carmel/Monterey... We took a ride on 17 Mile Road, and I finally got into the pacific... Here is a shot of us in the Pacific (Names left to right are: Jared, Jenny, Tom Rybka and Tom(me)...)


This weekend we are probably going for another San Francisco trip... Look for pictures!

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Busy Busy... 
Thursday, February 2, 2006, 01:52 PM
I am still alive and kicking... I've just been way too busy to post any updates... Here are a few of the random things i've been up to since the last update... (may be out of order)

Myself, Nick, Mike and Oliver (our boss' 21 year old son) headed down to Santa Cruz one afternoon to see the coast and such.... We took a few pictures of the sunset:




And a picture of us at sunset...



And a picture of some stars i took along rt 1:


We also went up to San Francisco a few times, finding random places to walk around..

Work has been incredibly busy, we worked over 80 hours between Wednesday and Monday... But the good news is we are making good progress on our project.

I am planning on heading to Yosemite tomorrow (friday 2-3-2006), and the weather seems like it is going to cooperate with me...





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Second Week here.... 
Friday, January 20, 2006, 10:08 PM
Long Overdue Update...

Last Wednesday, the 11th, both ebay teams headed up to San Francisco to visit Macworld... it was in interesting day filled with lots of cool technology.. here are a few photos from that event:




That night we went to a WPI sponsored alumni event, where a bunch of WPI alums gathered and talked about anything and everything. That lasted until about 9:30 or so.

Directly after the alumni event, four five of us decided to go up to San Mateo and check out the world famous Habanero Hamburgers at the Prince of Wales Pub. This pub is a small joint where locals seem to hang out... a real hole-in the wall, but the people were incredibly nice.

Check their website out:

http://www.habanero-hamburger.com/index.shtml

A few of the quotes from the site include:
"It's not a meal, it's an ordeal!"
or
"I thought eating a Habanero Burger was the worst pain I would ever experience. The next morning I realized how wrong I was."

The second one couldn't be more true. More or less this is a Hamburger covered in a layer of Habanero relish. Quite possibly the _hottest_ thing i have ever or will ever eat. After the first bite your lips and mouth are on fire. We all got a few bites into it, a few of us stopped due to the extreme heat. As we were all moaning due to the pain, this lady turned around and handed us a few tums pills, which we used. I was the only one to finish the burger, but Jimmy and Larry who were some locals we met proceeded to finish one of the burgers Matt didn't eat all of.

This past weekend was a fun one-- on Friday, myself, Dave, Mike and Nick headed up to Dave's grandparents house up in Maxwell, CA, which is about 1.5 hrs north of Sacramento. We pulled onto Four Mile Road, and drove to their ranch up there. I've always driven past these big gates on the side of the local roads in the middle of nowhere, but never had the opportunity to go into one. We opened the gate and pulled down about 1.5 miles of driveway. We ended up at a series of houses, guest houses and garages... a beautifully furnished place full wiht moose head in the wall and everything. We played a game of poker then called in a night.

Saturday morning we rode their ATVs around in the mud, before heading back to Mountain View. Here are a few pics of the ranch:




Sunday all of us decided to head up to Muir woods again, with 2 cars going, we were able to fit 13 people. Here is all of us in a tree:



And another pic:



After Muir woods, we drove up to Sonoma to get some lunch at Mary's pizza shack. Unfortunately i don't have any pics of Sonoma.. (left the camera in the car!)

We then drove south to the area just north of the golden gate bridge, took some pictures along the road overlooking the bridge and city:



After driving down a one way road looking towards the ocean:



We came to a stop light in the middle of nowhere, we could only see that it was red, nothing else around the light. We sat here for a ridiculous amount of time, about 5 minutes before it turned green-- we realized it was because of the long one-way tunnel through the mountain we had to pass through. What was so note-able abotu this tunnel passing was that one of the 10 or so cars passing in our group decided to tap his horn. I responded with a friendly toot of my own. Soon all 10 cars were having a hell of a time honking in the tunnel. After leaving the tunnel, we all stopped honking and proceeded our own ways. I'd like to say that the 10 vehicles in that tunnel shared a moment together :)

Monday (MLK day) i relaxed for most of the day then went into work for a bit. After work, i decided that since i live in Mountain View, i needed to go to the mountains. I drove about 15 miles east of San Jose and drove to the top of Mt Hamilton... it was incredible at night, and i can't wait to go back during the day. Here are a few pics of the mountain:




I also took a pretty nice panorama from the hills looking west-north-west of silicon valley/san jose:



This week has been a lot of work and hot tubbing.

Tomorrow i inted on driving around and exploring some more :)












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