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Cross Country Drive


Trip Photos

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Week 1.... 
Monday, January 9, 2006, 09:17 PM
The past week--

I arrived in Mountain View on Monday to an awesome apartment complex... We have 2 bedrooms, a spacious living room, full kitchen, and a porch overlooking some palm trees and the 40 person hot tub and pool...

I spent most of monday getting settled, then making runs to the airport to pick people up and just relaxing.

Tuesday was filled with going to the grocery store and making a practice trip to eBay to figure out where everything is. We all spend some time in the pool/hot tub tuesday night.

Wednesday was the first day of work-- we were greeted by the employees at eBay and had a few meetings about our project.... We headed for the hot tub after work and just hung out.

Repeat Wednesday for both thursday and friday..

Saturday we all woke up relatively early and headed for Muir woods... We took this awesome winding road through the area north of San Francisco.. We used my national parks pass to take a quick tour through Muir woods.. here are a few pictures we took of the trees:




We then headed south to San Francisco, but we stopped in Sausalito. We found a real nice pizza joint, i took this picture while sitting at the table eating a $8 pizza:



We then headed across the street to take a few pictures, here is the four of us that went in front of the bay/city:


We then went towards the bridge, stopping on a large hill to take pictures of it:




After that we paid the $5 to cross the bridge into the city, stopping down in Ghiradelli square. We had a nice large ice cream sundae which was well worth the $6.75 i paid for it... Here are a few pics of that area:



Sunday we woke up early and went over to the Farmer's market in downtown Mountain View...

We then took the CalTrain to San Francisco. We walked from the train station over to Pier 39... then to Pier 41 to take the boat to Alcatraz... Here is the walk:



When we arrived on Alcatraz, we walked around for a bit, then took the audio tour. A lot of cool pieces of information about Alcatraz were learned here, such as the fact that the prisoners were forced to build their own prison, and the parts they built are now deteriorating because they placed the steel too close to the surface of the concrete.

The audio tour took us all around the prison blocks, we even got to go in a few cells. A lot of history here. A few pics:





After alcatraz, we walked around for a bit then found a nice restaraunt we had seen the day before called Knuckles sports bar and grill... very good food here!

We then walked back to the train station for a very sleepy ride back to Mountain View. Professor Finkel even delayed our Sunday night pizza party since all 11 of us who went to San Fran were late for the meeting... After pizza we all hung out in the pool for a while until bedtime.


Today was a normal workday, but we had a _long_ end-of-day meeting/code review which lasted over an hour over it's scheduled time... Now it's time to head for the pool and relax for a bit :)


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Still Alive.. 
Sunday, January 8, 2006, 11:42 PM
I'm still alive over here-- things have been busy getting settled in, working a bunch, and of course spending a good amount of time in the pool/hot tub :)

Look for an update of the past week soon... probably Monday evening!

Tom


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Rainy California 
Monday, January 2, 2006, 08:25 AM
We left vegas "bright and early" around 9:30am, and headed up towards Monterey... it was foggy and rainy most of the trip, so there are no exciting pictures to post.

Things we drove by/through:

-Edwards Air Force Base
-Mojave Desert
-an Intersection in the Mojave desert
-we dropped below 1000 feet for the first time since Oklahoma


We went out to eat in downtown Carmel... and had a nice dinner at Jack London's restaraunt...

We then drove down to the ocean to complete our "cross country" drive.. It was raining pretty hard, but with the high beams on we could see the ocean.

Today we are headed to San Jose, Eric's flight leaves from there around 1 or so... I'll be in Mountain View for the next couple of months, but this site will be updated with my travels/interesting sights i see...

Time to start our last 75 miles or so... but first-- we shall touch the Pacific to really complete our trip.





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What happens in Vegas.... 
Saturday, December 31, 2005, 06:34 PM
Vegas.

Last night after we posted, Eric and i headed out to walk around and explore a bit. We ended up grabbing a quick "dinner" at New York, New York at the ESPN cafe. After a nice dinner, we walked over through excalibur and to the luxor. For those of you who don't know, the luxor is a giant pyramid, with a really bright light on top of it. We really wanted to see the upper floors of this hotel, but they are for hotel guests only. I convieniently caught a locked door as someone was leaving, and we proceeded into the elevators to go up. We waited for some guy to use his key to go to floor 10 and followed him. The elevators are really wierd... they don't just go straight up, they go at an angle. The inertial forces you feel as you are going up are really wierd and oyu ahve no idea which direction you are going in!

We got back to the room around 2am, and fell asleep.

This morning we woke up around 9 or so, and spent a little bit of time relaxing and watching the airport. We then went out and walked around to find some lunch, we ended up at the Jimmy Buffet Margaritaville restaraunt:



After lunch i relaxed in a chair for a bit:




We walked over down the strip, walking through hotels all the way... We stopped at the Treasure Island casino and put a few bucks in the machines. Eric played some video poker and ended up down a few bucks. I put $3 into a slot machine and walked away with $22.50 -- not a bad deal :)

On the way down the strip, we saw the ghost of Elvis that we missed in Memphis (refer to Nashville->OK City Post)-- He was in Vegas, who would have thunk!


We made our way to the Venetian hotel, which has an awesome indoor canal:



Throughout the day they were prepping for tonight's celebrations and we saw security people everywhere:


Here are pictures of both me and eric in front of the New york New York Casino:






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Another Panorama 
Saturday, December 31, 2005, 05:40 PM
Here is another panorama -- this one of the Grand Canyon

(click it to make it larger)





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Grand Canyon to Las Vegas...Via Sedona 
Friday, December 30, 2005, 10:52 PM

We woke up bright and early to head up to the Grand Canyon to see the sunrise, that never actually panned out. We got there an hour or so after sunrise and toured around the western end of the park, as we had driven through the eastern part yesterday. We took a bunch of pictures. Here are a few samples:


We had a few close calls at the rim of the canyon:



But the views were incredible, and thankfully we survived:


We then headed south on 64, then west on 40 to get to Flagstaff. Todd had booked a rental car at the Flagstaff Airport, which is about the size of your average McDonalds. Here is the picture we took of the 3 of us before Todd headed for San Diego... although Todd's vehicle looks small, apparently it can out-run them bears in the air.


Eric and I then headed south on 89A through Oak Creek Canyon... which has a lot of New England like terrain, but is surrounded by amazing cliffs and mountains. We started at the north end, which is up on the Colorado Plateau... and ends up in Sedona. The road goes down a series of switchbacks which makes for some really fun driving! Here is a small section of the switchbacks, which does the sheer awesomeness of this road no justice at all:


We drove through Sedona briefly, and on to a road that Eric's father had recomended to us. It's called Schnebly Hill Road, and is just east of Sedona in central Arizona. I'd recommend checking the tracking map in this area to view a satellite image or map of this road... If you look closely you'll see that it is a dirt road, and it's actually relatively rough, i was limited to 4-5 mph for most of the 11 mile length of this road. It's switchbacks look really cool on the map!

Here are a few pictures from this road:




We met a real nice couple along the way told us about some interesting geologic features of Arizona. They commented on how they enjoy to drive lots of back roads, and they suggested a road-beer for relaxation on said back roads. Interesting people out here eh? They apparently didn't know Pennsylvania's motto of "drive hammered, get nailed" (refer to day 1 post)

Schenbly Hill Road ends up on I-17, as a dirt road turning onto a paved on-ramp for an interstate highway... We made a quick stop at a gas station, which convienently supplied us with subway sandwiches, beer, restrooms and gas. Now that's what i call a one stop-shop!

We headed out on I-40 towards Kingman, Arizona to get to Rt 93 which leads to the Hoover Dam and Las Vegas. We took a few pictures on the road... here is one of our better ones:


After passing through the security checkpoint, which was 9 miles east of the Hoover Dam, we sat in a 9-mile long traffic jam to pass over the dam. During this traffic jam, we watched about half of the movie Anchorman in the car. Once we arrived at the dam, we took a few pictures. Here are the <i>dam</i> pictures:



From there we headed to Vegas, where we relied on both our GPS systems to navigate us through the maze of roads to finally arrive at the Tropicana. Our hotel isn't the prettiest and/or newest of the hotels on the strip, therefore i took pictures of other hotels. Here is one of New York, New York, which is within spitting distance of our hotel. We have a very fine view of the McCarran International Airport, along with all the wonderful sounds that go along with airports!



Tomorrow we plan on walking around Vegas and just relaxing for a bit. Since we won't be driving anywhere, the vehicle tracking will not be working... plus, what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas... (but i'll post a few pics)



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Middle of Nowhere Panoramas 
Friday, December 30, 2005, 06:07 AM
I took a few panoramic images of us being in the middle of nowhere...

To view these you have to have quicktime ( http://www.quicktime.com )

Once they are loaded, you can use the control and shift keys to zoom!

From Texas:
http://www.drivexc.com/middle_of_nowhere.mov

From New Mexico:
http://www.drivexc.com/New_Mexico_Middle_of_Nowhere.mov

Also--

All of the pictures from yesterday are up at http://www.drivexc.com/pics


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