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Cross Country Drive


Trip Photos

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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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Address... 
Friday, January 13, 2006, 10:54 AM
Just to let you all know, my mailing address out here is:

Tom Schindler
Apartment A209
555 W Middlefield Rd
Mountain View, 94043



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Windy Road... 
Tuesday, January 10, 2006, 09:23 PM
I had mentioned earlier that we went on a really windy road going towards Muir Woods up north of San Francisco... We took a video in the car mounting Nick's video camera on a tripod in the front seat... The road took us 8 minutes to drive, i sped the video up so we do it in 2 minutes... Here it is:

http://www.drivexc.com/rt1_fast.wmv



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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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