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A quick Panorama... 
Tuesday, March 7, 2006, 05:48 AM
Just to give you all a feel for what it was like in White Sands... here is a panorama:

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

Note: 10 mb in size, so it may take a bit to load, and Quicktime is required

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Casa Grande to El Paso... 
Monday, March 6, 2006, 07:14 PM

We woke up bright and early... and when I say bright and early... i mean it:


We headed out east on I-10 towards El Paso... it was quite the long road:


But there were some pretty cool sights along the way:


We arrived at White Sands National Monument around 1:30pm:



White sands is one of the most incredibly places i've seen... Tho roads are completely covered in white sand, and there are dunes of white sand everywhere.. Apparently the Calcite in the water gets left behind when it evaporates, and eventaully forms white sand. Here is a picture of the road we were driving on:


We had some fun playing in the sand for a while with our shoes off:





And some time to take some fun pictures of the scenery and wildlife (well tracks left by wildlife)




Tomorrow we are headed towards Dallas... I think we are on I-20 for about 420 miles.. hopefully there are gas stations along the way :)

Check back tomorrow!


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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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