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California 2010
Posted by: Adam Fuson @ 2012.02.10.0828

2010 February 13th - Saturday. I had driven from Braidwood to Cincinnati the night before and Will Yokel drove Katie and I to the Cincinnati Airport just before 6:00. After a layover in Salt Lake City and circling San Francisco several times waiting to land due to fog delays, we touched down and got our bags. Katie and I called John Adams and Josh Valentine and arranged for John to drive us to San Ramon to meet Josh Valentine and Marie. The five of us spent some time together sharing ice-cream cake before John returned to the city and the remaining four of us departed north to see Redwoods and the Pacific coast. Josh, Marie, Katie and I departed San Ramon in Marie's Civic and stopped at a Motel 6 in Eureka, CA.

Sunday we drove to the Northern Redwoods visitor center and chatted with Renee Gibbs, a national park service ranger, who showed us Redwood pine cones. Afterwards we drove to Big Tree Trail and the WWII coastal radar station. We then returned to Eureka for lunch at McDonald's and Subway. After the December trip with the wheel falling off the BMW, I was extremely nervous about being a passenger in a car, and as the front seat passenger in the Civic with Josh driving, I was making enough fuss to make him want to leave me on the roadside. However, Josh was somehow empathetic, and we continued on our way south from Redwood National Forest. After getting gas on Bear Paw Road, we drove Rt 211 from Fortuna, CA to Humbolt County. The coast line was foggy and novelesque and when the road turned east we drove through tall, thick groves of Redwoods. As night fell we drove through groves where tree trunks met the asphalt directly and nudged the road out of their way. We stopped and walked in the thick night with only the lights from the Civic and some headlamps that did nothing to pierce the darkness of the unbelievable forest. We spent the night in the Sherwood Motel in Humbolt County staffed by Connie.

Monday morning Katie received a call from an Exelon recruiter, Josh and I checked the fluids in the Civic and the four of us drove the shoreline drive of Highway 1 to San Francisco. Returning to the city we met John Adams, stopped by the Moscone Center and picked up Aimee from SFO.

Tuesday John, Katie and I walked Aimee to the MUNI at Debose before John departed for Oakland and Katie and I went grocery shopping at Safeway. Katie and I stopped by the Moscone Center so she could check-in, and we had a small lunch together. Then I took the BART to Oakland to meet John, while Katie attended her conference at the Moscone Center. I checked my email and updated my calendar at the bike shop, before John and I dressed and rode to the Oakland "Port Ride". I had not ridden my bike in a long time and had spent about year in the cold of rural Illinois and to be without work for a few days in warm February temperatures was a very enjoyable time. After the Port Ride John and I cleaned up at the shop and returned to the city to find Aimee and Katie.

Wednesday Aimee went to work, Katie went to the Moscone Center and John went to Oakland. I cleaned up a bit and rode the MUNI to Powell to meet Katie at the Moscone Center. We walked around downtown and rode a cable car full of other tourists to Fisherman's Wharf for lunch. From the wharf we walked to the cable car museum, but it had already closed for the day, so we continued to Ghirardelli Square. We enjoyed complimentary chocolates and took the bus to the Palace of Fine Arts. Unfortunately, it was still under construction, but the lighting of the rotunda was still enjoyable in the night reflected off the pond. We returned to Ghirardelli Square and John and Aimee found us there. We went with John and Aimee, who had Korean food, but we were too full for any more food. Afterwards the four of us returned home, but John, Aimee and I met Stephan for a beer before bed.

Thursday morning Katie departed early for the Moscone Center as usual and Aimee for work. John and I drove to Oakland and rode our bikes east to the summit of Mt Diablo. Before reaching the summit, I told John I had to stop. I was resting on a bench having a snack and talking with John. I said, "John I'm so out of shape, this is the first time I could use compact gearing just to get up a climb." To which John replied, "Fuse, that is compact gearing!" After the summit John flew down the hill with me failing to keep up, as he descends like a wraith. Most of the way down I was cold either from a weather change or because I was so tired. We rode to the BART station at Walnut Creek, each had a warm drink and boarded the train back to Oakland. John and I showered at the bike shop, found Katie at the ferry building and returned home. The four of us had a monumental Vietnamese dinner and followed it up with Mitchell's Ice Cream.

Friday John and I picked Katie up from the Moscone Center and drove to Berkeley for Indian foods. We printed some forms at the bike shop and stopped at a local coffee shop. Later we found Aimee at the embarcadero and had Mexican food in the Mission. Afterwards we enjoyed some bourbon ice-cream.

Saturday John and Aimee drove Katie and I to SFO and we returned to Cincinnati. Will and Megan met us at the airport and drove us to Katie's apartment at Edroy.

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California 2009
Posted by: Adam Fuson @ 2012.02.04.2239

December 2009 Katie and I were planning a trip to San Francisco. It was a rather rushed affair. The planning was nearing the end of the year after a refuel outage at the power station and I was driving to Cincinnati weekly to visit Katie and my family. The vehicle was undecided. The route was undecided. The crew was undecided. I was nervous about the trip.

As often happens, decisions were made by default. The AstroVan had lost its rear brakes, and so the BMW was the only real choice for a vehicle unless we entertained renting, which was considered. The crew finally boiled down to a traditional 3 man crew, however, Katie and I would drive with the Bull to San Francisco, the Bull would fly back to Cincinnati and John Adams would return to Cincinnati in the BMW and then return to San Francisco by plane after the holidays. I was nervous about the trip.

Katie was almost entirely responsible for the route and destinations of the trip with only global advice given by me as to distances and what things might be good to see and what things I had already seen. The Bull did some planning of his own and I was surprised as to how much communication actually occurred before the trip. The BMW received a new thermostat and front brakes before the adventure and 2009 December 13the the Bull, Katie and I departed Cincinnati. We had setup a webcam in the BMW (mounted where the passenger side sunviser would normally have been) and connected it through a router to Katie's Macbook running Ubuntu. A cron job was then set to save an image every daylight minute of the trip. I was nervous about the trip.

We drove non-stop across the plains. We only stopped for a few rainy moments at the arch in St Louis, MO. In Colorado we turned south, drove through Colorado Springs, CO and towards the Great Sand Dunes near Alamogordo, CO. We arrived just before a storm and departed into the snow sunset. Mistake 1. The tires were pretty much dead on the BMW by this point. We did have snow chains with us and drove for about 70-100 miles in chains from Alamogordo, CO to Sante Fe, NM. It was slow, but felt reasonably safe. We arrived late and slept in a hotel in Albuquerque, NM. The following day we ate at the Pioneer Restaurant, visited the hieroglyphs and the petrified forest. We slept at another hotel in Flagstaff, AZ, which was the best hotel of the trip. I was nervous about the trip.

The following day we toured the southern rim of the Grand Canyon. It was again slow going in places with the poor tires. We arrived at the Hoover Dam after nightfall and slept in a casino hotel 2 miles from the dam. The next morning we walked over the dam and drove through Las Vegas, NV on our way to the Mojave Desert. However, the rear, right tire blew. We changed it in a few moments, called several people and located some new tires at a Walmart in Bakersfield, CA. At this point we realized the rear suspension had some issues. The tires were changed and we proceeded toward San Francisco. That night we slept in San Luis Obispo. The next day we drove up Highway 1 to San Francisco, where the Bull departed with his older brother, Jim. Katie and I visited and stayed with John Adams and Aimee Taylor before she flew away. I was nervous about the trip.

John, Katie and I departed San Francisco early and drove through the night. Daylight broke before we reached LA and we continued towards Arizona. We stopped to see Joshua Tree and detoured to drive along the roads surrounding Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station (west of Phoenix, AZ) before meeting Kevin Harsley at a Chili's for dinner in Tucson. I had driven most of the daylight hours and John took over for a few night time hours of driving. About 30 minutes after leaving Chili's John thought the right, rear tire blew again. Unfortunately, the car spun around and slid into the median. I had been asleep for it all in the passenger seat. Katie was in the rear seat. I woke when the car stopped and asked why we were stopped. John said, "We were just spinning. I think a tire blew." I got out with a headlamp in my hand and inspected. We had lost the right, rear wheel. I instructed Katie to call AAA and John to find the wheel. Katie was successful, John was not. A state trooper arrived and we sat in his car waiting for the tow truck driver. I was relieved. We new what the problem of the trip would be and I suspected it would be solved without too much hassle and most importantly we were all somehow safe.

We called Kevin and spent a few nights with him, while the BMW was repaired. We even managed to spend some time at a few nearby parks. After the BMW was repaired we packed again and departed for Cincinnati. It was a non-stop drive shared between John and I all the way back to Cincinnati. We arrived late at night, as expected and distributed the people as necessary. Katie drove to Cleveland the next day and John and I spent some time addressing some of the BMW issues.

Within a month the suspension issues had been resolved with the BMW, thanks to Allan and Import Auto Exchange. However, after this trip I decided I would never travel with so many people in such a small vehicle, and that I would soon buy my own van.

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Joe and the Cisco
Posted by: bull @ 2008.07.22.0125

Each year San Francisco hosts the second largest semiconductor convention in the galaxy - Semicon West. This year I was fortunate enough to be able to attend. By procuring our own lodging in the bay area my fellow R&D co-workers and I managed to convince my boss to pay for the plane tickets out there. My older brother Jim, currently attending Berkeley in pursuit of a doctorate in biostatistics, graciously allowed me and my co-worker Matt to stay with him. (you may recall Matt from the Decavirate Conquers the Orient! article picture with Pikachu, him and me) It was crowded lodging as there were 5 people total staying in my brother's two bedroom apartment, but due to the serious lack of furniture we didn't bump into each other that often.

As the primary purpose of this trip was a vacation without taking any PTO days I left Saturday the 12th and returned Saturday the 19th - despite the fact that we only attended the conference on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. The conference was interesting, but I enjoyed beautiful views of San Francisco much more. This trip I was able to visit a couple new destinations. I took the ferry from the Embarcadero to Sausalito and walked from there across the Golden Gate Bridge. Additionally, as a demonstration of some of the unfortunate limitations of the public transportation system I decided to go the Computer History Museum in Mountain View by Bart/Caltrain/bus/foot and managed to make it there from Berkeley in just less than 3.5 hours. Because of the long trip and needing to get back to catch Caltrain to San Jose that day I only managed to get 25 minutes in the museum. I still think it was worth it. They have a functioning Babbage Engine and I was fortunate enough to catch part of the demonstration. A Babbage Engine is a 19th century mechanical polynomial root calculator. This particular device has 8000 parts and is powered by a 50+ year old lady turning a big crank. It's truly astounding.

On the way home from San Fransisco weather forced me to miss my connecting flight to the Dayton International Airport and in order to avoid a 24 hour insanity festival in the Minneapolis International Airport I flew to Indianapolis and rented a car and drove home. I took a small break at an Indiana Waffle House and enjoyed okay food and delightful service from a rotund waitress named "Juicy." I was able to make it back to BullChester by 3:30am Sunday morning. All told it was an excellent trip - the only major dissapointment was that I was unable to find the time to meet up with any of the Cincinnati expatriots now residing in San Francisco. I took a great deal of photos and unfortunately this overly majestic view of me in front of Coit Tower is the best one.

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Decavirate Conquers the Orient!
Posted by: joe @ 2006.01.24.0851

January 13th, 2006, (my birthday) myself and 3 of my Rite Track cohorts departed for Japan. Mainy of the more chronologically minded of you might realize that this short changed me of my governmentally endowed 24 hours of birthday time as we crossed the international date line somewhere over the Pacific. Anyways, after 3 plane flights and a bus ride, totalling 24 hours of solid traveling, we finally arrived at the Sleep Inn Hotel in Kumamoto, Japan (technically Ozu, Japan). The hotel is very well planned, from the light switch locations to the prefabricated bathroom module that was inserted into the structure of the hotel. Nervertheless, this is not the typical tourist destination and walking around town the following day we realized that were something of a novelty here. The routine is pretty easy here: we get up around 9, go for around 6 hours of training, two of which is a long lunch break, then come back to the hotel and do whatever.

Today, Monday the 23rd I got out of training and slept all day as apparently I contracted the bird flu. Most of today, I've been sleeping, but I'm about to head to the "Super Michael" which is comparable to an IGA with no dairy. It's a nice grocery store and it gives me a chance to practice my world renowned Japanese with the cashiers. Ozu is not a very crowded place, we are really in more of the countryside of Japan. On Saturday we went to downtown Kumamoto and got a better sense of what a Japanese city is like. We went to a huge open air mall comprised of two streets that are covered at about 3 stories up. Each of the streets runs for hundreds of yards and is filled with shops. Like typical guys, we traversed the entire mall and looked only in 1 electronics store. So far it has been a very relaxed and interesting experience and I'm very glad I got the oppurtunity to come here. I'll be back in 2 weeks, and like the great Marco Polo, nearly a million years ago, I'll bring back spices and tales of foriegn lands.

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Posted by: @ 1969.12.31.1900

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