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Saturday, August 23, 2014

Sunnyvale

California

I woke up at 5am and dressed in the clothes I'd laid out the night before. Amanda drove me to the Airport. I got through security and pre-customs in plenty of time, but the agent asked some pointed questions that seemed like he was concerned I wasn't coming back.

Because of a flight change I had a three hour layover in Detroit. Mostly I played Infinity Blade and read Cloud Atlas, which is superb. Movies on the plane were six dollars which didn't seem worth it so I stuck to Cloud Atlas.

Chris met me at SFO Airport and drove me to the Apple main campus. It's a pretty cool place, but I prefer his building which is off campus amongst some huge redwoods. Whenever I'm in the sun in California, I'm too hot and I liked the look and shade of the Redwoods.

I met some of his co-workers, all of which are friendly and seem like great people, and his office area is spacious with good windows. We chatted a bit then went on to nearby bar where we were joined by one of his colleagues. The bar had a great local brewed Porter, and I probably drank too much.

After the bar Chris and I walked to a Thai place which was delicious, then back at his place where we played Dominion until I passed out.

Next morning I was in pretty rough shape but we had a two hour drive on which I could recover. Before we set out we picked up my rental bike, which was $80 for two days for a sweet bike that retails for $4500.

Near our destination we stopped at a Jack-in-the-Box and I had two breakfast burritos which restored my health.

I wore my narrative clip for this bit.

Coastal Ride

We rode a coastal trail which starts out mostly downhill in shade but soon turns into some punishing uphill in full sun. It's a tough slog but the first part is the hardest.

We had to take lots of breaks to keep me breathing. The trail goes through several peaks and valleys. One valley had a bridge over an inlet and I snapped some crab photos.

There was also a pretty gnarly tree at the top of a hill that I clambered up. I was out of breath so I had to try several routes before I got up it. When we were overlooking the ocean, we saw some sting ray, and I got a video of them.

We were out for a bit more than three hours and had some awesome views. By the end of the day I was recklessly zooming downhill like a pro.

On the drive back we tried to stop for a swim in the ocean but the tide was out, so it was too mucky. We stopped for ice cream and drove home through San Francisco along a crazy coastal mountain highway.

We got back pretty late but Peter hadn't eaten so he joined us for dinner at an Afghan place which was delicious.

I was pretty beat so we went to sleep soon after dinner. In the night we were wakened by an earth quake which was the worst in 25 years, but at our distance was only a slight rumble, no worse than what I've felt in Ottawa.

Next morning, I was feeling pretty good so we hit a nearby trail early. I wore the narrative clip for this too.

Thistle Crash

Water Dog Lake is near Notre Dame de Namur University and is a great set of trails right in the city. We just got started on the interesting stuff and I bailed for no reason into a pile of brambles. I skinned my palm and was full of little nettles for the rest of the day (actually they were still coming out two weeks later).

It's an awesome little park. You bike up a steep grade dirt road until you get to the lake, then on steep trails around the lake. Under the cover of trees it was good, but in direct sun I roasted.

Because of the trails traverse steep slopes, the penalty for errors is high, but I managed the rest of the day without further injury. Later in the day we were on more uncovered trails an the sun was so punishingly hot, I thought I would barf. But I made it through the day and didn't even finish my water (although I was rationing it and was close).

After the ride we returned the bike and met up with some of Chris' co-workers at a Mexican place for an early dinner and drinks. It was neat listening to them talk about work. It's eerie how similar tech companies are, the world over, big and small.

I was pretty beat, so after the Mexican place we just went back to Chris' and played some Dominion and watched some internet vids before going to bed.

Chris dropped me off at the cal-train on his way to work and I had tonnes of time to catch my flight so it was a stress free trip, and a good thing too, because everything went wrong.

I was supposed to switch to the BART at Mill Brae but the train announced that it wouldn't stop at Mill Brae so I had to get off and catch the next train, same direction.

Then at the BART, I had to go north one stop the switch trains and go south but I got on the wrong south train and had to repeat the process.

At the airport, I went to the international checkin, but no, I had to go to domestic Terminal-3 even though I'm flying to another country.

At the Terminal-3 checkin, the kiosk wouldn't scan my passport so I waited in line at the counter but that's just more kiosks, but that one worked.

Security was quick but walking to my gate, the numbers were going in the wrong order so I started walking the other way which had a bridge to Air Canada International (which is my flight) but I went back and asked at a desk to be sure, and no, I was to go on past the wrong direction numbers to United Domestic.

Once I got to my gate, they incrementally delayed my flight and switched gates twice before letting us board, an hour late.