Stan’s Obligatory Blog


I hate to travel

Filed under: — stan @ 6:11 pm

I hate to travel. Mostly, I just hate being anywhere that is:

  • Not home;
  • Not Los Angeles

So this week I went on an overnight trip for work. The trip was to the Bay Area, which is actually not a bad place in its own right. But I just hate to travel. Whenever I’m traveling, I feel like the hapless Traveler from National Lampoon, circa 1973:

“The Traveler will find the local currency incomprehensible and will be unable to fit it in his wallet.”

I started out at Bob Hope Airport. I’m not sure exactly why I find this funny, but it is. Orange County has John Wayne Airport. So naming the little Burbank airport for Bob Hope makes some sense. We practically flew over his old house on the climb out.

The trip to San Jose took about an hour, which is not bad. I’ve only been to San Jose airport once before, and this was the first time for renting a car there. So I followed the signs — and ended up standing outside at a shuttle bus stop. OK. So I got on the bus. And here is where it took me:

After all that foolishness, the car renting thing was pretty easy. Except that they didn’t have any more smallish cars like I’d requested. So they offered me a minivan. Yikes. But I didn’t want to have to wait some more, so I took it and headed out up the 101 freeway.

Now I’ve noticed that the Bay Area really doesn’t look much at all like Los Angeles. And that’s all right. But I did miss the big lighted street signs we have here. I missed a couple of turns on my way to the hotel because the streets were not well-marked, and the signs were hard to see in the dark. I guess that was my punishment for trying to minimize my time-away-from-home by leaving late and arriving after dark.

In honor of Chuck and his ‘view from here’ series, I stuck my camera up to the window and snapped a picture of the Jack-in-the-Box drive-through next door. That was about it for scenery. The other windows in the room looked into a hallway.

The next day was all-meeting, all-the-time. Which was good, since that was the whole reason for the trip. In the morning before we started I got to tour around the Menlo Park USGS campus, which is kind of fun. I always chuckle at the reinforced building. Earthquake scientists are generally more aware of earthquake safety than the average person, but the big steel girders on the outside of the building are just a bit over-the-top.

After the meeting broke up I went around a bit more to visit and to see my computers there. I have a set of computers that I administer that I’d never seen, so I was curious what they looked like.

Then I headed back to the airport. At 5:00PM. People like to complain about traffic in L.A., but the 101 heading south to San Jose was pretty bad by any standard. One thing that was funny was the sign I saw that reminded me of just how far from home I was:

  • Los Angeles 404 miles

When I finally got to the airport, I returned my rental car and then decided to do something subversive. There was a whole crowd of people waiting for the bus back to the terminal. So I decided to walk. While there were no signs that this was prohibited, they certainly didn’t try to encourage it in any way. It turned out to be something of an overland bushwhack. There was no sidewalk. The sprinklers were running. And I think there was a troll under the bridge. On the way, I also noticed a ‘Bike Route’ sign on the road there. I ride in a lot of crazy places, but I would not choose to ride a bike anywhere near that airport. I can’t believe they went to the trouble of putting up ‘Bike Route’ signs in a place where nobody would want to ride, yet they didn’t build sidewalks in a place where many people could choose to walk.

Check out the walking route

After running the aquatic gauntlet, I got to the terminal. I beat the bus. And I was able to change to an earlier flight. Things were looking up. We took off right at sunset, so the view out the right side was great, with Monterey Bay and a stunning red sunset. Soon after, we were landing in Burbank and I finally got to go home. I was gone for 28 hours. I’m such a poor traveler.

This is a first for me

Filed under: — stan @ 3:49 pm

Heh. This is the first time I’ve noticed a hurricane with my name on it:

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