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Ride to Silicon Valley

Today I had dinner scheduled with two old friends from Netscape days – one is working for Sun Microsystems and one is working for Apple. I only made one mistake – I forgot to forward my home phone to my cell. I watched the Olympic torch make its way safely toward (presumably) San Francisco International Airport, and listened to the first political comments criticizing San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom for preventing bloodshed in the streets by authorizing a secret, circuitous route for the torch. If you guessed that you cannot please all of the many factions in San Francisco, you would be right.

Since gasoline, even at Costco, is $3.539/gallon for regular, I rode the motorcycle to Sunnyvale (50 mpg vs. 20). The temperature was in the low 60s F when I started out around 4:30 PM. The wind was so strong as I climbed the Sunol Grade on I-680, it loosened the visor on my “full-face” helmet twice, and I had to slam the visor back down, twice. The late afternoon sun illuminated the wild mustard blooming over the hills of the East Bay. Another truism of the Bay Area struck me – no matter how fast you drive, it is not fast enough for someone. People passed me going an estimated 85 – 90 miles/hour. If that doesn’t seem very fast to some of you who travel the autobahn, I would only say that we seem to have a higher percentage of people who don’t “know their limitations” in the Bay Area (where is Dirty Harry Callahan when you need him?).

The half-price burgers at St. John’s (patron saint of hamburgers :-) ) Grill in Sunnyvale were good, and the garlic fries purchased by one of my friends were equally good. The three of us did some “catching up” and left the place about an hour later. The good news was, the “diamond lanes” for carpooling, motorcycles and certain tagged high-mileage vehicles were still in effect on route 237. The bad news was that the drivers of Silicon Valley are just as inexperienced (“rookies“) and bad as I remembered them. I managed to escape the lines of backed-up cars (a *good* economic indicator!) by moving into the diamond lane of 237, successfully navigated the city of Milpitas, and got onto I-680 at about 7 PM. The setting sun dipped into a bank of low clouds/fog and illuminated the wild mustard blooms of Fremont‘s hills with a rich, warm (almost surreal) light.

The 1100 cc engine of the Honda Shadow Spirit really liked the crisp cool air (50s F) and the trip on I-680 and Vallecitos Road went quickly. Temperatures are supposed to be in the 80s (perhaps hitting 90 F) this weekend, with an off-shore air flow, to make up for the slightly below-average temperatures that we have experienced lately. I decided to continue along Isobel to Costco and filled the tank with 2 gallons of gas (not bad since I had 26 miles on the tank when I started out).

My hands were chilly in the ventilated gloves, but my body was warm in the insulated motorcycle jacket. I traveled home as a warm sunset glow filled the Livermore Valley.

-Bill at Cheshire Cat Photo™ 

1 Comment to “Ride to Silicon Valley”

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I miss St. John’s, even though my doctor tells me to stay away from that stuff now. I don’t miss 680, 237 or the Sunol Grade though. :) Thanks for the glimpse of old home.

Peter Liu said this on April 16th, 2008 at 10:21 am

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