Wednesday, March 23, 2011

On the road - 10: I rode in a car on the road for a road trip

Jack Kerouac's On the road is one of my favorite books of all time. The basic premise of the novel is that a thinly fictionalized version of Kerouac and his merry band of lovable misfits romp around the continental United States, soaking in the American-ness of everything on their long drives. More than anything, the book is about the atmosphere and manic energy of these youthful people for whom the world is endless and possibilities infinite.

Many a times, I too have fantasized about going on a super long road trip with friends. The chief motivation behind such a project is not necessarily the places we could visit, but more about the act of driving itself. There is something about the idea of driving 8-9 hours in a stretch with a few friends - the music you play and sing along to, the inside jokes that are relevant only for the duration of the drive, the vistas that zoom by at enormous speeds and so on.

So when an old high school friend of mine from Minnesota (let's call him GW) said he was going to be in Cupertino for a couple days, I grabbed the opportunity with all four limbs. I recruited another friend (let's call him BS) for the project.

We came up with a pretty simple three-day plan: leave LA Saturday morning, see GW in San Jose that afternoon and spend the night at my aunt's house. For Sunday, we wanted to spend a couple quality hours taking pictures of the scenery in San Francisco, before heading off to Sacramento for the night. That way we would leave Sactown on Monday morning and be back in LA at a reasonable hour.

All in all, this ended up being a very entertaining and thoroughly satisfying 1290 miles.

We left LA at 7 in the morning after loading up our friendly bratmobile:

The bratmobile resting on the 5 freeway[pic by me]

On Saturday, weather was our worst enemy. It rained intermittently when we reached San Jose and although GW boasted this was kinda warm for him (then again, he does live in Grand Forks, North Dakota where winters are harsh), BS and I had a hard time coping with the rain and wind. After seeing GW at the airport, the two of us found ourselves with a ton of free time in our hands.

Being the geeks we are, we improvised and decided to go check out where legends of silicon valley hang out and do their magic.

First stop, Facebook headquarters in Palo Alto. Facebook has a special visitors' parking lot and a visitors' lobby where two facebook employees whose sole job seems to involve warding off pests directed us not to take any pictures indoors. They did have a bowl of very delicious york dark chocolate and I readily helped myself to two.
I thought the sign would be blue and white. That disembodied hand belongs to me, BTW[pic by BS]

Big brother Google was next. As you may (or may not) know, Google is one of the friendliest places to work at. Their massive, sprawling campus, affectionately named googleplex, is a heaven for employees and their families: free daycare, free meals, plenty of basketball courts, cheerfully large working places etc. We didn't get to spend that much time there, however. A very polite guard very politely kicked us out since it was the weekend.

Does your company have its own street?[pic by BS]
Another unique thing about google is that there are hundreds of cute little bicycles strewn around campus. Employees can ride these to attend meetings in other buildings and generally leave them there. Since this paradise, thefts are unheard of, and there is no need to lock these bikes. We spotted one such bike in the wild:

Sleep tight little one...[pic by BS]
Lastly, we drove by apple. Apple is very ambitious and is located on "infinite loop". I guess it is a never ending joyride once you are over there.

To infinity and beyond![pic by me]

On our way back to my aunt's place (where BS and I spent the night), BS made me listen to Abracadabra by the Korean pop group Brown eyed girls. Between that and meeting GW after three years, Saturday was a good day.

More on the SF leg of the trip tomorrow.


  1. you gotta credit me for those pictures man... haha. jk .
    bratmobile looks good.

    ps.abracadabra ftw

  2. u mad bro?

    hahahahaha nah i edited the post to give credit for pics.