West Coast Trip - June 20-July 2, 2000

This page contains more information than you wanted to know about a business trip turned vacation from June 20 through July 2, 2000. Standard warnings: Most of the information is useless and many pictures are redundant. You have been warned. Most people will probably be bored pretty quickly. Also, many things don't look impressive in a picture unless you've seen them in person.

Most pictures were taken with my Sony Mavica FD-7 digital camera. All images are 24-bit JPEGs and should be viewed on a 24-bit display. Quality is likely to be very poor when viewed on an 8-bit display. Some pictures (in particular, the ones which have higher-resolution versions in addition to the standard 640x480) were taken by Roddy Collins with his a newer digital camera. Those are generally of higher quality.

I have arranged the actual images on a number of smaller pages, linked from the text below. Some links are to a single image, while others link to a page containing a number of related pictures.

The Plan

The plan for the trip came about after a meeting was scheduled in Albuquerque at Sandia National Labs. I realized that the flights were significantly cheaper if I extended the travel over a weekend, even if it meant extra flights. I decided to visit friends in Los Angeles. Meanwhile, another group led by Rick Kline was planning a trip to Seattle to take advantage of low airfares. Amitha Perera and Roddy Collins were already signed on for the Seattle paer. I was set to skip the Seattle trip and just do LA until I was convinced to check the flights if I did both. Still the same price, so the trip was now extended by a week. 8 hops on United Airlines.

Tuesday, June 20

Getting from Albany to Albuquerque is not easy. The last time I went, this took 4 hops. This one was only three, but unfortunately, one was O'Hare. The morning flight from Albany to Chicago was fine, but we arrived just ahead of a line of storms [Picture], which delayed pretty much everything out of O'Hare. The flight to Denver was delayed for about three hours, during which time I was able to get lunch and get some work done. Fortunately, the connection from Denver to Albuquerque was on the same plane, so I was not in danger of being stranded there. Arrival in Albuquerque was a few hours later than planned. I was to meet Joe Flaherty for dinner, but his flight was even later, so I checked into the Wyndham and watched some baseball over dinner. The sunset over the desert as seen from the balcony at the hotel was very nice [5 Pictures].

Wednesday, June 21

This was the main working day, spent in meetings at Sandia. Lunch was out with a Sandia group at a local Mexican place called Christina's. One of those places you'd never go unless someone who knows it takes you, and it was excellent. At the end of the day, dinner was with Karen Devine and her family at a local Italian chain restaurant.

Thursday, June 22

I got some daylight pictures from the hotel [2 Pictures], then it was off for a few more meetings at Sandia in the morning. Karen and I went out for lunch at a local "Green Chili Cheeseburger" place before she dropped me at the airport [2 Pictures]. Of course, flights were delayed. United Airlines is having a pilot work slowdown, and there was not going to be a pilot available until 5 PM for my 2 PM flight. I signed up for standby on a midafternoon flight to Denver in hopes of catching my connection to Seattle, and sat down to work on thesis edits. I made the earlier flight, but was then delayed in Denver. I was already booked onto a later connection. DIA was a zoo, with lots of flights being delayed or cancelled, but I was able to get onto a plane to Seattle in time to arrive only a couple of hours late.

The approach into Seattle was well after sunset, but around the first day of summer, some light remains very late into the evening. There was still enough light to see Mount Rainier out the window of the plane. The approach into Seattle took us north over Bellevue, giving a great view of the city and Lake Washington from my side of the plane, then right down over Seattle on approach into SeaTac. Andrew Shapira and Rick (who arrived in the morning with Roddy and Amitha) met me at the airport. I got my first ride in the rental car, a white Mercury Grand Marquis better known as "the boat" or "S.S. Yusuf". We went back to Andrew's place on Mercer Island. Roddy and Amitha were already at Nathan Schimke's apartment.

Friday, June 23

We all met up late in the morning at Andrew's. We walked to lunch at an unimpressive Mexican place on Mercer Island. After lunch, we headed into the city [2 Pictures]. Our first stop was Seattle Center, where we parked at the Science Center then walked around. We first walked past the Science Center [2 Pictures], and over to the Space Needle [20 Pictures]. After the Space Needle we walked over by a fountain [7 Pictures] where we mainly watched Amitha get wet. After a short trip to Nathan's apartment to get Amitha some dry clothes, it was on to Safeco Field for baseball from the excellent Cray seats [47 Pictures and More]. After fighting some traffic and getting Andrew's car from Cray, we headed back to Andrew's for some birthday parties and other stuff. I think it was just about Nathan's birthday and it was Andrew's birthday not too long before, so we had cake and ice cream. The main discussion was about what to do for our weekend journey. Once it was all decided, we worked on reserving an extra rental car, as Rick would not be joining us for the whole weekend.

Saturday, June 24

This was day one of the two-day sightseeing loop. First, Rick and I picked up Rental II, the Mercury Mistake, er, Mystique in Bellevue. The plan included camping somwhere in southwestern Washington, and Andrew needed a sleeping bag, so we first went to the big camping store in Seattle called REI. We got on the road late in the morning and headed down I-5 toward Mt. St. Helens [5 Pictures]. After both cars independently made a lunch stop at Arby's in Centralia (I think), we headed to the visitor's center for Mount St. Helens [5 Pictures]. After spending a little time at the visitor's center, we made the scenic drive up to the Johnston Ridge Observatory, where we got our closest views of the crater [34 Pictures]. The ride to Johnston Ridge is amazing, going from a typical forest, to a thinned forest to the areas totally devastated by the eruption. On the way in, we noticed large, out-of-place rocks scattered around. We later learned that these are hummocks, large chunks of the mountain that were thrown for miles by the 1980 eruption. Even now, 20 years later, the total destruction of the area within a few miles is amazing.

After we drove back to civilization, the cars met up at the village at the Junction with I-5. We stopped for pizza at a local place, then we split up - Rick back to Seattle, everyone else into the boat. Next step - find a place to camp for the night. We needed to find Amitha some medication as well. Our original plan was Fort Canby, but we decided that was not going to work, as it's just too popular and it was late and it's a summer weekend. We wound up at River's End Campground near Chinook, right on the Columbia. We set up camp in the dark [2 Pictures] and got to sleep.

Sunday, June 25

We got a pretty early start at the campground, and took the opportunity to look around some [8 Pictures]. We got back in the boat in search of breakfast. We passed a neat-looking bridge on the way in which carries US 101 over the Columbia, and decided to take it [3 Pictures] into Astoria, Oregon [Picture] for breakfast. We found a place called the Pig'N Pancake, where we had a big meal [2 Pictures]. After breakfast, we headed back across into to Washington [4 Pictures]. Our first stop for the day was at Fort Canby and the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center, where we got to learn about Lewis and Clark, picked up some Sacajawea dollars, and walked over to a lighthouse [19 Pictures].

We then headed up the coast on 101 [3 Pictures]. We had a nice late lunch at an Italian restaurant called Casa Mia [Picture] in Hoquiam. Next, we continued up US 101 toward the Olympic peninsula [5 Pictures].

There is plenty to see on the Olympic peninsula, but we didn't have much time and we chose to visit Lake Quinault. We parked and looked around the lodge first [3 Pictures]. There are a number of trails near Lake Quinault, and we chose a fairly short one to see at least a bit of this unique rain forest [20 Pictures]. Afterward, we walked down to the lake itself to take some pictures and to skip some stones [4 Pictures].

We started back toward Seattle, again driving through some logging country [5 Pictures]. As we approached Olympia, it was getting dark, but the sun kept an orange glow on Mount Rainier, giving it an unusual and ominous look [3 Pictures]. After dinner at the Burger King in Olympia, we returned to Seattle, met back up with Rick, and went to Andrew's for ice cream.

Monday, June 26

This was our last day in Seattle. In the morning, we met Roddy's friend Andreia at a coffeehouse in Seattle, which Amitha remembers as "Caffe A-something (e with an accute accent)." Then it was off to lunch in the Fremont section of Seattle at Still Life in Fremont [Picture]. After lunch, we walked around and visited the large statue of Lenin which is for sale, and the big troll sculpture under an overpass. I didn't like Fremont much, so I didn't take pictures on this part, but others have plenty.

After lunch, we went to Pike Place Market to walk around some. Everyone wanted to see different shops, so we decided to split up and meet back at the brass pig [Picture] in a little while. I walked around some [Picture], took some pictures at the north end of the market [4 Pictures] and stopped for a good hot fudge sundae [Picture].

We didn't have much time before I needed to be at the airport, and after considering several options, we decided to sit on a pier and rest a bit [4 Pictures]. I thought I had more pictures from there, but apparently not.

We headed off to get me to the airport for my flight to LAX. I was the last to arrive and the first to leave. The others were on a redeye back east later on. Even the airport has a nice view of Rainier [Picture]. Things went smoothly at the airport and we were on our way during the evening. Our flight path gave me excellent views of Rainier [4 Pictures] and Adams [2 Pictures] from the plane. People on the other side got to see St. Helens and Hood.

My plane arrived in LA around 10 PM, and Mike and Jennifer were waiting in the terminal and we headed off to their house in Burbank.

Tuesday, June 27

This was the first full LA day. First, I borrowed a Rizzo car to head over to Pasadena and NASA's Jet Propolsion Laboratory in the morning to see Charles Norton and Jeff Nesheiwat. We got to visit just a bit then Jeff led me on a tour, including a little bit of insider stuff, ending with lunch in the JPL cafeteria. I decided it was not a good idea to walk around a NASA Lab with a camera, so there are no pictures.

I took a bit of a scenic route through Pasadena on my way back to Burbank, but it wasn't a problem. In the afternoon, it was back to the Rizzo house. I checked out the area a little bit [2 Pictures], then Mike and I took a ride to Krispy Kreme to introduce me to the world's best donuts. I was able to eat one hot, and I'm hooked.

In the evening, Mike and Jennifer and I met up with Jeff and his friend Scott Jackson from Caltech for a walking tour of the Caltech campus and dinner at Burger Continental, Jeff's favorite restaurant in Pasadena.

Wednesday, June 28

This was Disneyland day. Mike and Jennifer took the day off, and by around mid-morning we were on our way to Disneyland. We arrived late in the morning [Picture] and went in [4 Pictures]. Mike and Jennifer are Disneyland experts, and they suggested we get a Fastpass on the Indiana Jones ride, so we headed there first. On the way, we walked up Main Street, USA [2 Pictures] into Adventureland [Picture]. We got our fastpasses and I suggested we start with my favorite Disney ride - Big Thunder Mountain Railroad [5 Pictures]. Excellent ride, as always. Next, we wandered to the Pirates of the Caribbean [2 Pictures]. Soon it was time to use our fastpass on the Indiana Jones Adventure [2 Pictures]. We were able to bypass a huge line and nearly walked right on with our speedpass. This was my first time on this one, and it's a very impressive ride. I'm sure I'm forgetting what we did an when, but I know we did the Haunted Mansion [Picture] but didn't do the Country Bears [Picture]. After lunch at the French Market Restaurant [Picture] in New Orleans Square, we picked up a fastpass from Splash Mountain and headed off to do other things. We decided to take the railroad, which was amazingly crowded [5 Pictures]. I had forgotten about the Dinosaurs and the Grand Canyon on the railroad here. They're more than a little bit outdated... At some point, we made it back to Main Street [2 Pictures] and got to see the Walt and Mickey statue [2 Pictures]. We passed the entrance to Tomorrowland [Picture] and Sleeping Beauty's Castle [Picture] on our way to the Matterhorn Bobsleds [6 Pictures]. We headed to Tomorrowland (via Main Street, apparently [2 Pictures]) but I don't remember what we went on there [4 Pictures]. We took a monorail ride to the Disneyland Hotel and back, and got to see a bit of the construction underway on the new California Adventure park [3 Pictures]. It was a one-way ride, so we had to get out at the hotel and wait for the next train back into the park. When we got back, we noticed that there were some people on Autopia, so we checked that out [3 Pictures] but it wasn't really open yet. It was coming close to Splash Mountain time, so we headed back that way for our turn [7 Pictures]. We wandered our way back to the front of the park [10 Pictures] so we could go out for a bit [Picture] to get dinner from the Chicken Restaurant at Knott's Berry Farm. The chicken was good and I got to do a little shopping at the Peanuts store at Knott's. I could spend a lot of money there. We also met up with Mike and Jennifer's friend Edisca. After dinner we headed back to Disneyland. We got to see everything in the dark [2 Pictures]. We checked out Autopia again and it had opened, so we got to go on it before the official opening date and got to see the night's fireworks display while waiting in line [3 Pictures]. We tried to get on Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, but it broke down [Picture]. We'd get on later. On the way out, we stopped for some excellent ice cream. I got to drive back and we arrived in Burbank very late.

Thursday, June 29

We spent the morning at the Rizzo house, with Mike hoping he'd be able to slip out for a while to come with me to the Pacific. Once he realized he had too much work to do to come along, I headed for Manhattan Beach. It was very nice - not crowded and a beautiful day [6 Pictures]. On the way back to Burbank, I stopped for lunch at a little pizza place in El Segundo, right near LAX. I hit some traffic heading back up, but it wasn't too bad as I passed through downtown LA [Picture]. After a short stop in Burbank [Picture], it was off to Dodger Stadium to see a game with Travis Kilburn of the OBFLB [32 Pictures]. The game was a lot of fun, as it's always great to meet a fellow OBFLB owner in person. I thought the food was average (although they did have a Krispy Kreme stand) and the hat was very overpriced ($20 for an adjustable cap!?) but it was well worth going.

Friday, June 30

The only specific thing planned for this day was a baseball game in Anaheim. So part of the day was spent catching up on some e-mail and laundry. Late in the morning, Mike and I took a ride up the hill to Griffith Observatory [5 Pictures] and stopped for lunch at Mike's favorite burger chain, In and Out Burger. Both were good. After Jennifer returned home from work, it was off to Anaheim for the Angels game. We were running late, and after picking up Edisca, Mike and I planned a route around the traffic hot spots and made it from Burbank to Anaheim in record time. As we approached, we got a glimpse of Arrowhead Pond [Picture], home of the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim of the NHL, and then arrived at Edison International Field [2 Pictures], formerly knows as Anaheim Stadium or the Big A. We went in and made it just after the game started. We saw a good game [40 Pictures and more on the game]. After locating our lost car, we made our way back to Disneyland, mostly for a few extra rides on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and another ride on the Indiana Jones ride [8 Pictures]. On our way out, we once again heard the story of why the new Disneyland trams are red [Answer and 4 Pictures] on the way back to the parking lot.

Saturday, July 1

This is the last day already. The main event for this day was a party at Ewa and Peter Deelman's in Studio City. I went to get Jeff from Caltech and then we all headed to their place for an afternoon BBQ [9 Pictures]. It was back to the Rizzo house to pack up and get ready to head back east, but we did take some pictures first [17 Pictures]. We went out to dinner at a nice place with, then Mike and Jennifer dropped me off at the airport for my red eye into Dulles. There was lots of unhappiness at LAX as the Red Eye to Chicago was cancelled due to United's pilot strike, but I was lucky to have a flight that was right on schedule.

Sunday, July 2

The overnight flight was uneventful but not especially restful. It was interesting to see as we flew around a very active early-morning thunderstorm in the midwest at daybreak. Once we got around that, it was a smooth and scenic descent into Dulles. I found Dulles to be ugly and it was hard to get between terminals. The flight into Albany was also smooth and this very fun trip came to an end.

E-mail domain: teresco.org, username: terescoj+pics - Wed Aug 2 23:02:52 EDT 2000

Copyright notice: All images are copyright © James D. Teresco unless otherwise specified. Unauthorized use is prohibited.