Day 7: San Simeon – San Francisco

On the last day of my roadtrip I planned to travel the scenic Highway 1 from San Simeon to Carmel and then change to the shorter Highway 101 to arrive in San Francisco in the afternoon. It was great to drive this highway between San Simeon and Carmel – the best recommendation I could get! At every turn of the road you see a new kind of beauty, places that would be great on postcards. On a next visit, I will definitely take a whole day for this stage, that would allow me to visit Big Sur and Carmel.

Sunday morning drive

 

Highway 1 with a view on the Pacific Ocean Road following the ocean and the mountain In the afternoon I met a colleague and his girlfriend to spent some time together in SF – no better way to end this roadtrip 🙂

Discovering the Golden Gate! View on the Bay Area

Day 5: Vegas to LA

I had spent a respectable of time in the casino, so the alarm clock was set for 10am. Just enough time to enjoy a nice shower in my 4 star room and morning view on the strip (meh).

The strip by daylight loses lots of it's magic

I got a voucher for breakfast but the line was so long I decided to skip it and go immediately to the premium shopping area!

Nothing exciting to tell about however: I went looking for some running gear and found some useful things.. And things I probably didn’t need. I do love the American shopping experience: they measured my body to find the shirt that really fitted me. They even fetched other sizes and colors while I stayed in the fitting rooms, awesome service! In the evening, I went to my next stop, Los Angeles while seeing the sunset in the dessert..

Day 4: Viva Las Vegas!

This day I drove for hours to reach the greatest destination of the whole desert: Las Vegas!

I would drive 500 miles

My travelling buddy

I arrived at dawn, in a city that was already full of lights, action and energy.

Entering Vegas! Statue of Liberty: check!

I’m staying in Paris Las Vegas, very easy to recognize my hotel 🙂 Also a large one, I got a room on the 29th floor, with a view on the Bellagio fountains!

Where is my hotel? Eiffel Tower: check!

That night I ate my burger and had a great chat with a local, walked across so many bombastic hotels and wagered a bet in the Paris Casino – and lost of course 🙂

Gondole? Vegas has them.

I also visited San Marco

Day 3: Yosemite

Sleeping without waking up in the middle of the night is not yet possible (thank you jetlag!), so the initial plan of waking at 7 and departing at 8 changed a bit 🙂

continental-breakfast

At 8 I was enjoying the continental breakfast so I hit the road a bit later. Since I followed the advice from the receptionist, I was taking the longer route to have the scenic tunnel view and to see the sequoias in Mariposa Grove – a truly great tip!

Yosemite as seen from tunnel view

I started the 4 mile trail in the afternoon instead of the morning. At the trailhead, people warned me of heavy wind above and of the clouds that where approaching. I started the trail anyway, making very good progress as well. I enjoyed every view and was every turn surprised with new beauty! When I was nearing the top, wind was rather heavy and dark clouds where coming from two sides.. So I decided to go to union point (at around 3 miles of the 4.8 mile trail) and to save glacier point for a later trip.

4 Mile Trail Sign

At the start of the 4 Mile Trail

Union Point

When I got on the road to Fresno, my gps advised me to take road 49 instead of 140. The result? At the crosspoint to Glacier Point, I decided to take the ride. When I got up there, the sun was setting over the valley.. A great moment!

Glacier Point - Panomara MapGlacier Point - view on the Half Dome Back on my way back to Fresno, I was yet another day driving in the dark to my hotel. I managed to avoid a deer that crossed the road just in front of me, luckily my Mustang has great brakes!

When I arrived in my hotel, I decided I could take a small walk to the In’n Out burger restaurant across the street – highly recommended to me by Ben. The Fries where worthless but boy did that burger taste great!

In'n Out Burger

 

 

Day 2: Silicon Valley – Mariposa

What a great day to have a jet lag! I woke up around 4am, my body determined not to sleep at all.. ideal for checking some mails and fixing some stuff! At around 6.30am I went to the fitness to continue my preparation for the Corrida run the end of December. Thanks biorythm, just after I had began my workout other guests were arriving as well and the small gym was completely full.

After a checkout I decided to go for a Starbucks for real breakfast – but I found Noah next to it.
Unfortunately there was a long queue (food must be that good, right?) and afterwards a problem with my order registration. The owner wanted to apologise so he was basically giving me a free lunch and a voucher for a bagel the next time – what a service! The food was actually good, the coffee a bit strange with the additional flavour when I expected a strong one 🙂

Noah's New York Bagels

After the breakfast I went to Sprouts for some basic groceries: lots of water for Yosemite and all the car trips, some fruit to keep my diet somewhat healthy 😉 The apples where shining so hard I could almost use them as mirrors – but glad I bought at least the bio-organic stuff.

Fruit and water - living the healthy life ;-)

In the afternoon I went to visit Silicon Valley – had to do that as a technology enthusiast! After visiting 1 Infinite Loop and Intel, I finished with the Googleplex. Was really baffled by the large, nice environment, the thrilling vibe of people sharing new ideas. I gave up looking for the Android statues but when I got in my car I could see them on the campus across the street, hooray!

KitKat and me

Initially I planned to go to Stanford and the completely renewed Apple Store over there, but is was already running late – around 3pm and I had a large trip to do with the car. In an ideal world, I would have arrived at around 6pm in Mariposa. Unfortunately, rush hour seemed to be started so I was stuck in one traffic jam to another one. At 7pm I really needed a break, so stopped in Modesto for a quick dinner and refilling my car. I was hitting for the McDo, but upon entering, I immediately turned around. The place was full of screaming families, not the place to rest a bit and check whats new on the internet. Next to it was a Mexican fast-food chain. Learned that tipping really offers another level of hospitality, unfortunately no wifi. Slow cooked burritos, but taste was awful, not my cup of tea.

Slow-cooked food, not always great

At around 7.30, hitting the road for the final stage to Mariposa. I hoped to do this in the daylight to see the surroundings change, but it was already dark so I mostly saw the reflectors on the roads and the headlights of some other late-night cruisers.

When I arrived at the Best Western in Mariposa, I was tired – already up from 4am, a long day! Luckily the owners/receptionists at the hotel where very friendly, they even gave me advice on how to make the most of my trip to Yosemite!

When I got in my room, I didn’t have much energy left, so it’s the second dat in a row I’m not testing the swimming pool of the place I’m staying. As soon as I hit the sheets, I started a long, revitalising sleep…

Day 1: BRU > LHR > SFO

Thanks to my employer, ACA IT-Solutions, I will be attending Atlassian Summit in San Francisco from October 1st till October 3rd. I decided to leave a week early and to do a small roadtrip to discover California, the Golden State.

Today I took the British Airways plane from Brussels to London and from London to San Francisco. After more than 12 hours flying, 4 hours queuing, checking and being checked I was finally able to see the sun setting on San Francisco Airport! Some pictures to show the wicked life on a plane:

Rental car

When I arrived at the airport I had to pick up my rental car at Avis. After taking the blue monorail until the end, the Avis desk was easy to find: the one with the long queue. When it was finally my turn, I had to keep showing them my reservation, which they seem to ignore. I preordered at Connections in Leuven an intermediate car, example the Chevrolet Cruze. The Avis employee offered me a Ford Mustang, I asked her if that car was included in my category to which she answered me yes.. Still a strange feeling, especially with the very negative reviews on Yelp – seems like they love to trick customers into paying expensive upgrades. But hey, here I am, driving a muscle car!

Ford Mustang - my travelling buddy!
Ford Mustang – my travelling buddy!

 

 

Atlassian User Group 6 Brussels

Thursday the 12th of September, we held another Atlassian User Group Belgium meetup in Brussels – thanks BRIC (http://www.bric.irisnet.be) for hosting the 30-something of us!

This time we had the honor to welcome the Git Evangelist from Atlassian, Nicola Paolucci (@durdn) who gave us a great presentation on how to use Git in a real life environment. If you want to relive the whole experience, check out the recording of a webinar he held a few weeks before the ABUG.

I gave a small introduction and an update on the product changes of Atlassian since June, my slides are available on Slideshare – or after the break.

Continue reading Atlassian User Group 6 Brussels