Cross-country Move -- Lafayette, IN to Monterey, CA
 June 3-7, 2004

 June 3:
In May 2004 I took a job with SAIC in Monterey, CA. I had been living in Indiana, so starting the job in early June required a cross-country move. I started the journey the morning of Thursday June 3 to get to work by Monday June 7. The initial leg of the trek lead me to Carmel, IN, a suburb of Indianapolis, to pick up my driving companion and POC friend, Roger. We hit the road heading west on I-70 by 8:30am, setting our sights on Kansas. We spent a good portion of our day catching up as we hadn't seen each other in two years (he'd been living in NYC). Before we knew it we were in central Missouri. At this point it was Roger's turn to take the helm ... but he didn't know how to drive manual transmission. I found a desolate road and gave him a quick crash course -- he caught on rather well and drove us into Salina, KS where we feasted at an IHOP and turned in for the night.
 Total mileage: 739

 June 4:
Today we had a bit more time to soak up the "sights" as we planned to end our day in Ft. Collins to stay with 2 friends of mine from Purdue. First things first, we drove to Rock City, KS, located ~15 miles north of Salina.
This is the scenery of KS that most people envision. But right next door to these fields of gold, covering an area of about 2 football fields, are these sizable boulders!
Rock City
Its difficult to discern relative size in this picture, but some of these rocks are the size of small houses!
Roj turtle
Roger atop the Turtle!
See!?!? There is rock climbing in KS!
After the thrill of Rock City we got back on I-70 to head for the Kansas high point. The high point, as you might suspect, is located right on the CO/KS border. Mount Sunflower is the 21st high point that I've visited. (Pictures)
As we started into CO we were greeted by a powerful high plains thunderstorm, complete with a gustnado!
By dinner time we had made our way to Fort Collins where we met up with Scott and Michelle. We got to see their new fancy home, pet their 3 lovely cats (especially Duke), had dinner at a local Mexican restaurant, received a quick tour of the area, and topped off the night with a treat from Cold Stone Creamery!
 Total Mileage: 550

 June 5:
Today was our longest day of the trip. We started our day early and after having a nice waffle breakfast w/ Scott and Michelle (and the cats) we started out toward Reno to meet up with Randy, another POC friend. Once we reached I-80 we realized that we were going to come across a famed climbing area called Vedauwoo. It was impossible to miss! Just between Laramie and Cheyenne is a huge area of random rock outcroppings. We pawed at the windows and couldn't resist stopping to at least play on the rocks for a half-hour.
Roger and I were disappointed with the rest of the scenery of Wyoming. We were expecting to see mountains, more or less a northward extension of Colorado ... but it never came. So we left Wyoming behind and entered Utah. No wonder the Mormon's settled here! Upon crossing the state line the scenery immediately changed. The brown crisp hillsides changed into lush green mountains. We managed to see some of the olympic facilities and even snuck in a glance of the Mormon temple from the highway.
Once we passed through Salt Lake City we approached the Great Salt Lake. What another disappointment for us! Where was the water!?! There were a good several hundred yards of murky mud before you even could get close to the "shore" of the lake. And boy, did that lake smell quite offensive. Needless to say, we stayed only long enough to snap a few pictures. The remainder of Utah consisted of the salt flats - endless miles of white, salty ground as far as the eye can see. Eventhough we drove through this for about 100 miles, we never got bored of the site. I guess it was something new and strange enough to us that it remained intriguing.
Great Salt Lake
Notice the classy plastic pink flamingo in the foreground!
salt flats
Once we passed into Nevada, the casinos appeared from out of nowhere! Nevada doesn't need any "Welcome to our state" signs, the casinos do that job! We made it all the way to Carlin, NV where we stopped for some gas and saw a very photogenic sunset. We pulled into Reno around midnight. We met up with Randy, caught up on each other's stories, watched a recording of the national spelling bee, then called it a night.
 Total Mileage: 1,000

 June 6:
Today I was in no hurry to hit the road. My plans were to head to Sunnyvale, a suburb of San Jose, to stay with Ritwik, yet another POC friend. Sunnyvale is only about 4 hours from Reno, however, so I spent the day hanging out with Roger and Randy taking in Reno in all its glory.
Reno sign
The famous Reno sign!
We spent several hours relaxing on the banks of the Truckee River watching kayakers play in the rapids.
coffee shop
We even found our way to an internet cafe to do some much needed email inbox maintenance!
That evening I left Roger in Reno to keep Randy company and I continued west into California. Along I-80 it was clear that Nevada got the shaft when it comes to vistas and scenery because as soon as I crossed into California the Sierras sprung up all around me. By the time I dropped down into the central valley the sun had set and darkness masked the rest of my travels into Sunnyvale. I met up with Ritwik at his apartment around 11:00. We swapped stories for an hour or so and then I went straight to bed.
 Total Mileage: 250

 June 7:
This morning I woke up to get ready for my arrival into Monterey. Ritwik and I had breakfast at a cute coffee shop catching up on more stories that were omitted the night before owing to sleepiness. After our short visit I headed south toward Monterey in time to arrive at work just after lunch! Welcome to my new home ...
 Total Mileage: 75