We’re at the San Jose airport on the way home. The visit started with a square dance fly-in, which featured good friends, excellent callers, and mostly good dancing. As a bonus, I won the centerpiece (a cute stuffed bunny) at the banquet and we got to visit Allan Hurst’s home and his California Desert Tortoise named Beta.
We then shifted to the lovely home of Karen Schaffer and Mike Ward, who provided an excellent home base for three days of fairly low-impact visiting with our Bay Area fan friends. On Monday we had lunch at Google and dinner with a friend who works for Intel and used to work for Apple (Allen Baum, and his wife Donya White). On Tuesday we had lunch at Apple and dinner with a friend who works for Google (Matt Austern, and his wife Janet Lafler and daughter Alice). The Google campus is amazing, with a life-sized replica of SpaceShipOne and many other cool gadgets on display, not to mention the free food. Apple seemed much more corporate by comparison. At Google I also presented my Mars talk, to about thirty people who paid close attention and asked some great questions. The talk was recorded and I believe it will be posted on YouTube at some point in the future.
We also visited the Intel Museum, toured the demonstration garden of Sunset Magazine and other gardens with Master Gardener Karen, and had an excellent lunch and ice cream with Spike Parsons.
This morning we took a ride on a Zeppelin. It was rather spur-of-the-moment and we snagged the last two tickets on the thirty-minute “taste of Zeppelin” trip from Moffat Field to Stanford and back. It was similar to the small plane trip we took from Seattle to Victoria BC a couple of years ago, only even cooler because the vehicle moved slower (only about 35 MPH), the windows were bigger, and you could move around the cabin. Got lots of great photos of which just one is shown at http://twitpic.com/1dvdes. Very, very cool and we hope we will be able to take a longer trip soon, maybe next year between Potlatch and FOGcon.
So all in all we hit just about all the Bay Area highlights, but it’s time to go home now. I’m giving my Mars talk at Powell’s Technical Books tomorrow night.