Bike tour 1974 to See the West: California

Written on United Airlines stationery on the way out and before starting the bike tour.

June 6th

Notes on 1st roll of film (EHS-20) (20 because this was meant for machine room lighting for any I find - forgot about having a window seat on the flight.

A) Lake Erie Islands

Two or three are of Kelley's Island until I suddenly noticed I was looking the wrong way. Note Perry's Monument on South Bass Island.

B) Chicago

B+) Mississippi River horseshoe bend.

B++) Circular irrigation field

C) Rockies - snow

D) Vail - Glanced out window & surprise. May not be too good - had to shoot down and away.

Above from memory. Please try to keep everything in original boxes (numbered?).

No problems with bike, once I showed attendent how easily front wheel comes off.

E) Boulder Lake (near Yosemite)

F) A few other things which I've since forgotten.

[It's now Friday June 7th.]

I've seen Xerox (neat graphics stuff) and Stanford's AI lab (a neat place in a neat area), skipped SRI Stanford Research Center to go to Illiac (didn't see machine though). That turned into a real interview, bouncing around from person to person - sort of "Alice's Restaurant" type inspected, injected, neglected stuff. They kept me so long I got to San Jose after a camera store that was going to sell me a 28 mm lens had closed, but stumbled across an open store that sold me the one for the same price.

Illiac took me to lunch, sort of. Instead of the people interviewing me taking me, they got a systems programmer from the project (female, single) to go.

What started as me looking at Intel has turned into Intel coming at me. I'm meeting with one of them today and I think will have no trouble getting an offer from them (Illiac said $16K).

Boy, I though I escaped all the hecticness of C-MU by coming out here....

1974: One goal of the trip was "job site hunting," as in "I gotta get out of Pittsburgh, where would I like to go?" Obviously, Silicon Valley was high on that list by virtue of all the computer companies that were located there. All these sites, except Intel, were on the ARPAnet, and staying part of the ARPAnet community was very desirable.

After the trip and moving to New England, I did have some other discussions and trips to Xerox, but when I wanted to go there, they weren't interested, and when they were, I wasn't.

I don't remember airlines providing stationery, I wonder when they stopped that. In 1974 there was still some effort to make flying a special experience. A couple years later on a crisis business trip to Santa Barbara, coach was full, on my Jan 2nd flight, so I had to fly first class. Let's just say the trip began looking up with dinner on the flight - Chateau Briand, medium-rare, with leftovers about twice the size of the first serving.

2009: As you will see, the Intel job didn't happen. At the time Intel was just at the beginning of its long rise to dominance in the processor field. While I knew them mainly from the RAM they made then, and the potential job involved working on a DEC PDP-10 that supported a lot of the company, I don't know what would have happened had I joined them, or any of the other businesses I talked to.

June 8th, 12:03 PM
Start: 621.0?
652.4 after running around Los Altos- San Jose.
691.2 day one of trip (started at 3 PM!)

Found first roll of film and mailed it. Roll 2 mailed. Contents mixed, has Ed's house (end), Stanford AI Lab, Xerox/PARC (no inside shots).

The past few days have been as hectic as most at C-MU. I guess my last letter got everything up to Illiac. For Intel I got on Xerox's MAXC processor (a microcodable machine they built so they could get a PDP-10), IMPed to CMU, said Hi to Helene, and printed a copy of my resume and went to Intel.

They want someone who knows about hardware, software, and operating (me) to run herd on field service and be in full charge of the operators. It involves a lot of administrative work (a minus), and is in the middle of a big, flat, treeless valley (more minus) and they want a commitment soon (more minus).

So, I'll probably turn them down because of the above and there is still a lot I want to do software-wise. Too bad - Intel looks like a good company with lots of sharp people. A lot of employees have done real well with their stock option plan. I have to call back Wednesday when they'll probably make an offer I probably can refuse.

I'm at an A&W fast food place at the corner of John Daly Blvd and Lake Merced Rd. ~5 miles south of San Fran. Should be 10-15 miles or more north before I quit for the day. It's 57 outside according to a sign, but with bright sun out it makes for warm riding.

You're lucky to be getting this, maybe. I don't want to write in the morning, so I can get going before the headwind starts up (typically NW). I guess lunch is a good time - I can let things digest a while before hitting the road again. Which I guess I should be doing now.

Future film will have notes in here to keep track of what I shoot.

This was a postcard showing the Oakland Bay Bridge. It was mailed with an 8¢ stamp with an etching of "EISENHOWER"

June 9th, 7:15 AM
Odometer: 759.0

Roll 3 on way - Notes later.

I'm almost at Stinson Beach, 15-20 miles north of San Fran.

This was supposed to be of Golden Gate, but I didn't look closely enough.

Doug was right about 28 mm lens & Adidas warmups, but I think I also want a thermometer.

1974: For the trip I had bought one of the first Olympus OM-1 cameras. Light weight, rugged, completely manual, and wonderful to use. In addition to the stock 50 mm lens, I bought a 135 mm telephoto lens, and my brother strongly recommended I buy a 28 mm wide-angle lens. It turns out he was right, I used it more than the 50mm lens.

Before the trip I shot one roll of black and white film, mostly of a tape measure stretched out along the floor and one of Kodachrome 64, a brand new and exciting replacement for Kodachrome II, the previous standard for slide film. I developed the B&W film myself, I think I printed one image, but looked at the rest through a microscope to see how sharp the optics were. I was suitably impressed. At least there were no flaws noticable. I sent the Kodachrome film to Kodak for processing, and had them send it home to Ohio, but it didn't arrive until after I left. I'll save some further notes for the June 22nd entry from the North Cascades.

2009: I wanted the thermometer to see how cool it was. On our 2003 tour in the northwest, I finally got thermometer which confirmed that the temperature was over 100° in the shade of my handlebar bag. The OM-1 still works, but I haven't shot any film in several years. There is some foam around the viewfinder prism that is breaking down. I really wish Olympus had come out with a digital back for it. The optics are still great, and in general I want manual focusing far more frequently than I want automatic focusing.

June 9th, 4:00 PM
odometer this morning 759.0
noon - ~ 820

I'm at a restaurant called "The River's End" which is a couple hundred feet above the mouth of the Russian River. I rode awhile this morning before breakfast, so this is either a late lunch or early dinner. I guess dinner. After this I won't be in much of a mood to ride for awhile. It's 28 miles to the next town, so I suppose I should eat now anyway.

Rt 1 so far has been a lot rougher than I had thought - sort of all up and down. Although billed as the Shoreline Highway, it spends a lot of time inland, probably because of cliffs along the ocean. A lot of today was on rolling hill type farmland, whereas yesterday was more rocky and mountainous. The area I'm now in is sort of in between, but there are numerous beaches along the way (at the foot of 100' high hills).

I'm getting into what will not be the last I'll see - fog. It's the type made by cold air (as in headwind) blowing over the water later to dissipate inland.

I rode along Tomales Bay with a couple of cyclists from San Fran, one who graduated in Math in 1965. Later on I met someone else who saw me yesterday in Pacifica, south of San Fran. (Both cases were people who drove up from wherever for a day long ride.)

This restaurant is sort of weird - the bar is mostly peopled by locals, the dining area by travelers who I guess are avoiding tourist traps.

Hmm. The fog is now thick enough to obscure the view we're supposed to see. Sigh.

June 10th, 10:45 AM
Odometer at camp: 840.4

Breakfast in a place called Gualala, overlooking a foggy Pacific. Supposedly the first fog here in quite a while. The fog has been dissipating since I stopped, so maybe the sun will come out later on. I seem to be overlooking an ocean-made salt-water lake caused by waves depositing sand to close the entrance to a bay. The waves outside are pretty big - looks like a bit of a challenge to go swimming in them and probably awfully cold, so I won't even try.

After leaving Jenner, (where I had dinner yesterday), I had to climb a huge hill (as opposed to a little mountain?) When I finally got down from it, I was back in folling hill country and camped some 7 or 8 miles after that in Salt Point Park. Went 81.4 miles yesterday which isn't too bad for a second complete day of riding. If things go as in ski weeks, I should have been the sorest this morning and improve form here on out. Suppose I should really try to tell you where I'm going instead of where I've been, but map isn't handy now. Will be on Rt 1 all day long.

Time to get moving again.

June 11th, 12:40 PM
Odometer this morning: 929.0

I spent last night near (north) of Fort Bragg overlooking the fog. I could hear the ocean, but could barely make out the rocks offshore. Guess I had a couple hours without fog yesterday, and fog today until about noon. Haven't made very good time today, turns out riding up hills isn't very much fun in a chilly fog. At the the bottom of one of the two (or is it three) hills I've climbed today is a demonstration Redwood forest with a little path to wander on. Enclosed is some of the literature they had there. From here I'll be pretty much in Redwood country for the next few days. Right now I'm nine miles from Rt 101 in a little restaurant that has old saws, chains and other tools used in tree cutting.

Hope to make it to almost Eureka tonight so I can call Intel tomorrow and see if they want me. (I told you I was going to refuse them, didn't I?)

In a couple days I'll be in Redwood National Park which I have on good authority as being nice riding country. This from two girls I met yesterday going from Washington to south of San Fran. In exchange for that, I warned them about some of the hills I'd been on and gave them a route through San Fran, They also told me about riding on Rt 101, which is part freeway, but there's room for bikes, so it doesn't look too bad.

Fogwise, things seem to be lifting up, partly due to my going inland. The waitress here says it's pretty hilly for the next 9 miles from here to 101, and flat after that.

It's after 13:00, guess I'd better get going.

June 11th, 6:00+ PM Odometer: ?

At a place called Garberville off Rt 101. At this point, 101 has been mostly freeway with only a couple miles of paralleling roadway.

Surprising how the climate can change just a few miles from the ocean when there are mountains in the way! From low 50s and fog to low 80s and hot sun is quite a switch and both make for hard riding. The transition zone was comfortable but all uphill, so distance today hasn't been very good. Guess I can camp in the Humbolt Redwoods tonight and maybe make it to Redwood Natl park the day after, if I don't spend too much time in Eureka. Guess I should be moving on.

At camp, odometer: 1009.6

June 12th, 11:20 AM
odometer 1043.4

Only 80.6 miles yesterday. Actually, I had thought only 70, so I can't complain. Trying to make up for all that lost time yesterday, I've gone 33.8 miles so far today, but just finished breakfast and can't budge. I was afraid this would be a tourist trappy spot - I think its called The Lumberjack Restaurant - with cafeteria style tables no less. When I walked in, the waitress asked me if I wanted coffee, I said tea, she apparently thought I said please, but after she poured my coffee, she left the pot. There's a water pitcher here and a bowl of jelly as opposed to those terrible little plastic packages so many places have. They gave the standard 2 slices of toast, but the bread is twice as thick as normal.

Called Intel today to tell them I didn't want their job only to find they had decided the same thing! However, they are going to try to shuffle up their current people in order to create a hole for a purely technical person. Haven't had a chance to recently as their system has been dead for most of the week, so I have to call them again next week.

Eureka is about 2 hours away and I'll have to spend some time there and try to get cycling shoes and gloves (I forgot my gloves at Stinson beach) and try to get some more Gatorade mix somewhere. I'm getting very tempted to mail back all my cooking gear - not so much because of its weight, but it does take up a lot of space. If I do find some cycling shoes, than I won't have room for my Adidas, so you may be getting a package in the mail soon.

I met a 68 year old guy yesterday who's been doing ~90 miles a day from near Canada heading for San Diego. Not bad.

I remember in Europe driving over all those mountains with the concrete posts imitating guard rails. California goes one better, a lot of stretches along Rt 1 have no guard rails at all and would make for some rather exciting driving. On a bike its a lot of fun, since I can do 40-45 around curves a car would have to do 25, but I don't think I would ever want to drive it. There were rather surprising numbers of cars with trailers and motorhomes along it, including several with drivers not quite aware that they are wider than the average width car; so they made things pretty exciting too.

Should be able to make it to Redwood Natl. Park tonight and decide tomorrow if I really want to pedal up to Crater Lake then. Good chance I won't want to.

June 13th, 3:35 PM
odometer 1152.7 start 1096.2

I spent the night in Patrick's Point State Park in a grove of white firs. I had gotten somewhat sunburned over the first several days of the trip so I got some Sea and Ski a couple days ago. Worked real well - haven't seen the sun since! Think I'm just about out of Redwood Country which is rather fortunate, as trying to share a narrow 2 lane road with the logging trucks is a real hassle - turns out bicycles generally lose. One really big hill today - about 2500 - 3000 feet I estimate. (The hill I mentioned a couple of days ago was just about 2000 feet.) I checked it on some Topos at a outdoors store called the Arcata Transit Authority, where I also got some Adidas cycling shoes. The cleats are a little farther back than they should, but quite acceptable so I won't complain.

I'm going to skip getting up to Crater Lake, as I don't think it's worth all the uphill to see. Instead I'll follow Rt. 101 along the Oregon coast. Now if I can only find a gas station with an Oregon map ... How about one with height contours? Would be nice.

Continue to the Oregon-Seattle leg

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