Archive for the ‘Trips’ Category

Wednesday Night Dinner Goes to NYC

Tuesday, December 20th, 2011

Thanks to Amber, my Wednesday Night Dinner (WND) group got 8 tickets to the Daily Show on November 15th of this year. They sold out instantly to our group of friends, but I managed to snag one for my favorite blogger turned acquittance and fellow Daily Show fanatic, Jodi(econgirl). We also saved on to exchange for housing with our former WND friend Eric. We made a 5 day weekend out of it, since our tickets were for a Tuesday, and now I have finally finished a map detailing the whole trip:

View WND NYC in a larger map

And all the pictures that are included in the map, so you don’t have to go finishing if you just want to see them.

Penobscot River Rafting

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

Hurricane Earl, if you want to call it that (it was pretty week) hit Boston Friday night, and hit up at the rafting site from 7am to 10am Saturday. I managed to convince everyone to stay home Friday night and drive up Saturday. The rain was all over by the time we got up there. We did talk to some boy scouts who in addition to to crowding the hot tub, had rafted on Saturday, during the storm. They all said it was very wet but they still had fun. I was glad to have no rain on our trip, but it was cloudier, windier, and cooler than I expected, so I was not quite dressed appropriately, and got very cold when the wind and clouds combined. There are some stories about the rapids on the map.

View Penobscot Rafting Trip in a larger map

I also want to tell a brief story about the baby squirrel pictured below. He was tiny and cute and very energetic. He visited us on Sunday at sunset for the first time. He did quite a bit of hiding from me while I was trying to capture his picture. Eventually he scampered off with a bit of wood that he perhaps confused for food. Anyways, when I woke up in the morning at 7am I noticed that our basket of dry food had been left out and not placed in a car. Then I noticed that said basket was rustling, and shortly after that the head of this small squirrel was visible. He exited the basket with what was left of a packet of Hershey’s milk chocolate following a night of smore making. I ran up to him and he ran away, leaving the chocolate on the ground beneath the picnic table. I picked up the chocolate, put it on the table and walked away for a few minutes. When I came back the chocolate was gone without a trace. I sincerely hope that chocolate does not harm small squirrels.

A Couple More

Monday, August 30th, 2010

My Parents thought this one was the best of the whole sideshow:

These are from Sarah’s Camera:

John at the Jama Masijd.

John is tired of riding this autorichshaw 20km back to the hotel.

The walls of Agra Fort

A wedding ceremony at Sriram’s grandmothers house. This is his ready to go live in the mountains because he has had second thoughts play outfit.

Sign seen on the streets of Hyderabad doesn’t make a whole lot of sense:


Saturday, August 21st, 2010

In June of 2010 my friend Sarah and I took a trip to India (and Amsterdam — see a future post) for my room mate Sriram’s wedding. We went a week early and did some sight seeing in Delhi and Agra in the North before heading to Hyderabad in the south for the wedding.

View India Trip in a larger map

For best viewing, use the in a larger map link. Or, see all the pictures included in the gallery below. Hover text provides captions in the gallery, or click through to cycle one per page.

Roswell – March 2010

Sunday, May 30th, 2010

I spent much of March and April of 2010 in Roswell, NM for work. I consistently flew there on Delta via Los Angles, which was always a ~14 hour three airport affair. I loved it, and I didn’t miss any connections on any of my trips to Roswell

Los Angles from the Air:

The first time I headed to Roswell was also my first time in L.A. Although, I never left the airport, so that makes counting it a bit strange. I find, that I airports count as going to a state but not a city. Such as, “the last time I was in California was when I flew through LAX to Roswell”, is fair but to replace California with L.A. isn’t. I suppose this is because cities have a character that one needs to explore to say that one has been there. States do too, but it highly varied from area to area, and people don’t expect you to be familiar with every area to say you have been there. One can often get a good sense of whats its like in a state from the airport; not so with a city. Anyways, here’s a shot of the iconic LAX entry way:

We worked at the airport in Roswell. The airport is something of an airplane graveyard, or at least long term, until the economy gets back on track storage yard. There are on the order of 100 planes in various states of disrepair strew about the airfield.

Working in Roswell sucked. But one day we took a half day off from working and went skiing for a full day. From the top of the slopes one can see nearby Sierra Blanca (on the left), the southernmost high peak in the contiguous United States, which means that all higher peaks are farther north. Towards the right, in the basin one can see White Sands.

On the way back from this first trip to Roswell I completed a challenge feat. I was on the ground in all four continental us time zones within one day. I accomplished this feat by flying from Roswell (Mountain) to Los Angles (Pacific) to Minneapolis & St. Paul (Central) and back to Boston (Eastern). It was the only time on any trip to/from Roswell, that I had a layover in the Central time zone, and therefore the only time I completed this feat. Google latitude should offer rewards for this sort of thing ala foursquare.

Washington D.C. During Snowmageddon

Sunday, May 30th, 2010

In February 2010 work sent me to the Shenendoa Valley of Virginia, about 2 hours from Washington D.C. I flew in between the two Snowmageddon storms, and made it out to Bridgwater, VA. before the second storm hit. The storm there dropped only four inches or so, which the local services were totally able to handle. Although, I did make the mistake of letting a friend from Los Angles drive in the snow, and he managed to get pretty suck in a parking spot. It was embarrassing; we didn’t tell the people who helped us out that I life in the north.

After the second storm went through, on Friday February 12th, Lincoln’s Birthday I managed to snag some time in Washington itself. I had never been to the district before. I had lunch with Emma, a CSG girl whom I mentored in college. She is pursuing a computer science degree at George Washington, so I guess I may have had some effect. She is a big fan of going to see the monuments. She claims that is often a drunken Saturday night activity. So we went to see them, with 2-4 feet of snow on the ground.

First we went to the Washington Monument:

On the way there, this is as close as I got to the White House:

Next we went to the Lincoln Memorial, which was not doing anything fancy for his birthday. It looked rather ominous on the snow covered hill, like something out of Logan’s Run, but with more people around. I am just in love with this photo. It is certainly my favorite of all the recently posted ones, even that 15 second exposure of Boston at night.

From there I got an off center shot of the Capitol building.

We then walked back to GWU and parted ways. I later drove much closer to the Capitol building on my way to the Air and Space Museum. I only spent an hour at the museum, which was all I had before my flight, and all I wanted to spend. I only had enough quarters to pay for 15 minutes of parking; damn it was expensive, but I didn’t get a ticket (probably thanks to the huge snow banks). It was really disappointed by it. Although, I hear the good stuff is all out by Dulles, so I will have to try that some time.

Travel as a Graph

Sunday, April 4th, 2010

I have been averaging more than one trip a month since July of 2009, and it feels like a lot of travel, so I want to record some numbers about it in case I want to compare at some point. For the purposes of this accounting, a trip requires that I got on an airplane or stayed in a hotel while not in the Greater Boston Area. For the record I have not stayed in a hotel in the Greater Boston Area during the time period. Lets start with a graph:

The blue line is 1 if I was not home (away) and 0 if I was home on a given date. If i was traveling home on a day the line is a 1. The red line is 0 when I am home, 1 when I am traveling for work, and 0.5 when I am traveling for pleasure. Since the red line is on top of the blue, you can really just think of the blue as personal trips.

This tells us that I spent all of October in Boston, a fact I had forgotten. I have been averaging 1.3 trips per month divided between 0.5 personal trips per month and 0.8 work trips per month.

This has lead to a total traveling percentage of almost 32% of days. That is on any given day there is a 32% chance I’m not in Boston. I would have expected that number to be much higher, but the graph seems to agree with it. If we look only at 2010 only I’ve been gone for a slightly higher 36%, but I really feel like it’s been 50%. That’s the point of the analysis. I now know that 32% is way too high.

Summer Panoramas

Friday, October 2nd, 2009

I have not yet replaced the camera that I lost. Part of this is because I’ve had a very busy summer and I haven’t done my research. Part of it is because I want the quality of an SLR without the price or the bulk. I took a lot of trips this summer on which I wish I had taken a real camera, but all I had was my cell phone camera, which is bad as cameras god but great as cell phone cameras go in my opinion. So here are some camera phone panoramas from the summer.

July 3rd, 2009: Red Sox Home Game #36

Red Sox July 09
The sox lost this game (my second) to the Seattle Mariners in 10 innings, and it was close all the way to the end. At one point early on David Ortiz stole home base from 3rd on a wild pitch. I have never seen that man move so fast before. This is currently the highlight of my Fenway Park experience. I had a surprising amount of trouble finding someone to come with me to this game, because Mary, who’s a Mariners fan, was in Washington state at the time. Eventually I convinced Briana to come with and we had fun.

July 4th, 2009: Pops Goes the Fourth Fireworks

July 4th Boston
This was the first full day of summer in Boston following a rainy awful June. The night was perfect for fireworks, and we had a prime viewing spot on the Cambridge side.

August 30th, 2009: White Sands

White Sands
This view of the White Sands of New Mexico is from a road between Cloudcroft and Sunspot in the Sacramento Mountains looking west into the basin.

September 9th, 2009: Provincetown, Massachusetts

These dunes are located at the far end of cape cod just beyond Provincetown to the west. Beyond the dunes that reach all the way across the scene is the beach. I somewhat enjoy the differences in color that remain in this one. All the images were taken within two minutes of each other, so the color differences are due to issues with the camera not changing lightning. In the distance on the left lighthouse can be seen. That lighthouse is also pictured here:

Cape Cod Lightouse

Welcome to Alamogordo

Friday, September 4th, 2009

I have spent the last two weeks in town of Alamogordo, near the White Sands in New Mexico. This is by far the longest work trip that I have been on. I was working the night shift, as an operator flight testing an airborne radar I helped develop the control system for. Below are the highlights from the trip, which was not nearly as bad as I expected going out.

The Night Shift

I have never attempted to work the night shift and sleep during the day for such an extended period of time. I was very successful at switching to the strange schedule. I was able to block nearly all of the light from my window and sleep from (4-7)am to (3-5)pm each day. I was the only of the four of us (2 operators and 2 pilots) who was able to fully transition. Today is my first day back on a normal sleep schedule. I was unable to get much sleep, not being able to goto bed until 4:30am, and waking up at 7am, but somehow I’ve managed to stay awake all day.

On the Plane


The flights were from 1am to 4am or 3am to 6am on the White Sands Missile Range. When we started we didn’t have a moon and it was always very dark, but as the weeks went on we got more and more moonlight and better and better views of the White Sands dunes. One flight was a particularly new experience because it was high enough that we needed to use oxygen masks in our unpressurized aircraft. Other than my glasses fogging up, and the need to remove the mask to speak into my headset I didn’t have any issues with it; meaning I never felt any hypoxia symptoms.

Daylight Doughnuts

One morning after the flight the pilots and crew chief took us to this amazing hole in the wall doughnut shop in town. They are famous for their breakfast burritos, which are small and simple, but very tasty. They make the story here because they have a particular kind of doughnut that I have been searching for since I was five years old. When I was living in South Carolina my parents often took me to a shop that had cake like doughnuts with white icing topped by shards of peanuts. Neither Dunkin nor Krispy Kreme sell this variety, but Daylight did, and it was wonderful. They was just as good as I remember them. I sadly, didn’t make it back before I left.

Cloudcroft and Sunspot

Sunspot Solar Observatory

On our Sunday off our crew chief took the pliots and opertators up into the mountains to spend the day. The Sacramento Mountains, just to the east of Alamogordo. The mountains are completely different from the basin floor. On the way up, at a certain elevation all of sudden there are trees and the tempeature drops 15 degrees. It was nice to get out the desert for a bit. We had brunch at a large mountain inn and golf course in Cloudcroft, NM. Then we headed over to the solar observatory at Sunspot. The observatory was very cool and they let you walk right in and see the main level, which is only a small part of it. We got some great views of the basin.

The Basin from the Mountains

White Sands

After seeing them from the air and the mountains on Monday I made the drive out to the White Sands Monument. They didn’t have any tours or anything going on, but it was not crowded. It was eerily quiet out there on top of the dunes, and none of my pictures came out very well. I wanted to make my way over to towards the flats, where they have emergency runways for the space shuttle, but it was more than a three hour hike, which in the hot sun of 5:30pm without water was out of the question.

White Sands

Memorial Weekend Camping Trip

Monday, June 8th, 2009

Whoops, I forgot to update for nearly a month. If there was anything interesting I did in May, I’ve clearly forgotten about it, but at the end of May Mary, Sparky, Whitney, Jake, Michael and I went camping in New Hampshire.

It was not an especially interesting place to go camping, but we found some things to do.

  • With the significant aid from Whitney and Jake I participated in my first geocach.
  • Near the geocache was possibly the most dangerous brand new half finished park I’ve ever seen. It featured Mario like bouncers, a short plastic rock climbing wall, monkey bars too tall for children, a plastic rolling log, and a multi-directional seesaw near shards of wood including upward pointing nails.
  • Went hiking to a lake that featured 3 strange drawbridge like wooden structures that went from the shore to nowhere and served no apparent purpose beyond an overly complicated dock.
  • We went star gazing. There were enough stars that it was difficult to discern the common constellations, but I was disappointed that the milky way was not visible.