Your Regularly Scheduled California Visit

Part I: Working in Northern California

Work sent me out to do work in Redding, CA--it's about 2.5 hours north of Sacramento; relatively small town that had a big boost during the construction of the Shasta Dam in the 1940s. Since my coworker lives in the Bay Area, and flying into Sacramento would only knock an hour off the drive time, I decided to fly into SFO, drive up with my coworker, spend the week working, and take the weekend to do my regular Bay Area visit.

The work was tiring, but went relatively well; we were taking measurements and installing equipment to monitoring the HVAC systems in ten houses up there. However, one sign that nature did not like us on this trip. First, take a look at the precipitation record for Redding:

In contrast, this is what the skies looked like. On the day that I was going to be messing around in circuit breakers panels on the outside of houses. Yeah, rain, and lightning too! Thanks. That was 1.09 inches of precipitation in one day, during a month that averages 0.05 inches.

Crawling around attics, running up & down ladders, sticking probes into ducts.. my usual brand of fun.

With out schedule, we fortunately had a few hours off on the late afternoon of day 2. My top priority was to go to the Turtle Bay Exploration Park, and check out the Sundial Bridge--a pedestrian footbridge designed by Santiago Calatrava (an architect and engineer). A pretty awesome sculptural bridge--check out the link; it's a cantilevered cable stay, so it's a single tower, leaning back, holding up the bridge from one side of the river.

Also, it does actually work as a sundial--there are markers showing time (only fully accurate on the summer solstice). My coworker and I figured out that given the spacing between markers, the tip of the shadow is moving at a foot a minute--but we got there too late to watch it.

Also, I spent some time wading in the Sacramento River--it's pretty friggin cold. I was surprised the temperature was so cold this far into the summer. I think that it might be due to the water coming from the lake behind Shasta Dam--it's a deep lake, so it would maintain its melted-snowpack-temperatures longer.

We wrapped up Friday driving to Sacramento, walking a site with a builder, and sitting in on a meeting. Then, the drive back to the Bay Area, and--woo hoo!--catching up with folks for the weekend!

Part II: Playing in The Bay Area

As I've mentioned before, I really love visiting the Bay Area--the friends, the weather, the city itself. Driving over the Bay Bridge towards SF puts a smile on my face. It was especially nice to combine this feeling with "my work week is over, this trip didn't go disastrously, and we achieved our goals." However, my coworker and I managed to get our Hertz Neverlost, well, lost on the streets of San Francisco (it couldn't see the GPS satellites, so it had the car stuck on random streets away from our position).

Friday night was dinner with the lovely and brilliant Dr. Paramecium Woman. Vietnamese clams with black bean sauce, followed by bubble tea. Her work as a patent agent is going reasonably well--she's still on the learning curve, and working on trying to become useful. I have no doubts that will happen soon enough.

Saturday morning/afternoon was hanging out with Lucky, Karthiga, and Jayshan. They came into the city, and we went to Greens Restaurant for lunch. Their kid #2 is on the way come October or so; Jayshan will have a baby brother.

Got dropped off at U-Boat and Christy's in the afternoon; the three of us met Bradley and his fiance Janie at Cafe Colucci--Christy's recommendation for awesome Bay Area Ethiopian food. It was an excellent evening out--both for the food, the company, and interacting with mentally ill people in front of our sidewalk table.

Tomorrow is hanging out with Jen, Schmooz, Max, and Delaney; Monday will be the flight home. Then, back to the work grind.


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