16 Mar 2008

Me, Mountain View, and a Honda Civic

Suddenly, I started writing more (in Jan and Feb 2008 I wrote unusually large number of posts). Suddenly I stopped writing (this is the first post in March). I got a little busy with work, so I couldn't spare enough time on writing, although I had things to say. Now it's 2.35am. I want to finish this post before I sleep. I am right now in Mountain View, where the famous Googleplex is. Although this is not my first visit to Mountain View, this visit is special for me. This is the first time I am traveling alone (to a foreign country). This is the first time I am flying by Lufthansa. This is the first time I am driving in the US. Since I have so much to say, this post will be long and maybe boring. Ok, I have warned you :P During my last trips, I felt constrained since I didn't know driving. I had to depend on my friends to go out. They are good; they took me to wherever I wanted to go. But dependency is a dependency, and I don't generally like to depend on others. I decided to learn driving and get a license. When I went home for Diwali last year, I joined a driving school and practiced driving for a week. Then I went for the "test" and got a license. Like everyone who has got a driving license can guess, driving school classes did not make me a good or at least an average driver. I arrived at Mountain View on March 8th. Since I have a driving license now, I went to Hertz to rent a car. The guy in Hertz explained the options and the procedure. He said the 2-door Honda Civic that he had was the cheapest I could get. I loved the car at the first sight. Gladly I took the key and drove to my hotel. The car was awesome. I got good control in the first ride itself. I think the car has to do more with this than my ability to drive. I took driving directions from Google Maps and went to our office. On the way, I was lost. I didn't know which left turn the map was talking about. I drove back, took a U turn, and tried a different left. I was lost again. Frustrated, I went back to the hotel. Saw the map in the computer again and found the mistake I was making. I drove back again and boy, I reached the office :-) Once I drove to Saravna Bhavan in Sunnyvale for dinner. In three days I became so comfortable and confident driving it. Yesterday (Saturday) morning I woke up. I didn't have much to do. And my new kid was inviting me for a ride. I felt like driving on the freeway is the only way to save my soul. After looking at a few destinations, I decided to drive to Joaquin Miller Park in Oakland. I chose Oakland mainly for the distance. 40 miles was a reasonable goal. I can leave after 11am and return before it's night. Also, I can spend reasonable amout of time on the freeways. Driving on the freeway was the most important reason for this trip. I was lost in the freeway two times. I missed an exit. In the process of getting back to the same freeway, I was lost again. I would have spent about 1 to 1.5 hours roaming around here and there trying to figure out how to get to the missed exit. Somehow I figured out the trick and soon I was back on the right freeway! The park was good; but it was not great. I lost an accessory of my new camera. Since there was no shop or anything in the park I starved till 4.30pm. On the way back, I stopped in a village called Montclair for lunch. Riding back was very easy. With my newly learned Freeway Skills, I reached the hotel without getting lost anywhere. I took some photos too, with my new camera. I am thinking of driving to Yosemite next week (which is about 190 miles away) . I know, it's quite far; I might change the plans. I want to spend some time in the destination, although riding is the most important part. With 380 miles to cover in a day, I don't think I will have time to spend there. Driving on nights in freeways is kinda scary. Who knows, I might get courageous next week. I will add another post if I do something interesting enough to be shared. In any case I will upload the photos. If you are interested, get it from my shared items or Picasa. Bye now!


  1. :) you had a good roller-coaster ride !!

  2. Grrr... I m green with envy now...Dont miss Yosemite... Try to do a over night trip for Yosemite... Saturday Sunday kinda thingy!! Have a blast mate... so I guess once u r back u r all set for four wheels :D

  3. wat the hell! i want that car, man!!!

  4. Woww... Kanna interesting da!! and good to see you getting the driving thrills out there - my bro tells me its a very unique experience ( the Freeways )
    And yeah - dont miss Yosemite!