Keeping the Doctor Away - Quiet Country Lanes of the Bay Area - CycleBlaze

January 17, 2021

Keeping the Doctor Away

Nice sunny Sunday afternoon, temps rising into the 70s. What to do, what to do. Or, it's really where to go, where to go, isn't it? So many choices. I decided that today we would show you another couple of Silicon Valley shrines. If an apple a day keeps the doctor away, then maybe we should do this daily until the pandemic passes.

The route I planned took me through the usual suburbia, over my favorite local bike/ped bridge, through a couple of new-to-me secret passages, two shrines - one of which I'd never ridden to before - and a lovely "artistic" surprise that made the whole day for me.

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Ah, suburbia. Dull riding most of the time but good bike lanes, so thank you very much.
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Something good is coming up.
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On the Burnett Bike Bridge. Just love this bridge.
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Right over a river of cars.
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On the Cupertino (southern) end of the bridge is this cool sculpture with California quail. The bobbers have been broken off the larger males, unfortunately. Decorated for the Christmas holidays I think. I wonder if they were strung together like reindeer?

They quail before me.
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Uh-oh, look out!
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Luckily the hawk is following covid protocols.
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I made a turn to the east after this and wove through some residential streets on my way to the first shrine. I have ridden around here a lot but never realized how close I always came to it. 

When mapping the route I noticed there was a cut through a dead-end street but was surprised to be met with a wall. Ack. Detour?

I guess you're supposed to go up and over the wall, if the sign is to be believed.
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Secret passage. I wasn't really fooled. Ha ha.
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No detour needed. Phew. The other side of the wall was a transition to office buildings. We're getting closer.

We are entering a certain sphere of influence.
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And so we arrive at the first shrine on our tour: 1 Infinite Loop, the Apple campus. The buildings are rather striking. I had a friend who worked there and he said that people were always stopping by to take pictures at the 1. Perhaps I did as well.

Ta-daaa. First shrine today: 1 Infinite Loop, Cupertino, CA.
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The street name is clever. In computer programming, an infinite loop is not a good thing. It's giving an instruction to a computer to do a task without ever giving it an instruction to stop or change if its task is completed. Best example of an infinite loop is on your shampoo bottle: lather, rinse, repeat.

Silly me, I didn't ride the loop.

In the latter 1980s I interviewed for a job at Apple. They didn't have this shiny campus at the time and there was no Infinite Loop. Their main address was somewhere along Mariani Avenue, which I rode along and which runs perpendicular to Infinite Loop. Apple still uses those buildings. It's been more than 30 years but I swear that the building I interviewed in is still there. And no, I didn't get the job or my life would have been infinitely different.

Another secret passage and we achieve escape velocity from the Apple campus.
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The next shrine is fairly close but the two are separated by that nice fat freeway. So we cross back over and head further east until we get to a woodsy-looking area. There's a plaque just as you approach the property, and, as the saying goes, always read the plaque.

Here's some serious Silicon Valley genealogy here: Varian Associates, Hewlett-Packard, now Apple. And deep agricultural roots too with that list of names who sold their farms. (Vallco Fashion Park is a mall.)
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This next shrine is on land that's been in the Silicon Valley family since the 1960s. It went from Varian to HP to Apple. Varian is one of the early SV companies, founded by the Varian brothers and others in 1948 to sell the klystron, the first vacuum tube which could amplify electromagnetic waves at microwave frequencies, and other electromagnetic equipment (thanks, Wikipedia).

We learned about Hewlett-Packard in the first entry in this journal. My wife reminded me that she worked at this HP campus when she had an internship with them in 1982. Huh. HP had lots of campuses around here, and elsewhere around the world. They used to have a policy of limiting any one campus to 3000 people; if it got bigger than that, they built a new one somewhere.

And now Apple has the property. They named it Apple Park, and if I remember right it was planned for 10,000 employees. The main building is a giant ring. There's also a theater, giant parking garages, and an orchard and an old barn to honor its agricultural history. Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple and a driving force for good design of tech objects, got this project started just before he died in 2011. Everyone laughed at the design (including me) but he never did pay much attention to that sort of thing, so here it rises. I recommend taking a closer look using the satellite view of the route map.

A pleasant lane along the northern edge of Apple Park that some pedestrians were using also so I had to bushwhack back to the bike lane.
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Just a short distance down the way is another plaque that we must stop to read. Apple moved a barn that HP had left standing on the property. So we learn a little more about the agricultural history here.

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As much as we can see the barn from the street.
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Google Earth view from 1948 of the future site of HP and Apple. Orchards covered most of the Santa Clara Valley through the first half of the 20th century. The red line is my bike route. The original site of the Glendenning barn is shown a little to the left of the bottom of my route. The Glendennings' fruit drying and packing facility is probably the group of buildings to the left and below the barn, in the whitish area. The barn now sits due north of the packing plant near the red line.
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This is the Hewlett-Packard campus in 2002, pretty much the same as when my wife was an intern there twenty years before. HP kept the barn.
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Apple Park in 2020. The park goes from the red line of my route at the top and down to the freeway. The visitor center is across the street from the park. 1 Infinite Loop and the Apple campus is to the left. I measured the parking garage closest to the freeway. It's almost a half kilometer long. Aargh. So many cars.
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As much as we can see of the ring from the side street.
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I moved closer to try a better shot and noticed that this is a bike entry only. Cool.
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You can't get on to the campus of course without proper credentials. So Apple put up a visitor center across the street. It has a store and a cafe and a model of the campus so you can visit it virtually, though only the store is open right now.

I went to see if there was any action at the visitor center today. Pretty quiet.
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About three years ago I took a ride to Apple Park just to see it. I thought it would be quiet around the campus on a Sunday. I was rather wrong about that. There were full tour buses and cars circling the parking lot looking for a space and people all over the place.

One thing that mystified me as I entered the visitor center was all the people crowding around a table with a 3D model of Apple Park. The model was monotone grey, but despite that everyone seemed to be taking photos of it with their iPads. There was a line of people to get closer to the model, but since I'm not a line person I just went elsewhere.

I did take a peek, however, as I walked by. Turns out those people were not taking photos, they were using a virtual reality app to "tour" the campus. As you walked around the model the image on the iPad changed to be specific to what you were aimed at. It was pretty cool. After some tour buses loaded up and drove away the line went down and I gave it a try.

A staff member gave me an iPad and another one showed me how to use it. There were controls to change the time of day (the ring lit up at night) as well as animated traffic that was heavier or lighter depending on time of day. If you swiped up on the screen you lifted the roof of the ring so you could see the office layout. They had a little Easter egg too: when you swiped up at the Glendenning barn, you got to see what was inside. You can read about my visit here. After that experience I think this visitor center really is a shrine.

The 3D model of the campus. Looks unimpressive. Until you use a virtual reality iPad app that shows you what you're looking at as you move around the table.
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From my visit in 2018: the virtual reality app on the iPad lets you "tour" the campus. You can control time of day, and the view varies as you go around the model.
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Swipe up to lift the roof and see what's inside.
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Swipe up for a surprise inside the Glendenning barn - cow and hay.
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Those previous photos were from the Before Times. Nowadays, the store was open but not much business.
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Appropriate snack.
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After finishing my nostalgic wallow in How It Used To Be and a restorative snack, I started back home. I was able to make the route more interesting because Sunnyvale, the town I would be riding through the most, now has intracity bike routes. They were well-signed and were aimed mostly at schools or bike commuting.

Now making the turn for home. I am presently at the northeast corner of Apple Park in Cupertino, population 58,302, and will soon be crossing into Sunnyvale, pop. 140,095. The folks across the street from Apple Park did not have a legal voice in the development of the park, although Apple did listen to their concerns.
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Speeding kills.
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Sunnyvale has been working on their multimodal transportation, including these intracity routes.
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This is a real California house, and you don't see many of them around any more. Small but all you need.
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Probably not the original owner, since these houses might have been built in the 1920s, but maybe the second owner.
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I was zigging and zagging between bike routes when a telephone pole caught my eye. Das Pezler! Lots of Pez dispensers attached to the pole. How fun. I took a few photos of it, then continued on my way - about 10 feet - when the rest of the, um, installation unfolded. This serendipitous whimsy sure makes your day, doesn't it? I had a big grin as I rode onward.

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If I didn't get out of the house today I never would have seen crusaders battling dinosaur skeletons.
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Not one but 2 Golden Gate Bridges
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I continued zigging and zagging for home, using all the secret passages I could think of. And remember the Hetch Hetchy Aqueduct and Crystal Springs Reservoir and the Pulgas Water Temple in the previous posting? Well, the aqueduct runs not far from my house and there are several bike paths and shortcuts that use the right-of-way. At one point you can go through an empty lot, then through a playground, then a church parking lot, over a creek on a utility bridge, through another parking lot, then onto a city street. Fun!

Now in my town, Mountain View. Waiting for a train.
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This is the worst bike path in the world - lumpy, cracked, bumpy, steep here and there. And yet here I am.
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Did some off-roading on the Hetch-Hetchy Aqueduct right-of-way which you can tell by those aerators.
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Next block the aqueduct continues but the city put in a playground. Soon we are home.
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Today's ride: 23 miles (37 km)
Total: 137 miles (220 km)

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marilyn swettKathleen - I really have enjoyed reading your journal! You find such interesting things to see near home. And you stop to read plaques!
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10 months ago
Kathleen JonesThanks, Marilyn. You just never know what you'll learn when you get out of the house, right?
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10 months ago