Sunday, November 30, 2008

Road trip - Sequoia and Death Valley

I went to Sequoia National Park and Death Valley this long Thanksgiving weekend with friends.

Here's our route map:

View Larger Map

We started on Friday evening from the Bay Area and reached Three Rivers, near Sequoia and stayed at a motel there. The drive up to Sequoia was covered in a thick fog that you could almost cut with a knife. Well that's how it looked to me because I'd never driven through fog before.

Anyway, the next morning we were up and about in Sequoia and the first thing we saw was a pair of Black bears (one was brown in color) feeding on berries or something, on a tree right next to the road. What luck!

Black bear feeding on a tree - Sequoia Natl Park

Sequoia was disappointing because everywhere we went, there was fog. We could barely see the top of "General Sherman" - the star attraction at the park. This was obviously not the right season.

On the way to Sequoia Natl Park

All we did there was hike around Crescent Meadow.

Crescent meadow - Sequoia

On our way back, we drove past a wandering Coyote. At first, I thought it was a dog, because it was standing on the road, staring at us and hoping we'd throw something to eat. We didn't. Obviously - "Don't feed the animals".

Coyote on the highway - Sequoia

By evening, we had already left the Park and we were well on our way to Death Valley. We stayed at Beatty, NV because that was the only place we could find a vacancy.

The next morning, we had breakfast at a nice little Mexican joint in Beatty and headed to Death Valley.

Death Valley has basically 2 circuits - the northern leg and southern leg. We did the north stretch - Titus Canyon, Scotty's Castle and Ubehehe Crater. The Racetrack was too far away and we were driving a rental car with mileage problems (Yes, it was an American 4x4). So, we had to skip it. Northern circuit was so so, except for the Crater.

Titus Canyon - Death Valley

Ubehebe crater at dusk - Death Valley

Day 2 - the southern circuit was very good. The Sand dunes, Devil's golf course, Badwater, Artist's drive and Dante's View were wonderful.

Devil's Golf Course - Death Valley

Badwater Basin - Death Valley

We were on Dante's View during sunset and it was very windy but beautiful. Zabriskie point is probably a nice spot to watch the sun set like Dante's.

Death Valley from Dante's View

Sunset at Dante's View - Death Valley

Sunset and Moonrise at Dante's View - Death Valley

Food at Lone Pine was good - Pizza Factory and a Mexican place called Bonanza.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Camelus dromedarius (Apache Camel - for lack of a witty title)

If you still haven't heard of Apache Camel or seen how elegant the concept is, you should stop and have a look.

I think a lot of credit should also be give to the authors of the Enterprise Integration Patterns book. I wouldn't consider the book to be ground breaking, but a worthy reference book. Just like the old GoF Patterns book.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Point Mugu, Malibu

Last weekend I went hiking in Point Mugu near Malibu with some friends. The weather was great, although it was raining all the way. Thankfully, there was no rain near the trails. Inspite of it being a 9 mile hike, the trail was quite gentle. The last part of the hike where it runs right along the coast was beautiful. Cool winds, cloud cover and to top it off, we could see it rain in the distance on the ocean! Wonderful!

Some photos..