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October 16th, 2010

Way up, 3000 feet over the rainbow.

It was marypcb's and my sixth wedding anniversary at the beginning of October, and as we were in the Bay Area for a series of conferences we took the opportunity to head away from the built-up coast to the wilds of the Sierras. We've always loved visiting Yosemite, and headed out across the flat Central Valley to spend a couple of days in and around the national park.

Driving across the fields in the early fall heat, we could see clouds piling up against the barrier range of the Sierras. By the time we got to Mariposa, it was pouring with rain...

The next day wasn't a lot better, with cloud sliding on and off the big walls of El Capitan...

El Capitan Of The Clouds

Slowly the cloud began to lift, and we drove through the thunder showers, twisting and turning up the mountain roads to Glacier Point, more than 3000 feet over the valley floor. Thunder rumbled and echoed around the bare granite domes, patches of fading sunlight climbing the face of Half Dome.

Storm Light On Half Dome

As I looked down on the valley floor, more than half a mile below, I suddenly found myself in one of those magical moments.

A sunbeam was tracking up the valley, through the showers, and way below me, arching up to the granite cliffs across the valley was a rainbow. From high above it wasn't the familiar arc - just a line of coloured light rising up from the trees.


Way Up, 3000 Feet Over The Rainbow

Up there with watching snow storms in the Grand Canyon. What a wonderful world this is...

Yosemite, California
October 2010

There's a robot on our tail...

Last November we were driving down the freeway near Davis, coming to the end of an epic road trip, when we passed what we thought was one of Google's camera cars, what looked like a combined LIDAR and camera unit spinning away on the roof...

...and marypcb photographed it (as I had to keep my hands on the wheel) as we passed it...

Now, nearly a year later we know just what it was - one of the Google/Stanford robot cars, on what must have been a fairly early test drive. The human driver must have had a lot of confidence in his robot partner, as he'd taken a child along for a ride...

Here's a shot of the robot from our rearview mirror.

Looking back at a robot LIDAR car

Davis, California
November 2009