This weekend my parents visited me (they drove down from Seattle). On Saturday, we drove around the Bay: I-680 north from Mountain View to Fairfield for a tour of the Jelly Belly factory. Highlights: robot arms don't know when they're dumping half their trays on the ground (all those watermellon JBs -- ruined! or turned into swine feed, actually); there is a workplace that uses more primary colors than Google.
From Fairfield we headed west on CA-12. Jane, my car's nav system, frequently suggested taking alternate routes (we were heading to Santa Rosa), but I really wanted to drive on this road. Jane eventually resigned herself to her fate and gave directions the rest of the way. The drive was fun, a windy little road through wine country, but the scenary wasn't especially breathtaking. Crossing the Benicia-Martinez or Carquinez Bridges at 7:30a and smelling fresh fields of alfalfa still holds the "welcome to agriculture" prize for me in California.
Santa Rosa is home to the Charles M. Schultz Museum (and Research Center!) where we spent about an hour looking at Peanuts strips and the history of the series. They showed a short video interviewing Schultz and I was really impressed how he draws the characters -- every line he made was a final line, no erasing or doubling back. It's as though he knows exactly what the final image will be and he's just tracing it. And he wasn't even drawing the characters in "feature" order -- it was just whatever line his pen was near got drawn next. Very impressive.
The final leg of Saturday's tour was from Santa Rosa south on US-101 and stopping in the Marin headlands to view the Golden Gate bridge from the north side. It was *really* breezy so we didn't stay long but Mom got some good pictures and I played with my binoculars (I could see the individual people on the bridge!). Riley, my brother's dog that my parents took with them on this trip, stayed in the car for this part (actually, for the whole trip, except for bathroom breaks). We finished the drive home on I-280 just because I like wide and fast freeways.
Sunday was more pedestrian in comparison. We shopped at Costco, I bought a bunch of drinks from BevMo!, we wandered through the aisles of Weird Stuff and my Mom and I both bought 2"x2" ziploc bags. We toured work and Riley got to run around the dog field in the courtyard at work. We closed out the evening watching Hoodwinked. From the previews I didn't have high hopes but the movie was much better than that -- funny story and amusing dialog, it didn't feel like it was using the reservoir of cheap humor that other CG films recently have.
We ate at very different places than usual for when my parents visit. On Saturday we had BBQ from Coyote Sam's (a hole in the wall) in Fairfield and Italian from Zucca Ristorante in Mountain View. Zucca was great -- an upscale interior, great food, and an ambiance that makes you feel relaxed to chat your date across the table. Sunday lunch was Grand Indian Buffet in Sunnyvale, another hole in the wall that my friend Jesse took me too several weeks ago. Hooray for Sunday brunch buffets running well into the afternoon. The food was flavorful and varied, my favorite being chicken cooked in peppers and soy sauce. The mango ice cream at the end was also a nice treat. To wrap up their visit we ate dinner Sunday at someplace normal: Hobbee's in Palo Alto.