Pictures from my trip to the USA

It’s been over 2 months since I went to the USA – flying over on my very first day at my new job, Product Manager of Software as a Service, at RPData. I’ve posted most of these pictures elsewhere on Facebook or IceInSpace, but I figured it’s now time to post them in their entirety here as well.

So this post is really just a story in pictures. I’ll try to keep the text to a minimum, but no guarantees 🙂

The first one is proof I was there! 🙂 It was taken by my work colleague, Lee. I had to process it for highlights and shadows from a single exposure, but it came out great!

Mike at Lake Tahoe

Mike at Lake Tahoe

Keep on reading to see all the pictures.

Day 1

I flew out on a Monday morning, my first day of my new job. I had to fly to Brisbane first to meet up with Lee, and from there we flew into Los Angeles, touching down around dawn on Monday morning 🙂 (gotta love time zones). The next few pictures were taken out of the plane window as we approached LAX. I love the colours and lines in the first two.

Colours of Sunrise over LAX

Colours of Sunrise over LAX

Colours of Sunrise over LAX

Colours of Sunrise over LAX

Belt of Venus above the Clouds

Belt of Venus above the Clouds

Spreading Wings above the Clouds

Spreading Wings above the Clouds

From LAX we had to fly to San Francisco (SFO) as Virgin Atlantic doesn’t fly straight into SFO. After loads of waiting around in airports, scoffing at the Milkshake sized latte’s at Starbucks, battling through the security checks for internal flights and navigating our rental car to Concord, North East of San Francisco (having a GPS was priceless!!), we eventually reached our hotel at about 3pm on Monday afternoon – having been awake for about 36-40 hours now.

We found a local pizza restaurant to have some late lunch, and was surprised by the large size of the small pizza and unlimited-refill Coke! Later that night for dinner, we drove around looking for a suitable restaurant close by, but the only place suitable was, would you believe it – an Aussie Outback Diner. 🙂 It was basically like the “Hogs Breath” restaurants we have in Australia (US themed), but this one was Ozzie themed. Koalas, Crocodiles, 4XXXX on the wall, big steaks, lots of salad and bread, and LOTS of service!

We were amazed at how often they kept checking up on us, how many options there were for our meals, and how overly friendly the service staff were! Apparently the tips play a large part of their wages over there, so it’s understandable they’ll do all they can to get a bigger tip!

Day 2

Our first real work day, we had our first meeting at the Core Logic offices at Concord and then drove up to Sacramento in the evening to stay overnight at a hotel in town. Wow, Sacramento is a hole! There’s just nothing there, and the whole place was shut down at night. I walked for an hour trying to find an open shop to buy some softdrink and chocolate (no minibar!!).

I eventually found a liquor store and was able to satisfy my hunger, but it wasn’t a pleasant walk around town I can tell you that!

This image is the stack of a number of shots out the window of my hotel room towards the most interesting part of Sacramento I could find. 🙂

Car lights out my hotel window

Car lights out my hotel window

Day 3

Our meeting on this day was at the Core Logic offices outside of Sacramento (thank goodness!). We finished early that day and we wanted to do something touristy, so we went for a drive up to Lake Tahoe. We were told it was only an hour, turned out to be almost two, but it was worth it. Wow, what a beautiful place.

A really beautiful drive up to Lake Tahoe

A really beautiful drive up to Lake Tahoe

It was late Summer so no snow, but it was a beautiful sunny afternoon. Unfortunately we were 20 minutes too late to take a gondola ride to the top of the mountain. 🙁

We were 20 minutes too late for the Gondola ride

We were 20 minutes too late for the Gondola ride

The image below is a 4-frame panorama. Click the image to see the large version.

Lake Taho Panorama

Lake Taho Panorama

Mike at Lake Tahoe

Mike at Lake Tahoe

Mike on the shore of Lake Tahoe

Mike on the shore of Lake Tahoe

Mike at Lake Tahoe

Mike at Lake Tahoe

Day 4

Lee had to fly to Santa Ana early on Day 4, and my flight from SFO to LAX wasn’t until 2pm, so after dropping Lee off at the airport I had all morning and lunch to do some touristy things around San Francisco.

Where else would I go first, but the Golden Gate Bridge! It really is a nice looking bridge.

I spent a lot of time walking around the West side of the bridge and down to the base (the old fort) before spending way too much money at the gift shop buying presents for Kate and the kids 🙂 I drove over to the East side of the bridge and stopped at both the North side and South side lookouts, as well as taking a drive through Sausalito.

The first couple of pictures are massive panoramas – click on the image to see a larger version. The rest are various pictures of Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge area.

San Fracisco and the Golden Gate Bridge Panorama

San Fracisco and the Golden Gate Bridge Panorama

Panorama looking out to the Ocean

Panorama looking out to the Ocean

Golden Gate Bridge through the Trees

Golden Gate Bridge through the Trees

Golden Gate Bridge and the Fort

Golden Gate Bridge and the Fort

Black and White Golden Gate Bridge

Black and White Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate Bridge

Looking down from the North East side of the Bridge

Looking down from the North East side of the Bridge

Bay Bridge in B&W

Bay Bridge in B&W

Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate Bridge

Mike at the Golden Gate Bridge

Mike at the Golden Gate Bridge

Alcatraz from Pier 39

Alcatraz from Pier 39

Alcatraz in the morning fog

Alcatraz in the morning fog

Alcatraz in the morning fog

Alcatraz in the morning fog

Alcatraz from Pier 39

Alcatraz from Pier 39

Alcatraz in the morning fog

Alcatraz in the morning fog

Alcatraz in the morning

Alcatraz in the morning

I spent a bit of time driving around the streets of San Francisco and around Pier 39, before heading back to the airport and flying to LAX, where I had to wait for hours before flying out at 10:30pm at night for the trip back to Sydney.

The pictures below were taken out the window of my plane on the way to LAX.

Waiting on the tarmac, there was a queue of planes. This one heading straight for me :)

Waiting on the tarmac, there was a queue of planes. This one heading straight for me 🙂

LA Freeway

LA Freeway

Some part of LA

Some part of LA

Hollywood Hills

Hollywood Hills

South San Francisco Bay

South San Francisco Bay

And that’s all!

I arrived back in a rainy Sydney at 6am on Saturday morning. It was a much more comfortable trip back, after being upgraded to Premium Economy – bigger seats, better service, better food. I even managed to sleep for about 4 hours on and off, after not getting any sleep on the way over.

It was a great trip, for my very first trip outside Australia. Hopefully I’ll get to do it again sometime soon.

Thanks for looking.

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