California, Arizona, Utah 2/2

After a number of interesting presentations on engineering design in at the IDETC09 conference in San Diego and a successful talk highlighting our paper, we ventured on towards our final destination, Las Vegas.
The first few days we rode along the back country roads of southern Arizona, where we saw the true “Heart of America”, small villages in vast beautiful landscapes offering simple lodging and typical healthy American food (the choice between sandwiches and burgers 😉 ).

The next days we used for some touristy locations such as the former Route 66, the obvious Grand Canyon (with some thunderstorms!) or the less overrun Antelope Canyon. Especially the latter was truely amazing, as one is crawling through a narrow rift with the sun shining in from above. In page we were pretty lucky: As this weekend is the famous Labor Day Weekend, where it seems all Americans explore their own country, all motels in Page, AZ were totally booked out. A friendly receptionist at one of these motels connected us to a local guy, renting out motel-style rooms for a reasonable price.

As I am writing we are on our way to the Zion National Park and are staying in Kanab, which is also dubbed “Little Hollywood”, as many Western movies where shot here.

So far for now, the last bits of information will be posten from home.
Cheers, Tim

California 1/2

As a colleague and I are presenting a paper at an international engineering conference in San Diego (IDETC09), we extended our stay by two weeks.
We arrived one week ahead in San Francisco and we will be leaving the US from Las Vegas a week after the conference.
So far the trip was really interesting. Starting in SF we stayed in a hostel (Green Tortoise), visiting some touristy places like Fishermens Wharf and the Golden Gate Bridge, which we even crossed.

From SF we took a rental car to Sequoia National Park, camping in those beautiful forests and going for a nice hike through the Giant Forest and even climbing the stairs up to Moro Rock. Staying in this amazing nature, we saw plenty of wildlife; birds, squirrels and deer. Just before leaving the park we even saw a black bear!

On our way back towards the pacific coast and San Diego, we went for a refreshing swim in a small river coming from the mountains we just crossed (we went up and down all the time, reaching altitudes as much as 2200m). With a short stopover in Ventura, we even spent a whole afternoon at the beach, watching the surfers ride the rolling waves.

So far for now, I guess I’ll write the next update when I get back home.
Cheers, Tim

German Bierfest 2007

We arrived at the festival around 3pm with the sun burning down on us. Hoping for a nice big German stein of cold beer we were pretty disappointed by the tiny glasses. After we got to the front of the first queue (which spanned across the whole street), we really got angry because those tiny glasses were only filled half way, because of some “sampler” regulations.
nice weather and long queues tiny glass half filled
After standing in the queues for a while, downing the small sips they would give us, the atmosphere got more relaxed and the queues dissolved into scattered groups of random people chatting. We even won a free t-shirt by spinning a wheel, which was really good at protecting our heads against a bad sunburn. The Americans were really interested in getting in contact with the many Germans gathering at the Bierfest, so in the end it all was a really nice afternoon chatting with many people and teaching Americans the interesting sides of the German language (swearing 😉 ).
The funniest thing happened when we were just standing in a queue: Someone accidentally dropped his beer glass (which was the ticket for free beer) and everybody in a range of about 50 yards started screaming and booing (watch the video).
German Bierfest 2007 the American view of Germans

The small glasses and the lack of authentic German food aside, this Fest was definitely a good experience.
Cheers, Tim.


Really missing the local schwäbisches (swabian) Food, I decided to make some myself. The first project were “Maultaschen“, minced meat mixed with spinach and spices wrapped into a layer of pasta dough.
Though it was my very first try, the taste worked out very well, only the pasta layer was a little bit too thick, as we’re lacking a rolling pin.
Boiling the Maultaschen A single Maultasche ready to be eaten
The next food project will be “Schupfnudeln mit Speckkraut”!

Cheers, Tim.

Time to Move

As the lease of the old place was running out mid August, Ben and Zach moved to a new place. A nice duplex about 5 minutes from the old place, still pretty close to my office. As there are only two rooms, my new “room” is my bed placed behind a couch in the quite big living room.
my new room my new room
As I’m not very picky and happy as long as there’s a stable internet connection, this arrangement is quite all right for the left four weeks.

The new place is really nice, with a big spacious kitchen and a backporch with a big open space.
moving day moving day
kitchen living room living room
backyard backporch