Entrance to the UC Bicycle Hall of Fame, Davis

Commemorate Bike Riders, U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame, Davis

The spokes of a high wheel with a picture of a high wheel in the backgroundSince Davis is the bike capital of the US it makes sense that they host the U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame.

The non profit charges $5 admission. If you believe that this is just for bike enthusiasts that religiously follow all the main races you might be as surprised as I was to find out it is not. 

On the lower level is an exhibit on the history of bikes. I loved the inventiveness of the bike; from the tall wheels with little wheels in the back to the modern race bike, people tried all sorts of ways to upgrade their wheels. The photographs of child messengers by Lewis Hines became the face of the child labor reform movement.  

A display for Mayor Taylor at the US Bicycle Hall of Fame in DavisThe upper level hosts the Hall of Fame. You won’t find America’s most known cyclist, Lance Armstrong. Due to his admittance of drug use he won’t be inducted into the Hall of Fame. The cyclists they are highlighting have fascinating stories, like Mayor Taylor, the world’s first black superstar, or five-time national champion Nancy Burghart.

The U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame is only open Wednesdays from 4 pm – 6 pm and Saturdays from 10 am – 2 pm. It is right next to the Farmers Market, so a perfect combination on a Saturday while exploring Davis. A six person tandem at the UC Bicycle Hall of Fame, Davis

Do you have a favorite cyclist?

The U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame is located on 303 3rd St in downtown Davis. Hours are Wednesday from 4 pm – 6 pm and Saturdays from 10 am – 2 pm. General admission is $5, seniors and students pay $3. 

People standing under the electric tower in History Park

Admire a Former Landmark of San Jose

The electric tower at the History of San Jose parkHistory Park in San Jose preserved a lot of buildings by moving them from their original location to Kelly Park. Some of the buildings are replications of former glory, like the Bank of Italy and the candy shop next door. 

An old photograph of the original electric tower taken from the information signage at History ParkNevertheless, the most recognized structure is the electric tower framing the intersection next to the Bank of Italy building. It is a half-scale replica of the original 237-foot tower that was built at the intersection of Santa Clara and Market Street in San Jose in 1881. The tower collapsed in a storm in 1915. As a monument to progress it was hoped to illuminate the downtown area by imitating moon light. J.J. Owens, editor of the San Jose Mercury, is credited with the idea. In an editorial piece, he proclaimed that by “providing a high and immense source of arc light, the night would become as day for the downtown area.” (Information signage at History Park)

Side view of the electric towerHailed as the world’s tallest free-standing iron structure of its time, some said the design influenced the 1889 Eiffel Tower. After a mock trial at Santa Clara State University, it was decided that two minds had independently come up with similar ideas. 

Ironically this concept of lighting up the downtown didn’t prove to be successful. The tower did not light the immediate area, and farmers nearby complained that the moon-imitating structure confused their chickens. 

But this was the beginning of available electricity in in cities, and gas lamps were slowly replaced with electric lights. 

Lit up replica of the electric tower during Christmas in the ParkA much smaller reproduction of this landmark can be seen lit up at Christmas in the Park sponsored by the Rotary Club.

Did you know about the electric light tower?

History in San Jose is located at 635 Phelan Avenue. Admission is free, except during special events, but parking is $6 for an all-day pass. The park is open Mondays thru Sundays, 9 am to 4 pm.

Resources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Jose_electric_light_tower

https://historysanjose.org/plan-your-visit/history-park/electric-light-tower/

https://www.sjpl.org/blog/looking-back-san-joses-electric-light-tower

 

Model train set with a train station

Follow the Trains at Moffett Field

War planes painted on the ceiling of the Moffett Field Historical Society MuseumThere are plenty of different ‘fleets’ at the Moffett Field Historical Society Museum. The model train set in the backroom was the most unusual. 

The Moffett Field Historical Society Museum illustrates the history of the various military and NASA commands at this military base. There are many fascinating exhibits illuminating the long history of the airbase.

A model of the USS MaconFor example: The history of the iconic Hanger One and the rigid airship industry was the most compelling reason to go to the museum. I have always been impressed with the size of the zeppelin hangers you can see from the 101. I learned that the USS Macon that was housed in Hangar One, together with her sister airship the USS Akron, is still the world record holder for helium-filled rigid airships. In 1935 the USS Macon was lost in a storm off the coast off Big Sur. 

On Saturdays you also have the pleasure to check out the train room. The building that is now the museum used to be the recreation building for the Navy. Model train building was a nice pastime. The trains ride through interesting model areas with various levels. And ad for halicrafters TV for the model trains set-up

To enter the base you are required to show a valid ID. Admission to the museum is $8 for adults, $3 for 13 – 17 year olds, and $5 for seniors and disabled persons. Persons that serve active military duty and members of the museum are free.

I highly recommend the Moffett Field Historical Society Museum to any person with an affinity to aviation (and model trains). 

The museum is open Wednesdays through Saturdays 10am – 3pm.

Have you been to the Moffett Field Historical Society Museum?

 

Android Lawn Statues surrounded by caution tape

Hope for Reconstruction of the Android Lawn Statues, Mountain View

Foam sculpture of a donut, partly destroyed.

The Android Lawn Statues were always an interesting excursion to show visitors. On my last visit, about a week ago, this place looked appalling. Caution tape was around the perimeter. The figures, which are larger than life sculptures of each new Android operating release, were either busted or completely removed. Named after sweet treats and candy, like Kit Kat and cupcake, these Android figures are made from foam.

Oreo Android figure wrapped in caution tape.

After the 2018 pie release, Google decided to go on a more boring route. The releases are now designed by numbers, starting with 10, which has an Android head peeking out of the zero.. For 11 and 12 you can see a virtual 3-D model. Interesting maybe to a nerd to find some inscription on the back – but unfortunately, it lost its cute appeal.

The lawn statues garden is located on 1981 Landings Drive; the Google merchandise store used to be steps away. Google decided to close down the store and now only has an online version. 

Hope is on the horizon

Hope is on the horizon
Google's Charleston East building is still under construction.

Google’s Charleston East (Google’s futuristic new campus) is almost here and they promised to open the first floor to the public. Watch this video by Tech Insider (​​https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cGx-sYIFHmE). The circus-like canopy shape introduces another interesting office building to Silicon Valley, joining Apple’s spaceship and Nvidia’s triangular headquarter. Or like the Bjarke Ingles Group architects call it: “smile-shaped clerestories”. In a report from the Mountain View Voice in February of last year, Charleston East’s public access could be revised to just allowing non-Googlers to enter on the west side of the building. Amid security concerns the tech giant might also put a, none the less pretty, wall around its campus.

Funny also, that the Android Lawn Statues have a neglected Facebook page, with a link to an Android fan site, but no official Google page.

I understand that these are office buildings and there is no responsibility to share anything with the public. Nevertheless, visitors to Silicon Valley long to see evidence of the high tech giving back to the community – even if it’s only in the form of some large foam statues. 

Have you been to Mountain View? Here is my list of 50 things to do in Mountain View.

Ocean of Light: Submergence by Squidsoup at the MAH

Interact with Art, MAH, Santa Cruz

Scene from Continuity at the Asian Art Museum, San Francisco.

We recently went to see teamlab’s Continuity exhibit at the Asian Art Museum. In 2016 teamlab showed off their immersive art in Menlo Park. In San Francisco they expanded their exhibit and I believe the rose smell was an added feature. I highly recommend the experience. It is a new way of connecting with art, by being part of it and even influencing the flow.

Ocean of Light by Squidsoup at the Museum of Art and History in Santa Cruz.

But this blog is for experiences in the Bay Area outside of San Francisco. So, let me point you to another amazing exhibit at the Museum of Art and History (MAH) in Santa Cruz. Before we argue if Santa Cruz is part of the Bay Area, maybe we can agree that sometimes you have to bend the rules, like the immersive art that is displayed. 

I visited Santa Cruz’s MAH in 2017 and was pleasantly surprised about the multiple aspects they offer to their visitors. Recently, I came to see the Ocean of Light: Submergence by Squidsoup, an installation of over 5000 suspended lights.  I felt again satisfied with the different exhibits.This immersive art work lets the viewer walk into the art; it is not only focused on light, but also movement, sound, and the immersive feeling it invokes. 

A giant blue foam hand with a tongue sticking out in front of speed wheel posters.

Besides their ongoing focus on the history of Santa Cruz there are also exhibits on the CZU Lightning Complex Fire, and the Art of Santa Cruz Speed Wheels. To round it up I recommend chilling in the outside sculpture garden on the top floor. 

More information

Continuity at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco just got extended until November.  

Opening hours are:

Thursdays 1 pm – 8 pm, Fridays to Mondays 10 am – 5 pm. 

Tickets for Continuity are sold separately and allow you to see the rest of the museum. Adult admission is $20 weekdays $25 weekends, discounted tickets are $15/$20.

The Museum of Art and History in Santa Cruz is open Thursdays to Sundays 12 pm – 6 pm. General admission is $10, students, teachers, and veterans pay $8.

Would you like to be immersed in art?

PALEOALTO by Marpi Studio at Lytton Plaza

Evolve with art, Code:ART in Palo Alto

PALEOALTO by Marpi Studio at Lytton Plaza, Palo Alto.

I was very excited to see that Code:ART is again happening in Palo Alto. The last time I saw it was 2017. Just this weekend, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, from 5 pm to 10pm; Palo Alto lets you peek into interactive art all around downtown. 

The anchor piece is PALEOALTO by Marpi Studio at Lytton Plaza. This is an interactive time machine. The viewer is transported to a superocean and interacts with strange marine animals and vertebrates on two large screens. 

CODED ARCHITECTURES 0.3 by Amor Muñoz

Once again, the alley next to Bell’s Books hosts a mural: CODED ARCHITECTURES 0.3 by Amor Muñoz. The black and white mural is binary code and spells out a message of connectivity. The viewer can decode the message by using a binary alphabet postcard. Fun and games! 

I/O by Ben Faltau

More interaction is at 555 Ramona St with I/O by Ben Faltau. A hidden message, that changes throughout the day, is on one side of this wall (output). The output gets displayed by the input on the opposite site.

Can we work together to find the answer? I really liked the sound of the output display, the letters moved like old destination boards. 

Jeffery Yip’s Cosmic Cannon on Bryan, Palo Alto.

Jeffery Yip’s Cosmic Cannon on Bryan is an installation with sound and light experience. While Cory Barr with his Color Currents on Florence St created an interactive mural. By now it is clear that most of these Code:ARTs are best experienced when it’s dark. LUMINOUS GROWTH by Liz Hickok, Jamie Banes, and Phil Spitler uses the AT&T parking lot on Hamilton to illuminate a large-scale projection and a sculpture installation of crystals in a cityscape.

LUMINOUS GROWTH by Liz Hickok, Jamie Banes, and Phil Spitler

HYDRALA by Dan Tran and Nick Sowers, in front of the Palo Alto City Hall, is a sound-sculpture. Again we are invited to play with the four channels of audio.

HYDRALA by Dan Tran and Nick Sowers

Not only is the art interactive, at each station you might meet the artists and chat with them about their intentions. 

Code:ART info

Code:ART, the interactive new media festival illuminates Palo Alto’s downtown October 7-9 2021, each day from 5pm to 10pm.

The locations can be found on this virtual map: https://viewer.mapme.com/codeart2021/ or you can pick up a postcard map at each station.

During Code:ART Bell’s Books has extended opening hours. On Friday the Pace Gallery and the Pamela Walsh Gallery hosts public receptions and on Saturday the Qualia Contemporary Art also hosts an opening reception.

What is your favorite way to interact with art?

Are you planning on visiting Code:ART?

Inside the orchetaria showing 3 electric pianos and some dining tables.

Dine and be Serenaded, Orchestria in San Jose

The Orchestria Palm-Court is a very special restaurant in San Jose. It serves great continental European cuisine, but the attractions are the many electric pianos. 

Electric piano with rolls of music and a poster for Golden Summertime.

You’ll be time traveling in this brick building from 1910. The decor is art nouveau with Tiffany lamps and Thonet’s No. 14 chairs. The music comes from the electric pianos, orchestrions (self-playing orchestras), and jukeboxes, all built around the 1920s. Our server moved around starting up the machines. He played jazz and classical music, and gave us a taste of the huge varieties of their electric pianos.

Popcorn machine at the Orchestria in San Jose

Partly the mechanics of the piano is exposed and you can see the rolls of encoded paper rolling around and pulling levers. The room is filled to the brim with machines and other paraphernalia, like the 1910 popcorn maker that butters every corn individually. We were encouraged to walk around and take a look at the machines. Since we booked an early dinner and, maybe also thanks to the Jazz Festival, the dining room was only occupied by us and one other family. For us, it was entertaining to guess which machine produced the music. 

A Poppy Dew from the vintage soda fountain at Orchestria.

We also enjoyed the food, they take pride in using all organic produce. I have to say, the vintage soda fountain drinks were my personal highlight. I enjoyed a Poppy Dew, fresh lime, orange sorbet and mint. But, let me tell you this was a hard decision. Parking was a challenge, so plan for that. Overall this is a true experience.

The Orchestria Palm-Court is located at 27 E. William St in San Jose, part of the hip SOFA district. They are only open Fridays and Saturdays for dinner. Please make a reservation ahead.

A box of music, Doin' the Raccoon.

Have you been to the Orchestria?

Near the Orchestria is the Institute of Contemporary Art and the Quilt and Textile Museum

I did not receive any form of compensation for writing this post.

Steel structure to remember IBM Building 025 in San Jose.

Visit the Birthplace of the Industrial Campus, IBM Building 025, San Jose

Here in Silicon Valley we are used to the idea of the Industrial Campus. Google’s headquarters in Mountain View is a great example of this. Office buildings are arranged in close proximity giving it a college campus feel. The prototype of a campus style office complex, from the 1950s, is the IBM Building 025 in San Jose. 

Memorial structure for IBM Building 025 in the Lowe's parking lot on Cottle Rd in San Jose.

In 2008 the remains of the Advanced Research Building 25 burned down (https://www.mercurynews.com/2008/03/08/fire-guts-san-joses-historic-ibm-building-25/). Nowadays there is only a structure that serves as a monument for this building. The steel construct, on the parking lot of a hardware store, also has information panels explaining the history.

Monument for the IBM Building 025, showing information panels.

In 1957 the 210-acre Cottle Road Campus was designed with low rise buildings, art, and a cafeteria. The steel structures with the brick walls and extensive use of glass heralded the era of New Modernist Industrial style. A good access to roads and the proximity to ample services made this concept highly desirable for the workforce.

This is one of three places claiming to be the birthplace of Silicon Valley. The other two are the HP garage and Shockley’s Semiconductor.

Where do you think is the birthplace of Silicon Valley?

The memorial for IBM Building 025 is located at 2-992 Cottle Rd, San Jose, CA 95123

Resources:

https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2019/09/silicon-valley-full-superfund-sites/598531/

https://thesixfifty.com/five-fascinating-finds-from-the-archives-of-silicon-valleys-computer-history-museum-d80659afe690

https://onezero.medium.com/the-birthplace-of-the-hard-drive-is-now-a-lowes-parking-lot-1729a23dea66

https://designobserver.com/feature/a-memorial-to-random-access-memory/32218

The Tasmienne Monument with the Coyote Creek in the back.

Decode a Mysterious Plaque – Coyote Creek, San Jose

Metcalfe bridge, Coyote Creek Trail San Jose.

The other day I parked at the Coyote Creek Lake parking lot and walked south over the Metcalfe bridge. The paved trail is part of the Ridge Trail and also part of the National Recreational Trail system. You can bike all the way to Morgan Hill. A few more steps after the bridge you’ll see a plaque on the right. Covered in dirt, but still visible are 0 and 1s. On closer inspection the words Santa Clara Valley appear on top of the binary code.

The Tamienne Monument, with Santa Clara Valley written on it.

I found the Tamienne Monument, or, as some websites also call it, The Center of Santa Clara Valley. This marker is not monumental at all. The plaque can be overlooked. The binary hints to Silicon Valley, the Tamienne reference suggests a misspelling of the Tamyen people who once lived in the Valley.

There is no acknowledgement of the creator and it is not listed in the public art repository of San Jose. For the binary it is less mysterious, I can spoil this for you:

Binary – Hex – ACSII char

01010011 – 53 – S

01100001 – 61 – a

01101110 – 6E – n

01110100 – 74 – t

01100001 – 61 – a

00100000 – 20 – ” ” (space)

01000011 – 43 – C

01101100 – 6C – l

01100001 – 61 – a

01110010 – 72 – r

01100001 – 61 – a

00100000 – 20 – ” ” (space)

01010110 – 56 – V

01100001 – 61 – a

01101100 – 6C – l

01101100 – 6C – l

01100101 – 65 – e

01111001 – 79 – y

What do you know about the Center of Santa Clara Valley?

If you like to bike around San Jose, the Three Creeks Trail in San Jose is another option.

Resources:

https://www.waymarking.com/waymarks/WM9AJ5_Geographic_Center_of_Santa_Clara_Valley_California

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coyote_Creek_Trail

https://www.americantrails.org/resources/coyote-creek-trail-san-jose-trail-network-california

The first Google storage server, Stanford

6 Hidden Spots for Geeks and Nerds in Silicon Valley

Silicon Valley houses more geeky nerds, and I mean this as an honorary term. There are some places that might be especially interesting for this group:

  1. The first Google server with a case made with Legos. 

This server is displayed in the basement at the Huang Engineering Building in Stanford. 

While you are there check out the replica of the HP garage.

Huang Engineering Building Stanford

475 Via Ortega, Stanford, CA 94305

https://engineering.stanford.edu/about/visit

2. Visit Facebook’s first office

The Face Book in Palo Alto is the first office of social media giant Facebook. A sign outside commemorates this place. This is an easier way to get a picture with a thumbs up. 😉

The Face Book - first Facebook office in Palo Alto.

The Face Book

471 Emerson St, Palo Alto, CA 94301

3. Apple Campus 3 

The spaceship, Apple Park, Apple’s new headquarters in Cupertino is only viewable from afar at the visitor center. A great way to get a closer look of Apple is the Apple Campus 3, AC3 as insiders might call it. 

Apple

222 N Wolfe Rd, Sunnyvale, CA 94085 

https://appleinsider.com/articles/18/03/19/apples-third-large-california-campus-is-already-built

4. See the latest Android figure

Google celebrates its Android operating system versions by dedicating lawn sculptures. The naming used to be in alphabetical order after deserts and other sweets. The former OS figures can be seen near the visitor center. The latest Android figure is usually displayed at the Googleplex. For Android 11 you can also see it online, to stay with the candy theme, the internal name was Red Velvet Cake, the recipe is ‘taped’ to the sculpture, at least in its virtual version. 

https://www.android.com/android-11-ar-statue/

Google

Android Lawn Sculpture in Mountain View.

Android Lawn Sculptures

1981 Landings Dr, Mountain View, CA 94043

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Android_lawn_statues

  1. Tour Roblox headquarters 

See your favorite characters at the Roblox headquarters. Due to COVID-19 the 60 minute tours will be awarded in a lottery. Sign up at:

https://behindtheblox.splashthat.com/ 

[Sorry there doesn’t seem to be a tour anymore.]

Roblox

970 Park Pl, San Mateo, CA 94403

5. Santa Clara NVIDIA Building

NVIDIA, inventors of the GPU, set themselves a building fitting for the creative potential. It is unique in how it used triangles, representing the building blocks for computer graphics.

NVIDIA

NVIDIA office in Santa Clara.

2788 San Tomas Expressway Santa Clara, CA. 95050

https://blogs.nvidia.com/blog/2013/02/20/nvidia-to-build-a-new-home-20-years-after-our-founding/

Do you have any tips on hidden spots for geeks and nerds?

 

In my 50 things to do series I usually have ideas for nerdy fun.