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California 2010
Posted by: Adam Fuson @ 2012.02.10.0828

2010 February 13th - Saturday. I had driven from Braidwood to Cincinnati the night before and Will Yokel drove Katie and I to the Cincinnati Airport just before 6:00. After a layover in Salt Lake City and circling San Francisco several times waiting to land due to fog delays, we touched down and got our bags. Katie and I called John Adams and Josh Valentine and arranged for John to drive us to San Ramon to meet Josh Valentine and Marie. The five of us spent some time together sharing ice-cream cake before John returned to the city and the remaining four of us departed north to see Redwoods and the Pacific coast. Josh, Marie, Katie and I departed San Ramon in Marie's Civic and stopped at a Motel 6 in Eureka, CA.

Sunday we drove to the Northern Redwoods visitor center and chatted with Renee Gibbs, a national park service ranger, who showed us Redwood pine cones. Afterwards we drove to Big Tree Trail and the WWII coastal radar station. We then returned to Eureka for lunch at McDonald's and Subway. After the December trip with the wheel falling off the BMW, I was extremely nervous about being a passenger in a car, and as the front seat passenger in the Civic with Josh driving, I was making enough fuss to make him want to leave me on the roadside. However, Josh was somehow empathetic, and we continued on our way south from Redwood National Forest. After getting gas on Bear Paw Road, we drove Rt 211 from Fortuna, CA to Humbolt County. The coast line was foggy and novelesque and when the road turned east we drove through tall, thick groves of Redwoods. As night fell we drove through groves where tree trunks met the asphalt directly and nudged the road out of their way. We stopped and walked in the thick night with only the lights from the Civic and some headlamps that did nothing to pierce the darkness of the unbelievable forest. We spent the night in the Sherwood Motel in Humbolt County staffed by Connie.

Monday morning Katie received a call from an Exelon recruiter, Josh and I checked the fluids in the Civic and the four of us drove the shoreline drive of Highway 1 to San Francisco. Returning to the city we met John Adams, stopped by the Moscone Center and picked up Aimee from SFO.

Tuesday John, Katie and I walked Aimee to the MUNI at Debose before John departed for Oakland and Katie and I went grocery shopping at Safeway. Katie and I stopped by the Moscone Center so she could check-in, and we had a small lunch together. Then I took the BART to Oakland to meet John, while Katie attended her conference at the Moscone Center. I checked my email and updated my calendar at the bike shop, before John and I dressed and rode to the Oakland "Port Ride". I had not ridden my bike in a long time and had spent about year in the cold of rural Illinois and to be without work for a few days in warm February temperatures was a very enjoyable time. After the Port Ride John and I cleaned up at the shop and returned to the city to find Aimee and Katie.

Wednesday Aimee went to work, Katie went to the Moscone Center and John went to Oakland. I cleaned up a bit and rode the MUNI to Powell to meet Katie at the Moscone Center. We walked around downtown and rode a cable car full of other tourists to Fisherman's Wharf for lunch. From the wharf we walked to the cable car museum, but it had already closed for the day, so we continued to Ghirardelli Square. We enjoyed complimentary chocolates and took the bus to the Palace of Fine Arts. Unfortunately, it was still under construction, but the lighting of the rotunda was still enjoyable in the night reflected off the pond. We returned to Ghirardelli Square and John and Aimee found us there. We went with John and Aimee, who had Korean food, but we were too full for any more food. Afterwards the four of us returned home, but John, Aimee and I met Stephan for a beer before bed.

Thursday morning Katie departed early for the Moscone Center as usual and Aimee for work. John and I drove to Oakland and rode our bikes east to the summit of Mt Diablo. Before reaching the summit, I told John I had to stop. I was resting on a bench having a snack and talking with John. I said, "John I'm so out of shape, this is the first time I could use compact gearing just to get up a climb." To which John replied, "Fuse, that is compact gearing!" After the summit John flew down the hill with me failing to keep up, as he descends like a wraith. Most of the way down I was cold either from a weather change or because I was so tired. We rode to the BART station at Walnut Creek, each had a warm drink and boarded the train back to Oakland. John and I showered at the bike shop, found Katie at the ferry building and returned home. The four of us had a monumental Vietnamese dinner and followed it up with Mitchell's Ice Cream.

Friday John and I picked Katie up from the Moscone Center and drove to Berkeley for Indian foods. We printed some forms at the bike shop and stopped at a local coffee shop. Later we found Aimee at the embarcadero and had Mexican food in the Mission. Afterwards we enjoyed some bourbon ice-cream.

Saturday John and Aimee drove Katie and I to SFO and we returned to Cincinnati. Will and Megan met us at the airport and drove us to Katie's apartment at Edroy.

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California 2009
Posted by: Adam Fuson @ 2012.02.04.2239

December 2009 Katie and I were planning a trip to San Francisco. It was a rather rushed affair. The planning was nearing the end of the year after a refuel outage at the power station and I was driving to Cincinnati weekly to visit Katie and my family. The vehicle was undecided. The route was undecided. The crew was undecided. I was nervous about the trip.

As often happens, decisions were made by default. The AstroVan had lost its rear brakes, and so the BMW was the only real choice for a vehicle unless we entertained renting, which was considered. The crew finally boiled down to a traditional 3 man crew, however, Katie and I would drive with the Bull to San Francisco, the Bull would fly back to Cincinnati and John Adams would return to Cincinnati in the BMW and then return to San Francisco by plane after the holidays. I was nervous about the trip.

Katie was almost entirely responsible for the route and destinations of the trip with only global advice given by me as to distances and what things might be good to see and what things I had already seen. The Bull did some planning of his own and I was surprised as to how much communication actually occurred before the trip. The BMW received a new thermostat and front brakes before the adventure and 2009 December 13the the Bull, Katie and I departed Cincinnati. We had setup a webcam in the BMW (mounted where the passenger side sunviser would normally have been) and connected it through a router to Katie's Macbook running Ubuntu. A cron job was then set to save an image every daylight minute of the trip. I was nervous about the trip.

We drove non-stop across the plains. We only stopped for a few rainy moments at the arch in St Louis, MO. In Colorado we turned south, drove through Colorado Springs, CO and towards the Great Sand Dunes near Alamogordo, CO. We arrived just before a storm and departed into the snow sunset. Mistake 1. The tires were pretty much dead on the BMW by this point. We did have snow chains with us and drove for about 70-100 miles in chains from Alamogordo, CO to Sante Fe, NM. It was slow, but felt reasonably safe. We arrived late and slept in a hotel in Albuquerque, NM. The following day we ate at the Pioneer Restaurant, visited the hieroglyphs and the petrified forest. We slept at another hotel in Flagstaff, AZ, which was the best hotel of the trip. I was nervous about the trip.

The following day we toured the southern rim of the Grand Canyon. It was again slow going in places with the poor tires. We arrived at the Hoover Dam after nightfall and slept in a casino hotel 2 miles from the dam. The next morning we walked over the dam and drove through Las Vegas, NV on our way to the Mojave Desert. However, the rear, right tire blew. We changed it in a few moments, called several people and located some new tires at a Walmart in Bakersfield, CA. At this point we realized the rear suspension had some issues. The tires were changed and we proceeded toward San Francisco. That night we slept in San Luis Obispo. The next day we drove up Highway 1 to San Francisco, where the Bull departed with his older brother, Jim. Katie and I visited and stayed with John Adams and Aimee Taylor before she flew away. I was nervous about the trip.

John, Katie and I departed San Francisco early and drove through the night. Daylight broke before we reached LA and we continued towards Arizona. We stopped to see Joshua Tree and detoured to drive along the roads surrounding Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station (west of Phoenix, AZ) before meeting Kevin Harsley at a Chili's for dinner in Tucson. I had driven most of the daylight hours and John took over for a few night time hours of driving. About 30 minutes after leaving Chili's John thought the right, rear tire blew again. Unfortunately, the car spun around and slid into the median. I had been asleep for it all in the passenger seat. Katie was in the rear seat. I woke when the car stopped and asked why we were stopped. John said, "We were just spinning. I think a tire blew." I got out with a headlamp in my hand and inspected. We had lost the right, rear wheel. I instructed Katie to call AAA and John to find the wheel. Katie was successful, John was not. A state trooper arrived and we sat in his car waiting for the tow truck driver. I was relieved. We new what the problem of the trip would be and I suspected it would be solved without too much hassle and most importantly we were all somehow safe.

We called Kevin and spent a few nights with him, while the BMW was repaired. We even managed to spend some time at a few nearby parks. After the BMW was repaired we packed again and departed for Cincinnati. It was a non-stop drive shared between John and I all the way back to Cincinnati. We arrived late at night, as expected and distributed the people as necessary. Katie drove to Cleveland the next day and John and I spent some time addressing some of the BMW issues.

Within a month the suspension issues had been resolved with the BMW, thanks to Allan and Import Auto Exchange. However, after this trip I decided I would never travel with so many people in such a small vehicle, and that I would soon buy my own van.

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A New Year
Posted by: Adam Fuson @ 2009.09.29.2222

Over a year has passed since the last posted article and many things have changed. Prior to the last written article Thomas Karzoumi, a doctoral student in the UC Medical Physics program, had passed. I met Thomas Karzoumi in the fall of 2005, and during the next few years I visited Karzoumi several times in Columbus. Ahmad Amoush and Katie Bartholomew accompanied me to Karzoumi's house. There was always food and tea at Karzoumi's house, and he introduced me to new foods such as dates and fattoush salad. I tried some pasta salad and went canoeing in the fast flowing river behind Karzoumi's house. I was inspired by Karzoumi's energy and confidence, and he encouraged me in my studies and work.

From the spring to the fall Katie and I probably moved a dozen van loads of yard debris from decavirate. Mom planted flowers all around the house, while I trimmed branches, cut down bushes and killed bees. Brad mowed the lawn as usual, and Katie and I unloaded the brush. During the spring and summer Katie and I unloaded the brush at the farm, but in the fall Anderson Township setup a debris collection station behind the firehouse, where I dumped half a dozen loads of brush. Anderson Township had setup a yard waste collection station in response to the massive amount of yard debris created by the September 2008 windstorm. The windstorm left the city without power for days.

As the summer progressed the role I had taken in UC cycling club was minimized. UC cycling attended Superweek with its largest group ever, of which I was a part, but I did not go to St Louis for the Gateway Cup. I had promised Reser that I would run the communication wires for the new bike shop and that role became critical near Labor Day weekend. So Katie and I pulled wire for most of the weekend. To both our disappointments we were also not present for the fireworks in Cincinnati. As the year progressed I spent less time cycling and more time sailing. Allen Morris most commonly sailed with me at East Fork Lake or the Ohio River, but The Bull, Winnie and Katie came, as well. Despite having not arranged a sailing outage in 2009, perhaps we will make a late year breakthrough after the Gateway Cup.

Katie graduated from Xavier University in May 2008 and returned home to Cleveland shortly afterward. After her graduation from XU and her sister's graduation from high school, she and her family vacationed in Hawai'i. Returning from Hawai'i Katie began intensely looking for a job and found at least 3 in the Cincinnati area. For several weeks she would visit the city and interview with a different employer, but in late July she was offered a position with a lab at UC which researches HCV and HIV/HCV coinfection.. After accepting the position at UC she began looking for housing and I helped in moving her to Cincinnati with the Astrovan. Eventually she moved into an apartment in the Oakley area. Katie's Corolla spends most of its time in her apartment's garage, while she takes the bus to work and walks to Kroger.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008 Bremer called me to let me know that he would not be coming to the evening ride, as he was in the hospital with his wife, Mandy. She was giving birth to their first child and daughter, Lorelai Bremer. The preceding December Mrs Buskey, Paul Wright's wife, had given birth to their first child and daughter, as well. But even before that Kim Fuson had given birth to their first child and daughter, Kiera Cassidy McVay Fuson.

Last October an Exelon HR representative contacted me and after a phone conversation I was scheduled for interview with the reactor engineering manager at Braidwood Nuclear Generating Station. Within a week I had accepted an offer to work in the reactor engineering group and began looking for a place to live near the station. November 17, 2008 I began work. Since my start I have enjoyed many days of training, and I am looking forward to being able to contribute to the work at the station.

I moved to Braidwood, Illinois about 2 weeks before Thanksgiving, but despite the move Will Yokel and I had planned a trip to Colorado Springs, Colorado to move some furniture for one of his friends. The van had been loaded before Thanksgiving in preparation for the drive and late on Thanksgiving Day Will and I began our drive to Colorado by heading to Braidwood. Will drove his Protege and I drove the Astrovan until we arrived at my apartment, where he parked his car and joined me in the Astrovan. We then continued across Illinois, Iowa and Nebraska. In west Nebraska we departed the interstate to investigate some interesting roads and a nearby hydro-electric dam. Approaching Colorado we heard a slight screeching noise above all the other wind noise of the van and shortly afterwards the van began overheating, losing voltage and losing power steering. I made some quick phone calls, while Will drove and we found our way to the nearest Autozone in Ft Collins, Colorado. An idler pulley's bearing had died in the Astrovan, but with the amazing help of some locals a shorter serpentine belt was fitted to the van and we were on our way again.

Later that night we delivered the furniture after driving through a bit of snow en route to Colorado Springs. The following day, Saturday, we ascended Pike's Peak by cog-train as far as weather would permit and then departed Colorado Springs for Braidwood. We stopped by a local auto parts store for an extra belt and pulley, "just in case," but it has not since been necessary. Will and I shared the driving across Colorado, Kansas and Missouri, and though it was cold and snowy we drove straight through except for a short stop at a rest area east of Saint Louis. Afterwards we drove the remaining few hours back to Braidwood, where Will then departed in his own vehicle for Cincinnati.

This spring I bought a used car, a 1997 BMW 328. Though I only spent a few thousand dollars, I was nervous about the vehicle after I purchased it. I have felt so comfortable with the Acura, that anything else was unsettling. After registering the car, I immediately posted it for sale. In the meantime, a few items needed repair. While repairs were being made, nearly a dozen people emailed me about the car. I concluded I had actually found a good deal, and I continue to drive the vehicle. I am feeling more comfortable with the BMW and have already driven over 12000 miles in it.

Also, I did finally graduate.

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Superweek 2008
Posted by: Adam Fuson @ 2008.08.15.0942

Wednesday, July 23 we all planned to meet at Stratford Heights and leave for Milwaukee and a few days racing at Superweek. We had planned to meet and leave before 5pm, but Aaron had flipped himself over about a week prior and was still getting his bike put back together at the shop, so the rest of us spent time eating and getting some things ready. Aaron finally arrived to us sharing a dessert of Katie's birthday cake, and the boys began packing the van. Within an hour we were on our way to Milwaukee leaving about 8pm EST. Our host had left their basement door open, so when we arrived in Milwaukee about 4am CST, we had no trouble getting to sleep without bothering anyone in the house.

The first day of racing was early Thursday in Racine, Wisconsin. Poptic finished his first race in Racine, as did Paul Ryan, but Aaron was still sore from his recent crash and Kevin and I got dropped. After the race we stopped at a grocery store and a Culver's before returning to the basement to shower and sleep. Friday's racing was in Kenosha around the Food, Folks, 'n' Spokes Festival. We all watched Poptic race and were surprised when he was minimally involved in a crash right in front of us. We helped him back into the race, but he spent the remainder of the event chasing the pack. We also noticed that he had lost his water bottle during the crash, so we handed it up to him on the backside of the course. During the ladies and masters races Katie and I went and played at the beach a few blocks away. Then before the cat 3 race I rode a few miles to the nearest KFC to get some pre-race fried chicken. Kevin and Aaron had no trouble finishing their race, and though Paul crashed himself on a straight section he got up and managed to finish with the group. I managed to finish 96 of 100 laps of the Pro/1/2 race.

The final day in Milwaukee was spent at Downer Avenue. For the first time all races were held on the Downer Avenue course. The Captain found the local pancake restaurant near the finish line, while Poptic prepared for his race. Poptic raced well staying towards the front of the pack and looking comfortable. Unfortunately, with 6 laps to go he had a puncture and with no free laps his race was over. After Poptic's race Katie, Poptic and I rode north to the nearest Culvers to get some chicken. The cat 3 race had a sizable crash, in which Aaron was involved. Paul Ryan managed to avoid the crashes and stay with the pack to the finish. I was only able to finish 12 laps of the big race.

My first Superweek was 10 years ago with my grandmother in 1998. That year I raced the 4/5 race and drove home through the upper peninsula of Michigan. The following year the Captain and I went and I raced the cat 3 race, which I did until 2004, when I first finished the pro race. I have only missed 2000 and 2006. During these 10 years several have raced with me at Superweek: Scott Denny, Bob Schoettinger, Eric Humbert, Domanie Granger, Brian Nieport, Nathan Bremer, Frank Hollenkamp, Aaron Hoffman, Paul Ryan, Chris Poptic, Kevin Harsley and others. Superweek is some of the longest, fastest and most fun racing in the US.

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Joe and the Cisco
Posted by: bull @ 2008.07.22.0125

Each year San Francisco hosts the second largest semiconductor convention in the galaxy - Semicon West. This year I was fortunate enough to be able to attend. By procuring our own lodging in the bay area my fellow R&D co-workers and I managed to convince my boss to pay for the plane tickets out there. My older brother Jim, currently attending Berkeley in pursuit of a doctorate in biostatistics, graciously allowed me and my co-worker Matt to stay with him. (you may recall Matt from the Decavirate Conquers the Orient! article picture with Pikachu, him and me) It was crowded lodging as there were 5 people total staying in my brother's two bedroom apartment, but due to the serious lack of furniture we didn't bump into each other that often.

As the primary purpose of this trip was a vacation without taking any PTO days I left Saturday the 12th and returned Saturday the 19th - despite the fact that we only attended the conference on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. The conference was interesting, but I enjoyed beautiful views of San Francisco much more. This trip I was able to visit a couple new destinations. I took the ferry from the Embarcadero to Sausalito and walked from there across the Golden Gate Bridge. Additionally, as a demonstration of some of the unfortunate limitations of the public transportation system I decided to go the Computer History Museum in Mountain View by Bart/Caltrain/bus/foot and managed to make it there from Berkeley in just less than 3.5 hours. Because of the long trip and needing to get back to catch Caltrain to San Jose that day I only managed to get 25 minutes in the museum. I still think it was worth it. They have a functioning Babbage Engine and I was fortunate enough to catch part of the demonstration. A Babbage Engine is a 19th century mechanical polynomial root calculator. This particular device has 8000 parts and is powered by a 50+ year old lady turning a big crank. It's truly astounding.

On the way home from San Fransisco weather forced me to miss my connecting flight to the Dayton International Airport and in order to avoid a 24 hour insanity festival in the Minneapolis International Airport I flew to Indianapolis and rented a car and drove home. I took a small break at an Indiana Waffle House and enjoyed okay food and delightful service from a rotund waitress named "Juicy." I was able to make it back to BullChester by 3:30am Sunday morning. All told it was an excellent trip - the only major dissapointment was that I was unable to find the time to meet up with any of the Cincinnati expatriots now residing in San Francisco. I took a great deal of photos and unfortunately this overly majestic view of me in front of Coit Tower is the best one.

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