Thursday, January 7, 2010

"Fast and Famous" in Silicon Valley

Jay Leno recently tried to discover the inner racetrack around his home in Beverly Hills/LA; he subsequently filmed a movie similar to "Rendezvous" with a front-wheel view of the drive around the track (video). He sized it to be about the same as the famous Nurburgring, around 13 miles or so. Over the summer, driving to Stanford, I found a similarly thrilling route around I-280, which traces the hills around Silicon Valley. It stretches through Los Altos Hills and through the foothills of Palo Alto hills before heading into Portola Valley. On my drive to University Avenue yesterday, I came across an Aston Martin DB7 as well as a Ferrari 599 Maranello and tried to "race" them. That's when it came to me that this drive could indeed be the equivalent of Jay Leno's drive around Mulhulland Dr, through Canyon Valley, and back along Sunset Blvd. I decided to tweak it to give it a proper allowance of both hill driving and curves as well as a great straightaway for speed. The route is highlighted belwo. While Foothill Expressway is a little too much of a long straightaway, it is nonetheless exhilarating to speed down when you get a streak of green lights. Furthermore, it is very well paved and most traffic moves at 10 above the limit. It's a nice parallel to Sunset Blvd and gives a nice view of the hills along the way. Anyway, the 'ring starts on Magdelena Rd, right by the Rancho Shopping Center in Los Altos. Down this road and one signal light away is the onramp to I-280, which cuts around the hills and up to Page Mill Rd, which cuts back down the hill in a usually empty stretch that connects back to the backbone of the route, Foothill Expressway. This drive may not cut through the homes of Hollywood's stars, but nonetheless takes you by many VC offices that funded the big names in tech.

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