Fri Jun 20 18:49:53 2003
Chilling at Dave's Place -- Sunderland, MA

After leaving West Brookfield, we biked on for quite a ways to the Quabbin Reservoir. We found a beautiful campsite next to a small pond. It was a bit close to the road, but we managed to get far enough back that we weren't visible. There was a nice bed of pine needles on the ground to make sleeping softer.

We were almost out of water so we walked a short ways to an access road. There was a park nearby, and we thought this road would take us in short order to a picnic area with some water fountains. We walked for a mile or so before running into a couple walking back from the picnic area. We asked them about it, and they said it was about a mile more (it turned out to be more like two miles -- or so my aching Achilles' tendon told me). They said they weren't sure if there was drinking water, but suggested walking down to the reservoir and taking water there. We stopped another couple in a car a while later and asked them. They had the same response. They didn't know, but they were sure if we went down the hill to the reservoir we would find some. The guy also said we would find some water in the gully alongside the road. We passed. Now here's a question to anyone reading: Is the water in a reservoir generally considered pure enough to drink straight, or do they process it first? I know they try to keep it pretty pure, but how much can they keep giardia and crypto and so on out of it?

Anyhow, needless to say, we got to the picnic area after a long walk and found that it was a lovely picnic area, with a great open field and a couple of trees to shelter the picnic tables. It was also beautiful and sunny. Unfortunately, there were no water fountains, our feet were sore, and it was a long walk back. Fortunately, walking back is always shorter than walking forwards, and we made it back to our campsite fairly quickly. We were lucky enough to have spotted a house along the way (which Emily suggested we stop at in the first place -- I was too committed to "laying low," and didn't want to let the people know we were camping nearby, lest they tell us to move). We went up to the house and knocked, but there was no-one home except a trio of especially yappy Shi-tzus. So we simply walked around back and filled up with water from a hose.

Dinner was rice and beans for the second time, always a delicious dinner on the road. Unfortunately, my pot stand collapsed last night under the strain of continuous high heat (it was, after all, only made from a tuna can). So instead we improvised a pot stand with tent stakes. I will try to make another one here in Amherst.

Which brings me to today. It started raining overnight, and we had promised each other that we would sleep in this morning, even more so if it was raining. But, even though we woke up to rain, and waited around for a couple hours inside the tent, eventually we both became impatient to get to Amherst and started out.

The hills have been getting more and more intense as we head away from the coast. We will hit a long, steep uphill that just seems to go on and on. . . and then we crest a ridge and come to another one. We do get payoffs in the form of long, insane downhills. They're more than worth it. But I worry about how I'll fare when I get to the Rockies.

The rain stopped by the time we got to Amherst Center, and we found that "Taste of Amherst," an annual festival involving food and beer/wine tasting, was going on this weekend. So we stopped to have some lunch, and I called my friend Dave to see what was up (we're staying at his place). No answer from Dave, but after calling I found two messages on my voice mail. I expected them both to be from Dave, but the first was from Google! Julie in recruiting had called me back, and left a message saying she had reviewed the feedback from my phone screen and was "very interested" in flying me out for an in-person interview, and I should call her back! Very exciting. I was so relieved. Especially exciting, since I had a dream last night about getting a call from Google, and I had dreamt that they wanted me to come out for an interview. I woke up and was a little disappointed it hadn't happened. But then it turned out it did. It's even possible the message arrived last night, since my phone was off. Anyhow, I'm thinking I may fly out of New York City when I get there, I haven't called Julie back yet. Things are somewhat dependent on the arrival of my new ID from the RMV.

Anyhow, we had some lunch at Taste of Amherst, bummed around a little, then headed to Dave's house. Dave wasn't home, but we met his awesome housemates, took showers did laundry, and relaxed and watched some movies. Dave's got a wonderful house, totally relaxing to be in, and very beautiful. Jim's coming over in a bit, and we're all going to head to a Taste of Amherst to hang out for the evening and meet Jessica. It should be lots of fun!