The other day I had the opportunity to take a bike ride from Fremont to Mountain View and back. It was the first time I'd taken that particular trip, and was the farthest I'd ever gone riding within one 24-hour period, though the "there" and "back again" sections were separated by several hours.

On the way back I went around the southern tip of the Bay, through Sunnyvale. I grew up in Sunnyvale, but the experience of being there again was very strange.

For one thing, I wasn't actually close to the part of Sunnyvale I lived in; I was mostly going through the more commercial areas, even right past a couple light rail stations. I remember driving by with Mom and Dad and seeing Apple signs there, even twenty years ago or more, back when the logos were in rainbow colors instead of the grey-on-white scheme they have now. The signs are otherwise the same: those little rectangles. Still, there's...more there than there used to be.

I left for college in 2004, and haven't actually lived in Silicon Valley proper since then (aside from a couple summer visits). Even when I was there, there were technology companies around, but they hadn't attained the massive status that they have now. Facebook was just starting out as I was leaving. (When I was a freshman in college, "one person my age explaining to another what Facebook is" was actually a reasonable conversation for people to have, for a very brief window.) Gmail started parceling out invites while I was in college too.

I can't help but feel a little "grandfathered in"; I only belong to the extent that I grew up there. I'm not an app developer making six figures, nor a Google employee, so I don't really fit in there anymore.

Still, it was a nice bike ride. Google maps sent me on a bunch of trails that were technically closed, but not actually gated, so I went through all these woodsy and wild areas in the dark. Were those paths there all along, or are some of them new? Either way it was quite an adventure.

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