The best of geek America: Seven years of CNET Road Trip (pictures)

After tens of thousands of miles, CNET's Daniel Terdiman has brought much of the best technology, geek culture, architecture, military installations, and more to readers during his annual Road Trip project. Here's a look back at the best of Road Trip.

Daniel Terdiman
1 of 37 Daniel Terdiman/CNET


On Monday, CNET reporter Daniel Terdiman kicks off Road Trip 2013. This marks the eighth year of traveling the United States (and Europe) for the best stories in technology, military, aviation, architecture, and other topics. Over the previous seven years, Terdiman has visited dozens of locations, and has taken readers behind the scenes at some of America's most interesting and important spots.

On Road Trip 2010, he visited Frank Lloyd Wright's masterpiece Fallingwater.

2 of 37 Daniel Terdiman/CNET

Cheyenne Mountain

As part of Road Trip 2009, in the Rocky Mountain region, CNET's Daniel Terdiman became one of the first reporters in years allowed to take photos inside Cheyenne Mountain, long the famous home of NORAD.

3 of 37 Daniel Terdiman/CNET

Hoover Dam

One of America's most enduring landmarks, Hoover Dam was the site of a Road Trip 2007 stop.

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Grand Canyon Skywalk

Imagine walking a thousand feet above the Grand Canyon, with the Colorado River below. Visitors to the Grand Canyon Skywalk, which CNET's Daniel Terdiman visited on Road Trip 2007, can do just that.

5 of 37 Daniel Terdiman/CNET

Fallen Star

Who knew a little house could be so stunning. But Fallen Star, an art piece atop the engineering school at the University of California at San Diego, amazes just about anyone who sees it. CNET's Terdiman visited as part of Road Trip 2012.

6 of 37 Daniel Terdiman/CNET

Blue Angels

The U.S. Navy's Blue Angels are well-known throughout the country. But few get to see the high-performance flying team practice at their home base in Pensacola, Fla. Terdiman got the chance to see the team up close and personal on Road Trip 2008.

7 of 37 Daniel Terdiman/CNET

Titan Missile Museum

Once an integral part of America's nuclear defenses, Titan Missiles threatened destruction and helped assure that a nuclear war with the Soviet Union never happened. Now, visitors to the Tuscon, Ariz., area can visit the Titan Missile Museum, which Terdiman did on Road Trip 2007.

8 of 37 Daniel Terdiman/CNET

Space Shuttle Discovery touches down

Usually, CNET Road Trip doesn't get to cover breaking news. But during Road Trip 2008, CNET's Daniel Terdiman was on hand for the landing of Space Shuttle Discovery at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

9 of 37 Daniel Terdiman/CNET

Making the new $100 bills

During Road Trip 2010, CNET reporter Daniel Terdiman got a behind-the-scenes look at how the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing makes the next-generation $100 bill.

10 of 37 Daniel Terdiman/CNET

Lego headquarters

This is the reception area at Lego world headquarters in Billund, Denmark. CNET reporter Daniel Terdiman visited during Road Trip 2011 to see how Lego makes its world-famous bricks.

11 of 37 Daniel Terdiman/CNET

Grand Central Terminal

A view from high above the main concourse at Grand Central Terminal, in New York City, a spot that most people can't visit, but which was a must on Road Trip 2010.

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Very Large Array

Tucked away in the New Mexico desert is the Very Large Array, one of the biggest, and most important, radio telescope arrays in the world. CNET visited as part of Road Trip 2007.

13 of 37 Daniel Terdiman/CNET

U.S. Mint

At the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia, a huge bin full of dollar coin blanks sits, awaiting being fed into a press that will turn them into actual money. On Road Trip 2010, CNET reporter Daniel Terdiman visited the Mint and got a close-up look at the production process that every American coin goes through.

14 of 37 Daniel Terdiman/CNET

Spruce Goose

The Spruce Goose was one of the most famous airplanes in American history. Owned by the eccentric mogul Howard Hughes, the plane was supposed to be a stalwart in World War II, but only got off the ground once. CNET's Terdiman visited the Spruce Goose in Oregon as part of Road Trip 2006.

15 of 37 Daniel Terdiman/CNET

Sundial Bridge

One doesn't expect to find an architectural masterpiece in a small town in northern California like Redding. But the town needed a bridge to cross the Sacramento River, and convinced world-famous architect Santiago Calatrava to come and build the stunning Sundial Bridge there. CNET's Terdiman got a look at it during Road Trip 2006.

16 of 37 Daniel Terdiman/CNET

The navy's most cutting-edge submarine ever

On Road Trip 2010, CNET's Terdiman was given behind-the-scenes access to the North Carolina, the most technologically-advanced nuclear submarine in history. Here, the sub's captain demonstrates how to use a joystick to control the ship's periscope's direction. With that joystick, anyone can rotate the periscope 360 degrees, tilt the view up or down, and zoom in so that details at a mile away are easily discernible.

17 of 37 Daniel Terdiman/CNET


As part of Road Trip 2012, CNET's Daniel Terdiman got an up-close look at NASA's X-48C, the prototype of the all-new genre of planes, they hybrid wing body aircraft. The plane is located at the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center, in California's Mojave Desert.

18 of 37 Daniel Terdiman/CNET

PostSecret at home

Said to be the largest ad-free blog in the world, Frank Warren's PostSecret lets millions of people into the secret fears and hopes of others. CNET reporter Daniel Terdiman got a chance to watch Warren putting together a post at his Maryland home during Road Trip 2010.

19 of 37 Daniel Terdiman/CNET

Grand Coulee Dam

One of the largest public works projects in American history, Washington state's Grand Coulee Dam contains enough concrete to build a highway across the United States. CNET's Daniel Terdiman took it all in during Road Trip 2006.

20 of 37 Daniel Terdiman/CNET

Making Corvettes

Always one of the most iconic American cars, Corvettes are made at Chevrolet's Bowling Green, Ky., factory, which CNET's Terdiman visited as part of Road Trip 2008.

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Nuclear tests in Nevada

From 1951 until 1992, the United States tested nuclear weapons at what was then known as the Nevada Test Site. Over that time, 1,021 bombs were detonated at this 1,375-square-mile facility hidden away in the desert north of Las Vegas. Now known as the Nevada National Security Site, it is still littered with the detritus left behind by the force of the blasts. CNET visited during Road Trip 2012.

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Just northwest of Taos, N.M., a small community is a showcase for one of the most interesting types of sustainable housing in the world. Known as earthships, the buildings are off-the-grid, and are made of natural and recycled materials. And they are known for maintaining a steady, comfortable interior temperature year-round, regardless of how hot or cold it is outside. Plus, residents can survive on as little as nine inches of rain a year, thanks to the ingenious water recycling design. CNET's Daniel Terdiman visited the Earthship World Community during Road Trip 2007.

23 of 37 Daniel Terdiman/CNET

Taliesin West

Frank Lloyd Wright, perhaps the most-famous architect of the 20th century, set up a school in Scottsdale, Ariz., where students learned his methods amidst one of the most beautiful buildings in the country. CNET's Terdiman got a chance to see the so-called Taliesin West as part of Road Trip 2007. Stay tuned for a visit to Taliesin in Wisconsin during Road Trip 2013.

24 of 37 Daniel Terdiman/CNET

Meteor Crater

Another striking Road Trip 2007 stop was Arizona's Meteor Crater, the site of a massive meteor impact about 50,000 years ago that left a 4,100-foot-wide, 570-feet-deep hole in the ground.

25 of 37 Daniel Terdiman/CNET

Lunar Rover

This is Chariot, a prototype lunar rover that NASA developed at Johnson Space Center in Houston, where CNET's Daniel Terdiman visited during Road Trip 2008.

26 of 37 Daniel Terdiman/CNET

UPS Worldport

There may be nothing on Earth like UPS' Worldport facility in Louisville, Ky., where each night it processes hundreds of thousands of packages that are being sent all across the world. Its massive network of conveyor belts reminded CNET's Daniel Terdiman of an industrial Grand Canyon when he visited as part of Road Trip 2008.

27 of 37 Daniel Terdiman/CNET

Air Force Academy

If you've ever seen a movie where young military cadets are being yelled and screamed at for the tiniest transgression, you've gotten a pretty realistic version of what goes on at places like the Air Force Academy, in Colorado Springs., Colo., which CNET's Terdiman visited on "in-processing" day for brand-new cadets during Road Trip 2009.

28 of 37 Daniel Terdiman/CNET

Berkeley Pit

Shown is the Berkeley Pit, the centerpiece of America's biggest Superfund site, the massive mining operations and their contamination of vast areas of northern Butte, Mont.

Once upon a time, Butte was the "richest hill on earth," producing the most wealth of any mining town in the world. But as groundwater rose up through the thousands of miles of mine shafts and a mammoth open pit mine, and metal contaminants spread throughout the area, the city's aquifer became endangered and the city faced extinction.

These days, the government and mining operators say they have things under some kind of control, but not all residents agree.

CNET News reporter Daniel Terdiman visited Butte on Road Trip 2009 to get a look at the riches and the incredible damage that come from giant mining operations.

29 of 37 Daniel Terdiman/CNET

The duck

In a display case in one building at the Dugway Proving Grounds, a U.S. Army facility in the Utah desert that researches ways to protect soldiers against chemical and biological weapons, a rubber duck wearing a gas mask provides a little light-hearted humor in an otherwise serious environment.
CNET News reporter Daniel Terdiman visited the Dugway Proving Grounds as part of his Road Trip 2009 project.

30 of 37 Daniel Terdiman/CNET

Making A380s

At its Toulouse, France headquarters, Airbus makes a number of different passenger planes, none more impressive than the A380, the world's-largest passenger aircraft. CNET's Daniel Terdiman visited Airbus on Road Trip 2011 to see how the A380 is made.

31 of 37 Daniel Terdiman/CNET

Swiss Army Knife tweezers

They're so ubiquitous that it's hard to imagine that Swiss Army Knives are made in the tiny village of Ibach in the Swiss Alps. But that's just where Victorinox has been making the knives since 1891. Long a fan of the tools, CNET's Daniel Terdiman visited Ibach on Road Trip 2011 to see how they're made.

32 of 37 Daniel Terdiman/CNET

Beatles microphone

There may be no more famous recording studio in the world than Abbey Road Studios in London. CNET's Daniel Terdiman took a tour of the facility on Road Trip 2011, and saw first-hand where the Beatles, and almost every famous musician, recorded. Here, Lester Smith, who oversees Abbey Road's hundreds of microphones, shows off a 1950's-era vocal mike that was often used by The Beatles.

33 of 37 Daniel Terdiman/CNET


Though Eurostar trains are the most famous to use the Eurotunnel, which connects England to France, there are many others that go under the English Channel each day. During Road Trip 2011, CNET's Daniel Terdiman got a behind-the-scenes tour of the so-called Chunnel and was privileged to ride through the tunnel in the cab of one of the trains.

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Longest tunnel in the world

Long eager to reduce truck traffic -- and the resulting pollution -- over the Alps, the Swiss have invested in the Gotthard Tunnel, through which huge amounts of cargo can be routed, avoiding the winding, narrow Alpine roads. It is the world's longest tunnel, at 57 kilometers long, and it is 800 meters below the surface. The project was 20 years in the making when CNET's Daniel Terdiman visited during Road Trip 2011.

35 of 37 Daniel Terdiman/CNET

Air Force Test Pilot School

Located at Edwards Air Force Base in California's Mojave Desert, the Air Force Test Pilot School is where hot-shot pilots like Chuck Yeager perfected their flying. CNET's Daniel Terdiman learned all about the school during Road Trip 2012.

36 of 37 Daniel Terdiman/CNET

Border Patrol

A close-up image of a sensor package atop the mast of a U.S. Border Patrol mobile video surveillance system -- a radar, daytime and infrared cameras, and a laser range finder. All along the U.S.-Mexico border, the Border Patrol has installed high-tech surveillance in an attempt to keep smuggling traffic to a minimum. During Road Trip 2012, CNET reporter Daniel Terdiman spent a day with an agent who explained the technology being used in what is ultimately a futile battle against smugglers.

37 of 37 Daniel Terdiman/CNET

Shelby Cobra

A 2012 Cobra sits on Shelby's assembly floor in Las Vegas. The muscle car maker celebrated its 50th anniversary last year, when CNET reporter Daniel Terdiman visited as part of Road Trip 2012.

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