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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.