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