Thursday, November 6, 2008

Where is Mountain View?

Can I just say: I love questions like this!

Hey, Peter! It's been a long time. All is good here ... where is Mountain View?

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Latitude: N 37º 23' 34"
Longitude: W 122º 2' 31"
Elevation: 105 ft above sea level

Mountain View, California is in the Santa Clara Valley, on the southwest side of the San Francisco Bay Area.

It is between San Jose and San Francisco, nestled between Palo Alto ("Tall Tree") to the north, Sunnyvale to the south, and Los Altos ("The Heights") to the northwest. To the east is the San Francisco Bay itself. The Santa Cruz mountain chain, formed by the San Andreas fault line can be seen to the distant west.

Politically, it is in Santa Clara County, in the 14th Congressional District.

As a locale settled prior to the advent of English-speakers, there are a great number of old Spanish-Mexican roots in the area. In Spanish, Mountain View is "Monte Vista," and thus we have Monte Vista High School, Monte Vista in business and street names, etc. The city was formed from the split of the old Californio rancho of Don Mariano Castro. The south part became Sunnyvale. The north part grew into Mountain View.

The commercial main street in Mountain View is still called Castro Street after the Californio ranchero.

The old royal road, El Camino Real, the King's Highway, runs through the city along or near its northwest border with Los Altos. El Camino Real runs all the way from San Francisco Solano de Sonoma in Sonoma County, through San Francisco, Mountain View, San Jose, further on to San Diego (San Diego de Alcala) in southern California, and then all the way to Loreto in Baja California, Mexico.

Meanwhile, in the modern world, Mountain View is a railhead: the end of the line for the Valley Transit Authority (VTA) Light Rail. That rail system takes Silicon Valley commuters down to offices for Lockheed Martin in Sunnyvale, Cisco Systems in north San Jose, past San Jose International Airport (SJC), and the many businesses in downtown San Jose, such as Adobe Systems. CalTrain commuter services, which runs from San Francisco to San Jose, also passes through Mountain View.

Via road transit, we have three major thoroughfares which cross the city: US Highway 101, California Route 85, and California Route 237. 101 parallels the old El Camino Real and runs the length of the west coast of the United States. 237 cuts across the south shore of the San Francisco Bay, and connects US Route 101 in Mountain View in the west to US Interstate 880 in Milpitas at the south end of the East Bay. California 85 cuts north-south across Silicon Valley, connecting Mountain View with its southern cousins Cupertino and San Jose. It curves on in a gentle loop, reconnecting with 101 far further south.

This is all probably far more than you wished to know, yet I love my city. My town. My home.

Where are you living these days?


Feel free to tell me about your own home town in the comments below!

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