Saturday, July 21, 2007

Road Trip Day 5: Grand Canyon, AZ to San Jose, CA

"Check your engine oil every other gas stop, else you will be walking"

Last day of the road trip: Grand Canyon, AZ to San Jose, CA (Sumanth and Supriya's)

Total distance of about 750 miles.

This was the final stretch on this long drive. By this point, it was all about getting to the destination.

On the road trip, I checked the engine oil ever day in the morning before we started. The car needed oil only at the start of day 2. So, I was surprised when a motorcyclist shouted out the above warning to me about checking oil while driving through the desert; he claimed the oil just evaporates in the heat. Though I was quite skeptical about this message, I heeded his words and was glad I did. The oil level dropped from full to almost empty between two gas stops. We saw a few cars abandoned on the way and wondered if that would have been our fate too...

.. as it happened that was not the case and we made it safe through the cactus, the windmills and cattle farms. Yeah, we made it to the bay area.

Dinner: I've already blogged about it :)

Arizona to California
Grand Canyon to San Jose

Friday, July 20, 2007

Road Trip Day 04: Utah to Grand Canyon

Day 4: Nephi, UT to Grand Canyon, AZ.

Total distance about 450 miles.

The drive was easier than the day before and spectacular views made it worth the effort of driving the extra 300 miles. We drove by the periphery of Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks, drove past the vermilion cliffs, Grand Staircase-Escalante Monument, to reach the Grand Canyon.

Check out the pictures in the albums below to see how the color of the landscape changes from green/brown to brick red as we drove south/east.

We reached the lodge early enough to watch the sunset on the canyon and go to bed early for a good night's sleep before our longest drive (in miles) of the road trip, the next day.

Dinner: At Bright Angel Lodge, Grand Canyon (where we stayed)

Nephi Utah, to Grand Canyon, AZ
Utah to Arizona

Grand Canyon, AZ
Grand Canyon

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Road Trip Day 3

Day 3: Yellowstone WY, to Nephi, UT.

Total distance about 450 miles. We left Yellowstone early in the morning and made multiple stops within the park, viewing the geysers and other wildlife on the way. It took us several hours just to get out of the park and to drive through the Grand Teton National Park. The road was hilly and windy for most of the trip, till we reached Salt Lake City.

This was the most tiring day of the road trip.

By the end of the third day, I was looking to cut the trip short. We almost decided to skip the drive through Grand Canyon and instead go to Las Vegas, reducing the travel by a few hundred miles and seeking better comforts.

But, another look at the map of the Utah-Arizona border, with all the national parks on the way convinced me that it is worth the pain.

We also had a spider for company in our hotel room.

Dinner: Rice, sambhar, palak paneer and kesari!

Yellowstone Geysers
Yellowstone - Old Faithful and other Geysers

Yellowstone to Nephi, UT
Yellow Stone to Nephi, Utah

Road Trip Day 2

Day 2: Hot Springs, SD to Yellow Stone, WY

Total distance about 560 miles. Stops on the way: Mammoth Excavation Site, Hot Springs SD, stop to view Prairie Dogs and Bison, and two fuel stops. On the road around 10 am, reached Yellow Stone at about 7 pm.

Lunch: Tamarind rice
Dinner: Eggplant Parmesan and some fish dish, apart from some heat and eats.

Mammoth Excavation Site: Great story about how tens of mammoths ended up in a natural pit, preserving their remains for 26,000 years.

Yellow Stone National Park (Hot Springs): Stunning, highlight of the road trip; pictures in the album probably do more justice to this site.

Flat Iron and Mammoth Excavation Site
HotSprings: Flat Iron and Mammoth Site

Yellowstone National Park - Mammoth Hot Springs.
Yellowstone - Mammoth Hot Springs

Roadtrip Day 1

I have been way too lazy to add any new text to the blog. But, I have been busy uploading pictures from the trip to the online albums. Finally it is time to unveil those pictures.

The first day of the trip: Today distance about 700 miles. Out on the road around 7:15 am from Eden Prairie, MN. Reached Flat Iron, Hot Springs, SD at about 9:00 pm. Three fuel stops.

<--- Google Map of the various stops along the way.

Badlands
: Awesome, totally unexpected in South Dakota, scorching hot!!

Mt Rushmore: Did not enter, stopped on the side of the road for pics.

Lunch: Chapatti, jam, peanut butter, hot sauce.. (don't ask)
Dinner: Rice (carried a rice cooker), Dal Makhni (heat and eat), Ice cream (about the only store open at 9 PM)

Here are some pictures from the first day of the road trip (Click on the pictures to go to the album with all the pictures):

1. Eden Prairie to Bad Lands, South Dakota
Road Trip: Eden Prairie to Bad Lands

2. Badlands
Badlands, SD

3. Mount Rushmore (few, pictures, blurry presidents)
Mount Rushmore

Sunday, July 8, 2007

The Snoring Me!!

After a sumptuous meal prepared by Amma, we spent our Sunday afternoon snoring away like an orchestra!!

Here are the pictures, courtesy the two brats - Ishani and Supriya!

Minnesota Moments

I lived in Minnesota for about 4.5 years and Ishani was there about 3 years. In spite of the harsh winters, we always liked the place, largely because of the people and the relationships. It was satisfying to provide an insight into those relationship to my parents.

We stayed at Mike and Bernie's in Eden Prairie from June 23rd to June 27th. Amma and Achan slept in the guest bedroom, while we used M&B's bed room; they crashed over at Trudy's.

Amma and achan found Eden Prairie a welcome change from the high rises of Chicago. They were able to go for walks on their own in the mornings and were also able to be closer to nature. They also met Flora and Francis with whom they were able to converse in Tamil. They were also happy to pet Trudy's pet dog, Mosby. To top it off, the Farrells and Trudy were great hosts. All this ensured that my parents really enjoyed their time in Eden Prairie.

Ishani and I caught up with lot of old friends over a few potlucks.

I have uploaded some pictures from our stay in Eden Prairie. Click on the picture below to view the album.
Minnesota Moments

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Chicago to Eden Prairie (June 22 )

Even before we got to Eden Prairie, as we were getting out of Chicago, the road trip started off rather uncomfortably. After the movers took most of our stuff, we had estimated that what was left can be comfortably packed into my car and can be taken along during our trip. What a mistake!!

Not only did we have twice as much stuff as we could fit comfortably in the car, we were running more than an hour late from our planned departure time and were getting well into the peak rush hour on a Friday afternoon in Chicago. We had to junk a few of the things that we had initially planned on bringing along and packed the car up. There was some serious debate among us about shipping some stuff to Eden Prairie, but we decided against it.


Thus began the road trip that we had planned for months, in the most unorganized fashion. We reached Mike and Bernie's a little past mid night.

We were glad to be home again.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Finished Product

Given Vinod was so excited about the painting in progress, I felt compelled to post pictures of completed walls.

The colors are Wild Manzanita (bed room), Hawaiian Passion (dining), Pumpkin Patch (living room) and Lovely Lavender (office).



Vinod, I will also put in a good word with Sumanth about your requests.

July 4th in Mountain View

We were all too drained with the road trip and painting to go up to San Francisco for the fireworks on July 4th. Instead, we watched the fireworks at Mountain View.

I forgot to bring the tripod along and so all the firework pictures are shaky.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Road Trip - Maps

I plan on posting some maps related to our road trip.

Here is a Google Map satellite view of our road trip (click on the image for a better view of our way points).

Painting

Today we got the keys to our apartment in Mountain View. We selected some paints from Home Depot this evening and started painting under the guidance of Sumanth and Supriya.


We chose very striking colors, always a gamble. We will find out how we fared after the paint dries out.



The process was fun, particularly as Amma was so enthusiastic about painting that she was competing hard to get the roller away from everyone else.











We ran out of couple of paints and have left those half way through to be completed tomorrow. I was surprised to find that the stores will be open though it is the 4th of July holiday here.

I will post more pictures after all the painting is done, but I wanted to share some work in progress pictures.

Time to sleep, its 1:53 AM on July 4th.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Dinner at Sumanth and Supriya's

The food was so good that I had to post the picture immediately. All the dishes were big hits, especially the fish curry. In the picture below (R to L) are Supriya, Sumanth, Achan, me and Amma.

Reached California

After being on the road for about 10 days, we finally reached San Jose, California, this evening. We are staying over at Sumanth and Supriya's house tonight. The plan is to pick up the apartment keys tomorrow morning.

The road trip was awesome and there are a lot of pictures to post. I will get around to it in couple of days. Here are a couple of teasers from Yellowstone.