Monday, May 2, 2005

Sandia Peak, Albuquerque

Next morning (May 1st), we unwillingly bid farewell to the canyons and headed towards Albuquerque. 

Drive: Williams to Albuquerque.
Start: 8:15 Am (Arizona time)
Destination: Sandia Peak, NM.
Distance: 360 Miles
Expected Time: 5 hrs 11 Mins
Reached: 3:00 Pm (Colorado time) ie 2:00 pm Arizona time
Actual Time taken: 5 hrs 45 mins

At the small town of Albuquerque,  we took the cable car to the Sundia peak. It was interesting to see a lot of snow up on this mountain, in midst of a dessert. The view from the top was great.

We also wanted to visit a Meteor crater but then for some reason thought this would be a similar site and thus almost reached till the entrance and decided to head back.

The drive back was fun. It was snowing very badly in Colorado.

Drive: Sadia Peak to Colorado springs
Start: 5:00 Pm
Destination: Home
Distance: 385.98 Miles
Expected Time: 5 hr 30 mins
Reached: 11:00 PM
Actual Time taken: 6 Hrs. (Bad road condition, snow)

Saturday, April 30, 2005

Grand Canyon

On a Friday evening (29th April) at around 6 PM, Seb, Jonah, Sundar and our manager from India Suresh, drove out of Colorado Springs, heading towards the Grand Canyon. Earlier that week, I had booked our stay at the Best western Hotel in Williams. 

Suresh drove most the of the way. Seb, Sundar and I, at the back seat played - "Tom Dick and Harry", "Hang man" to kill time. At around 8:30 PM, we stopped for dinner near Springer, New Mexico. The town was so small that it had no good restaurants open at that time. So, we headed back to a truck stop we had noticed earlier on the way. Settled in for what ever was available. Otherwise, the drive was uneventful. We took turns to drive and reached Grand Canyon at around 6 in the morning. 

Drive: Colorado Springs to Grand Canyon, Arizona.
Start: 6:00 PM
Distance: 796 Miles
Expected Time: 11 Hrs 20 Mins
Reached at 6:00 AM.
Actual time taken - 12 hrs.

We decided to drive directly to the canyon to watch the sun rise. The view from there was magical. As the orange sun rose up on the sky, it unveiled to us the vastness of this canyon. One could easily and happily get lost in them. It was enormous and gorgeous. It was also interesting to note that when we were driving to the canyons we mostly had flat land, but when we got to the viewing point it was a sudden dip of several thousands of meters. That was an incredible feeling. It was like the opposite of climbing a mountain, if you know what I mean. 

On our way back, an incident happened that remains till date as a joke among us. Seb was driving and four ravens flew across and one was hit by our car and probably killed. Well, that part was sad but then we bullied Seb for killing one of the only four ravens in Grand Canyon. 

When we arrived at the hotel we requested to check in but the receptionist told us that it was not yet time. But our watches showed that it was past 8:00 AM. So, we argued. We realised only then that we were on a different time zone. We had some breakfast and then checked into the rooms. Nevertheless, our disappointment with the delay, that was specially displayed by our manager got us two king size rooms for the same price. 

After lunch at a Pizza hut, we headed to the Canyon again. We took several trails to viewpoints like Yaki point, Navoja point and desert view to get some glimpse of this magnificent natural structure. 

We wanted to walk down the canyon, so we tried walking down on Kaibab trail, which apparently was not the trail we were looking for. Someone guided us to a trail next to Bright Angle lodge. So we drove till there and went on a short hike down the canyon. However, we could not walk all the way down, it would take us more than 8 hours and normally is a two day trek with a halt at the base. Convincing myself that someday I would return to do it, we returned back as it was getting dark already. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Jewel Cave & Devil’s Tower

Next morning, on the 24th, we woke up by 6 AM and got ready, finished our breakfast at the motel. I tried some delicious waffles. We left to Jewels cave at around 7:50 AM after checking out from the motel. 

Drive: Keystone to Custer.
Start: 7:50 AM
Destination: Jewel Cave, Custer, SD.
Distance: 34.9 Miles
Expected Time: 47 Mins
Reached at 8:45 AM.
Actual time taken 55 Mins.

Sundar was in the other car. Attic who had come with our colleagues was his senior and he took this as an opportunity to rag him for fun. 

The cave was very interesting with its intricate formations. Jewel cave is said to be the third largest cave in the world. That is something interesting about America. They always market things well. A small stream runs by and it might be turned into a scenic view point. Everything had to be compared with the words best. 

After this, we drove to the Devil’s tower in Wyoming. 

Drive: Custer to Devils Tower
Start: 11:00 Am
Destination: Devils Tower
Distance: 96.4 Miles
Expected Time: 1 hr 42 mins

While driving a turkey came my way and I came to a screeching halt. I was at high speed too as we had taken a different route that passed through some remote locations. 

Reached 1:00 PM
Actual time - 2 Hours.

So, there stood a devils tower magnificent and as though reaching to the sky. We saw a few climbers almost reaching the summit. I wished to explore the summit too. Devils tower have unique structure. It has a gear teeth like flutes cut on them that appear impressive. 

We bid farewell to our friends from North Dakota and drove towards Colorado at around 2:30 PM.

Drive: Devils Tower to Colorado Springs
Start: 2:30 PM
Destination: Home
Distance: 464 Miles
Expected Time: 7 hrs 19 mins

We had lunch at a place called Gillet in Wyoming. When we reached Denver, it began to snow badly. I had to concentrate a lot while driving. We had dinner at Woodlands restaurant in Aurora. We had some interesting experience here. 

When we entered the restaurant the server asked - « Are you coming from he movie? »

And we honestly replied - « No we are coming fromMr Rushmore. » 

Later we learnt that there was a new Rajnikanth film that got released and there was some offer with movie and dinner package. So, the hotel was filled with Tamil fans of Rajni. A big buffet was arranged. 

We reached home by 11:00 PM. 
Actual time taken- 8 Hrs, 30 Mins (Lunch, Dinner, Snow)

It was a great drive, great trip and it is always nice to meet old friends. I was happy to meet Vinayak and Reddy here in the US.