Sunday, January 01, 2006

A road trip to remember!

'Twas december and the ho-ho-hos were all around. It was time to be rewarded for being good and this year Santa thought that we were very good and gifted us with 4 days of paid time off - which means we had 10 calendar days to cherish. What better a way to spend time in December than to hit the asphalt and to head the way where Mother Earth has carved herself for the amusement of the mortals? So, we decided - Grand Canyon it was!

No snow, no storm, no flood. An added bonus was that we would be taking a travel not just in space but also in time. We decided to visit Petrified forest national park, Arizona where the memories from 220 million years ago are preserved for ever for retrospection. While Arizona has inherited all of Mother Nature's wealth, its neighbour - Nevada, is a pauper in terms of natural beauty. A lot of lip stick was needed for this pig and lip stick flowed aplenty to build a dream - that is Vegas, in the heart of a barren God forsaken land. So, a trip to the sin city was in the cards as well.

I will let the pictures tell the whole story but a couple of tips for people visiting the neighbourhood. Bellagio and Wynn has the best indoor decors especially during xmas; if your better half is artsy-partsy, they will ooh and wow the entire time and you will score a lot of brownie points :) Try staying in Rio, Gold Casino or Palms all of which are the closest to the heart of the Strip - the happening places like Bellagio, Caesar etc., If you are planning to stay in Stratosphere, make sure you are not staying in the Regency Tower extension of Stratosphere. You are better off staying in a Motel 6 for a much lower price. Last word of advice - beware of those hawks trying to woo unsuspecting tourists into wasting a couple of hours with a sales staff in return for a pathetic show and a crappy buffett. It is a complete waste of time.

If you are planning to visit the Grand Canyon, get away from the tourist hot spots such as Mather point, Yavapai etc., and head to calmer places like Hopi point and Pima point which are at the west end of the South rim. These places provide a better view of the River and the Canyon and a lot of privacy and an opportunity to spend a lot of quality time (ahem)! Taking a small hike in the Kaibab trail (not all the way to the floor) and visiting desert tower are very enjoyable. Food at market plaza near Yavapai lodge is excellent and very economic. Road trip east of Desert View Tower in 64 North is highly recommended. A lot of off the beaten path opportunities abound in that area - little River Colarado Gorge for instance allows you to see the gorges from very close distance. When AZ64 hits Cameron take AZ89-S to visit Sunset Crater. That whole area offers great vistas and is always free of flock of tourists.

The best part of our trip was a visit down the memory lane to the Petrified Forest National Park near Holbrook, AZ. Just the fact that this arid desert once was the bed of a river as wide as the current day Amazon was startling. The number of petrified trees with magnificent colors left us dumbfounded. Looking at the well preserved fossilized fishes, molluscs, dinosaur eggs, tropical leaves and dinosaur dung (fossilized silly) evoked a new found enthusiasm for geography within me all of a sudden. A walk along Blue Mesa in the middle of this park where the Chinle formations were shaded with Pastel colors was worth the whole trip. For those interested in semi-precious stones such as Amethyst, Blue Calcite, Obsydians this place is an absolute Mecca. We bought a lot of memorablia in the nearest museum outside the park - collecting any petrified wood or crystals inside the park is a punishable offense; so next time you visit our place, be prepared for a little Geology lesson from us :) Finally, we visited the petroglyphs in the desert left by Puerto Indians - antecedents for current day Hopi Indians, and the Painted Desert part of the park around sunset and marvelled at the hues and colors the desert sand reflected off the sun light and bid adieu to the wild wild Arizona and to a well spent year 2005. We reached the bay area late evening on the last day and welcomed the new year 2006 from the cozy premises of our home.

As always more detailed photo tour at my yahoo photo site. There are around 400 hand-picked photographs for your viewing pleasure; so take your time :)

So long,
yours truly


At 12:40 AM, Blogger Sathish said...

Well written ! I liked the style of writing :-)

At 11:09 PM, Blogger Neeraj said...

hey sai old man! neeraj here yr old roommate.. just stumbled upon yr blog via my roommate who goes to scu as well.. nice blog there. and thats a darn good photo i must say of the asphalt .. what equipment/technique?


Post a Comment

<< Home